DeSaulnier Bill to Stop Unfair Parking Tickets

Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) announced that he has introduced Senate Bill 1388, sponsored by AAA, to allow motorists to park at broken parking meters for the posted time limit without getting a ticket.

“When parking meters are broken or a payment center is inoperable, motorists should be allowed to park for the posted time limit without getting a ticket,” said DeSaulnier. “Motorists should not have to wonder whether it is OK to park in a particular parking space and for how long. Motorists already think that increased parking enforcement is because of tight municipal budgets. Let’s not make things worse by wrongly ticketing motorists.”

SB 1388 is sponsored by AAA (AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah and the Automobile Club of Southern California). AAA has 10 million members in California and reports that member complaints are on the rise as meter technology is changing and ticket fines are getting bigger.

“Right now, motorists don’t know what to do when they find they’ve parked at a broken meter,” said Steve Finnegan, Government Affairs Manager for the Automobile Club of Southern California. “That’s because rules change from city to city and they aren’t always posted. Senator DeSaulnier’s bill fixes this problem by simply allowing drivers to park at broken meters (up to the posted time limit) and making clear what the rules are so motorists are not unfairly ticketed.”

“We view this as a simple matter of fairness for the motoring public,” said Bob Brown, Public Affairs Director for AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, which represents nearly 4 million members in Northern California. “Motorists should be entitled to park in open parking spaces for the allotted time period, even if the meter is broken, unless they are clearly notified otherwise that they will be subjected to a parking ticket.”

The issue of broken parking meters has arisen in other areas of the country including Detroit and Atlanta with claims of irregularities and situations where people couldn’t pay and then were ticketed. Earlier this month, WXYZ TV in Detroit reported various problems with the same kinds of electronic pay stations used throughout California. “In some cases, when people try to pay, the stations won’t accept money, either cash or credit cards. When the parking meter enforcement workers come by, they write tickets even when the pay stations aren’t working.”

“This common sense preventative measure will help assure that California drivers are not ticketed based on unfair or unknown parking rules,” said DeSaulnier. “It is a simple measure to make sure the rules are clear and drivers have notice of what they are before they get a parking ticket.”

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) is the Chair of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee and represents the Seventh Senate District, which includes Antioch and most of Contra Costa County.

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