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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the gotta-fine-them-all dept.

WJLA reports: Washington D.C. issued a record $1 billion in traffic and parking tickets in three years

D.C. has long been considered one of the most onerous places in the country for traffic fines, seeing a steady climb year to year in tickets issued and revenue generated. But recently the District broke into stunning new territory, issuing more than $1 billion in tickets in just three years. [...] We asked the District to show us its evidence that D.C.'s cameras, and the high fines, translate to fewer accidents, fewer injuries and fewer deaths. The District told us it hasn't done any studies.
Yet the fines keep increasing, generating more money than alcohol, cigarette, motor vehicle, fuel and estate taxes and all revenue from licenses and permits, and personal property taxes combined.

I don't know another local jurisdiction in the entire nation that has generated as much money from traffic tickets, parking tickets and moving violations," said John Townsend, Public Relations Manager of AAA Mid-Atlantic. "That tells us that things are out of control and out of hand in the District of Columbia."
"No one really believes this is about traffic safety any longer," said Townsend, "which is the reason we're withdrawing support for the automated enforcement program in the District."

That means AAA is likely to declare Washington, D.C. a "traffic trap" (or speed trap as it is commonly referred to) to its 60 million members. In 2005 AAA declared D.C. a "strict enforcement zone," one step below the "traffic trap" designation.

The AAA is the American Automobile Association, also frequently called "Triple A," known for its roadside assistance and other motorist related programs.


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  • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:43PM (2 children)

    by fustakrakich (6150) on Thursday February 20 2020, @09:43PM (#960456) Journal

    What percentage is actually collected?

    --
    Ok, we paid the ransom. Do I get my dog back? REDЯUM
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Booga1 on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:25PM

      by Booga1 (6333) on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:25PM (#960467)

      In the past, it used to be virtually 100% for moving violations since they would suspend your driver's license if you didn't pay. That turned a civil infraction into a criminal offense if you drove after not paying your fines. However, it looks like they stopped suspending licenses [washingtonpost.com] about a year and a half ago.
      Parking tickets are generally harder to collect in most jurisdictions since your biggest risks there are a wheel lock or possibly your car being impounded. I'm not aware of Washington D.C.'s actual parking enforcement practices, so that is just a generality in most places I'm aware of in the U.S.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by legont on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:55PM

      by legont (4179) on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:55PM (#960476)

      This number does not include court fees which are way higher and payed by anybody who wants points for money deal.

      --
      "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by stormreaver on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:24PM (15 children)

    by stormreaver (5101) on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:24PM (#960466)

    Has there ever been even a single person who ever believed the lie that red light cameras were for human safety? I think everyone on the planet saw through that smokescreen in the blink of an eye.

    They have only ever had a singular purpose: revenue generation.

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:31PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:31PM (#960469)

      Also to keep an eye on the darkies.

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:55PM (1 child)

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:55PM (#960500) Homepage

        Not really. We all know as consumers of tech news that facial recognition doesn't work on Blacks, especially if they aren't smiling and at those distances. So if the car is stolen or not stolen either way the perp isn't identified. And when Aunt LaQuisha gets that ticket in the mail, she can take it to court to prove she wasn't in that car because that was when one of the local hoodlums took it out for a joyride and she has no idea who that was.

        Chinese people have the same mechanism of defense, except that facial recognition can identify their facial features...but again, good luck proving it was Ching Chong Ding and not Wong Chang Dong.

        • (Score: 2) by kazzie on Friday February 21 2020, @10:04AM

          by kazzie (5309) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2020, @10:04AM (#960647)

          In other words, facial recognition technology doesn't work on people it isn't trained to recognise. What a shocker!

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by pe1rxq on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:49PM (9 children)

      by pe1rxq (844) on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:49PM (#960473) Homepage

      Whether you believe it or not is up to you (more a religious topic), but research is pretty clear: Yes it helps reduce traffic deaths.
      Note that according to research the chance of getting caught is more important than the height of the fine. Getting caught more often is more likely to result in better behavior than getting higher fines.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by legont on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:07PM (2 children)

        by legont (4179) on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:07PM (#960487)

        Mass executions reduce crime as well.

