In America, parking tickets are too insignificant for out budget-strapped police departments to devote much effort to enforcing. For many drivers, they have become little more than an annoyance, entitling them to park in any manner they please just to save walking a few steps. But apparently that is not the case the world over, as two recent cases in the U.K. illustrate.
In an effort to raise revenue, the city of Topeka, Kansas is making a concerted effort to collect on ignored parking violations. According to one public works official, around $650,000 worth of parking citations remain uncollected. The top offender on the list has accumulated a staggering $42,000 of that on her own.
The top 15 chronic violators accounted for nearly a quarter of the entire $650,000 tab. That city is considering cracking down on by immobilizing three-time violators with steel “boots.”
Illegal in London
Meanwhile, a wrongful parker’s vehicle in London didn’t just get the boot. It got blown up!
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Recently Nima Hosseini Razi, a tourist vacationing in London, parked his rented Ford Mondeo illegally when he had engine trouble. He called the car rental company and was told they would come around with a replacement vehicle. In the meantime, rather than waiting at the car, Razi decided to take in some more sites on foot.
He left a note in the windshield, saying the car would not start, and headed out. However, he didn’t take into account that the vehicle was parked a hop, skip and a jump away from the House of Commons and Westminster Abbey.
The anti-terrorism squad in London takes apparently-abandoned vehicles parked so close to government facilities and landmarks very seriously. Explosives were used to open the locked vehicle — presumably, so it could be opened remotely in case it had been wired to explode.
Insult to injury
Razi returned to find every window shattered and the car completely demolished. Then he was issued a parking citation. Ouch.
‘Overzealous traffic warden’
A second recent incident of “extreme” parking citations in the United Kingdom, however, indicated that sometimes enforcers can take their duties a little too seriously
A woman with a handicapped parking permit was parked in a “disabled bay” — or, a handicapped parking space — at the University Hospital in Cardiff, Wales, undergoing an emergency kidney transplant surgery late last month. When she returned, she found ten parking citations plastered to the windshield of her 2009 red Mini by, according to the Daily Mail, an “overzealous traffic warden.” The ten tickets together amounted to a fine of £300, or about $470.
The Daily Mail quoted one bystander:
“It is a disgrace — where is the compassion?”
Subsequently, amidst a storm of public protest, the citations have been removed.