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City Council approves no-cruising ordinance

Get ticketed for cruising in specific areas in Washington and run the risk of paying a $50 civil fine or other penalties.

During its June 11 meeting, the Washington City Council approved a “no-cruising” ordinance. “This ordinance will assist with preventing traffic congestion, noise (from vehicle engines, screeching of tires, car stereos), littering within the city,” reads a memorandum from Stacy Drakeford, director of police and fire services, to the mayor and City Council.

The ordinance takes effect July 1.

Earlier this year when discussing downtown traffic concerns, Drakeford recommended the city enact a no-cruising ordinance that would apply to specified areas in the city. Such an ordinance is constitutional, according to Drakeford, who told the council he researched the matter.

Areas where cruising is prohibited will be posted. The City Council will determine no-cruising areas.

The ordinance defines cruising as “the repetitive driving of any motor vehicle past a traffic control point in traffic at or near the traffic control point.” The ordinance defines repetitive driving as “operating a motor vehicle past a traffic control point more than three times within two hours.” A traffic control point is any point or points within the “no cruising” area established by the Washington Police Department for the purposes of monitoring cruising.

“The violator’s conduct must be such s to demonstrate a specific intent to cruise. No arrest shall be made for a violation of this section unless the arresting officer first affords an opportunity to explain such conduct; and no person shall be convicted of violating this section if it appears at trial that the explanation given was true and disclosed a lawful purpose, not unnecessary, repetitive driving,” reads the ordinance.

The ordinance provides the following exemptions:

  • any authorized emergency vehicle;
  • any publicly owned vehicle of any municipal, county, state or federal government when that vehicle is operated for official purposes;
  • any taxicabs, public transit buses, livery or other vehicles operated for business purposes.

Continued violations of the ordinance could result in a person paying additional penalties or going to jail for not more than 30 days.

 

 

 

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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