News & Politics

DC Credits Traffic Cameras With Less Speeding and Fewer Collisions

District drivers have crashed their less often since the cameras were installed.

Photograph by Flickr user Wayan Vota.

Turns out all the traffic cameras the District government has posted around the city are good for something besides padding municipal revenue. (They issued nearly $85 million in tickets in fiscal 2012.) A study released Monday by the District Department of Transportation finds that since the DC government started deploying traffic cameras across town, drivers are crashing less often and hurting fewer people.

DDOT found that in the locations around 87 active cameras, there were 1,863 reported crashes in the three years after the devices were installed, a 16.8 percent drop from the 2,240 collisions reported in the three years before the cameras were mounted.

The number of collisions causing injuries dropped by nearly 20 percent, too, going from 841 in the three years before installation to 673 in the three years after. The number of sustained injuries in the monitored locations had a similar decline, going from 1,251 to 996.

The cameras have also largely accomplished their intended effect of getting cars to slow down. Only 13 of the 87 cameras recorded average speeds of above the posted speed limits, with none of the locations posting average speeds of more than 15 miles per hour over the limit. Of the 74 locations with average speeds under the limit, 29 have seen reductions by at least 10 miles per hour since the cameras went up.

The study also found that even where there are no cameras, drivers are becoming more mindful. Of the 39 locations where officials plan to install cameras, only two have average speeds above the posted speed limit.

You can see all the locations of all of DC’s traffic cameras on the city’s Atlas Plus site:


Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.