Austin Police seeks to regulate vehicle booting industry
Austin, Texas
   
 
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AUSTIN, Texas — Parking can be a pain in the Austin area, and it can even be more frustrating when a car gets booted. The Austin Police Department is now looking to regulate the industry.

Despite the red and white warning signs posted at private properties across Austin, APD is still getting complaints about having to pay for the removal of a vehicle boot. 

“We’ve received telephone call in regards with the fees that were charged with booting,” said  Commander Eric Miesse of the Highway Enforcement Command. “We’ve also had officers respond to 911 calls of disturbances at the parking lots between the citizens and the people booting the vehicle.” 

It could cost at least $150 to remove a boot, APD said. There are currently no limitations to how much a booting company can charge, and in September, statewide deregulation of the industry goes into effect. 

“Once the deregulating happens, it’s hard to say how much somebody could get charged, how many boots they could put on a vehicle, could they charge for each boot,” Miesse said. 

APD wants to create a citywide ordinance limiting fees that car booting companies could impose. They plan to work with the Austin Transportation Department to issue licenses and permits, as well as do criminal background checks. They also want operators to wear identification. The draft proposal will be presented to the Urban Transportation Commission later this month, in hopes of having the Austin City Council review it by September. In the meantime, APD is asking drivers to stay cautious. 

“Even if you’re going to be in there for a minute it doesn’t take but a few seconds to get a boot on,” Miesse said. “There are people looking, because it’s easy money.”

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