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New Orleans Traffic Camera Fines Often Never Paid

Posted on Dec 29, 2011 in Courts, Local Issues, NOPD, Traffic

As many as 40 percent of people that receive traffic tickets from New Orleans' controversial system of cameras never pay them, according to records and city officials. In fact, the unpaid balance of over 5,000 speeding and red light tickets is roughly equivalent to what the city expects to collect from people that actually pay their fines this year. The reason so many tickets remain unpaid is because there are relatively few consequences facing miscreants. The only hazard they face is a possible booting, because officials do not report non-payers to credit bureaus and the violations do not count as points against one's license. [caption id="attachment_2660" align="alignright" width="512" caption="A traffic camera on Poydras. Photo courtesy of NOLA.com."][/caption] For the unlucky drivers who get booted, paying their entire owed balance is the only way to recover their vehicles, meaning they have to pay their fines plus any accrued late fees. But offenders are most likely to get booted if they park in an area where meter maids regularly patrol, such as the Central Business District and the French Quarter. Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin said that is changing: The city has begun sending parking officers into neighborhoods where they haven't traditionally roamed. City Hall also is considering stronger measures, such as seeking council approval to report violators to credit bureaus and tracking down flagrant offenders to boot their cars. The biggest offender so far? One New Orleanian has racked up a total of 98 unpaid tickets, meaning he or she owes the city $17,045.

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