Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Law of the Road

Two interesting "road stories" caught my eye today. First, from Yahoo News:

New Delhi court: Don't smoke and drive

Smoking poses serious health risks. So does driving in New Delhi. And combining the two is deadly, according to two New Delhi judges who have barred smoking at the wheel, officials said Tuesday, apparently the first such ban in the world.

Declaring "New Delhi roads dangerous to human life," the city's High Court on Monday imposed a slew of new measures aimed at deterring habitually bad drivers, including the smoking ban and a prohibition on using a mobile phone while at the wheel.

"Anything that distracts the attention of driver is dangerous. The human mind cannot do two things simultaneously," said New Delhi's traffic commissioner Qamar Ahmed, welcoming the ruling, which goes into effect April 9 and only covers New Delhi, a city of 14 million people.

And then there was this crazy one, from theNewspaper.com:

Florida: City to Seize Homes Over a $5 Parking Ticket

Brooksville, Florida proposes to foreclose homes and seize cars over less than $20 in parking tickets.

The city council in Brooksville, Florida voted this week to advance a proposal granting city officials the authority to place liens and foreclose on the homes of motorists accused of failing to pay a single $5 parking ticket. Non-homeowners face having their vehicles seized if accused of not paying three parking offenses.

According to the proposed ordinance, a vehicle owner must pay a parking fine within 72 hours if a meter maid claims his automobile was improperly parked, incurring tickets worth between $5 and $250. Failure to pay this amount results in the assessment of a fifty-percent "late fee."

After seven days, the city will place a lien on the car owner's home for the amount of the ticket plus late fees, attorney fees and an extra $15 fine. The fees quickly turn a $5 ticket into a debt worth several hundred dollars, growing at a one-percent per month interest rate.

The ordinance does not require the city to provide notice to the homeowner at any point so that after ninety days elapse, the city will foreclose. If the motorist does not own a home, it will seize his vehicle after the failure to pay three parking tickets.


Any motorist who believes a parking ticket may have been improperly issued must first pay a $250 "appeal fee" within seven days to have the case heard by a contract employee of the city. This employee will determine whether the city should keep the appeal fee, plus the cost of the ticket and late fees, or find the motorist not guilty. Council members postponed a decision on whether to reduce this appeal fee until final adoption of the measure which is expected in the first week of April.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto
Visit our Website: www.wiselaw.net

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