Mayor Upset USPS Won’t Pay Traffic Tickets
EAST CLEVELAND — Many know the U.S. Postal Service’s unofficial creed: the one that begins, “neither snow, nor rain, nor heat” can prevent the mail from going through.
Apparently, neither can any traffic law.
East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton, Jr., is perplexed that the post office is refusing to pay roughly seven traffic tickets totaling about $690.
The reason? The post office said it is immune from state and federal regulations.
“If they think they can speed through school zones, we don’t appreciate that,” said Norton. “If they’re going to speed, at least they could get the mail through on time.”
A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, David G. Van Allen, issued the following statement Saturday:
“Employees of the United States Postal Service are subject to obeying local traffic laws and ordinances just like any other citizen. However, the Postal Service cannot legally be billed for any traffic violation fines incurred by its employees. There is no legal mechanism for transference of liability from the Postal Service to an employee protected under collective bargaining agreements.”
The postal service enjoys federal immunity, in part, so every city and town doesn’t pass differing regulations governing the mail, which would be expensive and complex for the postal service to follow.
But Norton is surprised the postal service would invoke the immunity on traffic tickets.
“We respect the postal carriers,” Norton told Fox 8. “But they’re not the Secret Service, they’re not the CIA. They do not have a law enforcement function, there’s no reason they need to speed through school zones.”
The postal service said if a police officer stops one of its carriers and writes up a ticket, the carrier would be responsible for it personally, and the postal service would not try to fight it.
But because tickets issued for violations seen on cameras go not to the driver, but to the owner of the car, the postal service won’t pay because, by law, it can’t be billed by a state or local government due to its immunity.
Van Allen said that the postal service’s agreement with its union prevents it from passing along a ticket to its carriers to pay.
“The post office seems to think they are above the law,” said Norton.