Bad Diplomat

bad diplomat

A reader sends a shot of this very undiplomatic parking job from Sunday:

“Does Diplomatic immunity mean you are allowed to park near fire hydrants? Seen on the 1300 block of Corcoran Street, NW”

28 Comment

  • Bad Aussie!

  • No you cannot park there, they “should” be ticketed and towed, but they will not get in trouble if they do not pay the tickets. Which, begs the question, does MPD know this and just decide not to even ticket + tow the car?

  • If I was a DC cop, I’d figure it would be nothing but trouble for me to tow this car. I’d just be putting a target on my back for various people in DC who think very highly of themselves to try and make my life worse.

  • Send it to the corresponding embassy (Australia?) if it really makes you mad. Most countries like Australia do not appreciate their staff taking advantage of this. And while they would not be forced to pay a ticket, they could still be towed in this instance.
    However, illegal parking happens all the time by more than diplomatic staff…’s just a matter of getting caught or not. Unless someone’s parked for an extended period of time, not sure they’d immediately call in a tow truck at first sighting for anyone.

  • smrtcar

    Someone should tweet this to the AUS Embassy.

    Immunity doesn’t mean impunity.

  • If there are enough complaints about or tickets on a specific vehicle, the embassy can (and in the past, embassies have) revoke their special plates, definitely tweet, facebook, or otherwise social media shame them.

  • It is possible that like other normal human beings, the driver simply made a mistake and did not intend to use his/her diplomatic plates to park illegally.

    • Isn’t it common knowledge that parking in front of fire hydrants is illegal? Granted I’m a non driver. But I’m pretty sure that a general not ok thing everywhere.

    • I wouldn’t care if it was taking advantage of Zone or time-limited parking, but blocking a hydrant is a safety issue. That’s not cool.

  • Recipient of the “L’Etat, C’est Moi” Award.

  • As an American Diplomat that was assigned to Australia, I can assure you we all paid our speeding tickets. Their cameras go off at 10% over the speed limit so I got tickets for going 67 KM in a 60 zone (IE about 4 miles over the limit). Those tickets cost me at the time 200 dollars a pop. I know someone who got a lecture for getting too many tickets in Australia from the US Deputy Chief of Mission in Canberra, even though they had paid all the tickets, the Australians complained about the sheer volume of offenses.

    Even with diplomatic immunity cops can and should ticket diplomats. If they don’t pay, there is no recourse short of us png the diplomat which we are not going to do, but most western Embassy’s will force their diplomats to pay. Also since blocking a fire hydrant is an immediate safety hazard, you could easily give this car a courtesy tow, perhaps to the front door of their embassy which is only a few blocks away.

    • There’s no point in diplomatic relations if you’re going to act in a way that risks burning down our homes. With friends like that, etc etc.

  • Just to clarify, there is a system where the municipal governments in DC and New York City can submit tickets to the Office of Foreign Missions Diplomatic Motor Vehicle Program. If the country in question has tickets associated with it, they are unable to renew their State Department-issued vehicle registration.


  • Hello! The Australian ambassador said he’d look into it (and told us to call next time). I said thanks –

  • To add – countries which receive foreign assistance from the U.S. have their parking ticket total deducted from their foreign assistance budget. I kid you not. So a diplomat from country xxx who doesn’t stop to think where s/he parks could be taking money away from their budget which would help fund schools, clinics, etc

  • I work for an Embassy in DC, diplomatic cars get tickets as everyone else, and tickets are paid or else we can’t renew registrations, request new plates for new diplomats, etc.

    • I’d also add that as a former employee at a US embassy in South America, a lot of how we treat country x’s diplomats in our country is based on reciprocity, i.e. how they (here, the Aussies) would treat a US diplomat doing this with their car in Australia. So is US diplomats in Canberra are held to task, then generally the Aussie diplomats will be held to task here by their ambassador.

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