Public Relations Manager, DC
O: (202) 481-6820 (ext. 4462108)
C: (202) 253-2171
WASHINGTON, D. C. (Tuesday, December 18, 2018) –– Almost five years ago Washington, D.C. became the first major city in the nation to deploy next-generation stop-sign cameras to detect and fine errant motorists who fail to come to a complete stop at stop signs. Posted at nine locations across the District, the city’s stop-sign cameras caught over 53,000 motorists in the very act of running stop signs in Fiscal Year 2018, potentially jeopardizing the lives and limbs of children in school zones, other motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, AAA Mid-Atlantic reports.
Stop Sign Camera Tickets Fiscal Year 2018
Stop SignViolations (T128)
For the errors of their ways, ticketed violators face nearly $2.6 million in stop-sign camera fines, according to Metropolitan Police Department (MPDC) data requested by AAA Mid-Atlantic. The District’s stop-sign camera units “detect if a vehicle stopped at, rolled through, or ran a stop sign.” Violations are captured in photos and on video by automatic cameras perched near the intersection. Drivers who roll through stop signs or fail to come to a full and complete stop, or yield at stop signs pose a hazard to everyone else in or near the intersection, warns AAA Mid-Atlantic. Older and younger drivers are disproportionately at fault.
“Although such violations are far too common, stop sign-running incidents can prove fatal in intersections with stop signs in place, especially when one driver, or more, fail to obey a traffic control device,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “Stop means stop! Yet, ‘two-thirds of stop sign crashes occurred when drivers actually stopped for the sign, but failed to yield to oncoming traffic.’ Drivers can miss seeing stop signs, pedestrians, and other vehicles for a host of reasons, including distractions, pitch darkness, diminished traffic sign conspicuity, glare, or trees. To save lives and avoid tickets, simply observe the ‘three-second rule’ or ‘two-second rule’ at all stop signs.”
Like all other photo-enforced traffic tickets, including speed camera citations and photo-red tickets incurred in the District, stop-sign camera citations are mailed to violators, who can then access still photographs and real-time video footage of the infraction. It betokens the ascendancy of the technology as a potent force in combatting the epidemic of fatal stop-sign running incidents on the part of motorists. It also underscores the fact that the “most common cause of traffic deaths across the nation isn’t speeders,” cautions the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). “It’s drivers who run red lights and stop signs.”
In September 2012, MPDC entered a $24 million multiyear contract with Sensys America, Inc. to provide photo enforcement equipment, including 32 stop-sign cameras and 16 pedestrian safety cameras, to be deployed at sites that “historically had problems with gridlock, speed and pedestrian safety violations.” To much fanfare, the District initially deployed its stop-sign photo enforcement technology program in August 2013, which, in turn, garnered national and international headlines. But the initial results proved disappointing in some local government circles. During the first phase of deployment, stop-sign cameras captured only 6,863 stop-sign runners and the District collected $288,461 in stop-sign camera revenue, according to information obtained by AAA Mid-Atlantic as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
More specifically, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPDC) issued 3,909 stop-sign camera tickets in Fiscal Year 2014, as the city gleaned $119,060 in stop-sign ticket revenue for its coffers. In contrast, the MPDC issued 2,954 photo-enforced tickets for stop sign violations during the first five months of FY 2015, yet the city garnered $169,406 in stop-sign camera fines stemming from violations that occurred at an intersection where a stop sign was in place through February 28, 2015. The District’s Chief Financial Officer cited delayed implementation and glitches for the lower than expected number of tickets and revenue totals.
With the “DC StreetSafe” program up and running at full speed, the District’s stop-sign camera program experienced a banner year. All told, 53,589 motorists were cited for running a stop sign erected at intersections in the District, or for failing to come to a complete stop prior to the white stop bar at an intersection controlled by a stop sign, according to Metropolitan Police Department (MPDC) data provided to AAA Mid-Atlantic. It equates to an average of 5,955 stop-sign camera tickets for each of the nine stop-sign safety camera enforcement sites in the city.
Stop Sign Safety Camera Enforcement Sites
Fessenden St. e/b @ 44th St. NW
Fort Lincoln Dr. s/b @ 31st Place NE
Kansas Avenue ne/b @ Buchanan Street NW
10th St. n/b @ Girard St. NE
North Capitol Street sw/b @ Chillum NE
27 St. n/b @ R St. SE
Longfellow St. w/b @ Missouri Avenue NW
Bruce Pl. e/b @ 15 Pl. SE
Blagden Ave @ Allison St. NW ne/b 53,589
Ticket Total: 53,589-Face Value: $2,679,450
During FY 2018 ticketed stop-sign runners and stop-sign rollers were slapped with photo-tix that carried an initial face value of $2,679,450. A bane of motorists, traffic ticket fines double in the District if they are not paid within 30 days.
Historically, “fatal crashes at signal-controlled intersections account for about 25 percent of traffic deaths in the District.” Even so, “7 percent of fatal crashes and 7 percent of traffic fatalities” occurred at stop-sign-controlled intersections in the city from 1997 to 2004, according to a 2007 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). From 2013 through 2015, approximately 4,241 collisions and crashes occurred at stop signs in the District of Columbia, resulting in three fatalities and 1,908 injuries, notes the Traffic Safety Statistics Report for the District of Columbia conducted by the Howard University Transportation Research and Data Center (HUTRC).
Under District law (T128), the proscribed fine for failure to stop at a stop sign is $50, whether the driver is caught by a police officer for the infringement or by a stop-sign camera unit. The stop-sign camera units are deployed in locations and at intersections where stop-sign running and speeding have been identified as a safety traffic problem, officials at the MPDC caution. In addition to stop-sign cameras, the Metropolitan Police Department also deploys red-light camera technology, speed camera technology, and oversized vehicle traffic enforcement units under its traffic safety awareness campaign christened “DC StreetSafe.”
While stop-sign cameras are not allowed in California localities, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority gained sufferance to deploy the technology in swaths of parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains, a controversial move. Since 2013 stop-sign cameras have issued more than 97,000 tickets to drivers in the park. After a public backlash ensued park officials reduced the fines from $175 to $100. The program has generated almost $7 million for the agency since 2012,” reports the NBC4 News I Team in LA. Here is a quick safety tip: “When stopping at a stop sign, spell S-T-O-P to yourself before proceeding.”
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