Innovation

Parking Ticket Bot Has 60 Percent Success Rate

Did you know there are more than 10 million parking violations cited per year in New York City? It probably doesn’t help that more than 117,000 of those violations happened after a neighbor ratted the vehicle to 311 that it was parked illegally.

But now there’s a bot to help dismissing parking tickets and their fines without getting an attorney involved in the case.

NPR’s All Things Considered ran a story about DoNotPay, a “robot lawyer” that will help get parking ticket holders out of paying — or, at least, try to.

After logging onto the site, the alleged parking violator is asked questions about where and what happened regarding the ticket. In keeping with today’s pace of technology, within minutes a full letter will appear ready to send to the city from which the ticket came.

To date, DoNotPay says that about 60 percent of the time the parking violator gets the ticket dismissed.

The service is free and was first available in New York City and across the pond in London, and it recently has expanded to cities like Seattle. According to a CBS News story on the bot, DoNotPay has already saved drivers around $5 million through more than 200,000 tickets.

The real-person behind it? A 20-year-old Stanford student from London: Joshua Browder. He told CBS that the concept idea materialized after he received his fourth parking ticket and his parents told him they weren’t going to help him with it any longer.

Without the money, he took to his computer programming skills and created the bot.

The NPR story told the tale of Dan Lear who dropped off his kids for their first day of school and parked near a funny-colored fire hydrant thinking, in his rush, that it might be OK. When he returned to the car, he saw a little “gift” left for him on the vehicle.

“I was bummed! I mean, obviously no one’s really happy when they get a ticket, but I went home, I put it on my fridge and I let it sit there because I just didn’t want to deal with it,” he told NPR. He said he soon found DoNotPay and successfully got his ticket dismissed.

Browder said he does research for the bot through trips to cities and looks for strange or confusing signs. Perhaps they’re covered up or their wording is unclear or incomplete. The bot also looks for discrepancies such as if the car is blue but the ticket sites a brown car.

By springtime, the bot will be available for those parking violators in San Francisco, Denver, Los Angeles and Chicago. The latter has its own set of parking meter issues battled by real-life lawyers.

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