DC bill would put points on licenses for violations caught on traffic cameras

If you get caught by a traffic enforcement camera in the D.C. area, the ticket results in a fine. But some District lawmakers think the tickets also should include a point on the driver’s licenses of vehicle owners.

“We have had a record year in terms of traffic violence across the District,” At-Large D.C. Council member Christina Henderson told WTOP Monday. “And I feel like we’ve been having this ongoing conversation around, ‘How do we get drivers to slow down?'”

“Speeding, running red lights and running stop signs threaten the livability of our neighborhoods and compromises the safety of children, pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers,” she said.

The Automated Traffic Enforcement Effectiveness Amendment Act of 2022 was co-introduced by Henderson and council members Brianne K. Nadeau, Brooke Pinto, Charles Allen and Elissa Silverman.

“If we are going to use automated traffic enforcement, then our automated traffic enforcement laws need to have some teeth to it to change behavior,” Henderson said.

An additional point would be added for a moving violation within a school zone.

While automated enforcement can’t identify drivers when infractions occur, Henderson cited other locations with automated enforcement that have a provision for appeals — including Arizona, which issues points to owner licenses for some vehicle infractions.

Vehicle owners bear responsibility for how their vehicles are used, Henderson said.

“If you have allowed someone to borrow your vehicle, you are assuming part of the responsibility for what they do with that vehicle, including speeding, hitting someone [or] committing any other number of crimes,” she said.

The legislation proposes that parked vehicles with five or more unpaid moving violations — no matter what jurisdiction they’re registered in — be towed or immobilized and that a vehicle owner’s insurance company be notified upon five or more infractions issued by automated enforcement.

The legislation proposes that a first infraction within a two-year time period results in a warning. The points imposed from automated enforcement would be waived if owners complete a traffic safety course.

Henderson expects the measure may have a hearing this fall, but she does not expect passage before the end of the year.

WTOP’s Scott Gelman contributed to this report.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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