The D.C. Department of Public Works yesterday announced a plan to grab more cash from Maryland and Virginia residents. In the good old days, Washington had no enforcement mechanism for red light camera and speed camera tickets issued to outsiders (i.e. the commuter tax). If a Virginia or Maryland resident tore up a scamera citation, all Mayor Fenty and Marion Barry could do was stomp their feet and ask ATS to send you another nasty letter. As a result, over twelve thousand people were smart enough not to pay their ticket. I’ll bet most are out-of-state. The new booting plan means D.C. bureaucrats will be able to spend not just the revenue from fine payments, but it will grab the extra “boot removal fee” as well.
This changes the game significantly. If you get a ticket, do NOT park on the street because D.C. uses an SUV equipped with a license plate reader (known as ANPR or ALPR) that automatically scans every plate it passes to locate a potential booting target. You will eventually be found, because the only efficient thing about the District is the meter maid function (run by ACS). Note that the license plate scanner also records your location for future use by the police, even if you don’t have any tickets or you are not a terrorist. Just in case.
It’s bad enough that the vast majority of D.C.’s scamera tickets go to Virginians and Marylanders. It’s simply intolerable that most will now actually have to pay them. When the District talks about “Taxation Without Representation” it is, of course, referring to the photo enforcement program.
Full text of the DPW press release after the jump.
DPW to Immobilize Vehicles with Outstanding Photo Enforcement Tickets
The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) announced today that it will now begin booting vehicles with outstanding photo enforcement tickets. Photo enforcement violations include red-light running, speeding, and parking on streets during street sweeping hours.
As of January 30, 2009, 12,834 vehicles were boot eligible with 15,700 outstanding photo enforcement tickets representing $1,852,865 in fines.
“Law enforcement’s public safety efforts will be enhanced by immobilizing vehicles with unanswered photo enforcement tickets,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. “Too many violators ignore these tickets and have not changed their dangerous driving habits as a result.”
District law states that a vehicle is boot eligible if it has two or more tickets that remain unpaid with no request for adjudication within 60 days of issuance or that remain unpaid after the owner’s appeal rights have been exhausted.
“If you have outstanding photo enforcement tickets, I strongly encourage residents to pay them right away to avoid possible boot and tow fees,” Howland said.