11/17/2005UK to Seize Cars for Old, Minor Violations
More than 100,000 cars across the UK are subject to seizure under a new plan to nationalize parking tickets.
The UK Department for Transport is planning a national database listing every old, unpaid ticket for minor motoring offenses. Any car with three tickets such as forgetting to pay the London congestion tax, being caught on camera entering a bus lane or being parked at an expired meter will be subject to immediate towing or booting, even if the owner has moved out of the area in which the original offense is claimed.
Combined with the nationwide Automated Number Plate Recognition camera system expected to offer real-time information on the location of every vehicle, officials expect to boot or seize more than 100,000 vehicles. At £500 (US $860) in fines, storage fees, and other costs to recover their vehicle, the program could generate £50,000,000 (US $86,000,000) in revenue.
Transport department officials contend that the drastic measures are necessary because having more than one parking ticket is a sign a motorist is likely to commit much more serious offenses like driving without insurance.
Britain's top meter maid is enthusiastic about the new program. "By creating a national offenders database, parking attendants all over the UK would be able to act quickly, to the benefit of the public," Keith Banbury, the British Parking Association chief, told the London Times.
The London Motorists' Action Group opposes the plan as unfair to motorists who lose their property when the database is in error or the parking ticket in question was improperly issued. "It is incredibly disproportionate to seize a person's vehicle when they may be legitimately disputing unfair penalties," Lord Lucas of Crudwell and Dingwall, the group's chairman, told the Times.