DC COUNCIL IS ABOUT TO VOTE on MAYOR Gray's proposals for many more traffic cameras. Will go before Councilmember Phil Mendelson's (D-At Large) Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary.
I have provided further clarity to my original posted reasoning for this being important below:
The high fees and camera placements are for generating money, not for making roads safer. I received four $125 tickets in the weeks following a new camera conveniently placed on the bottom of a hill on Porter Street, a large 4 lane road with a quiet, unpopulated, forested stretch and a speedlimit of 30 (I was going 41), where people easily drift through a short scenic escape from the city. I didn't know I was getting tickets due to the time it takes for delivery & I saw no flash in the daylight. The city may target this area, like others, knowing the stretch is perfect for a speed higher than 30mph and is one of few roads available for daily commuters trying to weave their way in or out of the city. If this is really for awareness of speed and safety, a ticket of $40 will have the same effect as a ticket for $125.
Feb 25 - A critical supporter told me today, I should better explain my thinking since my original knee jerk posting of this petition.
I hope this offers better clarity:
I support smart use of speed cameras for safety and, to a degree, revenue.
I can be convinced by authorities that this larger cost of fines is justifiable.
But, the city should convince us by providing reasonable research.
I understand they won’t have perfect all inclusive scientific data.
I understand they won’t have pure safety-related reasons & that revenue to a degree is necessary.
I understand we vote people in agreeing to give them the right to make decisions on our behalf.
But, I think this particular decision to significantly increase fines to a cost many good people consider cruel & unusual, deserves a reasonable explanation from the authorities with reasonable—not perfect—but reasonable data to back it up. If the data is unreasonable, the fine should be put back to a reasonable cost that achieves reasonable objectives.
Some problematic answers:
The answer “If you don’t like the higher fine, don’t speed”
Doesn’t provide any reasoning for increasing the fines
The answer “Raising the cost of fine gives people incentive to drive the speed limit”
Doesn’t back up the claim with any “reasonable” data indicating $125 is the cost of achieving incentive—why not $1000 or $40?
The answer “Number of accidents at speed cameras decrease”
Doesn’t address the choice made for this high cost of fine
Also should include data proving a drop & proving accidents don’t rise on alternative routes (I now take Tilden instead of Porter) and that accidents don’t increase from slowing down & speeding up.
The answer “The fines need to equal a neighboring state so people don’t speed in DC because our fines are lower”
Doesn’t give “reasonable” data indicating the neighboring state’s choice is the cost of achieving incentive—why isn’t that other state charging $1000 or $40? This is also arguable because our neighboring state does have camera fines at $40. It also doesn’t give data showing people choose to speed if the cost drops. Do people still speed if our tickets are $25 or $35 less? Personally, I would find it really interesting to see methodology & data used to prove (# of purposeful speeders in DC) correlates to (difference in charge between DC & Maryland).
It’s wrong that the burden is put on the citizens to prove fines are unreasonable. It should be the burden (job) of the city to prove their action to raise fines is properly justified with data. If it is not properly justified, they should put fines at $40 until reasonable data supports a specific rise.
As for other things related to my issue, such as questioning the placement of cameras, alleged 60-70% of each fine payment going to contracted camera companies, influence contractors have on setting fine amounts, camera settings & camera placement, how the money is spent, etc—this is all interesting but I don’t want them center to this petition. This petition is to have fines lowered to $40 until data is provided supporting a specific increase.
Perhaps the cost of contracting this out & some minimal reasonable data supports the rise in fines to what they currently are. If so, I could except it—but first I want reasonable information.
Please also realize New updates are posted from time to time in the "Petition Updates" tab.
Lower speed camera fines to $40.
DC speed camera fines have been raised unreasonably high. $125 for going 11mph over the limit is extreme compared to neighboring state's camera fines and compared to what is necessary to give incentive to slow down. $40 has been working fine to achieve incentive and revenue. $125 can be considered cruel and unusual. If this is really for awareness of speed and safety, a ticket of $40 will have the same effect as a ticket for $125.