- Running on empty: EPA slashes biofuel goals because of ethanol shortage
- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
EDITORIAL: The District’s latest scamera swindle
Cheaper tickets won’t mean less revenue for city
The D.C. Council is poised to lower the cost of speed camera tickets from a maximum of $250 to just $50. The plan unveiled on Tuesday is meant to create the impression that the District has seen the light and has finally decided to go easier on motorists. Considering the source of the latest plan, that’s hardly likely.
The District and the for-profit vendor in charge of the robotic cameras dish out more tickets in a year than the city has residents. This has created a pile of loot so lofty that it’s only a matter of time before it crosses the $100 million per year mark. That looks bad, so Councilman Tommy Wells and Councilman Mary M. Cheh decided to set up a task force to draft legislation reducing the fines.
Of course, Mr. Wells and Ms. Cheh both adore speed cameras, and their hand-picked task force was a love fest of like-minded people who don’t drive cars. Members included the AARP, the D.C. Pedestrian Advisory Council and the D.C. Bicycle Advisory Council. Bureaucrats from the Department of Motor Vehicles, the District Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Police Department also had seats at the table. The lone representative who might stand up for motorists, AAA-Mid-Atlantic, has a record of lobbying in favor of ticket cameras everywhere in the region.
So it shouldn’t come as a shock to learn the new plan actually makes classic business sense. A high-volume, low-margin approach is what makes stores like Walmart a financial success. So instead of shaking down drivers for an average of $120 per ticket, the proposed law would trade the lower fines for more cameras. This is how Maryland has used modest $40 fines to haul in $77 million per year, according to the calculation of the StopBigBrotherMD.org website.
The smaller fines carry other advantages. Payment and collection rates will rise as it’s easier to write a check for the more affordable fine amount. Drivers who might vigorously fight a $250 citation will decide it’s not worth the effort to do so over a mere $50.
To prevent loss of revenue, the city will have to boost the number of speed camera locations — something it has clearly been doing over the past several months. The legislation introduced Tuesday goes further by dedicating half of the city’s share of camera profit to a new Automated Traffic Enforcement Road Safety Fund. The first use of this money will be the “Expansion and improvement of the automated enforcement system, including increasing the number and types of automated enforcement cameras, and improved public information campaigns and signage.”
So the fines will be cheaper, but there will be more tickets and more government-funded propaganda telling us how lucky we are to be shaken down. What really happens on the streets of the nation’s capital is that brake lights flash as people approach the roadside thievery stations. Traffic bunches up, creating an extremely hazardous condition.
D.C. officials don’t care about that, as long as their Arizona-based vendor keeps the money rolling in.
The Washington Times
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Former CIA head Gen. Michael Hayden to pen Times column
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Orlando well-suited for DNC
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: President 'mom jeans' vs. Putin
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: House has the power it needs
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Misunderstanding the Second Amendment
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
Get Breaking Alerts
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Russian bombers buzz U.K. airspace; jets scrambled to chase off 'Bears'
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- ISTOOK: Obama's sleight of hand hides hidden government's work
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend