New York, NY - City to Give Red-Light Scofflaws the Hook
New York, NY - The city is about to put the brakes on thousands of drivers who’ve beaten the red-light camera program out of $47 million, The Post has learned.
The red-light runners will be in for a shock when they check their parking-violation records and find past-due summonses dating back to 2003 added to their accounts.
And that’s not the worst of it.
About 40,000 drivers who owe less than $350 each in unpaid parking tickets and, therefore, haven’t been subject to towing are going to leap onto the towing hit lists when the unpaid red-light infractions are added to their totals.
Starting Sept. 13, following public announcements, city marshals will be authorized to tow any vehicle with a combined $350 owed for parking tickets and red-light summonses.
Red-light summonses have been overseen by the Transportation Department since 1993 and weren’t included in Finance Department’s database of parking violations.
As a result, city marshals and deputy sheriffs assigned to hunt down parking scofflaws didn’t pursue drivers who ignored tickets after being caught on camera blowing through red lights.
The Transportation Department employed collection agencies to track those drivers with limited success.
With 664,000 unpaid red-light summonses—totaling $47 million—in judgment, officials are making no apologies for the sudden crackdown.
“We’ve always said these violations would subject you to being towed,” declared Finance Department spokesman Owen Stone.
Most drivers caught zooming through red lights tend to cough up the $50 fine fairly quickly since it’s tough to dispute photographic evidence. In 2009, the city generated $32.3 million from 150 hidden traffic cameras.
But some cunning culprits discovered that ignoring red-light summonses didn’t necessarily mean risking having their cars towed.
“If you didn’t pay, it didn’t stop you from registering your car,” admitted one red-light scofflaw who works for the city and said everyone in his office was aware that enforcement of the red-light violations was limited.
The scofflaw said he forked over hundreds of dollars to immediately settle all his fines, fearing the new towing offensive.
Lucky for him, he settled up.
About five dozen vehicles were mistakenly yanked from the streets last week despite the grace period. Officials promised to rectify matters for all the affected owners.
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