D.C. police officers have focused their traffic enforcement on targeting drivers who fail to stop at stop signs, use cell phones while driving or drive without insurance, according to data provided from the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

These are the top five moving violations for which D.C. police officers issued tickets between Jan. 1 and July 31 of this year:

Violation                                              Total Tickets issued:

  • Failure to stop at a stop sign — 4,480
  • Use of a cell phone or other device without a hands-free accessory — 3,383
  • Failure to show proof of insurance — 3,269
  • Operating an uninsured vehicle — 2,792
  • Failure to wear to seat belt — 2,587

See our post from last month listing the top violations issued by the Metropolitan Police Department, including its automated enforcement program.

If you suspected that D.C. police officers are making fewer traffic stops in the era of automated enforcement era, you are spot on. The DMV data show a sharp decline in the number of tickets written by police officers. An increasing number of citations are being issued through automated enforcement.

For example, in 2010 officers issued 116,509 tickets. The number went down to 110,685 in 2011, then to 81,161 in 2012 and to 76,832 last year. This year, between Jan. 1 and July 31, officers issued 41,613 tickets to drivers, DMV records show.

Although there has been a decline in the number of citations issued by officers, the city has continued to expand its traffic enforcement through the deployment of speed- and red-light cameras cross city streets. Most recently, cameras were deployed to catch drivers blocking intersections and rolling through stop signs. Revenue from the automated enforcement program totaled $88.8 million in fiscal year 2013.

D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said the “automated traffic enforcement has been an effective tool in changing driver behavior. Therefore, there are fewer tickets issued by officers, as well.”