AAA: Speed limit increases in D.C. lead to fewer speed camera tickets

The Maryland Court of Appeals will hear a class-action lawsuit on speed camera ticket fees. (WTOP File)

WASHINGTON – The number of speed camera tickets issued to motorists in portions of the District has decreased, new numbers show.

At multiple sites in D.C. where the speed limit was increased in late 2012, AAA found both the number of tickets issued and revenue from them have decreased.

On Canal Road, for example, 11,000 tickets were issued in a period prior to the speed limit increase. In the corresponding period after the increase, only about 1,900 tickets were issued.

At one camera location on southbound Interstate 295 near Exit 1, tickets dropped 51 percent and revenue went down 60 percent.

“Drivers for a generation have complained about the artificially low speed limits on D.C. 295,” says AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, D, says speed limits in the District have sometimes been set too low, and the numbers show the need to set speed limits correctly.

“Otherwise, motorists feel the cameras are unfair — acting like speed traps,” Mendelson says.

D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells, D-Ward 6, says he is glad the numbers are going down, but thinks they might be indicative of another issue.

“The decline in revenue is good news because it means fewer people are speeding, but Maryland and Virginia charge between $40 and $60 for speeding — D.C. the average ticket is now around $120. Seems like it’s just a way to get into people’s pockets,” Wells says.

According to AAA, the city lowered the average speed camera ticket from $100 to $92 in April.

D.C. police did not comment on the data and referred WTOP to the D.C. Department of Transportation. A DDOT spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

A camera that issued an increased number of speeding tickets is located in the 2700 block of westbound New York Avenue NE. That device saw a 43 percent jump in citations and a more than 16 percent increase in revenue.

Ari Ashe contributed to this report. Follow @AriAsheWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.


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