D.C. traffic tickets plummet after speed limits increase

WASHINGTON (WJLA) – If you ask people outside the D.C. Traffic Adjudication offices about traffic camera tickets, you’ll come across a lot of different stories.

"It's a possibility I was speeding, it was possible I wasn't,” says one.

"My car is still registered to my grandmother, so she gets thickets in the mail all the way in Boston,” says another.

A study by AAA reveals that a fewer people are getting tickets at many of the familiar D.C locations after pressure from the city -- the District has recently cut fines and increased speed limits.

"A five-mile-per-hour increase in the speed limit, but a dramatic and drastic drop in the number of people getting speed tickets in terms of revenue on that stretch of road," explains John Townsend, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic's Washington office.

On Benning Road Northeast, the speed limit rose from 30 to 35, and tickets then plummeted from 6,500 last year to 1,200 this year – and so did revenue to the city.

But even where the highway speed limit at 50 miles per hour did not change, the cash cow camera on I-295 Southeast still saw a big drop: from 74,000 tickets to 36,000 and revenue from $10 million to a projected $4 million.

Whatever the reason, Mayor Gray insists, “I’m glad to see the people are driving safer. I've said from the very beginning that this was not designed to be a revenie generator-- it was designed to keep people safe."

But AAA isn’t satisfied. They say with the revenue cut, the city has new cameras planned for blocking the box and running stop signs.

"They'll make up for it," says Townsend.