Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Death to Violators!

Posted By on August 17, 2016, 4:00 AM

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If you get a parking ticket in Sweden and you don't pay it, the Swedish Enforcement Authority can actually withdraw the money from your bank account. And this post-violation action is considered so egregious that it will appear on your credit rating and you will have a hard time getting a home loan or renting an apartment for three years. The psychology department at Stockholm University found over the years that the people who illegally park in handicapped spaces are usually those who own expensive cars. The traffic office in Stockholm says the fines are low enough to be ignored by richer people.

People drive from country to country around Europe, and it's hard for authorities in one to enforce a parking violation on someone who lives in another. Plus, it's expensive to track down the perp who went over the meter by minutes. Supposedly, the European Union is working to introduce legislation to all member countries to collect fines across national borders. Just take the Chunnel over to London from Paris, park where you want around Big Ben, toss your tickies and escape back under the pond to your safe haven.

That bastion of reliable information Wikipedia reports that the first possible parking restrictions were put in place in Nineveh, the capital of ancient Assyria in 700 BC. The first parking signs ever discovered said, "Royal Road—Let No Man Decrease It." The penalty for parking a chariot in Ninevah was death followed by impaling outside the violator's own home.

Think about it: Parking violations are a breach of contract with your fair city. My guess is that 90 percent of the time, we are guilty as hell for letting our meters run out or parking where we aren't supposed to.

Salt Lake City has announced a 90-day parking amnesty program for those with overdue parking tickets issued before July 1, 2014. You can get a 60 percent discount off your fines if you go online and donate to one of several charities the mayor's office has picked out, or bring in four cans of food to the Salt Lake City and County Building downtown.

If you have an old unpaid ticket, the city will mail you a notice in the next few weeks explaining how to clean your slate. The city says there are 22,000 tickets out there and it hopes at least 4,000 of them will be paid through this program, which would bring in $320,000 in revenue.

Pay your fine and do something good for the community at the same time. Now, there's a concept!

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