Turkey, traffic police

Scandal: traffic inspector fired for issuing thousands of false fines

More than 1,600 drivers were fined in two months in the same place and by the same person. An investigation showed that the fines were false.

A voluntary traffic inspector has been expelled from his post in northern Turkey after an investigation revealed that in less than two months he had issued fines for 2.1 million Turkish liras – more than 200,000 euros – to a total than 1,633 drivers for unjustified reasons.

According to the Turkish daily Sabah, the inspector, identified only by the initials B.T. and that was acting as a volunteer in the municipality of Akçaabat, on the outskirts of Trabzon, systematically dedicated to issue tickets for all vehicles that passed in front of the shop where he worked. Apparently and according to the Turkish newspaper, all the fines were for the same cause: “Violation of the emergency lane.”

Said lane, indeed, can only be used by ambulances and other emergency services vehicles; however, most of the sanctioned drivers appealed the fines, explaining to the police that the section of the road where the offense was allegedly committed was open to all types of vehicles, and that there was no emergency lane there.

Faced with the barrage of complaints and objections for the same cause, and with 1,010 drivers sanctioned in May and another 623 in the first 20 days of June in the same place, the authorities launched an investigation and discovered that behind all these fines was the same person: B.T., a voluntary traffic inspector, who was immediately fired from his post.

What are voluntary traffic inspectors in Turkey?

The volunteer traffic inspector is a figure that exists in Turkey: they are civilians who completely voluntarily report traffic offenses to police, with anyone over 40 years of age, with a driving license for at least 10 years, and whose driving license has not been suspended on any occasion, being eligible for the post.

A traffic inspector actually cannot issue fines, but only traffic tickets since he is responsible for reporting any infraction – wherever it occurs – to traffic police, who will proceed to punish the driver in question. He also cannot speak to offenders or stop vehicles.

In another similar scandal, last month a driver accused a traffic inspector of issuing a false traffic ticket in Kahramanmaraş province for parking the minibus he used to drive in front of his house, claiming that he was parking in a forbidden zone. In January, another inspector in the same province starred in a controversy that made headlines in the media for issuing fines of no less than 1,200 liras (115 euros) to several drivers for “parking in the opposite direction” on a street with both directions and no signs.