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Mayor Gray and Public-Safety Officials Announce Changes Designed to Improve Safety, Fairness in Photo Enforcement

Friday, November 2, 2012

Mayor Gray and Public-Safety Officials Announce Changes Designed to Improve Safety, Fairness in Photo Enforcement

Adjustments to Violations, Speed-Limit Study, Funds for 100 New MPD Officers Included

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and District Department of Transportation Director (DDOT) Terry Bellamy today announced a regulatory fix to the District’s Automated Traffic Enforcement (ATE) program that will improve the fairness of speeding fines while improving public safety.

“For months since the Metropolitan Police Department put more photo-enforcement vehicles on the street to reduce speeding, decrease traffic fatalities and make things safer for all motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, we’ve received lots of feedback —some of it good and some of it bad,” Mayor Gray said. “So, today I am announcing that, effective on Monday, there will be adjustments in the ATE program that we believe will improve fairness while continuing to ensure and improve public safety.”

The changes to the program include decreasing fines on less-dangerous violations of speed laws and increasing fines on the most flagrant violators:

• Violators caught speeding up to 10 miles per hour over the limit will be fined $50 instead of the current $75;
• Violators caught speeding 11 to 15 miles per hour over the limit will now be fined $100 rather than the current $125; and
• Violators caught speeding more than 25 miles per hour in excess of the limit will receive a higher fine of $300 instead of the current $250 fine.   

“We believe this strikes the right balance between ensuring the safety of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and those who live on thoroughfares while also making the system fairer for those whose violations are less dangerous than the most flagrant speeders,” Mayor Gray said.

The changes will be implemented through the Department of Motor Vehicles’ regulatory authority, which means they will not require legislation and can take effect quickly.

In addition, Mayor Gray said, the administration is instituting two other changes to improve the ATE system. DDOT engineers will study the safety of altering speed limits in areas where improvements to roadways may enable changes without compromising safety. And Mayor Gray will propose emergency legislation that will dedicate a portion of revenues from the ATE program to hiring 100 new police officers, bringing the Metropolitan Police force up to 4,000 officers. Gray Administration budget proposals have added 300 new MPD officers since 2011.