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Bill Takes Aim at Dangerous Drivers 

Repeat dangerous drivers are a threat to the safety of all of us in the District, and the inability of District government to hold many of them accountable is unacceptable. This week the Council took action on several provisions that will result in stronger enforcement action against drivers who are repeatedly documented exceeding the speed limit by automated traffic cameras, often with little consequence. 

On Tuesday, we passed Councilmember Charles Allen’s Strengthening Traffic Enforcement, Education, and Responsibility (STEER) Act, which I co-introduced. After it passes its final vote in a few weeks, the new law will allow for booting vehicles that rack up points for speeding and other traffic offenses, even if they are caught by traffic cameras, not police, and even if the owners of those vehicles pay the fines. It closes loopholes for drunk drivers and it allows D.C.’s Attorney General to sue repeat offenders, even if they live outside D.C. 

Let me be clear: this legislation is aimed at the most egregious, repeat dangerous drivers. Most of us, when we get a ticket from a traffic camera, pay our ticket and learn our lesson.  

This legislation is to hold accountable people with significant and repeated moving violations. I don’t want to look another parent in the eye and offer my condolences because their child has been hit by a vehicle we could have gotten off the street. 

It’s clear that the District must reshape the traffic enforcement ecosystem. Councilmember Allen has done an excellent job of setting us on the right path for that reboot, which is complimented by a larger package of bills introduced by myself and Councilmember Henderson. 

The STEER Act is one of a group of bills, including one I introduced, that were heard last year in a joint session of the Committee on Public Works & Operations, which I chair, and Councilmember Allen’s Transportation & Environment Committee. 

My legislation, the Fraudulent Vehicle Tag Enforcement Amendment Act, gives more resources and expectations to the Department of Public Works’ parking enforcement division, which is an incredibly important tool for traffic safety. Director Spriggs at DPW has done a great job of getting booting and towing staffed up and operating more efficiently.  

It’s clear that the laws governing booting and towing need to change. My bill would establish a strong foundation for coordinating DPW, the police department, and other relevant agencies. It would also require – and give the tools to – DPW to prioritize booting and towing vehicles with more serious violations. Vehicles found to be involved in aggressive driving and speeding should be held accountable and get more attention than vehicles with unpaid parking tickets. My legislation also goes after holders and purveyors of fake tags (license plates). 

I’m looking forward to building on that foundation as I work with DPW and mark up legislation in our committee.  

People are rightly fed up with the reasons dangerous drivers are able to continue to drive with impunity. The STEER Act, and the driving safety bills to follow, put us on the path to fixing that. 

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The District Department of Transportation issued a notice of intent that moves forward on a transformative project for Columbia Road that has been in planning since 2021.

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