Of course: D.C. on cutting edge of citizen-gouging traffic camera technology

posted at 6:01 pm on April 29, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Washington, D.C. brought in $90 million in tickets last year, giving an average of seven tickets a minute. They’re more efficient, quicker, responsive, and dedicated to this one pursuit than anything else the city does. And, they’re about to get even better at it:

D.C. is planning to install traffic cameras early this summer to catch drivers who roll through stop signs and don’t yield for pedestrians at crosswalks.

The cameras will dish out $50 tickets for stop sign violations and $75 tickets for cutting in front of pedestrians. D.C. police promised to install the cameras last fall, but now police spokeswoman Gwen Crump says it won’t be until early summer that the 32 stop sign cameras and 16 crosswalk cameras will be deployed.

“We’ve been in implementation since [October] and expect to roll out these new units in early summer,” said Crump. “We will announce the new technology as we move closer to finalizing it.”

Camera program manager Lisa Sutter said last summer that the cameras would ticket only “egregious violators” who speed through intersections and that the crosswalk cameras would be placed at intersections known for pedestrian accidents.

Even in a city rife with statists, stop sign cameras are much less popular than red-light or speed cameras, according to a recent survey, holding a 50 percent approval rating “[w]hile 87 percent and 76 percent of 801 D.C. residents surveyed favored red-light and speed cameras.” (Seriously, guys?)

As usual, I’m not telling you about D.C. so you can weep for the citizens of the Capital City, but because it’s a symbol of how government operates and what its priorities are. Beware, oh Houstons of the world where you might maintain a modicum of taxpayer-funded roadway outside the view of surveillance cameras built to extract every possible penny from you. As your economies boom and places like Illinois continue to become nothing more than giant, unfunded pension plans bleeding contributors, the liberal city-dwellers will leave the places they’ve financially ruined and try to ruin you, too.

I ran into a stark, personal example of government’s priorities yesterday as I toured the fair city of Philadelphia. My car was towed from under some unclear city signage…at 6:15 p.m. on a Sunday. Do not weep for me, either. I can take personal responsibility for my mistakes, and am no stranger to being bitten by the parking police. But here’s the question. How many routine civil services do you reckon the people of Philadelphia could avail themselves of at 6:15 p.m. on a Sunday. The list would be quite short and responsiveness questionable, but my car was towed lickety-split.

Adam Carolla offered a delicious rant on the subject recently when one of his employees, driving an automatic transmission, was nailed with an $85 ticket for not turning his wheels a certain way while parked. The law is, of course, a relic of a time when everyone drove a manual transmission and could at least conceivably endanger surrounding property and cars by leaving the car out of gear, but this car was in no such danger. Nor are, what?, 90 percent of L.A.’s parked cars? So, why does the law still exist? Because L.A. needs a bunch of people’s money, not because it’s interested in making life better for its citizens. Enjoy the first 15 minutes of his recent podcast, here. He’s a man who boasts one of the greatest triumphs of modern humanity, having jailbroken his car and driven it off a tow truck once, so he’s worth a listen.

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You think the DC police are after the doctor down the street allowing newborns to perish without comfort measures or medical assistance.

tessa on April 29, 2013 at 6:06 PM

I moved to NOVA back in 2001. Since that time, I’ve been inside D.C. probably less than 10 times…3 of those were for Nationals baseball games.

Those clowns can do anything they want up there.

BobMbx on April 29, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Because L.A. needs a bunch of people’s money, not because it’s interested in making life better for its citizens.

Meh, who cares about the citizens. The revenue collected is for more important things, like appeasing government unions for their outrageous pensions and pad the pockets of political cronies.

hawkeye54 on April 29, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Since the motorist may not realize that he’s been ticketed, the cities can rake in even more money through multiple violations.

aunursa on April 29, 2013 at 6:09 PM

They vote for it, right?

vityas on April 29, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Liberals yearn for more government … well, here it is.

darwin on April 29, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Remember: most of the people driving in DC don’t live in DC, and, more importantly, don’t vote in DC.
It’s all about screwing the tourists and federal workers.

