DDOT Unveils Steep New Traffic Fines

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Metropolitan Police Department vehicle in Washington, D.C. | MPD

The District Department of Transportation announced Friday that the prices for tickets related to traffic violations are going way up. Under the new proposal, exceeding the speed limit by 25 mph or over could cost you $1,000 while turning right on red without stopping could cost as much as $200.

Other newly proposed fines include $500 for drivers who fail to slow down or move out of the way for emergency vehicles and $100 for going over the speed limit near recreation and senior centers. There’s also a new $500 fine for failing to yield for buses reentering traffic.

The new proposal also includes fine increases for a number of violations regarding car-bike and car-pedestrian interactions. For example, the fine for hitting a bicyclist will increase from $50 to $500, parking in a bike lane will go from $65 to $200, hitting a pedestrian will cost $500 instead of $50, and failing to yield to a pedestrian before turning right on red will run $200 rather than $50.

DDOT proposed the new changes without the District Council’s input, a development that auto club AAA Mid-Atlantic questions. “DDOT is doing this through the regulator process,” said AAA’s John B. Townsend II. “Why not do it through the legislative process, where you can have public hearings?”

DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo told the Washington Post that there is no formal vote required by the Council on the changes, which are part of Mayor Bowser’s Vision Zero plans, but members can ask to amend or reject the proposed rules through the legislative process.

Bicycle and pedestrian advocate groups supported the proposal as a part of the larger Vision Zero initiative. They argue that stricter penalties will make D.C.’s roads safer for all users, whether they are pedestrians, bicyclists or drivers.

Under D.C. law, regulations can be changed after they are published in the D.C. Register twice, with a comment period of 30 days in between publications. So, while these rules are not final, they are currently in effect.

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