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Tennessee Senate to hear bill on vehicle booting restrictions

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(The Center Square) – A bill limiting how parking lots can boot vehicles to immobilize them will soon be heard by the Tennessee Senate.

Senate Bill 1692 generally prohibits the booting of vehicles and puts in restrictions for municipalities that choose to allow the practice of putting an immobilizing device on one of a vehicle’s tires.

The bill requires commercial lots that are licensed to boot vehicles to have an attendant on the premises, properly identified and able to remove the boot within 30 minutes of a customer’s call.

There would be a cap of $75 on booting charges and the attendant must take credit and debit cards as well as cash.

“It might be surprising to some, but I have received calls from some constituents that literally there are individuals out there who will go somewhere out buy one of these booting devices and show up at parking lots and start putting boots on people’s cars and wait for them to come out of the restaurant and then telling them they have to pay $200 or something in order to get that boot removed, said Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin.

The bill also requires those who are towing vehicles to properly notify owners if a vehicle is towed, sold or demolished by a towing company. If the towing process has begun, but the vehicle hasn’t left the parking area, the vehicle must be released for a fee of no more than $100.

“I’ve received complaints from many constituents who have had to go through unreasonably long and expensive processes to regain control of their vehicles which were unfairly immobilized or towed,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, our current laws do not provide legal recourse to punish parking enforcers engaged in certain nefarious practices. This bill targets those bad actors and protects Tennessee vehicle owners.”

The bill also requires parking lots that use automated license plate readers to prominently display that their lots use them.

House Bill 1731, the companion bill, has not yet been heard in committee.

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