What Could Go Wrong: DC Residents Could Soon Issue Parking Tickets


The new initiative is called the ‘Citizen Safety Enforcement Pilot Program,’ which would allow up to 10 people per ward to dole out citations after receiving some training.

If more than 10 people per ward apply for the position, participants in the program would be chosen by lottery.

The people selected would use an app that allows them to take a picture of an infraction, post it and then issue a citation.

The new program is part of councilmember Charles Allen's omnibus "Vision Zero" bill, which he laughably claims it expands and amends Washington's traffic laws to prevent pedestrian deaths. Seven other councilmembers have also signed onto the bill.

How exactly does issuing more parking tickets “prevent pedestrian deaths”.

Reason.com’s Christian Britschgi writes, “One can easily imagine those who sign up to ticket their fellow citizens being a little overzealous. There's also the possibility that those with access to this app would let personal prejudices and self-interest influence which cars they decide to ticket or even which violations they go searching for.

Unlike city employees, whose enforcement activities can be restrained or redirected by an internal set of rules and informal practices, these new citizen parking enforcers would be accountable to no one...In essence, D.C.'s new traffic safety bill would seemingly empower a nation of narcs to ticket any violation they come across, regardless of how necessary that might be.”

Michael Berry

Michael Berry

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