The Metropolitan Police Department has new eyes on streets: More than 130 new traffic cameras have been set up in the District and they go live on Saturday.
There is a grace period for the first month, when drivers will get warnings. But that introductory period ends Dec. 30, at which time fines will go out. D.C. Police defend their deployment by pointing to safety records.
“We’ve experienced reductions in traffic fatalities over the last ten years of about 70 percent,” says Lamar Greene, an assistant police chief, of the effectiveness of traffic enforcement cameras.
The new photo enforcement technology, part of a campaign called D.C. Street Safe, targets a variety of traffic violations.
The devices will uniquely capture infractions like “blocking the box” at intersections, speeding, driving through crosswalks and having oversized and overweight vehicles in neighborhoods.
“There is a three-tiered check that we do before any (ticket) is issued,” Greene says, trying to reassure drivers who fear they could be unfairly ticketed.
“There are human eyes that look at any (citation) — look at the infraction, look at the pictures, look at the footage before (fines) are issued to any citizen,” he says.
Where these devices will be deployed was determined by past accidents, service calls, school zones and frequent speeding. Fines reach $250 for several violations. Driving 26 mph or more above the speed limit results in a $300 fine.