Los Angeles traffic officers will begin to use the vise-like device known as the Denver Boot this week on vehicles they find having five or more unpaid parking tickets on their records.
The boot, first introduced in Denver and now common in many cities, is fastened around the wheel of a car, preventing it from moving. Drivers finding their vehicles immobilized by the contraption will have three days to pay all their outstanding parking tickets, plus a $35 "booting fee," or the vehicles will be towed away and the fees to retrieve them will rise to at least $50 plus payment of all the tickets, according to supervisors of the program.
Kaye Beechum, an aide in the city's Department of Transportation, estimates that at any one time 65,000 people who regularly drive in the city have five or more unpaid parking tickets. She said that few have responded to a written warning to pay the tickets before the boots begin going on vehicles on Wednesday.
And, Beechum stressed, a car will not have to be illegally parked at the time. She said traffic officers will concentrate on areas of the city where scofflaws are known to park, and when they find a license plate that registers in the appropriate computerized category, the boot will go on, even if the automobile is legally parked.
The city anticipates collecting up to $1.7 million a year in additional parking fines.