Faulty system costs Philadelphia millions in traffic fines

Faulty system costs Philadelphia millions in traffic fines

By Wilson P. Dizard III

GCN Staff

APRIL 16—The Philadelphia Traffic Court has failed to collect payment on about 80 percent of the tickets filed with the court over the last three years because of system deficiencies, Pennsylvania's auditor general says.

The traffic system lacked the ability to flag scofflaw drivers so their permits could be suspended, auditors found. It also 'did not have the capability to process all citations issued by police,' according to a report released last month by auditor general Robert P. Casey Jr.

The Traffic Court has built up an accounts receivable balance of more than $467 million, up from $378 million in mid-1996, the report said.

The magnetic tapes the court sends to an outside vendor for processing often lack required data and have discrepancies between the electronic and paper versions of ticket information, the auditors found.

The Traffic Court has announced an enforcement initiative aimed at collecting overdue fines.

'I am encouraged that those responsible for overseeing Traffic Court have begun taking action to correct some of the deficiencies identified in our audit,' Casey said.

The city's Office of Administrative Review is working with the Traffic Court to overhaul the system.

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