New York has agreed to pay $14 million dollars to settle what one trucking group executive called a “massive parking ticket scandal” which was used as part of an allegedly illegal revenue-raising scheme.
In 2004, New York instituted the Stipulated Fine Program, a little-known program which allowed carriers to pay an upfront fee to be exempt from certain parking violations and receive reduced fines for others. It worked well for two years until authorities started to find new ways to issue tickets to companies for infractions that should have been covered by the program.
In New York City for example, double parking was allowed under the program as long as it was for picking up/dropping off and met a few other requirements. So instead of writing a ticket for being double parked, enforcement agents started writing tickets for obstructing a traffic lane.
The kicker was that as part of the program, carriers waived their right to contest any ticket or fine with a hearing.
So in 2011, the New York Trucking and Delivery Association filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all drivers and carriers who were hit with fines which they claim should have been covered under the program. They claimed that New York was deliberately engaging in a “revenue raising-scheme,” using carrier’s inability to contest fines as a free pass to issue as many as they wanted.
According to the lawsuit, over 60,000 tickets should never have been issued – tickets which resulted in over $5 million in fees.
New York has agreed to settle the lawsuit for $14 million, but does not admit any wrongdoing. The settlement must still be approved by a judge.