Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano on Tuesday announced an amnesty period for motorists to pay nearly 572,000 traffic and parking tickets incurred before Jan. 1, 2014.
The original fines on the violations would be cut in half, and additional penalties and fees waived if motorists pay up between Feb. 22 and May 22, Mangano said. If a motorist’s unpaid tickets were sent to a collection agency, the agency’s fee also would be reduced as the fines and penalties are waived, officials said.
The program affects 178,000 unpaid traffic violations issued between Jan. 1, 1982, and Dec. 31, 2013, valued at $52.9 million. There also are 393,965 parking violations issued in the same period worth $65.7 million.
Motorists still must pay a $45 county fee on the tickets — a total of more than $28 million is owed Nassau — as well as a state surcharge amounting to $88 for traffic violations and $10 for parking violations.
Mangano touted a similar four-month ticket amnesty program in 2011 as a way for the county to recoup up to $21.7 million in unpaid tickets but it netted Nassau only $150,000.
The new program “provides offenders an opportunity to pay their traffic and parking fines without affecting their credit,” said Mangano, who is tying the amnesty program to National Random Acts of Kindness Day on Wednesday.
But John Marks, executive director of Nassau’s Traffic and Parking Violations Agency, also billed the amnesty program as an effort to clear out a huge backlog of tickets for which Nassau may never fully collect.
“We are trying to clean out the inventory of tickets issued before 2014,” Marks said. “The goal is to get money owed to Nassau County.”
The program covers motorists with tickets such as red light violations, failure to signal, failure to stop at a stop sign, uninspected and unregistered vehicles, and missing license plates.
Motorists eligible for the amnesty program will receive a phone call or letter indicating the reduced amounts.
Marks said the program gives offenders an opportunity to pay their tickets before their vehicles are booted or towed.
The county contracts with a firm that uses license plate-scanning technology to find vehicles in public parking lots with three or more unpaid tickets. The vendor then attaches a locked boot onto a wheel of the vehicle.
If the violator does not pay the past due amounts within 48 hours, including a $166 booting fee, the vehicle will be towed, for an additional cost of $125, plus storage fees.
Scofflaws also face a potential suspension of their driver’s licenses, an inability to renew their auto registrations, liens, asset seizures and damage to their credit scores, officials said.
Violators with mandatory traffic court appearance tickets, such as speeding, driving without a valid license and using a cellphone while driving, are eligible for a conference to discuss a negotiated settlement. Motorists who received traffic or parking tickets in 2014 or later are also eligible for an in-person conference to discuss a negotiated settlement.