The city's Department of Finance is beginning to enlist collection agencies to get their hands on $680 million in fines motorists have failed to pay since 2002, and some city drivers are calling the move too aggressive. "Collection agencies? That seems a bit harsh," driver Sophie Celha told the Daily News. "I think it's a cheap shot. They're getting enough money from the meters and tickets as it is." The nerve of them, asking people to actually pay their tickets.

David M. Frankel, the city’s finance commissioner, told the Times, “We have not taken anywhere near an aggressive enough posture to collect this money. We’re going to take a much more aggressive stand.” Previously, the city would let any person's overdue fines accumulate to $800 before sending out a collection agency, but now the agencies will be used to collect on any amount. The city will also suspend the registration of any car owner who is delinquent on five violations within 12 months. $209 million owed by 446,000 drivers has already been sent to collection agencies.

One of the worst drivers is Anthony Torres, who owes $57,526. But he claims the tickets were accumulated when he lent his van to a friend to make deliveries, and it's tough for him to pay off the debt on his salary of $7.50 an hour. “I learned my lesson: Don’t trust your friends," Torres said. “Hopefully, things will turn around and I’ll be able to do the right thing and pay off my debt." The Department of Finance says it's not asking anything ridiculous, and that the fines will help pay off the city's $3.3 billion budget gap. Or they'll just blow it all on something stupid like a new font for street signs.