DC bill would impound vehicles of ‘reckless drivers’

Drivers with multiple speeding tickets or other moving violations could have their vehicles impounded until they take a driver safety course if a new bill passes the D.C. Council.

The “Reckless Driver Accountability Act of 2022” was introduced by Council member Elissa Silverman, according to a news release from the council member.

The bill defines “routinely reckless drivers” as drivers with five or more moving violations or those with at least three tickets for speeding 25 mph over the limit or three tickets for running a red light.

Their cars would be subject to impound — even if fines are paid — unless the drivers take a “restorative-justice-based driver education class” that would bring traffic violators together into a small group to discuss the perilous consequences of dangerous driving, Silverman said in a statement.

“We need to get reckless drivers off the road until they change their behavior,” Silverman said in a statement. “That needs to be the focus. We can issue speeding tickets, but if drivers keep getting them and there are no consequences, that doesn’t get us to our goal of making streets safer.”

Silverman also introduced the “Speed Limiters Amendment Act of 2022,” which would prevent D.C. government’s non-emergency vehicles from going over 40 mph “unless there is a clear reason it needs to drive faster.”

That bill would require the District’s nearly 3,000 non-emergency vehicles be outfitted with “speed limiters,” according to the statement.

The statement says that the city’s “default” speed is 20 mph, and nowhere is it above 50 mph.

“Speed kills,” Silverman said in the statement. “A pedestrian hit by a car going 50 miles per hour has just a 20 percent chance of surviving. Lowering the speed of the car by just 10 miles per hour, to 40 miles per hour, doubles the odds of the pedestrian surviving.”

Both of Silverman’s bills are expected to go to the Committee on Transportation and the Environment.

Earlier this month, the D.C. Council approved legislation that bans right turns on red lights in D.C. intersections starting in 2025.

Hugh Garbrick

Hugh graduated from the University of Maryland’s journalism college in 2020. While studying, he interned at the Queen Anne & Magnolia News, a local paper in Seattle, and reported for the school’s Capital News Service. Hugh is a lifelong MoCo resident, and has listened to the local radio quite a bit.

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