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A Traffic Ticket You Don't Have To Pay | News

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A Traffic Ticket You Don't Have To Pay

WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- "They're pretty pesky things!  They're not my favorite," says Ashleigh Dyson.

Ashleigh commutes to American University's campus each week.  She's learned parking on the neighborhood streets can come with a high cost.

"There's one day I got two two tickets," she says.

Seventy-five dollars a pop.  It's the penalty this third year marketing major has to pay for violating the school's "Good Neighbor" policy. 

Anyone connected to AU can be ticketed by campus police if they park in nearby neighborhoods, even if the street sign says they can park, legally, for up to two hours.

"An average day we may ticket, maybe 20, 30 students," says one of AU's ticket writers.

AU students aren't the only ones who get snagged by those pricey violations.

"They don't seem to check anything at all.  They just give the tickets out to any car they see on the street," says resident Rich Henneberry.

Residents and shoppers who park on those same neighborhood streets say those ticket writers rub them the wrong way.

"It does seem strange that a private entity is going around giving people tickets," says Chris Turner.

Faculty, students, staff even relatives of someone who attends the university have to pay them. 

A car marked with an AU sticker or loaded down with textbooks in the back seat are targets.

But, what if there's no clear sign the person driving the vehicle is associated with the campus?

The AU officer says, "It's just a random ticket.  So, any car that's on the public street is ticketed unless it's coming up on our system, "do not ticket."

All you have to do is call the university and give them your tag number to get on that "do not ticket" list.  But, people who did follow that "Good Neighbor" protocol say it has not stopped the notices from being placed on their cars.

"I've emailed several times just so they know I am not affiliated with the school in anyway," says Amy Westerman.  She works in the area.

American University's Director of Community Relations Andrew Huff says, "This is all with the best intention.  We are doing a service for the neighborhood.  Do people get ticketed accidently that shouldn't be, obviously yes."

So, what's a driver to do?

"If you're not affiliated with the university in anyway, you can disregard the ticket," says Huff.

And if that doesn't work, Andrew Huff says to just give him a call, and he will personally handle your ticket.

His direct number is 202-885-21267.