10/1/2020DC Cracks Down On Drivers From Maryland, Virginia
Washington, DC passes measure that will ban right turns on red, expand red light camera use and suspend out-of-state licenses over photo tickets.
The District of Columbia has finalized a city council resolution that will massively increase the number of traffic tickets issued in the US capital. The thirty-one-page measure adopted unanimously last week will slash speed limits throughout the city to 20 MPH, reinstate a ban on right turns on red and massively increase the use of automated ticketing machines.
As passed by the city council, the measure requires the mayor to ensure its for-profit ticketing contractor installs at least ten bus lane cameras by 2022. The number of red light cameras will rise to 125 by 2024, and thirty stop sign cameras will begin issuing citations. The red light cameras will primarily issue tickets to drivers turning right on red in locations where doing so is currently legal.
Studies have consistently found that turning right on red rarely causes accidents (view federal study, view California study). According to AAA Mid-Atlantic -- ordinarily an enthusiastic supporter of ticketing measures that help its insurance business -- there were 107,353 crashes in Washington between 2013 and 2016, but just 55, or 0.05 percent, involved right turns on red.
The measure also authorizes the mayor to negotiate with Virginia and Maryland officials to suspend the licenses of anyone accumulating a "to be determined" number of parking, red light camera or speed camera tickets in DC. Virginia and Maryland, if they agree, would receive a cut of the photo ticket profit. In contrast to the crackdown on drivers, the new DC measure specifically exempts bicyclists from enforcement of safety rules.
"A law enforcement officer... shall not stop an individual for a violation, or a perceived violation, of the bicycle safety equipment requirements under section 1204 333 of Title 18 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations," the measure states.
Bicyclists will also enjoy more space on the roads taken from motorists, even though bicyclists constitute a small fraction of the city's commuting population. According to official Census data, 145,764 workers commute by automobile to the District compared to just 17,023 who told surveyors that they rode a bicycle to their job -- less than five percent of the total commuter population.
All of these changes, and all future transportation projects under the DC measure, must be formally justified under the "Vision Zero" marketing campaign that is being used nationally to promote the lowering of speed limits and the issuance of traffic tickets. The bill takes effect after a thirty-day review by the US Congress.
A copy of the council resolution is available in a 100k PDF file at the source link below.