D.C., long known as one of the most notorious cities for issuing traffic fines, recently broke new territory, having issued more than $1 billion in tickets over the past few years.
“I don’t know another local jurisdiction in the entire nation that has generated as much money from traffic tickets, parking tickets and moving violations,” John Townsend, public relations manager of AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a recent interview with WJLA-TV (Channel 7). “That tells us that things are out of control and out of hand in the District of Columbia.”
Townsend, who closely monitors D.C.’s ticketing behavior, said the ticket issuing boils down to a money-making operation that has yet to prove the high fines have made anyone safer. He added there has been no evidence that shows the amount of the fine modifies a motorist’s behavior.
“We’ve looked high and low,” Townsend said. “We looked across the globe and we have not found one major study that proves there is a link between the amount of the fine and compliance.”
Townsend also said that because D.C. no longer plays by the rules, AAA has been forced to move toward drastic action.
“No one really believes this is about traffic safety any longer, which is the reason we’re withdrawing support for the automated enforcement program in the District,” Townsend said. “It is predatory ticketing. That’s precisely what it is. And I defy the District to say otherwise.”