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New Wave Of D.C. Speed Cameras Start Ticketing

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27 new speed cameras will go from issuing warnings to $250 tickets.
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27 new speed cameras will go from issuing warnings to $250 tickets.

The probationary period is over for new speed cameras installed earlier this spring. Starting Wednesday, the warnings will go away and tickets will be issued at 27 speed camera locations around the city, including near the 9th Street tunnel and the 14th Street bridge.

Metropolitan Police say the goal is to improve safety, but with tickets costing as much as $250 per infraction, AAA-Mid Atlantic's John Townsend says there's more to it than that.

"The emphasis now is on revenue, and they're really pushing that envelope," said Townsend. "In the last two fiscal years alone, the city has generated over $50 million from speed camera and red light camera revenue."

Police say several factors went into determining where the cameras would be located across the District, including the numbers of crashes and injuries in a certain area, and the amount of calls for assistance.

Meanwhile, contesting tickets by photo enforcement may also get a lot more difficult. Tuesday morning, the D.C. City Council will vote on new legislation that pins a car owner with paying tickets for moving violations, and not necessarily the driver.

"Let's say that your sister was in town and she was using the car, so what you would do is transfer liability and she would pay the ticket," says Townsend. "The District is now saying, 'We're not going to allow you to transfer liability — the owner has to pay."

The current law allows car owners to contest these kinds of tickets, but Townsend says, many times, opportunities to collect on fines are lost as a result.

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