Fewer D.C. Traffic Tickets Likely With Increased Speed Limits

December 12, 2012
By Daniel A. Gross on December 12, 2012 9:03 AM |

You may be less likely to get a traffic ticket in D.C., as district leaders are set to increase speed limits on parts of a couple well-traveled thoroughfares. speedometer.jpg

Our D.C. traffic defense attorneys understand that the two roads are DC-295 and Benning Road near the old Pepco power plant.

A big part of the problem has been the crush of complaints received regarding the automated speed enforcement cameras. So many "violators" have been ticketed that in the most recent fiscal year, the district raked in nearly $180 million in fines. The amount of each violation is based on how fast the vehicle is reportedly traveling. The faster the speed, the higher the fine. In some cases, people have received multiple $250 tickets.

Amid the chorus of complaints, Mayor Vincent Gray issued an executive order that reduced the fines. Additionally, city council is still deciding whether to push forward with legislation that would even further reduce those fines.

A huge part of the problem is that Benning Road is an eight-lane roadway. Yet, the speed limit is just 30 miles per hour. With the cameras posted above, it's essentially nothing more than a speed trap and a revenue hog.

The mayor now says that in the widest parts of the roadway, the speed limit will be increased - by a whole 5 miles per hour, to 35 miles per hour.

It's a similar story on DC-295, where posted speed limits range from 40 to 45 to 50 miles per hour. There, the mayor has said he plans to implement a consistent speed along that road, to 50 miles per hour.

These new speed limits should be in place by the second week of December.

The mayor said he is also carrying out studies to discern whether speed limits on other district roadways require adjustment.

D.C. traffic lawyers know that most people simply pay speeding tickets simply to be done with it. What they may not realize is that they can prompt your insurance company to hike up your premiums and they may even prevent you from doing certain types of jobs, if you rack up enough of them. People may also face the possibility of criminal charges. If you are traveling more than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, you face up to three months in jail. You may also face a charge of reckless driving.

Getting a ticket from a speed camera does not mean you automatically are convicted.

In fact, it's worth noting that in Maryland, major problems have been recently uncovered in their construction zone speed cameras. According to The Washington Times, the contractor who manages the program was not adequately vetted and the equipment wasn't properly calibrated prior to it going into operation. That's according to a recent audit. This means there could be nearly $1 million in state revenue that could be lost as a result of this oversight. More importantly for the public, it could mean that a large number of traffic tickets can be successfully challenged in court.

The work zone cameras in so-called Maryland SafetyZones automatically slap speeders with a $40 ticket. Again, many people simply paid these believing that they had no choice and it wasn't worth the hassle to take it to court. But they end up paying more in insurance than they would have had they simply paid a lawyer. By doing the latter, it may be a wash, but at least they don't have the offense lingering on their driving record.

A study last year conducted by the U.S. PIRG, numerous traffic enforcement cameras are riddled with problems, including the fact that they actually cause more accidents because motorists slam on their brakes trying not to get a ticket.

Arizona and several cities in California terminated their contracts as a result.

If you are fighting a traffic ticket in Washington D.C., contact the Law Office of Daniel A. Gross, PLLC at 202-596-5716 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
D.C. speed limits to increase as early as next week, Nov. 30, 2012, By Sam Ford, ABC7

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