DC Council bill stiffens traffic laws, penalties for out-of-District drivers

The D.C. Council passed its Vision Zero bill on Tuesday – and that means stiffened traffic laws and penalties for Maryland and Virginia drivers.

The new bill empowers the mayor’s office to work with the District’s neighbors in dealing with unpaid traffic fines.

READ MORE: DC councilman pushes for citizen traffic enforcement

A reported 90 percent of the outstanding traffic fines in the nation’s capital are accrued from drivers traveling from beyond its borders.

The bulk of those outstanding fines are for drivers in Maryland and Virginia.

The mayor’s office in cooperation with Virginia and Maryland could potentially:

- Suspend a driver’s vehicle registration

- Suspend a driver’s license

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To avoid harsh penalties, drivers from states beyond the District would be required to pay traffic fines in a timely manner.

Some drivers in Virginia are pushing back.

“Why are there going to be harsher consequences...I don’t think they should do it,” said Woodbridge resident Feryal Ebadi.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the bill’s chief sponsor Charles Allen say the goal is to ultimately increase traffic safety and reduce traffic deaths by stepping up enforcement.

READ MORE: ICE agents used traffic stop to detain people in Prince William County

Right now, tickets and fines are issued to drivers going 10 miles an hour or more over the speed limit.

But under the new law, drivers would be mailed warning notices if they’re going eight miles an hour over the speed limit.

In addition, turning right on red will now be banned at hundreds of intersections in the District – including within 400 feet of a school, Metro station entrance, rec center, or where bike lanes are part of the intersection.