New York City has been accused of configuring parking meters so that drivers in violation of traffic rules can pay more fines. This accusation comes from a watchdog group that monitors parking tickets. The organization says information that police officers have mistakenly omitted on an original ticket is now being fed to the online version of the fine’s document.
According to the NY Post, tickets that were incorrectly written by traffic agents and issuing officers can be dismissed by judges. Examples of these tickets are those that have inaccurate descriptions of the vehicle, name of issuing officer, or the location of a traffic infraction.
ParkingTicket.com’s president Glen Bolofsky maintains that there are hundreds if not thousands of such examples. He says that when police officers do this, the driver is left with no fight against the ticket by citing the information that was left out. When the motorist tries to argue against the ticket at the website of the department of finance, he or she finds a new completed ticket. Then there is no chance of fighting based on left-out information.
Bolofsky states that auditors in his watchdog team have found more than 220,000 tickets from as early as 2014 that were conveniently altered. He told The Post that a ticket is illegal if there is more than one version, with each version filled with differing information. He added that a motorist had only one opportunity of defending himself against a ticket, just like the city has one chance of writing it. By changing the information on tickets, the city gets an unfair upper hand.
The city collects millions every year from parking tickets, and it seems conceivable that they are out to receive every penny possible. Under Mayor de Blasio’s tenure, driving has generally been under attack in New York. Large bus lanes have replaced traffic lanes. People have been pushed towards cycling with bicycle lanes being introduced in all five boroughs of the city. At the same time, Uber’s and other ehail services have received considerable backlash from the current administration of the city.
In 2016 alone, the city is reported to have raked in more than $990 million in fines. However, most of these fines come from penalties for quality of life, such as making noise and littering. Out of all penalties, parking tickets accounted for 55%, effectively raising the city’s revenue by a whopping $545 million.
According to The New York Post, alterations can be seen on many parking tickets. One such incident involved Richard Brienza, the operator of a fleet of delivery trucks and vans. One of his drivers was handed a $115 ticket while driving along 165 W. 48th St. allegedly for “no standing.” The ticket did not include the date and time of the infraction. When his summons was posted to the city’s website a couple of weeks later, it showed that the violation happened on 24th May at 9.30 a.m.
It is widely believed that police officers forget to write such information only to cath their mistakes later and include it in the website versions. Bolosfky is now poised to sue the city for the hundreds of thousands of altered tickets.