“Live Stop” fines and fees: over $100 million to the Philadelphia Parking Authority

Katelyn Mays, a 3L, worked on Philadelphia’s troublesome Live Stop policy as a student in the Center’s Social Justice Lawyering Clinic. Last May, the Center issued a report discussing the impact this law has on Philadelphia drivers, particularly undocumented individuals who cannot legally obtain a driver’s license in Pennsylvania.

Live Stop is a Philadelphia policy that instructs the Police Department to tow and impound a driver’s car if they are found to be driving without a valid license or registration. The driver must pay towing and storage fees to the Philadelphia Parking Authority, as well as any unpaid parking tickets, in order to get their car back. As Katelyn points out, “these fees can be financially crippling for Philadelphia families.”

Katelyn and her clinic partner filed a Right to Know Request with the Parking Authority to see just how much the city was collecting through the program. They found that, since 2003, Philadelphia drivers have paid a total of approximately $75 million to the Parking Authority to retrieve their cars. Katelyn notes that many drivers are unable to afford these fees, and that the Authority then auctions off their unclaimed cars. Since 2002, the PPA has sold around 125,000 cars, producing an additional $65 million.