Agency: Department of Transportation

Title: Ticketing as a Simplified Process for Civil Penalty Violation Cases

Background Information

The Coast Guard (CG) recently created a more streamlined method of enforcing minor violations of pollution regulations. Until the CG began a pilot project to test this new enforcement method, all civil penalty cases, no matter how small, were part of the same multi-level review process. This time- consuming process begins with a Report of Violation by an investigating Marine Safety Officer and ends with a CG hearing officer penalty assessment. With the modified process, Marine Safety Officers issue "Notices of Violation" (NOV) or "tickets" to alleged violators for very small violations of pollution prevention regulations. The alleged violators can then pay the proposed penalty within 30 days to close the case. If they want to contest the NOV, they have the option of following the normal civil penalty assessment process. During the civil penalty process, a hearing officer assesses a new penalty amount after review of the-case. The alleged violator will then have the option of either a written rebuttal or a hearing on the new penalty amount. This typically takes between four months to a year to closure. For cases where the violation is clear and the violator accepts the penalty, the ticketing process dramatically streamlines the present civil penalty assessment process by elimination of numerous additional steps. A few statistics reveal the efficiencies of the ticketing program. Within 30 days, 64% of the alleged violators paid their tickets; within 45 days, 87% of the alleged violators paid their tickets.

The solution offered by the "pollution ticket" concept consists of five components: l) The CG initiated a project to amend existing laws in order to change the current process. 2) The CG modified its Marine Safety software system to streamline data capture and information processing and documentation. 3) The CG created the NOV form, providing the alleged violator with citation of the violation and the penalty amount, etc. 4) The CG developed an automated collections process which bypassed District or Hearing Officer involvement. 5) The CG designed a statistical program to track key measures of effectiveness.

Main NPR categories: Customer Service

Contact Person: Yvonne Heffner

Contact Phone: (202)-267-0970

Contact Address: USCG Headquarters

2100 2nd St S.W.

Washington, D.C. 20593-0001

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