Count to 10 on April 29, 2013 at 6:14 PM

I have achieved nirvana when my favorite website obsession, Hot air, links to my favorite podcast obsession, Adam Corolla…
It’s a good day…

marks on April 29, 2013 at 6:14 PM

I would applaud Anonymous if they took down the entire traffic camera grid. Stop light cams. speeding cams and, of course, now stop sign and ped xing cams. Big brother needs a punch in the nose. Incidentally, traffic light cams statistically cause more traffic accidents than intersections with out them.

ratherbskiing on April 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

People get the government they deserve. Wonder how many of those tickets are UNPAID?

Democrats don’t pay taxes. I can also assume they don’t pay parking tickets.

And of course, your Congressman and Senator are exempt!

GarandFan on April 29, 2013 at 6:24 PM

But here’s the question. How many routine civil services do you reckon the people of Philadelphia could avail themselves of at 6:15 p.m. on a Sunday. The list would be quite short and responsiveness questionable, but my car was towed lickety-split.

Chances are quite high your car was not towed by civil servants, but by employees of a private company contracting with the city. The private company gets the impound fee, the city gets the fine. Such a deal!
When you contract “services” like this to a private company with a real profit motive, OF COURSE you’re going to get better “service!” ;)

Marcola on April 29, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Remember now, that the self-appointed guardians of our liberty — liberals — are all for this.

Liam on April 29, 2013 at 6:29 PM

The surrounding jurisdictions in MD (PG and Montgomery Counties) are just as efficient at taking pictures of your car and sending you bills in the mail. I hate these nanny statists with the white hot heat of a thousand suns. I have been clipped multiple times of going 40 in a 30 mph zone. It is maddening. If they ever migrate up to my county I am moving out of MD. It is as awful as you would imagine it is. It is NOT about personal safety, it is a revenue enhancer. Plain and simple.

Pelosi delende est on April 29, 2013 at 6:31 PM

D.C et al., has two basic purposes:

Separate the American people from their money and their Freedom.

RealMc on April 29, 2013 at 6:33 PM

They would suck you dry if they could. They never have enough.

CW on April 29, 2013 at 6:37 PM

Of course: D.C. on cutting edge of citizen-gouging traffic camera technology

Of course. DC is a leader in many things, and most of them are not good.

petefrt on April 29, 2013 at 6:38 PM

O/T

Breaking: FEMALE DNA Found On Boston Bomb Components

‘Mommmmmmmaaaaaaaa’ or ‘Honey, I think you left some DNA on that bomb!’

Resist We Much on April 29, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Pelosi delende est on April 29, 2013 at 6:31 PM

Tell me about it. I worked there for 25 years. At every turn, if it wasn’t incompetence, it was corruption. The PC was so bad it was like living in Red China. And I hear it’s only worse now.

petefrt on April 29, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Resist We Much on April 29, 2013 at 6:39 PM

A family affair. A whole family of “lone wolves”.

petefrt on April 29, 2013 at 6:53 PM

A little too late for Treacher.

Bob's Kid on April 29, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Great line about liberal cities being giant unfunded pension plans !!!

greenLibertarian on April 29, 2013 at 7:30 PM

“the liberal city-dwellers will leave the places they’ve financially ruined and try to ruin you, too.”

Witness what liberals have done to Portland,OR…

FlyNavy on April 29, 2013 at 7:59 PM

It is NOT about personal safety, it is a revenue enhancer. Plain and simple.

Pelosi delende est on April 29, 2013 at 6:31 PM

I live in Montgomery County, and what I hate even more than the cameras is the lying of the public officials who claim it’s for safety, not money.

So I’ve come up with the solution. Deduct the cost of running the program each year and rebate all the rest of the revenue to the taxpayers. That will prove it’s for safety and not money.

Of course, no politician would agree to that. (Because it’s for the money.)

