Friday, March 31, 2006

Maryland Drivers: Worst in Region?

The Washington Times reports:

Maryland drivers receive the bulk of the citations every month from the District's automated traffic-enforcement system, which has generated more than $135 million in fines since 1999.

More than 64 percent of drivers cited last month were from Maryland, as the District's automated speed-enforcement program collected $2.8 million in fines, statistics compiled by the Metropolitan Police Department show.

About 20 percent of violators were from the District, while drivers from Virginia made up 9 percent of the total, statistics show. Drivers from other states made up about 7 percent of the violators.


Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said commuters and out-of-towners are not disproportionately cited.

"Maryland drivers are not targeted -- it is what it is," Chief Ramsey said. "All people have to obey our laws. Automated systems don't discriminate."

I would like to see some statistics on where drivers in DC come from, but the worst driving I've seen so far has been in Maryland.

The AAA representative makes a questionable claim:

John B. Townsend II, a spokesman for AAA's Mid-Atlantic region, disagreed, saying the program "smacks of deliberately targeting Maryland commuters."

"It does indeed discriminate, because most of the major commuter routes are targeted," Mr. Townsend said. "While we agree that automated enforcement is a viable approach to curbing speeding, more equity is needed."

Most traffic in DC probably is on "commuter routes" - what would the alternative be, speeding cameras in parking lots and culs de sac? However, non-automated tickets appear to have a similar distribution:
Motorists who don't live in the District routinely receive most of the speeding tickets -- particularly Maryland drivers, who account for about 55 percent to 65 percent of violations every month.
While I tend to question automated penalties, they do seem to be helping:

The percent of speeding motorists has steadily declined since the speed-camera program began in July 2001, when about 30 percent of monitored vehicles were traveling above the speed limit.

And there has been a 73.2 percent reduction in red-light runners since those cameras were implemented in 1999, according to police statistics.

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