- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2005

The District will begin issuing tickets today for violations at nine new red-light cameras and three speed-enforcement cameras after a monthlong trial period.

The red-light cameras caught about 6,500 violators, and the speed cameras caught about 30,000 during the trial period, from July 1 to July 31, said Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Kevin P. Morison.

Five of the new red-light cameras are in Northwest, three are in Northeast, and one is at Pennsylvania Avenue and 27th Street Southeast. The District now has 48 red-light cameras.

Two of the new stationary speed cameras are along the Third Street Tunnel, at the Massachusetts Avenue and the Third Street exits. The third camera is pointed at westbound traffic in the 100 block of Michigan Avenue Northeast.

The three bring the number of stationary photo-radar cameras in the District to eight. The District also has 12 mobile photo-radar vehicles.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the District led the country in reducing the percentage of traffic fatalities from 2003 to 2004, with a 36 percent decrease.

“I firmly believe that photo enforcement has been a major factor in this very positive trend,” Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said.

The number of traffic fatalities in the District dropped from 69 in 2003 to 45 last year, the lowest total in at least 18 years, police said.

Mr. Morison would not directly connect the reduction to the cameras, but said they are an “important part of the mix.”

“It’s one more piece of evidence” of the cameras’ effectiveness, Mr. Morison said. “We hope to get the numbers down even further, and we’re making progress in reaching that goal.”

Another red-light camera and two more stationary photo-radar cameras are scheduled to be activated in a few weeks, police said.

The photo-radar cameras will be pointed at westbound motorists in the 600 block of New York Avenue Northeast and in the 3400 block of Benning Road Northeast. The red-light camera will be at Florida and New York avenues in Northeast.

Fines for speeding can cost as much as $200. The fine for running a red light is $75. No photo-enforced violation in the District carries points.

Police and city officials say the program makes streets safer by discouraging speeders and those who otherwise would run red lights.

“Photo-enforcement technology has contributed to dramatic reductions in aggressive driving in our city, which in turn has contributed to a reduction in our traffic fatalities,” Chief Ramsey said.

The city’s automated photo-radar system has generated more than $79 million in fines since started in August 2001. Its automated system for photographing red-light runners has generated more than $31 million in fines since 1999.



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