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D.C. traffic tickets for blocked intersections rake in over $260,000

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(AP, ABC7) — Washington officials are finding a way to make gridlocked traffic a money-maker.

The District has made over $260,000 on traffic tickets for blocked intersections over the past two years.

The Washington Examiner reports that the district in the 2011 budget year issued more than 1,500 citations to drivers for "failure to clear an intersection". The Department of Motor Vehicles says that number topped the 1,080 gridlock tickets issued the year before. Over the last two years, tickets from gridlock have generated more than $263,000.

John Townsend of AAA Mid-Atlantic auto club says drivers shouldn't obstruct traffic at an intersection, but also says that's easy for drivers to get stuck and become an "innocent victim."

"Police should have the ability to write tickets,” Townsend says. “They also should have the ability to get out of their cars and direct traffic when it’s overwhelming. That's the problem we're having.”

Townsend argues the city should at least hire more civilian traffic directors and punish drivers less and there are drivers who agree with that.

"You could be behind a truck and no see traffic moving ahead of your or not moving ahead of you and then get stuck in the middle of an intersection," D.C. resident Katrina Higgins says.

In the past, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has supported the idea of adding cameras that would take pictures of offenders so tickets could be issued through the mail.

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