On Wednesday, November 1, at 10:30 am, DC Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6), chair of the Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment, will co-chair a second hearing with Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1), chair of the Committee on Public Works and Operations, examining four bills to curb dangerous driving in the District and reverse years of increasing traffic fatalities. This comes as the District marks 42 roadway deaths already this year, a 16-year-high. More than 5,300 people have been injured in crashes, including more than 300 people with serious injuries.
As part of pre-hearing questioning, the Committee has learned the District is further behind on its goals to make streets safer than first realized:
- Astoundingly, only eight people are enrolled in the mandatory ignition intervention device program required when someone is arrested for, or convicted of, driving under the influence, and it appears that the DMV has only just started notifying an additional 335 drivers that they must enroll. These devices are essential in keeping our roads safe, as they prevent someone from turning on their car if they have been drinking.
Approximately 50,000 tickets per year are issued for driving 20-30 mph over the posted speed limit. That means someone is being cited driving at exceedingly dangerous speeds on DC streets nearly 150 times per day, confirming what many DC residents experience daily.
There is one Maryland-registered vehicle with more than $100,000 in accumulated unpaid violations, and 42 vehicles with more than $50,000 in unpaid violations. Councilmember Allen’s proposal to give the District’s Attorney General the power to go after dangerous drivers in civil court could help target these most egregious offenders. Getting just a small number of drivers to either change their behavior or lose their driving privileges would have a significant impact on road safety.
- There appears to be very little information-sharing between agencies to identify drivers who have shown repeated dangerous or reckless driving behavior. This limits the District’s ability to prioritize its enforcement efforts.
Tomorrow’s hearing will probe into these questions and examine how the proposed legislation could fill gaps and make our streets safer.
What: The second of two public hearings to consider bills to strengthen enforcement and accountability for people who drive dangerously in the District. Video from the first hearing, held on October 4, can be found here.
Who: Committee Chairs Councilmember Charles Allen and Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau, Members of the Council, and government witnesses including Acting Deputy Mayor for Operations and Infrastructure Keith Anderson and representatives from the Department of Public Works, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the District Department of Transportation. Members of the public testified on the proposed bills on October 4.
When: Wednesday, November 1, beginning at 10:30 am.
- Where: Streamed online on the Council’s website or at Councilmember Allen’s Facebook page.