We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Thanks to Elissa Silverman’s article (“Red Light District,” 7/9) on the red light enforcement cameras in the District, I now have the final reason to avoid driving in D.C., and yet another example of why not to move to our nation’s capital, notwithstanding the significant tax and homeowner’s incentives.

Here’s the sensible way to handle the red light problem: Last January, I received a $50 red light camera ticket for a violation that occurred in Alexandria on U.S. 1. There was no mistaking that it was my car, but I also knew that I wasn’t the driver, because I was out of town that week. The ticket was sent to me because, as the owner of the vehicle, I was presumed to be the driver. However, Virginia issues no points for this violation. My friend who had borrowed my car agreed to pay the fine. No harm done, not even to the friendship.

Why does Virginia’s system work? The fine is not too steep, but, at $50, in proportion to a type of violation that could result in serious consequences—high enough to give drivers pause when wondering whether to go for it—leading to greater safety at red light camera intersections. And, while fines are being collected, Alexandria cops are freed to tend to other business.

Significantly, by not issuing points, Virginia avoids the administrative mess of appeals that would be sure to follow. Think how many ticketed owners/drivers will claim in D.C. that they were not the drivers of the ticketed vehicles, especially with the threat of rising insurance costs, just to avoid the points. And it seems obvious that those owners who were indeed not operating the vehicles should not incur points.

Surely, it will be D.C. cops and courts dealing with that mess, not Lockheed Martin. And Lockheed Martin will still be raking in the bucks for fines that are collected. Good job, D.C.!

Alexandria, Va.

via the Internet