Although politicians are “public servants,” they often think they are above the law.
And in Colorado, they actually are above the law.
Colorado lawmakers do not have to follow traffic laws, as they are exempt from speeding and parking tickets. The legislators are issued special license plates that are “invisible” to both traffic cams and traffic tickets. Their specially-issued plates do not show up in the DMV database.
As reported by CBS Denver, “The plates issued to the 100 state lawmakers and representatives elected to serve Colorado are preventing them not only from receiving photo radar tickets but also collection notices from past due parking tickets.
The legislative plates are not entered into the Colorado DMV database, so when photo radar cameras catch these drivers speeding, they never received tickets. That’s because of a loophole that doesn’t allow the City of Denver to electronically cross-reference those plates with a home address.”
The same glitch also lets the politicians get away with parking tickets since most cities rely on the DMV database for collections.
In other words, even if an officer puts a parking ticket on a lawmaker’s car, there is no way to enforce that ticket since politician’s addresses are not present in the state DMV database.
Thanks to the invisible plates, there are currently $2,100 worth of unpaid tickets in Colorado.
Before this story broke in Colorado news, the state Department of Public Works said it was too “costly” to change the system and collect the unpaid tickets. Essentially, state bureaucrats thought it was too inconvenient to change a system that was already in their own favor.
But now that this story is getting traction, some politicians are giving the issue lip service and promising action.
State representative Chris Holbert said, “It’s absolutely unfair. We should be held accountable like any other citizen. We are elected to represent the people and there’s no reason for us to be treated differently.”
Similar abuse has also been rampant in Washington, DC (go figure). According to a 2008 report by the US Committee on Transportation:
“Municipal, state and federal government agencies are among the biggest offenders when it comes to illegal parking and non-payment of parking citations. A report released last week by the US House Committee on Transportation documented 4000 cases last year where employees in federal vehicles skipped out on paying parking tickets worth $700,000 in Washington, DC and New York City. The total does not include unpaid tickets in foreign countries and other cities throughout the fifty states where 642,000 automobiles registered to the US government are in use.”
Is it really any surprise that legislators are rarely interested in following their own laws?
Only when the media holds them responsible do politicians “step up” to fix systems where they unfairly benefit at the expense of us, the little guys.
Your thoughts on all of this? Let us know in the comments section below.