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D.C. Wants Mayor To Slow Down His Traffic Safety Plan

April 2, 2012 by  

D.C. Wants Mayor To Slow Down His Traffic Safety Plan

Vincent Gray, the mayor of Washington, D.C., wants to have every inch of the Capitol’s roads covered by traffic cameras. Gray says that it is primarily about the citizens’ protection, but others feel that the proposal is about the city’s profit.

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

When council members asked Gray how many cameras he had in mind, he responded: “Eventually, we would like to be able to cover the entire city.”

In 2010, the city collected a record $50.9 million in automated-camera revenue, and many people are convinced that this is just a ploy to increase that number. With the additional cameras, Gray expects the city to take in an extra $30 million from fines. This would make up for a $25 million deficit in the city’s current budget.

“We’ve gone overboard with this,” Councilwoman Muriel Bowser said of the mayor’s proposition. “When our residents see a $30 million expectation of fines, they become increasingly upset.”

Apart from revenue generated by cameras, the city rakes in about $93 million in parking fines and as much as $40 million from parking meters annually.

AAA has a question it wants answered: If the cameras are intended to encourage safe driving, then why has the number of tickets doubled over the past several years?

Bryan Nash

Staff writer Bryan Nash has devoted much of his life to searching for the truth behind the lies that the masses never question. He is currently pursuing a Master's of Divinity and is the author of The Messiah's Misfits, Things Unseen and The Backpack Guide to Surviving the University. He has also been a regular contributor to the magazine Biblical Insights.

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  • Sirian

    As long as there is an avenue to more revenue to supposedly solve one problem that any politician – this mayor or otherwise – can use to boast about for their re-election? Is it really all that unusual to see something such as this? No, not really. Look around, it’s been happening for quite some time but most people simply don’t recognize it.

  • Old Sully

    Revenue production traffic cameras are not just a D.C. problem but it’s nation wide. Go on the internet you will find complaint comments/blogs from San Diego CA to Rochester NY to Orlando FL. Last year Coco Beach FL sent my wife a $100 ticket for a late left turn at a stop light, we will not be returning there for another visit. Just like federal and state governments over spent ,so also did many localities. Now they are increasing the heavy hand of police powers to make up the difference. As for the D.C. Government, it has been mismanaged since home rule was established.

  • http://brighthouse jimmy glad


    • Andy

      Because our “guvmint” has made laws against almost everything you do/say/think so that they can pull you in/fine you/whatever at anytime they deem prudent to their benefit. Wake up–this country is not suppose to be about protecting everybody from everything…IT’S ABOUT FREEDOM to choose the things we do, how we see fit, as long it does not intrude on someone else’s rights. Of course, most people nowadays don’t know this as they have lost the ability to think for themselves thanks to our guvmint-run-controlled education (also known as “programming”).

  • Patriot higgins

    Haines city , Florida ( ticket town) I used to travel thou here often so I know the game very well.
    I thought that I would never get caught in the trap. While a passenger in my car we rode thru a yellow light. I knew the game so looked intently at the light as we went thru. We were in the middle of the intersection as the light went red. One month later I received the ticket for running the light.
    THE PICTURE SHOWED us on the white line with a RED LIGHT.
    My lawyer said not to fight it for the price of the ticket would double & the judge would not listen.
    The city has made over $500,000 in the first 6 months.
    An 18 wheel truck almost killed me trying to stop short of a ticket.
    55 mile speed zone with a 3.5 second red light.
    We do not drive thru ticket town anymore & tell all of our friends to not buy anything from any merchant there

  • Michael O’Hara

    Bravo to the DC mayor! If these people get some benefit out of breaking the laws, they shouldn’t complain about having to pay for their benefits. If they don’t want to pay the fine, they can just mind the law – don’t speed, don’t run red lights, don’t make illegal turns.
    A system like this can reduce the need for police staff (saving the city money) and reduce illegal activity over time. It will take a while for people who drive in those areas to get used to the system, but (once they do) the law breaking will be reduced. If they get fines from people who are just passing through, all the better for the local tax paying residents.

    • ChuckL

      Dear Michael,
      There have been official studies by both state and federal organizations which have concluded that speed limits are set below the minimum safe speed on most roads in this country. These studies also pointed out that revenue from these laws has increased, but for some reason failed to arrive at the logical conclusion that the laws were for revenue generation and NOT for safety.

      • Michael O’Hara

        If you want to challenge the speed limit on a particular stretch of road, be my guest. Take it to your city councilpeople and get a local law passed to change the rule. Until that new regulation is put in place, your responsibility (as a law abiding citizen) is to follow the current law.

    • Jazzabelle

      Michael, you’re leaving out all the PROBLEMS with these cameras. Like the one in New Orleans that INCORRECTLY sent tickets to people who make LEGAL right turns against red lights. The city scored something like $50,000 from people before a rich tourist got one of those tickets, and spent some horrific amount of money to return to the city, set up cameras of his own, and PROVE that the city’s cameras were fining people illegally. The city had to refund the $50,000 it had received in ticket revenue (whatcha wanna bet they’d already spent the money), so this one ends happily (comparatively). But what if that rich tourist had never showed up … or thought the ticket “wasn’t worth the fight?” Shows you that rich people aren’t all bad. How many other localities are also fining people illegally and have never had a rich tourist get ticket off enough to prove that it’s actually the guvmint who’s committing the crimes?

