Councilmember Allen Schedules Committee Vote on Traffic Safety Legislation Addressing Repeat Dangerous Drivers

The DC Council’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment will vote on legislation to curb dangerous driving on Wednesday, December 6 at 2 pm, Committee Chair and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen announced.

“Our current traffic laws and enforcement tools aren’t getting the job done – too many drivers think they can speed and disregard safety laws without consequence. That’s about to change,” said Councilmember Charles Allen. “After extensive public testimony and concern about widespread dangerous driving, we’re acting today to create real, commonsense accountability measures to reduce speeding and reckless behavior in our neighborhoods.”

The Strengthening Traffic Enforcement, Education, and Responsibility Act of 2023 (“STEER Act”), introduced by Councilmember Allen, would strengthen DC’s laws against dangerous driving in several ways, and it also includes components from two bills introduced by Councilmember Christina Henderson that were considered during public hearings alongside the STEER Act earlier this fall.

The Committee’s version of the STEER Act:

  • Creates a new point system for documented high-speed driving: The bill creates a point system for booting and or towing vehicles whether fines are paid or unpaid, focusing consequences on dangerous driving over the ability to pay. Currently, drivers can accumulate points on their driver’s license for tickets issued by law enforcement, and cars can be booted or towed for having two or more unpaid moving violations or parking tickets. In addition to these two enforcement paths, under the new point system, 10 points accumulated within a six-month window will make the vehicle eligible for booting and towing.

Infractions / Offenses 

Speeding 11-15 miles per hour over the speed limit 2
Speeding 16-19 miles per hour over the speed limit 3
Speeding 20 miles per hour or more over the speed limit 5
Reckless Driving 5
Aggravated Reckless Driving 10


  • Empowers the Office of the Attorney General to go after both in-state and out-of-state dangerous drivers: The bill authorizes DC’s Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to bring civil lawsuits against drivers in any state, including DC, with large balances of unpaid moving violations. “This year alone, 45 people have tragically lost their lives in traffic crashes on DC streets. We must redouble our efforts to crack down on dangerous drivers who put pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers at risk,” said DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb. “The STEER Act would provide the Office of the Attorney General with critical new authority to hold drivers who flout the law accountable, and I applaud Councilmember Allen for advancing this bill, which would be a major step toward improving traffic safety across the District.” Through the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the US Constitution, OAG can seek the enforcement of any judgments obtained in any driver’s home state. This means that this innovative new approach will ensure that both DC residents and out-of-state residents alike will be held accountable, despite the lack of reciprocity with neighboring states.
  • Establishes a new Intelligent Speed Assistance Program – capping the ability of a driver to drive over a certain speed - for drivers whose license was suspended or revoked because of excessive speeding (including reckless driving): Modeled after the Ignition Interlock Program, where those who drive under the influence and endanger others are prevented from driving drunk, this program would put “speed governors” on the cars of people who commit serious speeding crimes, preventing them from driving over a certain limit in the future. The first time a driver is required to enroll in the Intelligent Speed Assistance Program, they will have to remain in compliance for one year. The length of enrollment increases by one year for each subsequent conviction, and a fourth conviction can result in a requirement to enroll permanently. Under the Committee’s bill, low-income drivers’ speed governors would be paid for by the District for the first conviction.
  • Improves DUI enforcement by resolving DMV notification failures around Ignition Interlock enrollment: Currently, enrollment in the Ignition Interlock Program is required after the commission of a DUI-related crime. The bill resolves concerns raised in the press and at the Committee’s oversight hearings by clarifying when MPD must notify the DMV when someone has committed a DUI-related crime, how notice must be provided to the driver about a proposed license suspension, and the timing of and standards governing the hearing about the suspension.
  • Improves communication between agencies to stop people convicted of DUIs and who should have their licenses suspended from driving without consequences: The bill requires reporting about DUI convictions to and from DMV, OAG, Superior Court, and the DC Council to address unacceptable communication and coordination issues uncovered earlier this year following the Rock Creek Park collision that killed three people. The Committee held a roundtable to examine this issue, learning that there had been a breakdown in communication between Superior Court and DMV for years, resulting in an unknown number of drivers who had been convicted of DUIs driving without consequences for years—including the driver in the Rock Creek Parkway collision.
  • Supports victims by clarifying that driving tickets from stolen vehicles won’t be sent to car owners: The bill requires MPD to notify DMV of a stolen car and clarifies that no ATE violations will be issued against that car until MPD tells DMV that the car has been returned. At Councilmember Henderson’s suggestion, it also adds a similar requirement for stolen tags.
  • Creates alternatives to fines for accountability and improving driver behavior: The bill requires the DMV to create a safe driver curriculum, to allow DMV to waive up to $500 per year of traffic fines. A person is also required to take the class if their car is booted or towed due to paid speeding violations accumulated over six months, before they can retrieve their car or have a boot removed.


Showing 1 reaction

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.