Speed cam tickets plunge in D.C., spike in Montgomery

WASHINGTON – The number of speed camera tickets issued in D.C. plunged 18 percent last year due in part to the raising of speed limits along several commuter routes and drivers opting to slow down than risk a ticket, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The District along with Laurel and Bowie all reported issuing fewer speed camera tickets. Prince George’s County’s tickets rose slighty but Montgomery County saw the numer of tickets issued spike.

The reason for the steep drop off in tickets is simple, says AAA’s John Townsend.

“Drivers are slowing down and avoiding the tickets because depending on the jurisdiction the fine can be hefty.”

Drivers can face a fine of $50 to $300 in D.C. Despite the plunge in the number of tickets issued, revenue declined just 4 percent, according to AAA.

At the end of 2012, Mayor Vincent Gray raised the posted speed limits along Canal Road, Benning Road and portions of DC 295. The small change in the legal speed dramatically reduced the number of tickets issued along these roads, according to AAA.

However the Gray administration wants to expand its traffic enforcement camera program, which could bring in $50 million more in ticket revenue.

In Montgomery County, the number of speed camera tickets issued jumped 36 percent and generated 21 percent more revenue, according to the AAA review.

The county now rotates the location of its cameras and also places multiple cameras along a corridor to repeatedly compel drivers to ease off the gas pedal, Townsend says.

Other facts about speed cameras from the AAA report:

  • D.C., Montgomery and Prince George’s counties – the three largest jurisdictions with speed cameras – issued almost 1.4 million tickets last year and generated about $105 million in revenue.
  • Speed camera tickets issued in Bowie, Md., have dropped 76 percent during the past three years and are expected to drop again this year.
  • The number of tickets issued in Prince George’s County have dropped as drivers learned the location of the county’s new cameras and slowed down. Revenue is expected to drop by 24 percent this year.
  • During the last three years, Laurel has seen a drop in the number of speed camera tickets issued. And revenue has dipped from $2.5 million to $1.5 million.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on Facebook.

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