Crackdown needed on parking meters that can’t tell time, lawmakers says
Have you ever put change into a parking meter, noted the expiration times and returned to your car only to find an expired meter when you were sure you had more time left?
Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-Jackson) said he had anecdotal evidence that there were areas of the state where meters are known to "short time" parking patrons. He said he wanted a law that would allow a person to challenge the reliability of a parking meter if they get a ticket.
“It is happening and some of these parking meters, they just can’t keep time and it’s not fair,” said Dancer. “People are coming back to their vehicles and finding not only that they’ve been short-timed, but they’ve been short changed because obviously they’re getting the summons.”
Under a bill (A-4585) sponsored by Dancer, anyone who suspects that a parking meter expired early would be allowed to notify the clerk of the court in the town where the ticket was issued and tell the clerk that a court challenge is pending.
“Right now, you are allowed to appeal, but you’ll probably not win because there’s no procedure or protocol in place that would require the meters to be tested for accuracy. With my plan there would be a procedure in place where they can not only appeal, but the meter would be checked,” the assemblyman said.
If you received a parking meter ticket and decided to appeal you could actually pay more if Dancer’s idea becomes law, because it says when there is an appeal, if the test revealed the meter was working properly you would pay the fine and for the expense of the inspection. On the flip side, if the meter is faulty your ticket would be dismissed.
“What I found out by speaking with the Office of Legislative Services and the Office of Weights and Measures is that there was not a protocol or a requirement for these parking meters to be checked for accuracy and that was really the impetus of my bill,” Dancer said.
Parking meters are not required to be registered with the Office of Weights and Measures because they are non-commercial law enforcement devices exempting them from registration and therefore they are not inspected confirmed Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) spokesman Jeff Lamm. He said DCA did not keep statistics on complaints filed alleging faulty parking meters.
The legislation also would require the Administrative Director of the Courts to create a standard operating procedure for people who want to contest the accuracy and change the traffic ticket forms to advise people of their right to challenge.
The assemblyman said he was also motivated to pursue this legislation following an Asbury Park Press feature article an editorial related to parking meter summons.
Kevin McArdle has covered the State House for New Jersey 101.5 news since 2002. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter at @kevinmcardle1.