D.C. Begins Towing Over Photo Tickets

dcplateThe 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.

For more information on parking enforcement, residents should visit http://www.dpw.dc.gov, http://www.dmv.dc.gov, or call 311.


3 Responses to D.C. Begins Towing Over Photo Tickets

  1. Barnet Fagel says:


    The Chicago Tribune’s February 7th editorial focused on the CTA being “encouraged” by the driver’s union to pay their member’s 1,200 red light camera tickets for a total of about $120.000! The CTA deemed the tickets to be a “bureaucratic nuisance” even as the rest of the public has to pay whether you own a car or not! It’s not inherently fair nor is it legal to hold one group of persons “above the law” while indiscriminately punishing another equal group for the same offenses. Citing CTA schedules and passenger safety excuses for running red lights doesn’t is no justification.

    Hundreds of millions in ticket revenue is just too tempting of a windfall for the city to ignore. Especially when it’s done under the “color of authority”, the color red. The entire city has become one enormous red light district. Traffic signals have historically been set to established national traffic engineering standards. The accepted rules of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, and the Institute of Transportation Engineers were established to promote safety, but they aren’t acknowledged in Chicago! Other city’s traffic experiences have shown accident increases after their respective red light camera installations.

    Red light cameras serve obediently 24 hours a day dutifully snapping pictures of license plates and converted at the “light speed” into a constant revenue stream that beats to the pulse of the politician’s pocketbook. What a golden thing it is to behold. The robocops have no regard for real traffic requirements such as the 85th percentile speed, approach velocity, forward head room, visual safety perception, mechanical maladies or radio frequency interference.

    Chicago joins the growing list of maniacal metropolises that include Chattanooga, TN, Dallas, TX, Springfield, MO, Lubbock, TX, Nashville, TN and Union City, CA that have been caught grossly cheating their drivers by local media using short-timed yellow traffic lights. News outlets shined the light of truth and turned the cameras back onto this seditious and dangerous practice to allow the cities to balance their particular budgets. Subsequent lengthening the yellow light timing results in fewer violations, less accidents, safer roads far less cost.

    Ticketed drivers can appear in front of a trained ticket clerk, but they soon find out that their “administrative” red light ticket challenges are stiffed by the political provisions of the ordinance. While these citations don’t currently add points to driver’s licenses, IT “CONVENIENTLY OUTLAWS” ANY LEGAL OR ETHICAL CHALLENGES. If drivers want to appeal their cases to a higher court another charge of $95 for a filing fee plus a mandatory downtown appearance. The city fathers figured the vast majority of drivers can’t afford the time coupled with almost no chance of winning to justify the effort.

    Apparently the laws of physics, motion or logic don’t apply within the windy city. The city has determined that all vehicles, drivers and intersections are identical by their very nature so a single three second yellow light timing standard is all that is needed, when actually it is barely the federal minimum. The city knowingly takes no notice of real world factors such as driver response times, vehicle size, inertia, road or visibility conditions that are recommended by traffic.

    Because accepted traffic signal engineering practices are ignored the city it consciously and directly participates in ongoing cases of “spontaneous legal entrapment” each time any of the stop lights turn red. The city stifles the increased rear-end accident facts after red light camera installations in many other cities. “The city that works”, makes drivers work for the department of revenue and leaves the city politicians with dirt on their hands!

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    Or just contest them in court. Demand a Trial and when the officer gets on the stand.

    Objection Hersay.

    How can they reply. That officer WAS NOT THEIR.

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