Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tennessee Regulates Car Booting...Finally? photo

I am not sure how critical I am allowed to be of Tennessee because...

I do not have facts and figures on how many states regulate "booting" at all. My sense is, however, Tennessee is pretty late in the game. Better late than never, though, unless it's money in a parking meter.

In that case, you're just out of luck.

Anyway, here is a link to the article, which is also reproduced below.

Car "boot" rules win approval by state

Legislation will let cities regulate fees charged by private parking lots

NASHVILLE - Reports of motorists in Gatlinburg being charged up to $200 to free a "booted" car have led to passage of legislation that will let cities regulate the fees charged by private parking lot operators using the devices.

The bill passed the House 94-0 Monday night and now goes to Gov. Phil Bredesen for his expected signature. It had been unanimously approved by the Senate earlier.

The wheel immobilizers, or "boots," are affixed to vehicles to block them from being moved when the vehicle has been left in a parking lot too long, in an improper area or without a required payment. The vehicle remains immobilized until the motorist pays a fee.

Some private parking lot operators have developed a reputation of "being aggressive, egregious and really going after people hard" with the devices, said Rep. Joe McCord, R-Maryville, House sponsor of the measure.

There has been an "enormous amount of complaints" from motorists forced to pay huge fees to have boots taken off cars, he said, and the Gatlinburg City Council unanimously passed a resolution asking for passage of the bill.

Some cities use boots on cars that have been illegally parked or found to have a high number of parking violations. Cities typically charge $25 to $40 to remove a boot, but private businesses with parking lots have reportedly been charging $150 or even $200, backers of the measure said.

McCord said he had heard "not a single complaint" against enactment of the bill, while "a lot of people are very much in favor of it."

The only House floor debate on the measure came when Rep. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, questioned whether the measure would block the use of boots, which can be cheaper to a motorist than having a car towed.

McCord replied that this would not be the case, noting that governments already can regulate the towing industry. The bill merely puts boots in the same posture, he said.

As initially introduced, the bill would have applied only to Gatlinburg. But it was amended to apply statewide, giving all municipalities the right to establish maximum fees - if they wish - that may be charged by parking lot operators for unlocking the devices.
The bill was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Raymond Finney, R-Maryville.

Towing Utopia says: Senator Raymond Finney hasn't gotten enough credit for this. I'm going to send Finney an email to see if I can solicit more information.

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