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In D.C., More Speeding Camera Tickets Means More People Faking Their License Plates
In a recent hearing on Washington, DC’s Booting and Impoundment Reform Amendment Act of 2022, the city government decided to abandon a Fake Temporary Tag Task Force that would ostensibly crack down on the prolific use of fake license plates to avoid speed camera tickets. According to notes from the meeting, it was abandoned “due to the possible negative impact on people of color.”
Since 2014, camera speeding tickets have become a financial boon for the city, bringing in over $111 million in revenue in 2019 alone based on data from the city. But cameras are unable to process fake license plates, which are suspected to be a very common avoidance technique. Abuse of temp tags was considered an issue by the police department, who described it as an issue that began in Texas and migrated to the DC area.
With the proliferation of camera speeding tickets, violations for a fake, invalid, or obscured license plates have steadily increased since the widespread use of speed cameras in the district.
Since cameras can’t capture fake tags, enforcement is left to the police and the number of violations isn’t a ton. It was about 100 a year in 2014 and is now about 180 a year in 2019 and 2021. Although prior to the widespread advent of speed cameras in 2009 and 2010, the number of infractions was much higher—between 340 to 522.
Little Driver’s License Information Associated With Violations, But Data May Be Flawed
With the large increase in speeding violations from cameras have come a large increase in the number of speeding violations with no associated driver’s license information. With more speeding tickets handed out, more of those tickets were handed out to recipients without identifiable driver’s license information—a consistent 80 to 85 percent between 2014 and 2020. Of those that did have driver’s license information, 94 percent had D.C. licenses.
Although there may be issues with the data—maybe a delay in processing driver’s license data particularly with those from other states—as 2022 lists all speeding tickets as having no driver’s license information.
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