      • Michael O’Hara

        Jazzabelle, I don’t dismiss the possibility of broken equipment but I don’t automatically assume the local DPW commissioner is scheming to take my money when I have not been doing something wrong. I have been “hit” with a few fines due to broken parking meters. If the problem is not intermittent, a lot of people will be affected by it and somebody will challenge it and the system will get repaired. The same thing has happened with live police officers who (in and effort to make their “ticket quota”) give tickets to drivers who they normally wouldn’t bother with. I would rather challenge the machine than get into a “he said / she said” fight with a police officer.

      • Jazzabelle

        Michael, the equipment wasn’t broken. It was incorrectly programmed. You can assume whatever you want about whether that was intentional or not. The point is, the technology contributes to a feeling of living in a police state. It doesn’t do anything for government-citizen relations when governments react to economic downturns by putting further screws on citizens who are already feeling the pain. For that matter, traffic laws (and the fines that come along with them) are matters of contract between the individual and the state; they aren’t even laws that people are obligated to obey absent a driver’s license. When enough people figure that out, the states will have a hard time raising any revenue at all.

        • Michael O’Hara

          Jazzabelle, I think “incorrectly programmed” counts as “broken” or “not functioning properly”. Would you feel better being stopped by a live police officer, rather than getting a ticket in the mail? I don’t see enforcing the law as “putting the screws” on citizens.
          As for traffic laws not being “laws that people are obligated to obey” – where in the world did you pick that idea up? Try making that case before a judge and let us know how it turns out, please.

      • Jazzabelle


        I got that idea by actually reading the statutes in my state, something that you have clearly never done, because I understand the laws are basically the same in every state.

        In order to get a driver’s license, you have to sign a contract agreeing that you will obey the statutes governing the use of the road and your vehicle. That would be unnecessary if the statutes were enforceable against everyone, whether they signed the contract or not. But the statutes clearly state that a driver’s license is required for anyone who wants to drive … and “drive” is defined as the operation of a registered motor vehicle for purposes of commerce. So, if you’re just going to the grocery store or to pick up the kids from school, you’re not “driving” (according to the state legislature) and you don’t need a license.

        Why don’t you read YOUR state statutes and see what they say?

        I’ve never been ticketed for driving without a license, but I know one woman who was, and the judge agreed with her and threw out the ticket.

        • Michael O’Hara

          Well, I applaud your diligence in reading the statute. The license application in my state has no such “contract”. Even if it did have such language, it would not bind the out of state (or visitors from other countries) drivers to follow the traffic laws. The laws regarding traffic apply to everyone, licensed in the state or otherwise. If you don’t stop for a red light, speed or otherwise violate the statute you can be ticketed, either by an on-site police officer or remotely through the use of a traffic camera.
          The next time you get issued a ticket for a traffic violation let us know how the judge responds to your “contract” story.

      • Jazzabelle


        The license application IS the contract. It had conditions on it, and you signed the bottom of it, didn’t you? Anything you sign is a contract, otherwise they wouldn’t need your signature. And yes, a license in one state is a binding contract in other states, due to reciprocal agreements between the states.

        You may be correct that someone who runs a red light “can be” ticketed, in the sense that any time I leave my house, I “can be” struck by a car and killed. Doesn’t make it legal. That’s why the judge sided with my acquaintance who raised the proper legal argument against her ticket, and threw it out. You might not know this, but the vast majority of “laws” that people have to obey today are actually contractual obligations and not laws. Laws apply to everyone; statutes apply conditionally. Either the conditions will be in the statute, or they will be rooted in a contract. Eliminate the contract and you eliminate the obligation.

        You clearly aren’t satisfied knowing that it worked in a courtroom somewhere, so the solution is to read your own state’s statute and quit pretending that you would accept my personal testimony in the matter as more believable than the testimony of my acquaintance who actually has a “success” story. Actually, that’s a good thing; you don’t know the details of her case, just as you wouldn’t know the details of mine. You shouldn’t take anyone’s word on the matter. Study it out for yourself. It’s not that hard to do.

        • Michael O’Hara

          Point taken (about taking your word regarding your or your friend’s legal experience.)
          Good luck in your further legal studies.

  • JK

    To all those over-simplistic-thinking do-gooder thinkers. I can’t count all the people who made smug, self-assured comments like: “Just don’t speed.” , “Change the law if you don’t like it.”, etc., yet still got scammed. Two such people at work used to make such comments…until the Scam Camera scammed them! Now one of them has just shut up (probably embarrassed) and the other is rightfully enraged, since he did his best to be a good, law-abiding citizen. There will be many more, too…maybe even you or someone you know. First, I don’t condone true speeding and/or reckless driving (according to common sense, logic and ethics), but do we suddenly have tons of speeders/reckless drivers? The answer is NO! It may be worth your while to check (from memory) to get your facts together. (It’s a good compilation of what you would get if you did a full-fledged investigation). And it might behoove some to get a backbone and at least speak up against the scam. There should be more like our Founding fathers who stand/speak up for what is right


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