Drivers Owe Washington D.C. $1.3 Billion in Unpaid Traffic Tickets

Security fencing surrounds the U.S. Capitol building as a police car drives by on February 7, 2023 in Washington, DC
Security fencing surrounds the U.S. Capitol building as a police car drives by on February 7, 2023 in Washington, DC

Washington D.C. drivers have a serious traffic ticket problem. The numbers likely prove what anyone who’s driven through our nation’s capital has long suspected: There are a lot of people on the road on in D.C. who probably shouldn’t be.

Fox 5 out of D.C. got its information from the Department of Motor Vehicles and found the 21st century is not off to a great start: since January 1, 2000, drivers have racked up over a $1 billion in unpaid parking tickets. One vehicle from Maryland has 339 outstanding tickets worth over $186,000. Roughly 1,200 cars have over $20,000 in fines on the hood.

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Another D.C. news outlet, News 4, found it was not uncommon for drivers to have over 300 unpaid tickets, mostly from passive speed and red light cameras:

Many of these drivers are still on the road.

Nearly 18,000 vehicles have 10 or more outstanding photo-enforced tickets, News4 learned through a Freedom of Information Act request.

More than 13,000 vehicles have at least $5,000 in outstanding photo-enforced fines. The worst offender is a Maryland car with $186,600 in unpaid fines for 339 tickets — many for going 25 mph over the speed limit.

“I don’t take the situation lightly,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said. “[…] We have to hold the people accountable for following the law.”

Drivers who flaunt the law can’t have their licenses revoked as the traffic cameras can only charge the car with a crime, not a person. They can be barred from re-registering the offending vehicle or updating the tags for it. A bit of a time out for cars. Enforcement of these tickets comes in the form of booting or towing cars with more than one ticket more than 60 days past due, but that means more than 38,000 vehicles are roaming D.C. that should be in a police lot. Where would the cops even put all those vehicles?

Some enforcement, however, is clearly required. This news comes just two months after three people were killed on Rock Creek Parkway in northwest D.C. by a speeding driver who earned more than 40 speeding tickets in only 10 months totaling $20,000.

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