Habitual offenders are motorists who have three or more outstanding parking tickets for which no action has been taken (no payment or trial request) and 120 days has passed since their last offence.
Habitual parking ticket offender’s vehicles may be towed when found parked illegally on City streets. Vehicle owners are not required to pay their parking tickets to have their vehicle released from the storage pound but will have to pay the established towing and storage fees prior to release (up to $200 plus daily storage of up to $81). Vehicles displaying disability permits are excluded from towing, however they are subject to conventional collection including the use of collection agencies.
Once towed, the Toronto Police Service Communications Centre at 416-808-2222 will direct vehicle owners to the location of their impounded car.
Under the habitual offender towing initiative, the Toronto Police Service will tow parked vehicles found to be illegally parked where the vehicle owner has three or more unpaid and outstanding parking ticket fines.
A “Habitual Offender”, for the purposes of this initiative, is defined as follows:
When an offender or license plate has had at least three or more parking tickets issued in the City of Toronto
No payment and no trial request has been received by the City of Toronto on any of the three parking tickets
Where at least 120 days has elapsed from the offence date of the last qualifying ticket on file. All such parking tickets are deemed to be in default.
- This initiative will improve the collection of defaulted parking ticket fines and will provide a further deterrent to parking illegally, and augments the City of Toronto’s existing collection initiatives, including the use of collection agencies and the Provincial Licence Plate Denial System.
- City bylaws already permit the towing of any vehicle when parked illegally, but vehicles are generally only towed when necessary. Under this initiative, illegally parked vehicles will be towed if the offender’s vehicle has three or more unpaid/undisputed tickets and 120 days has passed since the last offence.
- Each year, the City of Toronto issues approximately 2.6 – 2.7 million parking tickets. Approximately 5% of all offenders fail to act on their parking tickets (either by paying the ticket or lodging a trial request), and the fines remain unpaid.
- By requiring that at least 120 days has elapsed from the offence date of the last ticket, and that more than three tickets be similarly in default before a vehicle owner can be deemed a habitual offender, the vehicle’s licence plate is already at the plate-denial stage, meaning that the licence plate cannot be renewed by the Ministry of Transportation until the outstanding amounts are paid. A licence plate may be in plate-denial status even in advance of the vehicle’s licence plate renewal date. In these situations, vehicle owners would have received numerous notifications of the outstanding infractions and convictions for past tickets.
- The 120 day requirement above also provides a measure of leniency to motorists to ensure that any delay in receiving recent payments is taken into account, so that motorists are not towed after having made a recent payment to clear their status.
- Offenders who are towed are not required to pay their parking fines in order to have the vehicle released from the impound area. As such, the primary focus of this initiative is to enhance driver compliance on roadways and reduce illegal parking.
- The handheld ticket-issuing devices used by the Toronto Police Service – Parking Enforcement Unit have the capability to store license plate information on vehicles owned by drivers that have unpaid and outstanding parking ticket fines. As officers conduct enforcement, and where a vehicle is found to be parked illegally and the vehicle meets the “habitual offender” criteria, the vehicle will be towed to a Police compound.
- A towing initiative for habitual offenders follows best practices adopted by other municipalities where compliance with parking regulations is an issue, or where stepped-up enforcement efforts are required to maintain a clear and unimpeded flow of traffic. Other North American municipalities that have adopted a habitual offender towing program include Mississauga and Vancouver.
- There is approximately a 30-day reconciliation window until the Ministry reconciles with the City. Park carefully and observe compliance, especially after clearing up any fines in plate denial.