Nassau to target traffic scofflaws

Red light cameras monitor drivers on Old Country Red light cameras monitor drivers on Old Country Road near Ring Road in East Garden City. (Aug. 19, 2010) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos is pleading with traffic scofflaws to pay their outstanding parking and red-light camera tickets or face booting and towing of their vehicles -- and $100 or more in costs to get them back.

The county considers a vehicle and its owner subject to immobilization or towing when three or more parking summonses or red-light camera notices go unresolved.

"Please pay your tickets," Maragos said in a news release following his approval late last week of the contract for the boot and tow company proposed by County Executive Edward Mangano.

New Jersey-based Paylock IPT is to start enforcing the program in the second week of March.

The county Boot and Tow program does not cost Nassau anything, Maragos said. All costs will be covered by the payments from people whose cars are booted and or towed.

Removing the boot will cost $150; retrieving towed vehicles will cost $125 plus $20 per day for storage.

"Nassau County will embark on an aggressive enforcement and collection effort," Mangano said. "I am urging residents with outstanding tickets to make payment" before the program begins.

Parking and red-light violators owe the county a significant amount of money, Maragos said.

"The audit we released earlier this year highlighted the large number of unpaid parking and traffic tickets in Nassau County," he said. "This Boot and Tow program . . . is very effective in encouraging people to pay their fines in a timely manner."

The numbers have varied, but last May, county officials said about 359,000 tickets worth more than $49 million were outstanding.

Nassau had offered an amnesty program -- violators could just pay the ticket and forget any added penalty.

But the amnesty did not do well, even after being extended twice, officials said. Near the end of July, the county had collected about $150,000 for 2,531 tickets.

Scofflaws who don't resolve their tickets through the amnesty program or otherwise will be subject to booting and/or towing.

Paylock will use license plate scanning devices on vehicles parked in public locations to find those with outstanding violations.

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