Speed Cameras 2.0: Ticketing More Than Just Speeding

DC traffic scofflaws beware: You may be recorded! In one of the nation's most comprehensive use of traffic cameras, motorists who run stop signs or don't stop for peds in crosswalks could find a "ticket in the mail". Plus, 132 cameras will be added.

2 minute read

September 18, 2013, 6:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

Lori Aratani writes that the nation's worst drivers are being put on notice: "District officials plan to more than double the number of traffic enforcement cameras on city streets [bringing the total to 223]. And this time, it’s not just speeders and red-light runners who will be targeted. The city’s beefed-up automated force also will nab drivers who run stop signs and encroach on pedestrian crosswalks, and truckers who drive overweight trucks through neighborhoods where they are prohibited."

Why aren't more cities using speed enforcement cameras, and why aren't they being used to target more than just speeders if they are concerned about the rising number of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities? Use of cameras is governed by state legislation. 

State laws vary regarding the use of enforcement cameras. The District and 13 states allow speed cameras. Twelve states have banned their use. Maryland’s law limits speed cameras to work zones and school zones. Virginia is among 29 states that have no law regarding speed cameras.

In nearby Maryland, legislators have taken to allowing communities to use traffic cameras, writes The Washington Post's Luz Lazo.

Speed camera programs have expanded quickly across Maryland since the state approved them in 2009. As many as 50 Maryland municipalities have speed cameras or red-light programs or both, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a research groups based in Arlington County.

While they are a proven safety tool - the IIHS reported that red-light camera use resulted in "a 24 percent decrease in fatal crashes caused by running red lights and a 17 percent decrease in fatal intersection crashes of all sorts", wrote Aratani, the public is conflicted as to whether they are being used for "revenue or safety".

In a follow-up article to answer motorists' questions on the use of the cameras in order to avoid being ticketed, Aratani wrote about the pedestrian cameras:

With the addition of 16 pedestrian cameras to D.C.’s automated enforcement arsenal, readers also sought clarification on the rules about whether they could be ticketed if they made a right or left turn while a pedestrian was in the crosswalk. Do drivers wanting to make a right or left turn have to wait until the pedestrians have completely cleared the crosswalk? [See answer].

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 in The Washington Post

Aerial view of snowy single-family homes in suburban Long Island, New York

New York Governor Advances Housing Plan Amid Stiff Suburban Opposition

Governor Kathy Hochul’s ambitious proposal to create more housing has once again run into a brick wall of opposition in New York’s enormous suburbs, especially on Long Island. This year, however, the wall may have some cracks.

March 20, 2023 - Mark H. McNulty

Empty parking garage at night with yellow lines marking spots and fluorescent lighting

Rethinking the Role of Parking in the American City

In cities big and small, the tide is turning against sprawling parking lots, car-centric development, and minimum parking mandates.

March 16, 2023 - The New York Times

A futuristic version of New York City, with plants growing neatly on top of modern skycrapers.

Friday Eye Candy: 20 AI-Generated Cityscapes

AI-generated images are creating new landscapes and cityscapes, capable of inspiring awe or fear.

March 17, 2023 - Chris Steins via Medium

Bike Light

People on Bikes Outnumber Drivers in the City of London

The City of London’s efforts to increase biking and reduce driving has finally achieved a long-term goal: a preference for biking over driving.

47 minutes ago - Forbes

Aerial view of farmers' market with white booths in downtown Boise, Idaho

Planners Look to ‘Activity Centers’ for Sustainable Development

Existing hubs of ‘hyperlocal’ economic activity provide a model for urban density.

March 23 - Smart Cities Dive

Close-up of person sitting on electric bike

Federal E-Bike Rebate Bill Reintroduced

The bill, part of an effort to encourage active transportation for short trips and take cars off U.S. roads, would cover 30 percent of the cost of an electric bike.

March 23 - Congressman Jimmy Panetta

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

HUD’s 2023 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.