Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dallas Is Filling Its Impound Lots With Seized Cars Photo

The City of Dallas made good on its threat to enforce an "uninsured motorist ordinance," and has reportedly been seizing cars on a massive scale, according to this article from Channel 11 in Dallas, click here.

In the first nine days of 2009, Dallas police...

...reportedly towed 256 cars. This does not include vehicles towed from accident sites, so that would be mostly seizures. Drivers who are pulled over simply lose their cars if they don't have insurance. They rack up a fine, towing charges, and $20 a day for impound fees.

There are certainly much better incentives to make drivers buy insurance, incentives which don't hurt people so badly in a tough economy. Dallas is driving down the wrong road, and if Dallas thinks there won't be political "push back" from all those upset drivers--poor and uninsured, though they may be--then Dallas is collectively out of its mind.

It is sad and frustrating to see some cities making sensible progress, click here for an example, but then to see such brutal, regressive practices spring up in a major city like Dallas. You have to wonder "WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!" And why do citizens just knuckle under, like that, and swallow such abuses?

Directing Attention Toward Solutions, Not Just Gripes

My little saga with Towing Utopia began with the seizure of my van in Minneapolis during a snow emergency, click here, and my sense of violation and my certainty there is something fundamentally wrong with the system if vehicles are being seized because--good grief--SOMETIMES IT SNOWS IN MINNESOTA, SURPRISE, SURPRISE.

My goal in 2009, as I stated in this blog post, click here, is to figure out how to give this website a greater impact. Having my van seized AGAIN--this time because it was stolen and recovered--and having to make a trip to the impound lot AGAIN made me think, "What am I doing wrong? What am I doing right? How can I do better?"

Therefore, I have decided every one of my blog posts--EVERY ONE OF THEM--will have two things at the end.

1.) A link to a post suggesting regulatory steps cities commonly undertake to stop predatory towing practices. I have not yet written this blog post, but I will.

In the meantime, some fairly common regulations include: limits on how far vehicles can be towed, regulation of parking lot signage, and prohibitions on "cash only" policies. Anything cities can do to make their systems transparent--to make it possible for all concerned parties to track vehicles on the internet, and have a record of the facts and fees--is particularly good.

Archaic "cash and carbon paper" systems have to go the way of the do-do bird, or citizens will inevitably be abused.

2.) A link to Compiled Logic, click here, a company in Houston, Texas that helps cities solve their towing problems with high tech solutions. This company works closely with reputable towing companies, cities, police departments, etc.

They're businesspeople, not bloggers, so I hope they won't mind unsolicited free publicity.

In my experience, Ron Smith of Compiled Logic is a pretty great guy, super friendly as a good salesman should be. So I don't think he'll mind.

I'll do this because Compiled Logic has some high tech solutions for more transparent, less abusive towing systems. In 2009, I want anybody who stumbles on this blog (while investigating these predatory towing issues) to instantly have an answer to this question:

"Where can my city go to get some help with this problem besides writing about it on a blog?"

1 comment:

Dragonater said...

This is an unconstitutional ordinance, which makes it invalid from its inception.

No law can require private persons to purchase contracts with private corporations.

All state attorney generals are now arguing that fact of law against Obama's national healthcare bill, requiring purchase of private health insurance, or pay massive fines and go to jail.

Thus all such illegal towings must be treated as cartheft, which authorizes citizens arrest and justifiable homicide in self defense.

Study the Battle of Athens TN in 1946, where 500 veterans machine-gunned and bombed the sheriff office for 24 hours, then made citizen's arrests on the sheriff and 300 deputies, which started over bogus speeding tickets: