DC speed camera criticized for ‘unsafe’ placement

WASHINGTON — Speed cameras are supposed to make the roads safer, but one camera in D.C. might actually be doing the opposite.

Critics say a camera placed just off northbound Interstate 295 in D.C. is a hazard because it sits too close to traffic.

“It’s one of the most unsafe speed camera locations,” said John Townsend, a spokesman with AAA Mid-Atlantic, which is calling on the District to move the camera.

“A driver could inadvertently crash into it and sustain major injuries,” he said.

The camera is in a truck inspection area just over the Maryland border, and it protrudes into a lane that drivers use to get from the inspection site back to the highway.

“This camera is unsafe for a host of reasons, not only because it’s a foreign object in the middle of the road, but also because it blocks the sight and vision of motorists trying to merge back onto 295,” Townsend said.

The camera was not always taking up space in a lane. A 2014 photo shows an older model of the camera at the site, sitting off to the side of the lane and in front of a concrete barrier.

In a statement, D.C. police spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said the camera was shifted to its current position in late 2015.

“There were a number of safety issues with the unit being positioned in front of the barrier so it was repositioned,” he said. “The service road is not a through-traffic road, which factored into the decision to move it over a couple feet.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify that D.C. 295 is Interstate 295 in D.C., not D.C. Route 295.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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