Watchdog group upset with high number of DC speeding tickets caught on camera

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Washington DC -- The nation's capital had more than 55 million reasons to keep its automated speed enforcement program on track in 2015.

AAA Mid-Atlantic said the pace of the speeding tickets has ramped up this fiscal year.

The traffic safety group's request for District of Department of Motor Vehicles numbers showed that through the first four and a half months of the budget cycles 365,122 tickets had been processed by the speed cameras.  That's already more than half of last year's total of 520,104 tickets, which generated a little more than $55 million for DC.

AAA's manager of Public and Government Affairs John Townsend said the numbers are disturbing because they buck the trend normally seen when speed ticket machines are put in.

"There's a 90-day window and we see a change in behavior," said Townsend. "Once drivers realize there is a camera they start to slow down and the number of tickets begin to drop by 70 to 80 percent."

Numbers did drop in 2014 but Townsend believes the ramp up in speeding tickets indicates speed limits (25 miles per hour) are artificially low in many parts of Washington DC.

"There's something inherently wrong in a program that is issuing that many tickets a year," said Townsend.

Many drivers tend to agree with Townsend.

"It's just a way for the government to bring in money," said Kiran Cunningham.

DC Metro Police said Thursday the increasing ticket volume just shows that more drivers need to slow down across the city. The department's goal is to see zero tickets issued because it would mean safer streets.

Mohammed Silah agrees with police. He said though he's never been given a ticket by the speed camera closest to his house receiving others in the mail have reminded him to slow down when driving around the District.