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Maryland Drivers Receive the Most Parking Tickets in DC

Photograph via iStock.

There’s a long-held debate around Washington over which jurisdiction is home to the worst drivers. With jobs in DC split about evenly between the city and the suburbs, the District sees drivers from all over put to the test with its one-way streets, traffic circles, back-in-only spaces, and parallel parking. What insight can open data provide into the prowess of the region’s drivers? Newly released parking-ticket data sheds some light.

The District issued more than 1.5 million parking tickets in 2015, generating more than $73 million in fines. While DC residents received a little less than one-third of the tickets, they were not actually the top recipients. That honor goes to motorists from Maryland, who accrued more DC parking tickets than drivers from anywhere else in the country. Maryland drivers received 120,000 more DC parking tickets than DC residents, for a total of 554,265 parking tickets worth over $25 million in fines. The trend is consistent with previous years and, perhaps more importantly, regional lore.

This does not necessary mean Maryland drivers are the worst drivers in the District. More Maryland drivers may drive through DC than actual DC residents. Data do not exist on all drivers that come through the District, but Maryland drivers in DC are most likely to live in the surrounding suburbs. Comparing parking tickets per number of residents in DC and the surrounding suburbs of Maryland and Virginia, DC moves up to the top by a considerable margin. In 2015 0.64 DC parking tickets were issued for every DC resident, compared to 0.28 and 0.22 per Maryland and Virginia resident, respectively.

But DC parking tickets are were also doled out to residents of all 50 states last year. Generally, the closer a state is to DC, the more tickets per vehicle it has received. Cars from between Iowa and California received the fewest parking tickets in DC. Despite the distance, West Coast states racked up more than 7,000 tickets last year. But it’s not a perfect correlation. Neither Alaska or Hawaii, surprisingly, were the state with the fewest parking tickets accumulated in the District. That distinction goes to Wyoming and its 152 infractions.

Technical notes: This piece was inspired by I Quant NY. Data are sourced from District of Columbia Open Data, the Metropolitan Police Department, and Census Population Estimates. You can find complete code for this post on my GitHub page.

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