Federal employees who drive government cars have incurred thousands of dollars in fines in Washington for illegally parking in handicap zones, in front of fire hydrants and on sidewalks – and the tickets have gone unpaid, a congressional study found.
Federal employees were issued 477 parking tickets worth $63,150 last year that went unpaid. Drivers of D.C. government vehicles failed to pay 329 tickets worth $33,360, according to the House Transportation Committee.
The top offenders are in the military, according to the study. In D.C., the Army, Navy and Air Force were issued 158 parking tickets worth $27,840 last year – many of which remain unpaid. The majority of the tickets were incurred by military recruiters.
Other agencies with large numbers of illegal parkers include the departments of State, Interior and Homeland Security.
Nearly half the tickets were issued during evening or morning rush hours – when illegal parking compounds traffic congestion. Only 6 percent of the tickets were issued for expired meters.
An Air Force recruiter said he was told by a previous recruiter that, “You could park vehicles anywhere in D.C. and not get a ticket because of government plates,” the report said, adding the recruiter subsequently threw away the tickets.
House Transportation Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.) said federal employees were blatantly ignoring parking laws because there are no consequences.
“By turning a blind eye and failing and failing to provide sufficient oversight, GSA has allowed illegal parking to compromise mobility, create unsafe conditions for pedestrians…and obstruct emergency vehicles,” Oberstar said.
The General Services Administration, though, said it had no way of indentifying which employees owe money for parking tickets.