Shrugged off tickets shrink bank accounts

By Shanna O’Mara

During the fall 2015 semester, 3,217 parking tickets were issued by Public Safety on the Lawrenceville campus.
During the fall 2015 semester, 3,217 parking tickets were issued by Public Safety on the Lawrenceville campus.

The windshield is plastered with parking tickets as the owner approaches the car and shoves the notices to the bottom of a bag. It’s just another week, another pile of paper, another sum due.

Some students may assume that parking tickets can never catch up to them, that “Public Safety cannot identify them as the owners/operators of the vehicles if they do not register” their car, according to Director of Public Safety Vickie Weaver. But these assumptions are wrong.

“Periodically, we will see a student accumulate fines totaling into thousands of dollars,” Weaver said. “This is most often due to the student intentionally failing to register their vehicle. We do identify vehicle owners/operators and then hold them accountable for any accumulated tickets.”

These offenses can contribute to a driver’s record and reduce drivers’ rights to cruise at will.

“These students may lose their driving privileges on campus, plus face disciplinary action for violating the Student Code of Social Conduct,” Weaver said.

During the fall 2015 semester, 3,217 parking tickets were given out to students, faculty, staff members and visitors. This number is only slightly lower than the total amount of tickets administered during all of last year. For the 2014-15 academic year, 4,951 were recorded while 5,517 tickets were written out during the 2013-14 school year and a whopping 6,548 were reported the year before, according to Weaver.

“The number of tickets issued often fluctuates based on the number of students who fail to register their vehicles,” she said. “Those who do not register, yet park on campus, are subject to a greater number of tickets for failing to comply with parking and traffic regulations, as outlined in The Source.”

While Public Safety does its best to keep the Rider community safe, some students feel that the university takes this mission a bit too far.

“I feel like Rider goes way overboard with the parking tickets, and they have no mercy,” sophomore behavioral neuroscience major Jennifer Londregan said. “I get nervous even parking outside my residence hall to carry stuff to my car because they are always giving tickets. But I guess it’s understandable if someone never registers their car — that’s a different situation.”

Although some students have had success in appealing tickets they believed were inappropriately issued, the frequency at which this happens is relatively low. Only 15 percent of appeal forms are accepted, according to Weaver. All reviews are conducted by a Traffic Ticket Review Board made up of representatives from the student body and staff.

While those who frequently receive tickets may be irritated by the amount they are forced to pay, others who follow the rules outlined by The Source actually benefit from their peers’ negligence.

“The money collected from motor vehicle traffic tickets goes into the university’s General Account Fund,” Weaver said. “It is part of the university’s operating budget and helps support all of the services that Rider provides to students.”

Weaver urges all students to register their vehicles to avoid consequences because of an excess of tickets or events during which cars need to relocate.

“Everyone is expected to register their vehicle with Public Safety,” she said. “By doing so, not only are you adhering to reasonable vehicle regulations, but you also provide Public Safety with your immediate contact information in the event we encounter a problem with your vehicle during our patrols or if we need you to move your vehicle to another designated area due to construction work, weather concerns or other traffic-related reasons.”

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