It’s Time to Put the NYC Stipulated Fine Program in Park!
March 07, 2018

It’s Time to Put the NYC Stipulated Fine Program in Park! by Meaghan FitzpatrickBy Meaghan Fitzpatrick

{4:00 minutes to read}  If you’re ever driving in New York City, you will notice that there are a ton of double parked trucks, vans, and business cars to navigate around, all because of the Stipulated Fine Program.

When Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, substantially raised parking ticket fines, there was an outcry from large delivery businesses such as UPS and FedEx. To appease these businesses the Stipulated Fine Program was initiated.

How Does It Work?

The program allows companies that have two or more business vehicles, to sign away their right to contest parking tickets in exchange for accepting lower or zero fine amounts for parking violations. These include double parking, standing in a loading zone and stopping in a bike lane.

Basically, the program is a way of reducing the penalty schedules, but think about it. If you or I get a ticket for a violation, we are going to have to hire an attorney, go before the Judge, and enter some kind of a plea. We may be ordered to take a mandatory safe driving course, etc. etc. For those companies signed up for the Stipulated Fine Program, however, that process is completely bypassed and the fine is reduced to zero.

Out of the 99 specific and unique non-moving violations, 20% of them are reduced by the Stipulated Fine Program to zero, including two really egregious ones; parking in front of a fire hydrant and double parking. Parking in front of a fire hydrant is something that no Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in the State of New York or the City of New York has discretion to reduce. This program, however, automatically reduces the fine to zero.

Increased Traffic Congestion

The other major problem created by the Stipulated Fine Program is increased congestion in the City. Trucks are doing whatever they absolutely want, blocking roads, intersections and bus lanes.

The businesses argue that their trucks need to double park in order to make their deliveries on time and so forth, but why can’t the deliveries be done during off peak hours? Switch around the schedules and make deliveries from 5:30 to 8-9 PM. Or do it earlier in the morning before rush hour.

Revenue Loss

Whenever someone gets a ticket, there’s a mandatory surcharge of $15.00 in the State of New York, with $7.50 going directly to the City and $7.50 going directly to the State. The $7.50 that goes to the State ends up funding programs such as a safe initiative program or efforts to reduce drunk driving. However, with reduced or zero fees there is a revenue loss upwards of $22.5 million.

What Can Be Done?

The biggest problem is that nobody knows about this. Literally, nobody. We’ve had meeting upon meeting and everyone is shocked when we tell them about this program. The ultimate goal is to get City Council support and have them pass a measure that would abolish the program.

$25.5 million. Think about all the great programs that money could fund; programs that are aimed to help people who are really in need or help them become more educated.