- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2001

The District's photo-radar cameras have generated $420,584 and issued a total of 31,220 speeding citations since the program's introduction on Aug. 6, but the figures are significantly lower than city officials had expected.
Metropolitan Police officials had estimated the automated-camera program would produce about 80,000 citations and $1 million in revenue a month.
The District has collected an average of $69 per citation from 6,081 vehicle owners who have paid their fines. The fines range from $30 to $200, depending on how much the vehicles exceed the threshold limit set by camera operators at least 11 mph above the posted speed limit.
City officials said the 25,139 vehicle owners who have not paid their fines will receive "reminders" by mail next month, followed by more strongly worded letters if they refuse to comply. D.C. drivers who do not comply can have their vehicles immobilized or towed, and can be prevented from renewing their driver's licenses and registration.
The District has no means to enforce penalties on out-of-town drivers because it has no reciprocity agreements with other states allowing such action.
Photo-radar citations are issued against offending vehicles, not drivers, and do not count against drivers' records. Out-of-town scofflaws could have their vehicles immobilized or towed if they park illegally or are stopped by police in the city.
About 49 percent of the citations were issued to drivers from Maryland, 15 percent to drivers from Virginia and 32 percent to D.C. residents. Nearly 5 percent were issued to drivers from other states.
"Part of the reason [for more citations against Maryland residents] is the larger number of Maryland drivers who work in the city vs. Virginia and the District, but the numbers are pretty consistent with the red-light camera tickets, so far as we can tell," said police spokesman Kevin Morison.
Last year, more than 46 percent of the city's red-light-camera citations were issued to drivers from Maryland, about 25 percent to drivers from Virginia and 21 percent to D.C. drivers. About 7 percent were issued to drivers from other states.
The National Motorists Association, which advocates for drivers against photo-radar and red-light cameras, says the District and other cities that use the technology "are not as interested in enforcement as they are about generating revenue."
"It has been proven that better road engineering increasing yellow-light time, using lights with larger lenses or increasing speed limits does more to reduce the numbers of red-light runners and speed-related accidents than the cameras," said Eric Skrum, spokesman for the National Motorists Association.
"Speed limits should be set to represent the velocity that 85 percent of drivers use on roads; otherwise, you are turning normally law-abiding citizens into criminals."
Earlier figures provided by the police department showed that 60 percent of its photo-radar citations were issued for violations on heavily traveled commuter roads including highways like Interstates 295 and 395 and limited-access roads with no intersections or pedestrian traffic.
That percentage has not changed, but "residential streets are now patrolled 80 percent of the time" instead of the original goal of 75 percent, Mr. Morison said.
"It just works out that way because we are more concerned with those roads in residential neighborhoods," he said.

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