Mayor to D.C. Drivers: Just Pay Me

New traffic fines imposed

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Kimberly Miller
    Mayor Adrian Fenty loves D.C. traffic.

    Paying up at a D.C. parking meter has become like practice for playing slots -- you keep pumping in the money even though you know there’s no hope of a payoff.

    There’s at least one difference: In A.C., when you run out of money, you can just walk away. In D.C., you’ll return to find a fat ticket on your windshield.

    That ticket will feel like small change if you interfere with traffic when you pull away from the curb or commit any of 70 other driving infractions.

    Traffic fines are increasing. Today.

    Drive too slow? Pay $50. Drive too fast? Pay $125 - $250. Broken speedometer? Pay $75. Follow too close, pay $100. Violate a “no turn on red, pay $100. Drive without running lights, pay $75. Drive with high beams, pay $75.

    The increases come courtesy of Mayor Adrian Fenty. He tried to get the D.C. Council to do it, but they weren’t born yesterday. They said if he wanted the fines raised, he could do it himself. So he did.

    The increases are projected to generate about $7 million in the fiscal year that ends in September, according to the Washington Examiner.

    AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend II predicted a public backlash against the fees, similar to what happened in Virginia when it instituted "abuser fees" for bad or dangerous drivers that ranged from $750 to $3,000. The General Assembly quickly repealed the unpopular law.

    "This is the abuser fee without the name," Townsend said.

    Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham told the Examiner some increases in fines were justified.

    "Some of these increases in fines are long overdue because in many cases we hadn't looked at this traffic violation fine structure for decades," Graham said.


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