DC votes to erase traffic tickets

| 7/9/2002

The Washington D.C. City Council went against Mayor Anthony A. Williams' wishes last week by voting to excuse $347 million in parking tickets and other penalties incurred before 1997. The council's vote is intended to help cut down on long lines that have jammed the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The reprieve is more far-reaching than the program previously announced by Williams, extending not just to penalties caused by late payment but also to the original fines. The council ruled the city lacks the capacity and accurate records necessary to collect any of the outstanding debts.

Complaints about the DMV have increased sharply since spring, when the city' s computer system began blocking customers with old unpaid fines from renewing their licenses or registrations, creating delays and long lines. Until the system began operation, the city had no way to track which customers had outstanding fines.