Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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D.C. poised to increase number of traffic cameras

Ask any motorist here in New York about the city's vehicle traffic laws and propensity for handing out traffic violations, and you are more than likely going to get an earful. While this frustration is understandable, it may help to remember that things could definitely be worse.

For example, consider the situation in Washington, D.C., where Mayor Vincent C. Gray is now proposing a massive increase in the number of traffic cameras. Specifically, he indicated during testimony before the D.C. Council yesterday that he would "like to be able to cover the entire city" with these much-maligned devices.

Gray indicated that his motivation for installing more traffic cameras -- D.C. already has 70 fixed and mobile red light cameras and over two dozen speed cameras -- was not to raise funds or force city residents to abandon their cars in favor of mass transit. Rather, he indicated that the purpose of the expansion would be to protect pedestrians and bicyclists, and promote safe driving.

"We are encouraging people to do more bicycling, do more walking and use green space," he said. "I think we need to do everything we can to protect people in the District from the negligent and irresponsible actions of others."

In addition to more speed cameras and red light cameras, Gray's expanded enforcement includes a call for new "traffic calming initiatives" that could easily generate up to $30 million in revenue. These include:

  • "Speed-on-green" cameras designed to catch drivers who speed through intersections
  • Laser-equipped cameras designed to catch speeding drivers in tunnels
  • Pilot technology designed to catch drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks

Not surprisingly, the idea of more traffic enforcement is not sitting well with many D.C.-area motorists who feel that the city is already overly eager to issue tickets to collect much-needed revenue.

In fact, statistics show that Washington, D.C. collected $92.6 million in parking fines, $40 million from parking meters and $63 million from traffic cameras in 2011 alone.

"The fact is D.C. found a new ATM machine, and it's motorists," said Mahlon Anderson, a spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Stay tuned for more from our New York vehicle traffic law blog ...

If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


The Washington Post, "D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray plans to 'cover the entire city' with traffic cameras" March 27, 2012

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