Ticketing the owner, not the driver in D.C.

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – The person wasn’t driving the car, but had to pay the traffic ticket anyway.

Under a bill that got preliminary approval from the D.C. Council Tuesday, that will be the case.

“You no longer will be able to transfer liability if you are the registered owner to the person who was driving,” said Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh during a meeting of the Council. “Over time, this process has been abused, often to delay or frustrate the collections process.”

As a defense for a ticket in Maryland and Virginia, you can argue that you were not behind the wheel and therefore do not deserve a specific violation.

AAA Mid-Atlantic argues that people should not be responsible for tickets they don’t deserve.

“Motorists are concerned about the loss of a major defense against automated enforcement tickets, and rightly so,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs in a statement.

Cheh says the Council was contacted by rental car companies, concerned that they would be responsible for tickets generated by rented or leased vehicles. Cheh said she would add language to the bill that would exempt car insurance companies.

The bill is expected to come up for a final vote next month before being sent to the Mayor for his signature.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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