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Debate: Parking Fines

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Is it fair to issue parking fines to people who park their car longer than the allocated time?

Background and Context of Debate:

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In 1926 American merchants listed downtown traffic congestion as their most serious difficulty. Unenforced curbside parking and lack of off-street parking facilities were listed as the primary problems. Customers went where they could park.

During the great depression city revenues dwindled. With parking meters, however, a new source of municipal revenue was found. Not only did the nickels paid in by parkers accumulate, but so did the fines imposed for over parking. By 1944, American cities were generating some $10 million annually from parking meters alone. Soon after came meter maids, who were paid less than police officers, to increase city revenues. Complex parking rules, restrictions and regulations are now an integral part of modern life and landscape.

Typically a ticket is placed on a vehicle when the owner or driver is not present. There is no place for a signature, and in California the registered owner cannot be charged with a misdemeanor or other criminal offense for ignoring a ticket. A letter will usually be sent prior to any punitive action. Most jurisdictions, however, will have sanctions such as refusal to allow renewal of license plates if the owner of the vehicle has unpaid parking tickets. In some jurisdictions, such as New York City, a vehicle may be towed if it has overdue parking fines exceeding a specified balance. In many jurisdictions, such as Boston, vehicles with numerous outstanding parking citations are subject to booting.

In Bethesda, Maryland, parking violations on restaurant row (Fridays and Saturdays) from 6 PM to 10 PM is a $50 fine. The reason is to clear the street for valet parking.

Parking violations are going up all over the United States to generate additional revenues. In Boston alone $13 million is made annually.

In Europe, parking tickets are also heavily used. In Sweden, parking violations on street are considered traffic crimes with a fine. If the fine is not objected or paid within a specified time, the Swedish Enforcement Administration will claim money from bank accounts or other assets, relatively fast. The owner will be noted as a bad payer, and will not get a loan or a new rental apartment etc for three years. According to statistics from Stockholm the cars with the highest number of parking violations (weighted for number of cars) is Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Lexus. The greatest arrogance is found in Mercedes owners who are in the top of parking in handicap spaces. According to Professor Gunnar Aronsson at the department for psychology at Stockholm university it is probably due to the owners being well-off and thinking that their time is more important. That they consider themselves to be above other people. According to Jan Prestberg at the traffic office in Stockholm the fines are low enough to be ignored by richer people.

Foreign-registered vehicles can in Europe in reality not be fined. This is partly because it is too much work to find the owner in a foreign country, but mainly because it is not legally possible to claim money from a foreign resident person if they don't pay voluntarily. The European Union is introducing legislation into all member countries to collect fines across borders. In some cities, like London, this has been solved by locking one wheel of a falsely parked vehicle. The driver has to pay to be able to drive.

Based on Parking violation; used under the GNU Free Documentation License

Contents

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Are parking fines fair?

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Yes

  • People are aware of the laws. If someone breaks the law, they deserve to get punished. Parking somewhere for too long is breaking the law so it is appropriate to charge a small fine because the person is aware of the law and they have broken it.
  • Parking illegally can put people in danger. When someone's parking puts people in danger eg. double parking, then it would be fair to issue a fine, because then it is a genuine crime.
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No

  • It shouldn't even be a crime. Parking "illegally" generally puts absolutely no-one in danger and parking for too long should most certainly NOT be a crime. People are charged ridiculous amounts just because they parked for too long. Only when their parking puts people in danger should they get a small fine.
  • It is just revenue raising. The council doesn't care about how long you park for, they just want to make money (revenue) from you. This is not fair because they are just profiting from your accidental "illegal" parking.
  • Awareness of the laws does not mean they are fair. People can be aware of laws, yet they can still be unfair. For example, Iranians are aware that the law says they must not convert to Christianity, this does not make the law fair.
  • Sometimes people are unaware of the laws. You see all the time people who "illegally" park without realising. Sometimes signs are unclear or not visible. It is unfair.
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Should officers be more lenient when issuing parking fines?

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Yes

  • It is just revenue raising. The council doesn't care about how long you park for, especially if you just park for a few minutes too long, they just want to make money (revenue) from you. This is not fair because they are just profiting from your accidental "illegal" parking.
  • Parking fines originated to raise revenue. Parking fines during the Great Depression to raise Revenue. Wikipedia states that "During the great depression city revenues dwindled. With parking meters, however, a new source of municipal revenue was found."


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No

  • There is no rational place where a boundary could be set. As there is no rational place where the level of leniency could be set, you might as well stick with the current limits.
  • People are aware of the laws. If someone breaks the law, they deserve to get punished, even if it is just a small violation. Parking somewhere for too long is breaking the law so it is appropriate to charge a small fine because the person is aware of the law and they have broken it. This still applies id they only parked for a few minutes too long.
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Should people have to pay to park their car?

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Yes

  • Charging for car parking may help the environment. By charging for car parking people may be more likely to walk instead of drive. This will help the envioronment by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.
  • People have the right to make money. Organizations should be able to charge if they have put a lot of effort into building a car park.
  • It often costs a lot of money to build a car park. Because it costs a lot to build a car park, the company who built it needs the money back and a little bit of profit. A small fee will provide money to the company who built the carpark and help them get back the money they spent building it. There is nothing wrong with that, it is just profiting from their business. If they didn't, what would be the point? None.
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No

  • Everyone needs to put their car somewhere, why make them pay? The council should not profit from people parking their cars. This is unfair. It is an inevitable thing that people need to put their car somewhere will they shop or go to work, and they don't want people profiting from it.
  • People have already payed for parking through road taxes. People have already payed once through their taxes, so it is not fair to force them to pay again.
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Do local governments put too much pressure on officers to issue parking tickets?

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Yes

  • Councils are revenue driven so they pressure officers to hand out many tickets - "...In my many discussions with them, I have come to understand that Council Parking Attendants are caught in a sandwich between, on the one hand, revenue-driven pressure from the Council to issue tickets and, on the other hand, angry members of the public who believe parking enforcement should be fair and carried out in accordance with common sense. Many Parking Attendants I have spoken to actually agree wholeheartedly with the latter point of view but feel that they are powerless to do anything about it." - Dr William J. Knottenbelt Senior Lecturer at Imperial College London - [1]


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No

  • Councils only encourage enforcement of the law. All councils are doing is encouraging enforcement of the law, that's not too much.

See also

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