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State Politics

Bye-Bye Parking Boots? A New Law Could Make Them Illegal. We Explain.

If passed, the legislation could mean the end of the private industry statewide.

The car booting industry could be dealt a major blow if a new law is passed that would make it illegal to place the device on parked vehicles statewide. (Getty Images)

It has happened to all of us.

Ask a local and they will probably tell you how they have fallen victim to getting parking boots — devices placed on tires to keep vehicles from moving — on their cars multiple times.

The private industry of car booting has been problematic and costly for affected residents for years, but that could change. On Feb. 23, Democratic Sen. Josh McLaurin introduced SB 247, which would make the enforcement of booting illegal in Georgia.

“The whole idea is that this is a practice that has been overused and abused, and it’s not something that’s done fairly,” McLaurin told reporters outside the state Capitol earlier this week after announcing the bill via Twitter.

We explain the proposed bill, current protections against booting in Atlanta, and what it all means for you.

Here’s what to know.

So, what’s in the bill? 

As of now, state law currently allows private parking enforcement companies to place boots on your vehicle if the municipality your car is parked in has an ordinance that allows it. Under SB 247, private booting companies could be fined up to $1,000 for putting those devices on your car, even if it’s parked illegally.

The bill would also protect residents from local government entities by outlawing booting practices as a means of parking enforcement.

Does that mean I can park illegally without repercussions?

Not so fast.

SB 247 would only protect your vehicle from being booted. It does not, however, protect you from receiving tickets from private companies or local governments for illegal parking on private property. So, while you might not have to wait for a boot to be removed from your car, you still can receive a hefty ticket or fine, depending on the location.

Does the city of Atlanta have any protections?

There have been calls for reform in the city’s car booting industry.  

Back in November 2018, the city called for changes to its parking ordinance, requiring increased background check requirements for booting operators. The ordinance called for clearer signage to alert drivers to the fact their cars might be booted or towed. It also allowed for business owners to apply for permits to boot vehicles themselves. 

The original draft of the city’s resolution, including wording that would have banned booting cars completely, was removed before the ordinance was approved.

What should I do about parking in the meantime?

Park legally and be aware of your surroundings. Make sure you are paying for parking when necessary and receiving confirmation or receipt of the transaction.

According to state law, owners of private parking lots and property must place signs at each designated entrance to a parking lot or area where prohibitions apply. If there is not a designated entrance, signs should be posted clearly and visible from each and every parking space. 

State law also requires that signs clearly state that unauthorized vehicles are subjected to booting with the parking enforcement’s company name, address, and telephone number available to customers.

What’s next for the bill?

SB 247 has gained bipartisan support from other Georgia lawmakers. Next, the bill has to be assigned to a committee on March 6, aka Crossover Day, for it to be considered in the current legislative session.