DC councilmember wants speed camera locations reviewed

- D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh wants the District to review their speed camera locations after she says many residents have complained to her about their suspicions that the cameras operate solely for profit.

"I have received many complaints from residents about what they, quite justifiably, refer to as 'speed traps,'" Ms. Cheh wrote last month in a letter to the District Department of Transportation. She said that the camera on the 2200 block of K St. had been the subject of many emails sent to her. That camera, AAA Mid-Atlantic said, generated nearly $12 million in fines and penalties in 2016.

According to a report by AAA, the District has 145 speed camera locations and operated 98 speed cameras last year. In 2016, AAA states that D.C. issued nearly one million speed camera tickets and collected nearly $100 million in fines.

AAA Mid-Atlantic's John Townsend says the District's 22 top-earning cameras generate three quarters of the city's speed camera ticket revenue of nearly $78 million. Townsend says these top-earning cameras are lined along busy commuter routes and routes to work.

Cheh's letter asked DDOT to "closely review the roads and intersections where photo-enforcement exists to ensure that speed limits are appropriate and that drivers are given proper notice of the presence of a camera."

WAMU transportation reporter and FOX 5 contributor, Martin Di Caro says the City has not responded to Cheh's letter at this time. He says he believes the District intends to expand the speed camera and red light camera programs. He also says that earlier this year, DDOT argued for higher fines to be issued for violations.

Di Caro adds that studies have shown that speed cameras and red light cameras are effective at slowing down drivers and saving lives.

He added that the city has taken on a goal called 'Vision Zero' which aims at eliminating traffic deaths by the year 2024. A big aspect of that program, Di Caro said, is to redesign streets so you reduce speeding to begin with and indicate to the driver to slow down naturally.

Townsend said the top earning speed camera in the District is located on southbound Interstate 295 just south of exit 1. He says, last year, it issued nearly 250 tickets a day for a total of approximately 90,000 tickets in 2016 for a total of $13.1 million in fines.

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