Washington, D.C., to more than double the number of traffic cameras amid record profits image

Washington, D.C., plans to add more than 130 cameras cameras on its streets and intersections as its traffic camera program proves very profitable.

The U.S. capital announced it generated $85 million in additional revenues in the 2012 fiscal year that ended in September. The figure could theoretically double if the city starts mounting the additional cameras that ticket drivers for speeding and running stop lights.

D.C. authorities say some fines will be lower in the future to counter the increased number of traffic cameras. According to a report from Washington Examiner, many of the additional cameras will now monitor more than just vehicle speeds and red light offenders. A police spokeswoman told the newspaper that 32 cameras will be added to catch drivers not stopping at stop signs, while 16 will catch drivers not stopping at pedestrian crosswalks. According to city officials, the cameras helped lower traffic fatalities from 72 in 2001 to 32 in 2011.

However, critics argue that the city’s real motivation is to generate money from fines. Some cities, including Houston, have eliminated cameras entirely from their streets over claims that they are overly sensitive to incomplete stops and that they don’t take into account traffic conditions the same way that a police officer might.