        --
        "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @01:44AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @01:44AM (#960548)

          Whether you believe it or not is up to you (more a religious topic), but research is pretty clear: Yes it helps reduce traffic deaths.

          Mass executions reduce crime as well.

          Doesn't reduce deaths, tho'.
          But I'm happy to execute your mass, the gray matter is at a very low concentration in it.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @03:41PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @03:41PM (#960684)

            You're ordained in Roman Catholicism? That's the only way I'll trust you to execute the Mass.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 21 2020, @02:01AM (4 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 21 2020, @02:01AM (#960554)

        The arguments are old and well worn: short yellow cycles, abrupt stops from those who know about the cameras, wildy different behavior from those who don't...

        The administration of traffic light cameras reminds me of private for profit prisons, the people who operate them day to day have zero incentive to do anything but maximize profit. I'm sure they've published lots of studies that make themselves look good, both directly and indirectly.

        --
        My karma ran over your dogma.
        • (Score: 2) by Booga1 on Friday February 21 2020, @02:20AM (1 child)

          by Booga1 (6333) on Friday February 21 2020, @02:20AM (#960561)

          Surprisingly, that is not what they've done with studies at all, at least not directly.

          We asked the District to show us its evidence that D.C.'s cameras, and the high fines, translate to fewer accidents, fewer injuries and fewer deaths. The District told us it hasn't done any studies.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 21 2020, @02:59AM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 21 2020, @02:59AM (#960570)

            Oh, that's not surprising for D.C. - not at all.

            I'm referring to the red-light camera, and traffic law enforcement camera industry in general. It's not hard at all to recruit PhDs to do "studies" for you, and even when the conflict of interest is stated clearly and above board, most people still don't factor it in - they're just looking for anything that backs up their existing viewpoint.

            --
            My karma ran over your dogma.
        • (Score: 1) by nitehawk214 on Friday February 21 2020, @06:46PM (1 child)

          by nitehawk214 (1304) on Friday February 21 2020, @06:46PM (#960776)

          Oh, and if you are against the cameras or the tightening of the rules to make them issue more tickets... you are soft on crime.

          --
          "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 21 2020, @07:01PM

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 21 2020, @07:01PM (#960789)

            Oh, and if you are against the cameras or the tightening of the rules to make them issue more tickets... you are soft on crime.

            And... you don't care about safety: babies on board, gruesome death on the highway, struck down in the prime of life, etc.

            --
            My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Friday February 21 2020, @12:18PM

        by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2020, @12:18PM (#960655) Journal

        Got a citation for that?

        If red light cameras are employed responsibly, then, yes, they can help improve safety. But ever since the beginnings of travel by automobile, traffic enforcement has been a massive conflict of interest. Local governments have far too much incentive to abuse their enforcement powers for purposes of extracting revenue from travelers. And they do. They do. Stories of speed traps, parking meter rackets, ticket quotas, weird ordinances, and other such unfair schemes, are legion. Red light cameras are merely one of the more recent manifestations of this. Officials and vendors clearly think that the impartial seeming nature of these electronic devices helps deceive the public into thinking they might be fair. They've been caught shortening the yellow light, in order to cause more red light violations. Shortening the yellow is one of the worst ideas. Greatly reduces safety. Makes drivers so nervous about traffic lights, they will panic stop when a light changes to yellow, and that leads to more rear end collisions.

        The AAA was founded by motorists to combat the crap that local swindlers would pull on travelers. Some of the shit they used to try back in the early 1920s, when automobile travel was new, was worse than red light cameras. Such as, neglecting to mark the roads, so that travelers might get lost more easily and then have to spend more time and money on their travels. The AAA countered that by producing the best maps they possibly could. Prior to 1926, the road system was a collection of private roads, with names such as Lincoln Highway and Dixie Highway, and some of the owners were none too scrupulous. They'd hit up the towns for money, changing the route to bypass towns that refused to pay, and also to send gullible travelers a long way around, the better to mulct them. One of these private roads, from Nashville, TN to Birmingham, AL at one point in time directed travelers through Gadsden, AL, some 50 miles off the direct route. I don't know how many tire shops would drop nails in the road, but there was probably more than one. Ultimately, public demands that something be done to clean up the corruption resulted in the creation of the numbered highway system.

