Saturday, September 24, 2011

Some Foreign Diplomats in the US Are "Dead-beats" When It Comes to Overdue Traffic Tickets

A recent survey conducted by broadcast networks, WTOP/WJLA, reveal that vehicles with diplomatic plates owe the District of Columbia US$340,037 in fines, not including late fees owed, which double under D.C. law after 30 days.

Russia has the most outstanding tickets, with 892 totaling $27,200, not including late fees. Yemen follows closely in second with at least $24,600 from 336 tickets, and Cameroon racked up 525 tickets, owing $19,520 in fines from its diplomats. Rounding out the top five was France with 251 tickets totaling $11,565 owed, and Mauritania’s 128 tickets for $8,070. The Vatican is at the bottom of the list, with just one overdue $25 ticket for an expired meter.

COMMENT: The US Department of State's Office of Foreign Missions informs missions of their obligations under international law to respect local law and that includes paying or contesting any parking or moving violations that they receive. A method OFM employs to persuade compliance is to deny vehicle registration renewals for individuals/missions with unpaid District of Columbia and New York City parking tickets. Not surprisingly, New York City has far more diplomatic offenders than DC when it comes to unpaid diplomat parking tickets: NYC is owed $17.2 million.

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