Speed Cameras Make D.C. Roads Safer, According To DDOT Study | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Speed Cameras Make D.C. Roads Safer, According To DDOT Study

Play associated audio
Traffic cameras bring in about $100 million per year in the District.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/takomabibelot/391632706/
Traffic cameras bring in about $100 million per year in the District.

Automated speed cameras deployed throughout D.C. are slowing down drivers and reducing crashes and related injuries, according to a study of 87 existing speed camera locations (pdf) by the District Department of Transportation.

The D.C. Council charged DDOT to complete the analysis of the relationship between traffic cameras and safety amid public concerns that the camera network was primarily put in place to generate revenue for the District's treasury instead of to make the streets safer.

"There is a safety benefit in the deployment of speed cameras as it relates to traffic calming within the District," said James Cheeks, the department's chief traffic engineer. DDOT performed a before-and-after study of the camera locations by examining drivers' speeds and crash data in the three years prior to a camera's installation and the three years since.

Drivers' average speeds exceeded the posted speed limit in only 13 of the 87 locations. Crashes fell by 16 percent and injuries by 20 percent.

"Before they were installed, we had a total of 2,240 crashes and then after they were installed those crashes went down to 1,863," Cheeks said. The number of crashes involving injuries fell from 841 to 673 (20 percent) and the total of number of injuries dropped from 1,251 to 996 (20 percent).

DDOT will use the study's findings to pinpoint areas where enforcement by the Metropolitan Police Department, which administers the automated speeding tickets, is necessary. The study examined average driver speeds at 169 proposed speed camera locations; 42 locations (21 percent) recorded average speeds higher than the posted speed limit.

Critics of D.C.'s speed and red light ticket program, which generates about $100 million annually for the treasury, said the study assuages public concerns that the cameras are placed in spots to punish drivers without regard to safety.

"It now proves a nexus between the existence of the cameras and traffic safety," said John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "We've always believed there is a role and a place to automated traffic enforcement. It should be an adjunct to law enforcement, not the primary source of traffic enforcement."

"More people lose their lives to traffic crashes in this country than are murdered and that should be one of the highest priorities of police departments. But to treat it robotically or automatically is not the best approach. The one thing that really changes the driving behavior of motorists is to be slapped with a ticket by a uniformed police officer who pulls the person over," Townsend said.

NPR

The 'Man Who Touched His Own Heart' Changed Medicine

Melissa Block talks to Rob Dunn about his new book, The Man Who Touched His Own Heart, a history of science and medicine's efforts to understand the working of the human heart.
NPR

Shake Shack Sizzles With IPO As McDonald's Fizzles

Shares of the burger chain shot up Friday, its first trading day. Shake Shack and other fast-casual joints are taking a bite out of McDonald's, which can't recast itself to fit the current trend.
WAMU 88.5

Krupicka Wants Landlords To Be More Transparent About Mold

The Northern Virginia delegate has introduced legislation to make sure renters have access to information about mold.
NPR

Media Outlets Partner With Snapchat To Appeal To Younger Users

As people disappear from the audiences of conventional news organizations, 11 media outlets have partnered with Snapchat in the U.S. to offer its younger users easily digested fare within the app.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.