New towing ordinance generates $170,000 for city - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

New towing ordinance generates $170,000 for city

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

If an officer pulls you over and you don't have insurance, your vehicle could get towed.

City council members unanimously approved the ordinance in January of last year. Now we've learned that the City of Lubbock has collected almost $170,000 in one year since the change.

City of Lubbock Chief Financial Officer, Andy Burcham, says the city only gets money from citations, not from what it costs to get a vehicle from the tow yard. The money they collect from that goes into the general fund, which pays for city costs like the police or fire department.

The numbers show that the Lubbock Police Department is enforcing the law. However, it's at their discretion whether a car is towed or not.

"If somebody was stopped for speeding, had a light out, or expired registration and an officer asks for insurance and it's not provided, that's when it comes into play," said Sgt. Jonathan Stewart.

Since the ordinance took effect a year ago, police have towed 700 vehicles, 89 in just the past month. But police have given out more than 6,000 citations for no financial responsibility.

"It shows that there are a lot of vehicles in Lubbock that are operating without insurance," Stewart said.

The municipal court says first-time offenders face a $244 fine for the ticket alone. Even if you get your car that day, you're still looking at paying $100 dollars on top of that. And each day you wait, $10 plus tax is added to your bill. Before getting their cars back, offenders must show proof of insurance. "This does give us another tool to actually move the vehicle off the street," Stewart said.

State Farm agent Eddie Wilt says state law requires drivers to have a minimum coverage of $30,000 per injured person, or up to $60,000 for all people injured in an accident. The law also requires $25,000 for property damage.

On average, Wilt says it costs $490 for six months of coverage to meet state requirements. And when you get caught without insurance, premiums go up.

"It would be much cheaper to get liability on your insurance than to pay for a ticket and get your vehicle out of the impound in the long run," Stewart said.

Lubbock Wrecker Manager Chad Wilson tows vehicles for the police department. He says they've had between 60 and 70 people not claim their car. On average, he says they give people two months to pick up their vehicles. Vehicles that are not claimed are auctioned off.

Copyright 2012 KCBD NewsChannel 11

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