New Law Closes a Loop Hole on Drivers with Parking Citations
2013-08-15 · By Editor
Governor Brown has signed into law, AB 443 by Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, and sponsored by the City of Long Beach. This bill helps to level the playing field for collecting parking citations. It allows the State Department of Motor Vehicles to deny a vehicle transfer between family members if there are unpaid parking citations associated with the vehicle. AB 443 becomes effective January 1, 2014.
“AB 443 just makes sense,” says Mayor Bob Foster. “This bill levels the playing field for car owners by eliminating an opportunity for scofflaws to erase debt by selling their vehicle to a family member.”
Currently, registered owners of vehicles with unpaid parking citations can transfer their vehicle to a family member to evade paying the citations prior to renewing the vehicle’s registration. The vehicle transfer fee is $15 – much less than an overdue parking citation. This inequity has occurred in the past, but will no longer be an option for those with delinquent parking citations. AB 443 gives the State explicit authority to require payment for parking citations before transferring the vehicle in cases when the intended transfer is between family members.
“I am always looking for ways for government to be more efficient and effective,” said Assemblymember Lowenthal. “AB 443 gets us closer to that end and will help local jurisdictions and trial courts realize more of the revenues they are entitled to from parking citations.”
Parking citation revenues are distributed to cities and counties, as well as State trial courts. Currently, the State receives $12.50 from each parking citation. Parking ticket citation collections becomes difficult after a delinquent registered owner transfers the vehicle to a new registered owner. This problem occurs in cities throughout California. By closing the familial transfer loophole, AB 443 promotes fairness and has the potential to generate additional revenue for the State and the affected cities.
In addition to sponsoring AB 443, the City of Long Beach has increased collections by modifying the collections billing process to allow additional time for citations to be paid before penalties are assessed. In addition, a Final Notice is generated as a reminder to the registered owner that the parking citation has not been paid and additional penalties and collection actions will be pursed. Delinquent parking citations are referred to the collection firm about 80 days from the citation issue date. As a result, collection activity is now performed earlier by the collection firm to improve City revenues. The City has also engaged the use credit reporting. Parking citations that remain unpaid after numerous attempts to seek payment through notices and phone contact are now subjected to adverse credit reporting. Long Beach is also enrolled in the State Franchise Tax Board Tax Intercept Program. Customers that fail to respond to the warnings are eligible to have their income tax refunds intercepted by the City to be applied to outstanding fines and penalties.
AB 443 was supported by the League of California Cities, City of La Mirada, City of Sacramento, and California Public Parking Association.