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Nobody in Nassau Wants to ‘Get the Boot’

County to come down hard on scofflaws

The “boot” in question is not that nifty, expensive leather fashion item, but rather the immobilizing device that is placed on a car as a result of not paying traffic fines for parking or getting caught going through red lights. And, no doubt, it will cost more than that pricy footware you’ve been eyeing.

Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced that the Nassau County Boot and Tow Program has begun, as of March 26. This program has been set up to help collect unpaid fines from scofflaws with parking or traffic violations.

All vehicle owners who have three or more unresolved parking violations or unresolved Red Light Camera Notices of Liability, are considered scofflaws, and they will be subject to Nassau County’s Boot and Tow Program.

As part of the county’s program, violating vehicles will be immobilized and/or may be removed from the scene. The scofflaw will be liable for these expenses. The vehicle will not be released until all fines, surcharges and additional fees are paid in full.

Information regarding the list of scofflaws and tickets is obtained through the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency.

Mangano explained, “We’ve provided more than enough time for scofflaws to come forward and pay their fines but time is now running out for them. Nassau County is owed millions of dollars in these fines and we’re going to use all available methods to collect. If you have three or more outstanding tickets, I urge you to pay up or see your vehicle get booted and possibly towed.”

There are currently 7,900 vehicles with 45,099 parking tickets that have a value of $8.3 million that are considered parking ticket scofflaws. In addition, there are 8,004 vehicles that are considered to be Red Light Camera scofflaws with a total of $2.8 million owed. The Red Light Camera Program began in August of 2009.

In 2011, the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency (TPVA) conducted an amnesty period for all unpaid parking tickets issued prior to 2010, where fees and late charges were waived. The amnesty program ran through September 2011.

The Nassau County Boot and Tow Program will be administered by PayLock and will use SmartBoot technology, which provides a number of advantages over traditional booting and impounding.

Motorists will be able to settle outstanding citations through a help center that is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and to remove the boots themselves, by calling and obtaining the method to be used to remove the boot, rather than relying on waiting for someone to come and remove the boot.     

Those with vehicles that are parked legally will have a 48-hour grace period before their vehicle is towed with the boot. State-of-the-Art License Plate Reading technology will make it easier to identify vehicles owned by motorists with delinquent citations.

Smart Boot technology has operated in cities across the United States, including Syracuse, New York City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Maryland.

The Illustrated News reached out to Ellen LaRegina, a well-known New Hyde Park activist, who issued the following statement:  “I personally believe this is a great idea. The city of Philadelphia has been doing it for several years now and quite successfully and has generated substantial revenue. I believe that many drivers just ignore tickets, forget about them, or don’t feel they have to pay them for one reason or another. Their ignorance of the law, and the nonpayment of their infractions, creates unnecessary duplication of paperwork by the county that sometimes lingers on for more than a year. Booting vehicles might be considered harsh to some people, but if you don’t pay your tickets and continue to avoid the reality of doing so then you deserve the boot, and I can almost guarantee that once booted any future tickets will be paid on time. In addition, it sets a good example for others who might not be paying their fines and they will probably step up and do so as to avoid their vehicle being booted and towed. It’s a heck of a lot easier to pay the fine when you get the ticket.”

Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar added, “If we set laws and fail to enforce them, why bother putting them in place? County Executive Mangano, through his actions, is sending a loud and clear message to those who fail to follow through with their legal responsibilities. As mayor I applaud this program and hope it will encourage increased cooperation from those who violate the VTL laws.”

Residents can search for and pay unpaid parking tickets by visiting the following website: agencies/TPVA. Residents may also call 1-866-790-4111, if they want to inquire and/or pay outstanding Red Light Safety Camera Violations.

For additional information, residents can contact the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency by phone at 572-2700.