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on April 29, 2013 at 8:21 PM

I got snagged for one of those traffic light ones in DC back in 98 or so. It was ridiculous. They sent me a grainy black and white print-out of my car near a traffic light. There was no way to confirm, based on the photo, whether I’d violated any law or not. It was just a ‘take our word for it, you’re guilty, now pay up’ kind of situation. I went ahead and paid it, just because I didn’t have time to deal with that nonsense. But it seemed like a gross miscarriage of justice to me. Also, I’d bet that there is some behind the scenes deals being struck with DC cab companies on these things, because anyone who knows DC knows that the cab drivers (mostly Muslim) drive like they’re actually trying to get into a wreck. I moved to NOVA.

WhatSlushfund on April 29, 2013 at 8:49 PM

They would suck you dry if they could. They never have enough.

CW on April 29, 2013 at 6:37 PM

Jason Collins is interested.

john1schn on April 29, 2013 at 8:52 PM

I’m ashamed of myself for thinking of it, but have a placard printed up to lay on the dash – pop on the four-ways and park wherever you want in Philly or DC. “Back in 10 min. – Performing abortion” Prolly will also work in Chi. Please forgive me, but it is plausible.

ericdijon on April 29, 2013 at 8:56 PM

PLEASESSSSSSSSSSSSS……….somebody call the wahaaaabulance. The whining on this subject would not be surprising on a Huffington Post thread, but now it’s part of the Hot Air audience.

The serious road rage problems and the “watch out for me, I can’t be late for work” crowd exists in all walks of life, I guess. I know, getting a ticket for rolling through a STOP sign in the neighborhood seems awfully petty. especially when one can see no cars coming in either direction. So why stop, I mean how stupid is that. But it begs the question…what part of STOP do you not understand?

If STOP signs are a nuisance, then people should petition to replace them with YEILD signs. That’s how a society is supposed to get things done. One shouldn’t just pick and choose what traffic laws to obey to suit their purposes. Am I justified for throwing a paper cup out of the window rather than place it in a litter bag within my car, or on the floor of the car until I can get to a trash receptacle? I mean, it’s just a cup and eventually it will degrade and not be an eyesore to the landscape or anyone else. I know that littering is against the law in most areas, but it is such a non-violent offense and I wouldn’t do it my neighborhood, so why have a littering law? The truth is I don’t litter, ever. I have the plastic bag in my car, on the knob of my roll-down windows. I wouldn’t even toss a cigarette out the window if I smoked. I would keep a plastic bottle of water in my car to hold my cigarette butts until I could properly dispose of them. In this example, I follow the law and I am proud not to contribute to the ever-increasing problem of litter.

It’s the law-abiding citizensthat we have to watch out for these days. Those are the citizens that follow the laws that make sense to them and break the laws that seem silly or inconvenient. They are the ones that will make that left-hand turn through the red light, because they can’t be late or bothered with sitting through another light (doesn’t matter if they hold up others in the opposite direction). They can’t come to a complete stop at the railroad tracks or street intersections if there are no trains or other cars in sight. They can drive without endangering others, because consuming ten bottle of beers isn’t a problem…it’s that eleventh bottle of beer of beer that will cause one to step over the line. They actually can drink the ten beers while driving, text to their significant others for hours while driving, park in a NO PARKING zone for a short period of time (it can’t hurt anyone), leave the shopping cart out in the middle of the parking lot (no law against that), toss that paper bag full of empty sandwich wrappers and fry boxes (as long as it’s not in their neighborhood), play their thumping crap music at full volume (whose gonna stop them for being obnoxious?), make that U-turn in a NO U-TURN zone (how can that hurt anyone?), park half of their automobile in the street and the other half on the grass of some homeowner’s lawn (why should they risk having someone scrape the side of their vehicle?, and on and on and on. At the end of each day, they can kick back and feel good about their “law-abiding” habits and reap scorn on those that break other laws.

I’m sure this post will scrutinized, scorned and ridiculed. Oh the hypocrisy of the people in this world. And I expected much better from Hot Air readers and contributors.

metroryder on April 29, 2013 at 9:18 PM

I’m sure this post will scrutinized, scorned and ridiculed.

metroryder on April 29, 2013 at 9:18 PM

No, just ridiculed.

