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Wells, Cheh Question Move To Lower Speed Camera Fines

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Tommy Wells says Mayor Gray's move to lower traffic camera may well have been politically-motivated.
Mallory Noe-Payne
Tommy Wells says Mayor Gray's move to lower traffic camera may well have been politically-motivated.

On the same day most speed camera fines are lowered in the District, the D.C. council is taking a close look at why the changes were made.

At a hearing on Monday, D.C. Council Member Tommy Wells says the change seems political — referring to the mayor's swift move to lower the fines.

D.C.'s speed camera program — which police and pedestrian safety advocates say helped drive down traffic-related fatalities — has come under criticism because of the costly fines.

Over the summer, Wells and fellow council member Mary Cheh introduced legislation to study the fines, looking for a way to lower them without sacrificing public safety.

The mayor's emergency action, lowering most speed camera tickets while raising the fines for the most egregious lawbreakers, seemed to catch the council off-guard and preempted their own efforts.

A large part of today's hearing focused on determining appropriate fines that will discourage drivers from speeding. The police say penalties should be at least $100, but admit there is little research on this exact issue.

Part of the revenue collected from the speed cameras under Gray's new plan would go to hiring an additional 100 police officers.

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