- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Metropolitan Police Department has delayed the activation of 100 “next generation” traffic enforcement cameras until Feb. 1.

The Washington Times first reported Sunday that the implementation date of the cameras was delayed, but police had given no indication of when the devices would begin issuing actual tickets.

The police department unveiled the cameras in November, announcing they would issue warning tickets for 30 days and begin issuing actual tickets on Dec. 30.

In a statement issued Tuesday, officials said that because the cameras are “a new enforcement effort, we made a decision to extend the warning period by 30 days to ensure the community is aware of the program.”

The new cameras will target offenses ranging from blocking the box to failure to stop at a stop sign.

In an earlier statement, police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said the department would continue issuing warning tickets “until every location has 30 days of tickets.”

Despite multiple email requests sent over several days, Ms. Crump has ignored questions about whether all of the cameras were functional during the initial 30-day warning period.

It was unclear why the department did not announce its intentions to delay the ticketing before the day the cameras were expected to go live.

Once they do begin to issue real tickets, the new cameras will boost the number of automated traffic enforcement devices operated by the department to nearly 300. D.C. police began using traffic cameras in 1999 and already operate 197 other cameras that ticket drivers who speed or run red lights.

In addition to combating what police call “aggressive and dangerous driving habits,” the cameras will generate income for the city through new fines ranging from $50 to $250 per violation.

Specifically the new cameras will target five traffic enforcement areas:

Sixteen cameras trained on crosswalks will record drivers as pedestrians step into the crosswalks, and tickets will be issued to drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians when they have the right of way.

Twenty gridlock cameras will capture the license plates of vehicles that fail to clear crosswalks or intersections before a traffic signal changes and block the box.

Thirty-two cameras will be placed at stop signs to ticket drivers who do not come to a complete stop.

Eight oversized-vehicle cameras will ticket large commercial trucks prohibited from using small neighborhood streets.

The police department will increase its speed camera enforcement by adding 24 cameras at intersections.

According to the District’s fiscal 2014 budget, the city expects to collect an additional $31.7 million from these new traffic cameras this fiscal year.

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