'Writing tickets when we're not there:' Drivers upset about parking tickets mailed by NDOT employees

Parking Violation Uber.jpg
Posted at 8:48 PM, Nov 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-29 23:50:57-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nobody likes getting a parking ticket but imagine getting several tickets for dates and times when you weren't parked at all.

That's what Tracy Lang, an Uber driver since 2016, says she and other drivers have been dealing with for months.

After receiving a spate of parking tickets while driving for Uber, Lang started looking closer. It turns out, at least one of her tickets was issued not by Metro Police, but by an employee of the Nashville Department of Transportation — a responsibility NDOT says it grants to certain employees.

"NDOT has parking enforcement staff (separate from TLC inspectors) dedicated to enforcing right-of-way parking regulations including loading zones and stopping in a travel lane," said NDOT spokesperson Cortnye Stone.

NDOT says those employees don't even have to physically hand drivers a ticket, sometimes sending it to drivers in the mail "if they drive off prior to being presented with a ticket."

Lang says she thinks NDOT employees should issue tickets similar to a Metro Police officer would issue a traffic ticket — in person, or at least on the windshield.

"I think it's crappy," Lang said. "Let me give my explanation of why I'm sitting here, maybe my passenger is coming down the elevator from my hotel."

What's more, Lang says the parking tickets NDOT has been writing her are for times she says she can prove she wasn't parked at all.

Lang showed us two tickets she received in the mail. On both, the NDOT employees noted Tracy "drove off" or "drove away" before they could hand them to her.

The first ticket from September shows it was issued at 4:40 p.m.

But Lang's Uber ride log shows at that time, she was in the middle of a ride — starting at 4:27 p.m. and ending at 4:52 p.m.

And then there's a second ticket she got last month at 2:01 p.m.

But her ride log shows she was in the middle of another ride, starting at 1:53 p.m. and ending at 2:09 p.m.

"I'm not there," Lang said. "I'm driving — I have a passenger in my car."

"I want an apology," Lang said, "and I want to understand how are they writing tickets when we're not there."

Lang says she knows several other rideshare drivers also being mailed tickets from NDOT.

"They don't want to come out here to raise their voice about it. They're afraid of retaliation," Lang said. "I'm afraid of retaliation, but I'm still going to stand here and fight it."

NDOT officials did not immediately answer our questions about why Lang got tickets for times her records show she wasn't parked, but they did release this statement:

NDOT has parking enforcement staff (separate from TLC inspectors) dedicated to enforcing right-of-way parking regulations including loading zones and stopping in a travel lane. Drivers may utilize loading zones for active loading and unloading for up to 15 minutes, but may not sit in a loading zone for the purposes of waiting. Drivers may not stop in a travel lane to load or unload passengers or goods. This practice is unsafe and contributes to traffic issues in the downtown core.

Someone who is non-compliant with traffic and parking laws will receive a ticket even if they drive off prior to being presented with a ticket, and it will be sent to the clerk’s office. The ticket will be processed by the clerk’s office and sent to the address on file with the DMV. It is the responsibility of the resident to update their address with the DMV’s office to ensure they receive notifications. NDOT does not process the citations, so I cannot answer more specifically about issues with addresses.

NDOT’s goal is to provide a safe and efficient experience for all modes of travel in Downtown Nashville, and enforcing parking regulations is an important part of that effort.

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