Few repeat offenders mean red-light cameras are working

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By Jonathan Krall, Alexandria
(File Photo)

To the editor:

In response to “Red-light cameras don’t deter scofflaws,” on May 22, I’d like to quote from that same article: “‘One thing we have not seen is the repeat offender,’ [Deputy Chief Eddie] Reyes said last month.”

That few drivers are repeat offenders indicates that the program is indeed deterring scofflaws.

Past studies not only show that camera enforcement is more cost-effective than hiring extra police officers, but helpfully also suggest best practices. For example, a study of speed cameras reported in March 2013 by NBC4 showed that tickets issued in the District, which run as high as $300, are expensive enough to inspire drivers to slow down and so result in few repeat offenders. In Maryland, by contrast, camera tickets are capped at $40 and repeat offenders abound. In Maryland at least, $40 is an acceptable fee for continued speeding.

Sadly, the Alexandria Times did not see fit to report the cost of local red-light camera fines, information that would allow potential scofflaws to visualize the unpleasant task of having to pay a fine. Without this information, scofflaws must wait until they receive an actual ticket to be duly and unpleasantly deterred from further red-light running.

Fortunately, Sgt. Chuck Seckler of the Alexandria Police Department, who reports monthly to the Alexandria Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, was happy to answer the question. Fines from red-light camera tickets begin at $50 and go up from there. Based on the lack of repeat offenders, this seems to be enough to deter scofflaws.