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New traffic cameras waiting to catch you

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- D.C. police announced Friday the addition of several new traffic cameras at intersections, stop signs and crosswalks beginning Saturday.

The new cameras are part of a traffic safety campaign called D.C. Street Safe, which is aimed at combating aggressive and dangerous driving habits.

"We have experienced reduction of traffic fatalities over the last 10 years of about 70 percent," said Metro PD Assistant Chief, Lamar Green, about the how camera technology has helped increase traffic safety. 

Cameras at new locations will issue warnings to vehicles for violations until Sunday, December 29. Beginning Monday, December 30, cameras at new locations will issue fines for violations, officials said in a news release.

Police say the new cameras will help officials in areas and circumstances where it could be dangerous or impractical for police officers to pull over vehicles for violations.   

D.C. Street Safe will be comprised of the following new technologies:   

Gridlock enforcement units that will improve traffic flow by targeting "blocking the box" at intersections
Portable stop sign enforcement units to reduce violations in residential neighborhoods
Portable crosswalk enforcement units that will enhance pedestrian safety at crosswalks near schools, parks, and recreation centers 
Speed enforcement units that will focus on intersections with known speeding problems; 
Units that will enforce rules on oversized and overweight commercial vehicles in order to reduce infrastructure damage and enhance quality of life in our neighborhoods. 

But drivers seem to be torn on the increased surveillance. 

"I think the cameras are a good idea," said Joanna Edwards of the District. 

"I think it's terrible," said Martha Thompson. 

She took particular issue with the "blocking the box" cameras.

"I admit it, very dangerous intersection [at Connecticut Ave and Nebraska Ave] and people run the light a lot. But making a turn is different. You have no choice if you're in the middle of the intersection because you can't back up," said Thompson.

But Edwards stressed that the law is the law. "If you run a yellow light and if you're in the box when the light turns red you should get a ticket," she said.

Assistant Chief Green assured that officers will review each photo infraction and determine if the driver could have avoided the violation. If so, a ticket may not be issued. Otherwise drivers face fines of $50 to $300.

Police say the locations for the cameras were decided based on a variety of criteria, including sites with crashes and injuries, calls for service, high speed volume, near schools, or in zones prohibited for use by certain commercial vehicles.

Officials also considered recommendations from the Department of Transportation,  Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and community organizations.  

For more information about the new technology, the locations of all automated enforcement units, and DC Street Safe videos, please visit www.DCStreetsafe.org.