D.C. to reduce speed camera fines

Max Smith, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Many speed camera tickets in the District will soon carry a little less sting.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray announced Friday that some fines from traveling over the speed limit will be reduced starting on Monday.

Fines for driving 11 to 15 mph over the speed limit will drop from $125 to $100, while fines for drivers traveling 1 to 10 mph over the speed limit will drop from $75 to $50.

One new fine increase is for anyone caught speeding more than 25 mph over the limit. Drivers will now pay $300 instead of $250.

“We believe this strikes the right balance between ensuring the safety of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and those who live on thoroughfares while also making the system fairer for those whose violations are less dangerous than the most flagrant speeders,” Gray wrote in a statement.

The changes are implemented as regulations through the Department of Motor Vehicles, which the mayor’s office says allows the fines to take effect quickly.

Though the fines are changing, Gray says there are no plans to add additional speed cameras right now.

In addition, there is a bill in the D.C. Council that would lower most speed camera fines to a maximum $50.

Eric Goulet, director of the Mayor’s Office of Budget and Finance, says the bill would leave a $30 million budget hole.

“After the fine reduction and speed increases on certain roads that the mayor discussed are put in place, we are expecting only $3.5 million above the projection fiscal year 13,” Goulet says.

The mayor plans to propose emergency legislation to direct some of the extra money earned from speed cameras to D.C. police, which would allow the department to hire 100 new officers.

Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), one of the sponsors of the speed camera fines bill, issued a statement Friday in support of Gray’s proposal.

“I’m glad to see the Mayor has agreed with our proposal that a portion of the ticket revenue must be reinvested back into safety improvements, rather than going into the black hole of the general budget,” he wrote.

D.C. speed camera fines are higher than Maryland’s, where typical speed camera tickets are $40. There is no standard fine for speed cameras in Virginia because fines are set by local governments.

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