Complaints over car booting led Sandy Springs Police Chief Terry Sult to advise City Council to set a fee limit for businesses that apply the vehicle immobilization device.
Currently some fees are in the $500-$700 range, said Sult, during last week’s City Council meeting. In one instance, a car was booted at North Springs shopping center, where Big Lots is located, when the driver decided to walk to the adjacent gas station to purchase a drink.
“When you start charging someone100 bucks for going to get a drink. That’s too much,” Sult said. “I’ve run into this problem before when there is no regulation.”
Fees can get out of control if the driver walks up as the booting operator is applying the device and becomes irate. “Sometimes fees triple and quadruple right there on the scene,” Sult added.
Under a new ordinance, the device would have to be removed if the driver returns while the boot operator is there.
Private property owners such as the shopping center and a nearby condominium, where complaints have also been lodged to police over the problem, contract with boot operators. Without regulations the operators charge what they want to remove the boot.
The Chief looked at ordinances in several cities in the metro area. The ordinance he recommends for Sandy Springs is modeled after the city of Roswell.
Sandy Springs City Council will likely vote to restrict boot fees to $40 per day. [Roswell's ordinance is $35.]
Additionally, the new ordinance would require signage be posted on the property informing drivers that cars can be booted. The business that applies the device would be required to have a live person answer their phone 24 hours per day/seven days per week. And a person must be at the scene to remove the device within one hour of being contacted.
The only way to enforce the ordinance is by complaint from citizens, Sult said.
Tell us if you welcome this ordinance and if you think it will work? Has your car ever been booted either in Sandy Springs or somewhere else?