WASHINGTON (DC News Now)—Traffic cameras in the District could soon start doling out more than just fines.
Monday, Councilmember Christina Henderson introduced the Automated Traffic Enforcement Effectiveness Amendment Act of 2022. If passed, drivers will receive points on their license for moving violations caught by district traffic cameras.
Henderson said the idea is to stop dangerous driving.
“We cannot wait years for streetscaping to change while children and residents are injured, nearly hit, or killed due to dangerous driving,” she said in a statement to DC News Now. “We cannot just get upset about traffic deaths each time and do nothing. This legislation is a first step in making sure that we address the dangerous driving that is making our city less safe-for everyone.”
Currently, the district has dozens of automated traffic enforcement cameras which enforce speed limits, as well as stopping at red lights or stop signs. Drivers who are caught on camera breaking those traffic laws will be fined with a ticket.
Under the proposed bill, drivers will now also receive one point on their license for a moving violation caught by an ATE camera. And two points if the violation happens in a school zone. According to the legislation, the first moving violation caught on an ATE camera in a two-year period will be waived.
“I think it’s going to make a difference for the next time you speed, probably not so much the first time, but the second time it’ll make you pay attention,” said District resident Michelle Chase.
Chase said she’s neutral on the proposal. But, said she understands why stricter punishment is needed for speeders.
“It’s bad, it’s a lot of speeding happening here. I witnessed a biker get hit,” she said. “I understand why it’s an issue. Only time can tell what’s going to work and what’s not going to work.”
But, others do not believe it’ll make any difference.
“It just seems punitive and irrational,” said District resident John Walke. “Adding points on top of that doesn’t seem like it’s going to change behavior and it’s just going to punish drivers and continue to fill the coffers of the DC government.”
District drivers with points on their license do face consequences. If you accumulate between 10 and 11 points, your license can be suspended. If you accumulate 12 or more your license will be revoked.
Under the proposed bill, the violation will be waived if you can prove you were not the driver inside the vehicle when it was photographed.
To ensure drivers who live outside the district comply, the DMV will send a bi-annual report to a driver’s auto insurance company if they have five or more moving violations. Cars can also be towed or booted if a driver has two outstanding tickets.
“This is not ‘THE’ answer but ‘A’ proposal in what will be a spirited conversation about traffic safety, the impact it has on marginalized communities and how we are all responsible for the lives of our neighbors. We must use a plethora of resources to not only enforce, but to educate residents, and re-think our approach to traffic safety,” said Henderson.