Instead of towing the cars of scofflaws, the city will begin booting their cars. The offender can call a toll-free number to pay his or her fine and get a code to unlock the boot
The city wants to give deadbeat drivers the boot.
Motorists who owe $350 or more in unpaid tickets will soon find heavy metal tire clamps immobilizing their cars - instead of tow trucks impounding their rides, the Daily News has learned.
The scofflaws will get a notice tucked under their windshield wiper with a toll-free number to call to provide a credit or debit card number in return for a code to unlock the clamp.
They must also return the $500, 16-pound boot to a drop-off location within a limited time - or face more charges on their credit card.
City marshals will locate a scofflaw's vehicles with hi-tech license-plate recognition cameras linked to a court database.
City Finance Commissioner David Frankel said his department will put out a request for bids for the clamps shortly, and expects to start the pilot program in the next few months.
It will be limited only to scofflaw drivers - for now, he said.
Drivers who don't pay a meter, park at bus stops or hydrants, or break other parking rules still face the wrath of NYPD tow trucks.
That could change, he added, if other city agencies like the NYPD decide to use the boot.
"We're going to start simply and see if this works for the city," said Frankel, who noted similar programs are running in upstate Rochester, Delaware and Massachusetts.
Frankel said his department is "excited, but somewhat cautious" about the pilot program.
"In addition to relieving motorists of the uncertainty about what happened to their car, we hope booting will be a visible deterrent to others and help increase our collection," he said.