Why lending your car to a bad driver could cost you hundreds of dollars
If you lend your car to someone who has lots of unpaid traffic tickets, be prepared to have your vehicle impounded. That's what could happen under Anchorage's Scofflaw Ordinance.
Scofflaws are people who owe more than $1,000 in unpaid traffic tickets. According to assistant municipal attorney Pamela Weiss, there are currently more than 4,000 scofflaws on a municipal list that's updated daily. Collectively, they own more than $8 million.
Citations that would land a person on the scofflaw list must be for moving violations. That can include things like running red lights or driving without insurance but not unpaid parking tickets. The city considers scofflaws dangerous drivers, which is one reason why the Anchorage Assembly passed the Scofflaw Ordinance in late 2007, adopting it in early 2008.
Under the Scofflaw Ordinance, Anchorage police can seize and impound any vehicle a scofflaw is driving. If the vehicle belongs to the scofflaw, Weiss says they would need to pay all their fines and fees before the vehicle can be released. But if the vehicle belongs to someone else, that person would have to pay up too.
"If you lend your car to somebody and they are on the scofflaw list you are not going to be responsible for their delinquent fines and fees, but there are costs that you will incur," Weiss said. "If you want to get the vehicle out you're going to have to pay the $410 administrative fee. But you're also going to have to sign an agreement that you will not allow that individual to drive your vehicle unless or until they are off that scofflaw list."
Weiss says the law applies to anyone who allows a scofflaw to drive their vehicle, including employers, car or motorcycle dealers and rental agencies. She says the best way to protect your property before you let anyone else drive your vehicle is to check the scofflaw list on the municipal website.
The list includes names, birth dates and the exact amounts people owe.
Weiss advises people who suspect they might be on the list to check it. If someone is able to make a partial payment and get the total owed below $1,000, Weiss says they'll be taken off the list.
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