District taxpayers are due $835,750,067 in unpaid tickets, according to records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act by News4.
The missing funds stem from more than 5 million tickets in Washington, D.C., some of them more than 20 years old. These include parking tickets and tickets issued via speed cameras, red light cameras or by police officers.
While D.C. has reciprocity with other states to compel drivers to pay fines, parking tickets and tickets issued by cameras are generally non-enforceable because the driver's identification details are not included.
In response to this news, Mayor Muriel Bowser said she would have to look into how the District is addressing the issue of unpaid tickets.
"I would want to evaluate what we’re doing to collect money that’s owed to the District of Columbia and I’ll work with our team in operations of infrastructure to get me some recommendations," she said.
For street safety advocates, the issue is about more than money.
"It’s not about the revenue. It’s about changing behavior and making the streets safe for everybody," said Greg Billing, Executive Director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association.
Billing worries that a small number of reckless drivers will continue to exacerbate unsafe road conditions for other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
While residents from all over the U.S. and embassies from all over the world have unpaid tickets due in D.C., most tickets are from the region.
D.C. locals owe about $90 million, Maryland residents owe roughly $415 million and Virginians owe nearly $207 million. D.C., Maryland and Virginia make up 85% of the total fines.
Embassies owe nearly $750,000. Saudi Arabia tops the list with more than $65,000 due.
The District hires an outside collection agency to attempt to collect on these overdue tickets. If a car with two or more overdue tickets is found in Washington, D.C., it can be impounded.