Over all, Metro Scene supports the District of Columbia's recent rise in fines for various traffic and parking infractions and applauds the stepped-up enforement of laws such as those against running red lights. Continued stern enforcement may cut down on violations.
But some fines now imposed for victimless violations dealing with license tags and registrations seem far out of line with the infraction.
We've already reported on the $100 penalty for lacking the month portion of the two-part annual renewal sticker on license tags.
Now here's a report of $50 tickets that were handed out by a police officer in the 6th police district in Northeast Washington for the dreadful crime of affixing otherwise legal license renewal stickers on the wrong corner of the car tags.
Ava Singletary, a 72-year-old woman on a limited fixed income who lives on Brooks Street NE and who has been driving since before World War II, went out to her car on Thursday and found the ticket. A neighbor had an identical one, she said.
Singletary had put the month and year stickers on the upper right corners of her tags instead of putting them on the bottom, the month on the left corner, and the year on the right. Distressed at the ticket while admitting her error, she went to the police station and talked to an officer.
The result, Lt. Stewart Harris told Metro Scene, was that the ticket was "sent to the Bureau of Traffic Adjudication for review and possible adjustment," which means cancellation. Officers in the district were instructed to stop issuing such tickets.
For Singletary, it may end well.
But isn't there a solution short of a high-priced ticket in such instances? How about a warning ticket, with a fine only if a follow-up shows continued failure to comply?