    • (Score: 2) by Bot on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:55PM

      by Bot (3902) on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:55PM (#960477) Journal

      - police
      PEWPEWPEW
      - wait wait friend here, police
      - you police? show your badge
      - no, I was addressing you police, let's try again: police
      - wat
      - how is the delivery of fines going
      - fine, we reached 1gigadollars this year
      - and how did it affect the streets this year?
      - well we are 1gigadollars richer this year
      - but what about safety on the street, did it increase?
      - well we should investigate that, it would be a nice bonus

      --
      Account abandoned.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Snotnose on Friday February 21 2020, @12:37AM

      by Snotnose (1623) on Friday February 21 2020, @12:37AM (#960518)

      Has there ever been even a single person who ever believed the lie that red light cameras were for human safety? I think everyone on the planet saw through that smokescreen in the blink of an eye.

      They have only ever had a singular purpose: revenue generation.

      Ayup, one only has to read the letters to the editor in the local newspaper. Here in San Diego we are evidently in the middle of a red light running epidemic. Yet I've never seen anyone running a red light. A couple of people pushing yellow lights, yeah (me included). But flat out running red lights, as the letters to the editor claim? Nope. Not just in the 2 years since red light cameras got outlawed here, but in the 40+ years I've been driving.

      --
      The 3 symptoms of laziness: 1) think of something tomorrow 2)
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Kitsune008 on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:56PM

    by Kitsune008 (9054) on Thursday February 20 2020, @10:56PM (#960480)

    They have to make up for all the $$$'s that Trump and company have stiffed them, which is a recurring theme with him.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:06PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:06PM (#960486)

    This whole article is no surprise to anyone who lives near enough to WDC to be aware of how it works.

    DC has two main sources of funding:

    1. federal govt. subsidies
    2. traffic tickets and fines

    With that knowledge, it is no surprise that they've gone and become more hard-ass at handing out tickets. Every ticket feeds, directly, and to a rather significant percentage, into their budget.

    Couple the above fact with the fact that drivers in DC routinely ignore traffic rules and routinely ignore no-parking rules, and the combination gives you exactly what this article is complaining about.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday February 20 2020, @11:59PM (5 children)

    I've seen how those fuckers drive. A billion is getting off light. For a Tuesday.

    --
    My rights don't end where your fear begins.
    • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday February 21 2020, @01:18AM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday February 21 2020, @01:18AM (#960537) Homepage

      Been to DC twice, the only thing good I remember about it was that it had Roy Rogers. [royrogersrestaurants.com]

      Would petition to get some here on the West Coast but listing "family restaurant with family values" on their website would get Roy Rogers rejected in favor of the Muh Dikk and Miscegnation culture touted by McDonalds and KFC.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Friday February 21 2020, @02:06AM (3 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday February 21 2020, @02:06AM (#960555)

      I've been to DC a half dozen times, three times as a tourist in the general Smithsonian area - twice for almost a week. I always use public transit - even when we drove there we parked out in a suburban commuter lot and rode the subway in. Once, on approach for landing I saw some horrible traffic snafu and strategically took the subway out of the city in the direction of Rockville, getting my taxi at the station out there instead of Reagan airport - probably saved me 2 hours of sitting in a cab.

      I drive almost everywhere, hell I even drove the three weeks I stayed in central Manhattan, but for D.C. - it's got a good, almost great, subway system - to not use it is just to hurt yourself needlessly.

      --
      My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by c0lo on Friday February 21 2020, @02:20AM (2 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2020, @02:20AM (#960562) Journal

        it's got a good, almost great, subway system - to not use it is just to hurt yourself needlessly.

        Oh gosh, where would the things be going if many will start using public transport as you suggest?
        Do you want them to start issuing parking tickets to buses ans speeding fees to subways to cover the gap?

