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DC Traffic Cameras: Tickets Up, Deaths Up 8 Percent
Washington, DC traffic fatalities were up last year despite a record increase in revenue from photo enforcement.

Chief Charles RamseyTraffic fatalities in Washington, DC increased eight percent last year as a twenty percent increase in tickets sent overall photo enforcement revenue to new heights. The high-tech system has issued an average of four automated speed or red light camera tickets for every District resident since 1999. By the end of 2005, these 2,228,160 tickets were worth $171 million.

In certain years -- such as 2004 and 2002 -- the District would cite annual fatality statistics as evidence that the cameras are producing more than just a financial bonus to the city.

"A 30 percent reduction in fatalities shows that we are beginning to make a difference," Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said in 2002.

In all the years where fatalities increased from the prior year -- 2005, 2003, 2001 and 2000 --, the statistics were no longer evidence of a difference being made. In October, The Washington Post reported accidents doubled at intersections with red light cameras.

The District's FY2005 budget reported a $370 million surplus, and the city plans to install even more cameras. In 2004 there were 45 traffic deaths and 49 in 2005. In 2006, there have been 3 fatalities in the District so far -- unchanged from the same period last year.