3/21/05: 4 New Photo Radar Cameras
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MPDC To Issue Speeding Tickets from Four New Photo Radar Cameras Beginning March 21
Cameras capture more than 52,000 aggressive speeding events since February 18
Speeders, beware. Following a month of warning notices only, the Metropolitan Police Department begins issuing tickets on Monday, March 21, to motorists caught speeding aggressively by four new stationary photo radar cameras located in Northeast and Northwest DC.
The speeding reduction cameras are situated in the 4700 block of MacArthur Boulevard, NW; the 5400 block of 16th Street, NW; the 100 block of Michigan Avenue, NE; and the 2800 block of Benning Road, NE. The cameras were activated on February 18, but have been generating only warnings as part of a Police Department effort to educate DC-area motorists about the dangers of speeding and the Department’s crackdown on this dangerous behavior using photo radar technology.
Beginning March 21, 2005, aggressive speeders caught by the new stationary cameras will receive Notices of Infraction in the mail. While photo-enforced violations do not carry points in the District, the fines for speeding range up to $200 per violation.
During the first four weeks of operation, the four photo radar units detected more than 52,000 vehicles traveling above the threshold speed established for the program. That is an average of about 1,900 aggressive speeding events a day. All of the events captured by the cameras are reviewed and certified by a Metropolitan Police officer before warning notices or tickets are mailed, and not every event results in a notice being issued.
“The initial numbers certainly confirm that aggressive speeding is a serious problem in these four communities,” said Chief of Police Charles H. Ramsey. “However, our experience with other photo radar locations, both mobile and stationary, is that the number of violations will decline – and decline sharply – in a very short period of time. That is the good news for our motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists and other residents,” the Chief added.
In February 2004, the District became the first jurisdiction in North America to install a stationary photo radar speeding reduction camera, located in the 600 block of Florida Avenue, NE. The MPDC has operated a fleet of mobile photo radar vehicles, now totaling eight, since the summer of 2001.
The technology has contributed to dramatic reductions in speeding in the photo radar enforcement zones. The percentage of motorists speeding aggressively has fallen from more than 30 percent at the beginning of the program, to just over 3 percent in recent months. In addition, the average speed of all vehicles traveling in photo radar zones has fallen sharply since the start of the program. The MPDC reported that speeding-related traffic fatalities in DC have also declined since the program began – from 38 in 2001 to 17 in 2004, a reduction of 55 percent. The total number of traffic fatalities last year, 45, represented an 18-year low for the District.
DC’s photo radar system uses the same basic Doppler principle as traditional radar, but transmits a much narrower radar beam across the road, thus eliminating the chances of tracking two vehicles at once. When a vehicle enters the radar beam at an excessive speed, the radar unit signals the camera, which photographs the rear tag of the vehicle.
The photographs are reviewed and verified by an MPDC officer. Based on motor vehicle registration data, a Notice of Infraction is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle, who is responsible for paying or adjudicating the citation, or identifying who was driving the vehicle at the time of the infraction if it was not the registered owner. Motorists who receive photo-enforced tickets have the same rights to contest a citation as someone who is issued a ticket by a police officer.
DC’s automated enforcement program is provided at no cost to District taxpayers. All expenses are covered by the fines collected from violators. Additional information about the photo radar speeding reduction program can be found on the MPDC website: http://www.mpdc.dc.gov