The PayLock SmartBoot clamps to tires to immobilize vehicles until fines are paid.
Council puts ‘boot’ foot forward
A city program would lock down parking violators' vehicles
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Parking scofflaws beware. The City Council is pushing for a program to lock your vehicles' wheels with so-called "boots" until you pay up.
The city administration has 90 days to investigate the impact a boot program would have on taxpayers and drivers. The SmartBoot, or metal clamp, would be placed on vehicles with outstanding parking citations or owned by uninsured drivers.
The Honolulu Police Department argued the decision belongs with the state. A resolution passed by the City Council yesterday asks the state Legislature to provide funding for databases on uninsured drivers and outstanding citations.
There are 6,624 vehicles on Oahu with outstanding parking citations, with at least one having 90 citations and more than 4,000 with three to four citations.
BY THE NUMBERS
» There are 6,624 vehicles, almost 1 percent of the 660,377 vehicles registered on Oahu, with outstanding parking violations.
» One vehicle has about 90 citations.
» 25 vehicles each have about 50 to 90 citations.
» 643 each have about 10 to 49 citations.
» 1,725 vehicles each have five to nine citations.
» 4,231 vehicles each have three to four citations.
» In 2007, police issued about 27,000 citations for no insurance, 22,637 citations for delinquent motor vehicle registration and 28,470 citations for expired safety inspection.
Source: Hawaii Justice Information System
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The City Council moved closer to approving a "boot" program to encourage scofflaws to pay more than $1.5 million in outstanding parking tickets.
The city will conduct a review on how effective and costly the program would be to implement after the Council passed a resolution yesterday.
The "SmartBoot" is a large metal clamp locked to a wheel of a vehicle to immobilize it, and will be used to force people to pay accumulated unpaid parking tickets or to enforce vehicle insurance laws.
According to information gathered by the state Judiciary, there are 6,624 vehicles with a total of $1.5 million in outstanding parking citations on Oahu.
However, there is no local database regarding the number of uninsured vehicles out on the streets, said Capt. Letha DeCaires, of the Honolulu Police Department's legislative liaison office.
The Police Department stopped short of supporting the resolution, stating that the city should ask the state Legislature for funding in putting together accurate databases for parking citations and uninsured vehicles.
"This will allow for the issues identified above to be carefully researched with the appropriate city agencies to ensure that we do not try to resolve one set of problems by creating another," DeCaires said.
Yesterday's resolution, introduced by Councilman Charles Djou, urges the state Legislature to establish a database for uninsured vehicles and provide funding for the state Judiciary to modify its system to include an easy-to-access database for outstanding parking tickets.
The city also has 90 days to conduct a study on instituting the boot program. The SmartBoot is a device made by PayLock.
"I hear it from people who pay their taxes, obey the laws and pay their fines," Djou said. "Why do they have to share a road paid for by taxpayers with somebody who's not obeying the law?"
The city Division of Motor Vehicle and Licensing forces owners of vehicles to pay outstanding fines when they try to re-register.
However, the Police Department said drivers have found a loophole, referred to as "Grandma owns the vehicle for a dollar."
"The new phenomenon that they are experiencing is that a family member is coming in and stating that they just bought the vehicle, and then they are re-registering the vehicle in a new name, thus avoiding payment for the previous owner," DeCaires said.
DeCaires said the Police Department believes the issue belongs more under state jurisdiction, despite officers issuing the citations.
"We were hoping that they would look at it from that standpoint and redirect the resolution toward state legislation and action," DeCaires said.
The Police Department says the state must legislate authorization to immobilize or impound vehicles with repeat citations.
"The law could potentially identify the multiple types of traffic infractions or specify the number of parking citations or even the dollar amount of the fines that would authorize law enforcement to boot a vehicle," DeCaires said.
Djou said he was disappointed that police officials were less than enthusiastic about his proposal, but he understands that it might not be a priority for them. He added that boot enforcement can be done without being an additional burden on officers.
"They have done it without the police," Djou said, "meaning it's a contractor that actually places the boot."
Djou said he believes removing noncompliant vehicles off the highways would "probably do more to alleviate traffic congestion than anything else the city government could possibly come up with."