DC-area panel wants states and DC to coordinate enforcement of automated traffic tickets

Concerned that dangerous drivers aren’t being held accountable in the D.C. area, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) wants nearby jurisdictions to enforce penalties for citations issued by each other’s speed and red light cameras.

A letter being sent to Maryland and Virginia’s Governors and D.C.’s mayor also asks that existing traffic laws and criteria for automated enforcement be reviewed region wide so they might work better together.

“Automated traffic enforcement is evolving differently in each of our jurisdictions, each of our states,” said TPB chair Charles Allen.

“All this [letter] says is that the region should use all of our levers to make sure that our roadways are safe. And regional reciprocity for automated enforcement is one of those levers,” he said at Wednesday’s meeting.

Prior to the vote on approving the letter, Allen, who is also D.C.’s Ward 6 council member, shared with the board why the issue matters so much to him.

“Yesterday, we had two kids that were struck in a cross walk walking to school in D.C….  On Sunday, I and my daughter went to an intersection where a 5-year-old girl was killed riding her bike,” he said. “On Friday, I had a nine-year old constituent who was struck by a driver who hit and run … Left with stitches and scars on his face, and survived, but significantly hurt.”

Also, on Walk to School Day in October this year, two little girls in a crosswalk were severely hurt by a negligent driver.

“And I know that I’m not alone in this, each of my colleagues in Maryland and Virginia probably have equal stories that they can share about how they and their friends have been personally impacted by violence that takes place on our streets,” Allen said.

Local jurisdictions are party to an existing multi-state compact that requires each state and D.C. to enforce certain traffic citations, but it’s limited to tickets issued in-person by officers.

A summary of automated traffic enforcement in the D.C. region can be found on the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments website.

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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