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @02:58AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @02:58AM (#960567)

          The subway has fallen on hard times as a result of many years of deferred maintenance. Breakdowns and worse.
          Plus the local Democrat controlled govts think we should go soft on crime because black people commit crime. Thus, turnstyle jumping and knifings are on the rise whereas they used to be unheard of. Ticket prices are way up and now they charge quite a bit to park at the station. The value is just not there. Plus there is no terminal close to my house at all and it doesn't go to my job either. For tourists, the subway is great!

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @06:34PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @06:34PM (#960767)

            Unfortunately I do not believe any of this money goes to WMATA for the subway and buses.

            Thus, turnstyle jumping and knifings are on the rise whereas they used to be unheard of.

            Yeah, well, no. I'm not sure where you scared up that scare piece.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by epitaxial on Friday February 21 2020, @02:52AM (2 children)

    by epitaxial (3165) on Friday February 21 2020, @02:52AM (#960566)

    When you alcoholics in charge of a liquor store?

    • (Score: 2) by Dr Spin on Friday February 21 2020, @07:46AM (1 child)

      by Dr Spin (5239) on Friday February 21 2020, @07:46AM (#960627)

      When you alcoholics in charge of a liquor store?

      Are you referring to the "Amateur Alcoholics Association"?

      --
      Warning: Opening your mouth may invalidate your brain!
      • (Score: 2) by epitaxial on Friday February 21 2020, @01:55PM

        by epitaxial (3165) on Friday February 21 2020, @01:55PM (#960671)

        No I'm saying politicians have a problem with money. They can't get enough of it. If someone has a problem with alcohol do you keep giving them more of it?

  • (Score: 1, Troll) by Phoenix666 on Friday February 21 2020, @05:13AM (3 children)

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2020, @05:13AM (#960593) Journal

    If the story was about almost any other city, I would be in high dudgeon about the injustice of it. Not DC, though. Something like the five richest counties in America are suburbs of DC, and they do not come by that money honestly.

    So in the case of that place, I say DC does not charge them all nearly enough. Ramp the fines up by an order of magnitude and it still won't be enough to match the suffering those creatures inflict on the rest of the country and world.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @06:29PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @06:29PM (#960765)

      You handle your insecurities in a very unproductive manner. You are a very bitter and spiteful person at your core.

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday February 21 2020, @09:27PM (1 child)

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 21 2020, @09:27PM (#960846) Journal

        You handle your insecurities in a very unproductive manner. You are a very bitter and spiteful person at your core.

        Says the AC. You broke the irony meter.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2020, @03:46AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2020, @03:46AM (#960925)

          Phoenix666, if that's the best comeback you've got, don't fucking bother to post. Jesus, you are an entitled shit just because you login under a fake name, and have the nerve to blow off others as "Anonymous" Cowards. (Oh the irony!)

          Signed,
          A different A.C.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @06:59AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2020, @06:59AM (#960620)

    Dont drive like a cunt.

    A. Cyclist.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by istartedi on Friday February 21 2020, @06:50PM

    by istartedi (123) on Friday February 21 2020, @06:50PM (#960781) Journal

    I grew up just outside the Beltway, and DC has always been a traffic trap as far as I'm concerned. If you don't know you have a parking place reserved, it's kind of insane to think about driving there, although I used to get away with going to the Mall on weekdays when I wasn't working. IIRC, enforcement worked in your favor because it's a tourist area where turnover is high so you had a chance of finding a freshly vacated space. Anyplace else? Fuggedaboutit, except maybe uptown but that's boring.

    Even in the 80s, stationing yourself in the 'burbs and using Metro to get downtown was a clear win. I suspect that it's even more like that now. The 4th of July really goes off the hook. Even the Metro can't cope very well after the fireworks. You stand there sweating on the platform as train after full train goes by. I beat that once by walking across one of the major bridges before it was re-opened. It was doable because our rallying point was in Arlington and over that distance, simply moving on foot was able to beat the train because there was no waiting.

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