The American security consultant Joseph Tartaro has received $ 12,049 in improperly assigned traffic fines, equivalent to almost € 11,000. The fines are sent his way because his license plate contains a programmer joke.
Tartaro said that during a presentation at the Defcon hacker conference, Wired said.
In the United States you can request a made-up license plate. Tartaro chose a license plate with the text 'null'. This term is used by computers to make clear if nothing is stated in a field.
The man thought the license plate would prevent him from having to pay traffic fines, because computers would get confused if the word was entered. A year after the word was registered, however, he received a traffic fine from another motorist.
Always a fine if an agent does not enter anything
Tartaro paid the fine, after which his car ended up in a penalty system of the computers of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Since then, he has been fined every time a cop forgot to enter the license plate when issuing a fine.
A company that had to deal with the fines did not want to forgive them unless Tartaro could prove that he really is not the owner of all fine cars. He even received fines from 2014, years before he registered his license plate.
After discussions with the DMV, Tartaro managed to reduce its fines to an amount of $ 6,262, which is approximately € 5,600. He still receives new traffic fines. A little later the amount was reduced even further to $ 140.
Tartaro has to pay part of the fines
At the same time, the DMV requires Tartaro to pay part of the fines. If he does not do this, he may not re-register his car with the government agency. The consultant refuses to do that, because this would be a confession of debt.
"If I try to change my license plate now, I think the situation will become even more confusing," Tartaro said. "I don't dare change it until all of this has been resolved."