A traffic stop in Los Angeles. Police Vehicle Owners Group/CC BY-ND 2.0
2,500 parking tickets: one man’s battle with the DMV
In 1979, a Los Angeles man decided to get a personalized license plate that would express his love of sailing — and ended up with 2,500 parking tickets.
Here’s what happened: Robert Barbour requested plates that would read either “SAILING” or “BOATING.” But the DMV form contained a line for a third choice. Barbour didn’t have one, so he just wrote “NO PLATE.”
And those are precisely the plates he received. He got a kick out of it so he decided to use them. Within weeks his mailbox was stuffed with notices for overdue traffic violations. It turned out that police officers were writing “No plate” on citations for vehicles that had no license plates. DMV computers were matching all of those tickets to Barbour’s vehicle.
Barbour never had to pay the fines, but fighting them was a collosal headache. The DMV asked officers to start writing “none” instead of “no plate” on citations.
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