I went to an update on the status of Vision Zero hosted by DDOT and it seems like things are moving along. They have lots of plans as far as education and advertising. Legislation moved forward this month. They've made changes to most of the intersections visited last year and visited 5 more this year. Not much that I didn't already know. But what was new to me was that they were planning a 2nd round of rulemaking (really just amending the rulemaking proposed earlier in the year, I think).
The new rulemaking will likely include a special fine for a cyclist who hits a pedestrian on the sidewalk. Which I'm fine with. I'm pro cyclists not crashing into pedestrians on the sidewalk, as it turns out.
It will also change the fines for excessive speeders. In January Director Dormsjo said
The 25 MPH speeding fine is proposed to increase from $300 to $1,000 in the proposed rules. Again, these rules may be amended before implementation. We are currently considering what an appropriate increase would be, taking into consideration public input as well as similar speeding penalties in other states. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in Testimony of Leif Dormsjo Regarding The District Department of Transportation’s Proposed Vision Zero Regulations Page 12 2012, nine other states have a maximum speeding penalty of at least $1,000. Georgia and Oregon have a maximum speeding fine of $2,000 while Illinois and Virginia’s fine can reach $2,500. Virginia, Illinois, Georgia, and Oregon all have a higher fine than the District. Nationally, according to NHTSA data, the median maximum speeding fine is $500. Only 13 other states have maximum fines equal to or lower than the District. Given the prevalence of speed in our fatalities, we think an aggressive stance on the highest speed offenses is warranted. We look forward to the public commentary today and during the remainder of the comment period to provide feedback on our proposal and identify other potential solutions.
I want to be clear that the proposed increase is not about the potential revenues. When drafting these proposals, we analyzed the key contributing factors to traffic fatalities and other states in the region and nationally. We did not consider the fiscal impact of these violations in budgetary terms, but we did conduct a rough analysis for this hearing. Using moving violation data from 2010 to 2014, we estimate that if the fine for speeding in excess of 25 MPH above the speed limit were increased from $300 to $1,000, the District would have generated approximately $2.5 million in additional annual revenue. At the same time, in December of 2015, the Centers for Disease Control released state-by-state estimates of the cost of traffic fatalities, and projected that in the District, it is $35 million annually.
Anyway, there likely won't be any $1000 fines now. Instead the plan appears to be this:
- Going 26-29 miles per hour over the speed limit on local roads (any road with sidewalks or that bikes are allowed on) - $500
- Going 26-29 miles per hour over the speed limit on highways (the other roads) - $400
- Going 30+mph over the speed limit - $500 fine and criminal charges
It's hard to imagine the person who says "If it's only $400 it's worth it to speed, but $1000 and I'll just slow down". The problem is that since most speeding tickets are camera enforced there are no points awarded so those reckless drivers can keep on driving. It would be nice if people could have the fine lowered if they 1) admitted they were driving 2) we're assesed points 3) took a defensive driving course. That would help make them better drivers or get them off the road.