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DMV Testimony Before Committee on Transportation and the Environment

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Testimony of

Lucinda Babers, Director Department of Motor Vehicles

Before the Committee on Transportation and the Environment

Mary Cheh, Chairperson

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

11:00 am – Room 500

The Wilson Building

Washington, DC

Good morning Chairman Cheh, Councilmembers and staff.  I am Lucinda Babers the Director of the District of Columbia’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DC DMV).  Today I am here to share the Executive’s testimony on Bill 20-324, the Traffic Adjudication Amendment Act of 2013.

Bill 20-324 would allow a driver to appeal a traffic ticket after deadlines have passed when the driver can establish actual innocence. This bill would also transfer jurisdiction of certain traffic cases to the Office of Administrative Hearings.  Although the Administration supports the concept of this Bill, we believe further coordination between DMV and the Council is necessary to ensure the Bill is operationally and fiscally feasible while providing consistent, fair and equitable treatment for respondents. 

We also do not believe inserting the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) into the process is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Bill.  Currently, when a respondent adjudicates a ticket believed to have been issued in error, if the respondent is found liable, they have the option to appeal the decision to the Traffic Appeals Board.  Although additional evidence is currently not allowed to be submitted to the Appeals Board, we recommend allowing respondents to request reconsideration from the hearing examiner in the case where specific evidence exists that was not originally presented or available at the time of initial adjudication.

This recommended process is consistent with our current practice of reconsidering thousands of cases each year.  Unfortunately, in spite our best communication efforts, many respondents do not submit any evidence or sufficient evidence when adjudicating tickets.  Therefore, I would like to take this time to share with the listening audience examples of evidence which should be submitted when adjudicating a ticket.

If the vehicle was stolen when tickets were issued, you are required to submit a full copy of the police report.  The customer complaint number (CCN) is not sufficient since the hearing examiner needs to review pertinent information from the police report.  If the vehicle make and model on the ticket is different from your make and model, you need to submit a copy of your vehicle registration which reflects your make and model.  If you were displaying a visitor parking permit or disability placard when the ticket was issued for a violation related to residential parking or expired meter, you need to include a copy of your permit or placard as evidence.  If your evidence is related to signage, your pictures need to be taken such that street signs are also included in the picture.  The hearing examiner needs to be able to place the signage on the actual street where the ticket was issued.  If you experienced a sudden mechanical failure which resulted in a ticket, you need to include a copy of the repair bill from a certified mechanic.

The above information will assist customers in successfully adjudicating a ticket when initially submitted.  Also, even though a ticket doubles after 30 days, you still have an additional 30 days to submit the ticket for adjudication (for a total of 60 days after the issuance of the ticket).  There is also an additional 60 days to file a Motion to Vacate Default Judgment if you were unable to file your adjudication request timely due to reasons such as hospitalization.

In summary, we support this proposed bill with recommended changes and additional coordination.  We appreciate the continued support we’ve received from you, this Committee and your staff.  It would be my pleasure to respond to any questions you may have.  Thank You!