At the very moment the District is making drivers see red, it's asking them if they want to go green.
Parking tickets issued by the District now come with an environmentally friendly note suggesting the driver "Go Green -- sign up for email ticket alerts at www.dmv.dc.gov."
The Department of Motor Vehicles' offer encourages drivers to submit their email address and vehicle identification information so the next time the District tickets them, they can be notified electronically that there's a paper ticket under their windshield wipers.
Drivers also would get email alerts confirming their payments or warning that they're about to be hit by late fees. The system also lets residents log on to track any appeals, hearing requests or any other ticket-related business they have.
Among those who could benefit from the program are parents whose teenage children have less-than-stellar parking habits, officials said. The program also could cut down on complaints from people who say they never received a ticket but still have to pay double for past-due traffic fines, DMV Director Lucinda Babers said.
"We primarily implemented the initiative to eliminate the reliance on the postal service for people receiving ticket notices, especially prior to the tickets doubling," she told The Washington Examiner in an email. "Also, for those individuals who let other people use their vehicles, it also provides them with ticket notices that the driver may otherwise not share with them."
The DMV did not immediately have available information on the number of people who have signed up.
D.C. is not alone in offering the email alerts. Boston and Cleveland have similar systems. And many U.S. cities let residents pay traffic tickets online, even if they don't offer email alerts.
AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend said the email alerts may be a smart move for the District, which issues 5,600 tickets a day and made $90 million from parking tickets last year.
"It's so hard to fight city hall, and most people don't, even when they don't deserve the ticket," he said. "So I think what we should be doing is to put systems in place that would allow people not only to monitor whether they have tickets or not, but to be able to challenge those tickets. That, in the long run, will be in the benefit of motorists."