L.A. looking at giving car owners 'the boot' after 3 or 4 unpaid parking tickets

My-Thuan Tran - Los Angeles Times

January 28, 2010

Los Angeles city officials say they would like to give cars "the boot" after owners rack up three or four unpaid parking tickets, instead of five as the law requires now.

The idea is outlined in the city's proposed 2009-10 State Legislative Program, which it plans to submit to the Legislature to show its support for a bill that would change the current state vehicle code by reducing the number of unpaid parking citations required before a vehicle may be impounded.

The proposal is now in the hands of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose approval for the legislative recommendations is needed by Feb. 1.

In cases where five or more tickets are outstanding, Los Angeles applies the wheel-locking device called the Denver boot, or impounds the car until the tickets are paid. But that number is "unacceptably high" and is an "overly lenient policy that discourages vehicle owners from paying their parking citations in a timely manner," according to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

The threat of being given the boot after just three or four unpaid parking tickets would make owners more likely to pay their citations on time, increasing the amount of parking fines collected by the city, the department's analysts said.

It would also bring more money to the city through impounding and booting fees. The city collects $19 million with the current parking code. If the number of parking citations is reduced to four, the city would increase its funds by nearly $26 million. If it is reduced to three, the change would result in an additional $61 million.

-- My-Thuan Tran