Nashville drivers upset over parking tickets mailed by NDOT employees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — No one likes getting a parking ticket, but imagine getting multiple tickets for dates and times you weren’t parked at all.

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

After receiving a string of parking tickets while driving for Uber, Lang began to take a closer look. At least one of her tickets was reportedly issued not by Metro Police, but by a Nashville Department of Transportation employee — a responsibility NDOT says it assigns to certain employees.

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

NDOT says those employees don’t even have to physically hand drivers a ticket, sometimes mailing it to drivers “if they leave before being presented with a ticket.”

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

“I think it’s gross,” Lang said. “Let me explain why I’m sitting here, maybe my passenger is taking the elevator down from the hotel.”

Additionally, Lang says the parking tickets NDOT wrote him are from times he says he can prove he wasn’t parked at all.

Lang showed us two tickets he received in the mail. On both, NDOT employees noted that Tracy “drove off” or “walked off” before they could hand them to him.

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

But Lang’s Uber travel log shows that at the time, she was in the middle of a trip – starting at 4.27pm and ending at 4.52pm.

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

But her travel log shows she was in the middle of another trip starting at 1:53pm and ending at 2:09pm.

“I’m not there,” said Lang. “I’m driving—I’ve got a passenger in the car.”

“I want to apologize,” Lang said, “and I want to understand how they write tickets when we’re not there.”

Lang says he knows other rideshare drivers have received tickets in the mail from NDOT.

“They don’t want to come here to speak up about it. They’re afraid of retaliation,” Lang said. “I fear retribution, but I will still stand here and fight.”

NDOT officials did not immediately respond to our questions about why Lang was ticketed for times when her records show she was not parked, but did release this statement:

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

Someone who doesn’t follow traffic and parking laws will get a ticket even if they leave before 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 resident’s responsibility to update their address with the DMV office to ensure they receive notices. NDOT does not process citations, so I cannot answer more specifically about address issues.

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

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