The problem people have is not that the government is enforcing stupid laws; they’re not stupid, or at least most of them are not. It’s that dysfunctional governments are functional only when it comes to enforcing the traffic laws. And it’s not because they care about people’s safety, as you appear to. It’s because they can soak the violators for money they can then use to spend on other programs.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on April 29, 2013 at 9:29 PM

The surrounding jurisdictions in MD (PG and Montgomery Counties) are just as efficient at taking pictures of your car and sending you bills in the mail. I hate these nanny statists with the white hot heat of a thousand suns. I have been clipped multiple times of going 40 in a 30 mph zone. It is maddening. If they ever migrate up to my county I am moving out of MD. It is as awful as you would imagine it is. It is NOT about personal safety, it is a revenue enhancer. Plain and simple.

Pelosi delende est on April 29, 2013 at 6:31 PM

If you’re continuing your law-breaking ways, I hope they continue to clip you until you can no longer afford the tickets and increased insurance costs. Who the hell are you to say 40 is okay in 30 mph zone. Could one argue that 50 in 30 mph zone is okay as well? Is that person breaking the law and you’re not? If you don’t like 30 mph zones, avoid them or become an activist to change the speed limits.

metroryder on April 29, 2013 at 9:59 PM

The surrounding jurisdictions in MD (PG and Montgomery Counties) are just as efficient at taking pictures of your car and sending you bills in the mail. I hate these nanny statists with the white hot heat of a thousand suns. I have been clipped multiple times of going 40 in a 30 mph zone. It is maddening. If they ever migrate up to my county I am moving out of MD. It is as awful as you would imagine it is. It is NOT about personal safety, it is a revenue enhancer. Plain and simple.

Pelosi delende est on April 29, 2013 at 6:31 PM

If you’re continuing your law-breaking ways, I hope they continue to clip you until you can no longer afford the tickets and increased insurance costs. Who the hell are you to say 40 is okay in 30 mph zone. Could one argue that 50 in 30 mph zone is okay as well? Is that person breaking the law and you’re not? If you don’t like 30 mph zones, avoid them or become an activist to change the speed limits.

metroryder on April 29, 2013 at 9:59 PM

metroryder,
Maybe you do all your transpo on the Metro getting barfed on by drunks and savages, but in the normo-terranean world, there are reasons why one NEEDS to go 40 in a 30. It’s actually safer at various times depending on the circumstances. Let’s say, for example, that you’re on a two-lane road and it has a 30mph speed limit, and the idiot in front of you (probably an old lady) is going 25, thereby causing all sorts of safety and traffic hazards. You may briefly need to speed up, possibly to 40, to pass the idiot. Then you go back to a more casual rate of speed. But with these stupid cameras, even though you were actually trying to HELP the public safety, you’d be busted! These cameras hurt, not help, public safety. One needs to have flexibility to drive safely. Yet another example of government intervention effing everything up. There should be no traffic laws. And, frankly, most people in DC, despite the cameras, ignore the laws anyway. So what’s the point? Other than to fleece us by corrupt Leftist scum?

WhatSlushfund on April 29, 2013 at 10:28 PM

If you’re continuing your law-breaking ways, I hope they continue to clip you until you can no longer afford the tickets and increased insurance costs. Who the hell are you to say 40 is okay in 30 mph zone. Could one argue that 50 in 30 mph zone is okay as well? Is that person breaking the law and you’re not? If you don’t like 30 mph zones, avoid them or become an activist to change the speed limits.

metroryder on April 29, 2013 at 9:59 PM

How do you cram so much stupid into just a few sentences?

Pelosi delende est on April 29, 2013 at 10:47 PM

Yep I got one of these wonderful speed camera tickets on my way to CPAC of all places…going 62 in a 50 zone which was EXACTLY the same speed as the rest of the traffic I was in, may have to find a different route to get there through MD next time…

…but MKH what are you doing here in Phila?? are we finally having that HA meetup that’s been rumored for so long?

das411 on April 30, 2013 at 12:53 AM

MKH, if it was Philadelphia Parking Authority that impounded you, APPEAL! They’re already under the intense supervision of the Common Pleas Court for their graft and now have to send out letters detailing the reasons for your appeal’s denial. Plus, since you’re from DC, you can appeal by mail.

blammm on April 30, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Incidentally, traffic light cams statistically cause more traffic accidents than intersections with out them.

ratherbskiing on April 29, 2013 at 6:19 PM

Uh, no. Stupid drivers who aren’t driving properly for the conditions and either do stupid crap because the camera is there, or the person behind them isn’t driving well enough to avoid them, is the reason for more traffic accidents. It’s not the fault of the cameras, but of the drivers.

I have been clipped multiple times of going 40 in a 30 mph zone. It is maddening.

Pelosi delende est on April 29, 2013 at 6:31 PM

Which is your own fault. If you don’t want the ticket, then follow the rules. Otherwise, work to change the rule. But, don’t gripe about being caught breaking the rules.

GWB on April 30, 2013 at 11:19 AM

there are reasons why one NEEDS to go 40 in a 30.

WhatSlushfund on April 29, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Only in your own mind.

There should be no traffic laws.

WhatSlushfund on April 29, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Okie-dokie then. outside of libfree, nonpartisan and verbaluce, that has to be one of the stupidest statements I’ve seen on HA.

GWB on April 30, 2013 at 11:22 AM

There is a reason why Washington DC is built on worthless swampland.

You HAVE to be suspicious of those who want to live there.

landlines on April 30, 2013 at 11:27 AM

How do you cram so much stupid into just a few sentences?

Pelosi delende est on April 29, 2013 at 10:47 PM

Why do so many ignorant liberals troll Hot Air? You are ruining what this site is all about. Go back to Huffington Post, keep voting for your ignorant president, and leave reasonable thinking people alone!

metroryder on April 30, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Maybe you do all your transpo on the Metro getting barfed on by drunks and savages, but in the normo-terranean world, there are reasons why one NEEDS to go 40 in a 30. It’s actually safer at various times depending on the circumstances. Let’s say, for example, that you’re on a two-lane road and it has a 30mph speed limit, and the idiot in front of you (probably an old lady) is going 25, thereby causing all sorts of safety and traffic hazards. You may briefly need to speed up, possibly to 40, to pass the idiot. Then you go back to a more casual rate of speed. But with these stupid cameras, even though you were actually trying to HELP the public safety, you’d be busted! These cameras hurt, not help, public safety. One needs to have flexibility to drive safely. Yet another example of government intervention effing everything up. There should be no traffic laws. And, frankly, most people in DC, despite the cameras, ignore the laws anyway. So what’s the point? Other than to fleece us by corrupt Leftist scum?

WhatSlushfund on April 29, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Please don’t continue to embarrass the reasonable thinking, freedom-loving patriots of my country with your 3rd grade babble. You and the other liberals who post at Hot Air need to go back to Huffington Post and leave true conservatives, the ones that see our country dying with hacks like yourself, alone!

metroryder on April 30, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Please don’t continue to embarrass the reasonable thinking, freedom-loving patriots of my country with your 3rd grade babble. You and the other liberals who post at Hot Air need to go back to Huffington Post and leave true conservatives, the ones that see our country dying with hacks like yourself, alone!

metroryder on April 30, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Lol. I can’t believe this thread is still inching along. I’m not a Liberal. If you knew me, you’d know what a ridiculous accusation that was. And I reassert, there are very good safety-related reasons that one needs flexibility in how fast they drive. I gave a very specific example. You have offered no substantive counterpoint. Go crawl back under the ground with your fellow subterranean life-hating Metro rats. Leave the motor vehicle issues to us normal happy daylight dwellers.

WhatSlushfund on April 30, 2013 at 1:08 PM