A Police Car Gets the Boot

Last week, I saw a picture on the Los Angeles Times website that made me smile:

In Los Angeles and many other cities, if you fail to (don’t) pay your parking tickets, your car may get a boot placed on it.  That’s the orange lock you see in the picture above.  You probably won’t get a boot for just one parking violation (breaking of the law), but if you allow parking tickets to accumulate (add up; increase in number), then you may find an unpleasant surprise waiting for you.  The boot, of course, prevents a driver from driving that car until the parking tickets have been paid and the boot is removed.

The picture above is of a police squad car used for patrolling (keeping a watch over) the streets.  The squad car was parked in downtown Los Angeles and the police officers were inside the courthouse (where judges have trials).  This car got a lot of attention, but of course, it was a joke. The boot was not placed there because the police officers failed to pay their parking tickets.  In the first place (firstly; the first thing is), we assume that police cars don’t get parking tickets even if they are parked illegally, and secondly, if they did get a parking ticket, the police officers themselves could probably “fix” them (make them disappear), as I wish they would do for me.

In fact, it appears that an unknown person had put this boot on the police car and had scratched off the serial number on the boot, meaning that this person had removed with a sharp object the identification number on the boot.

If you live in Los Angeles, you probably drive a car.  If you drive a car in Los Angeles, you have probably received quite a few parking tickets.  Even if you’re a careful driver who reads all of the parking restriction (limiting) signs, you may still have received more than one parking ticket.  On some Los Angeles streets, you may find parking signs that are so complicated that it takes you five minutes to read and figure them out.  It is not uncommon to see signs like this one :

Given (considering) the signs that Los Angeles drivers have to put up with (endure; live with even though we don’t like it), do you blame us if we have a laugh or two when the tables are turned (the situation is reversed)?

The boot is Los Angeles’s way of dealing with unpaid parking tickets.  What do the police do in the city or town where you live?

~ Lucy

P.S. “To get the boot” has another meaning.  It means to be fired from a job or to be forced to leave a job.  For example, “Lucy got the boot when her boss found her spending all of her time reading the Los Angeles Times blogs.”

P.P.S. On a completely different subject, I wanted to mention that although we’re not able to participate as much as we’d like to in the comment section of the blog, we read every single one of your comments.  So please give us your feedback about what you like and don’t like, or tell us your opinion about the topics we discuss.  We love to hear from you and your comments are very important to us.

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20 Responses to A Police Car Gets the Boot

  1. Tania says:

    The autumn has arrived
    Cover my heart with something…
    Maybe with a huge tree
    Or , better, better,
    Better with your shadow.

    I miss you very much. I was a little ill.

    All the best for you all,


  2. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    Dear friends and teachers
    Cars are becoming a big problem all over the modern world. Good the time when there were only bicycles. We walked on foot for long hours, we could take a good fit, and there weren’t tickets for parking, for over speed and so forth. Today we can take a trip in shorter time but the cost for these resource is growing bigger and bigger. The cities are over crowded, jams everywhere, people screaming and getting sick. No one knows when and where this will end. Think about it! Try not using much your car, so you will be making a good action for atmosphere, decreasing the global warming, saving fuel for our grandsons and granddaughters. This world is not ours; it belongs to our descendents.
    Aecio from Brazil

  3. Talal says:

    thank you very much Dr.Lucy about this topic , it has been a while (as you have probably noticed) since participating in this blog, I apologize for even not reading the previous blogs, however I took a look at some of them, but sometimes I dont have ideas to be good enough to be shared internationally. well, when I see “emiliano” comments I get ashamed of my self,anyway, in greece here, we have too much traffic but I dont really remember getting a fine, briefly I think the best solution for this problem is to establish and construct parking places ,huge ones like where we typically find in Carrefour and shopping malls, to prevent parking problems and therefor , eliminating parking violation.

  4. R.Radaelli says:

    In Brazil, there’s a punctuation for each infringement occurred. If the driver accumulate a (negative) twenty points score its license is taken out, then the motorist is temporarily banned from driving. This law works all over the country.

    That’s it. Thank you for the text, Lucy.

  5. Vadim says:

    In my country (Russia) the police can do nothing to wrongly parked vehicle but they can do something to correctly parked one=))

  6. Hilario says:

    Parking our cars has become the more and more a hard and expensive thing to do in nearly all over the so called civilized today world and the authorities are always ready to do profitable businesses out of our problems, using all king of legal tricks and easy mistaken street signals like those in the picture of the article.
    They don´t like at all to solve parking problems as they should have to because our problem is their business; Here in Spain even more, they started fining drivers for over speeding even in the motorways and many people is wandering about the huge business that authorities have been making since then, now five years of sucessful overtaxation but some impartial estimations are putting them as one of the prime goverment parataxes income.

  7. emiliano says:

    Just a funny sight to watch for people that have got the boot frequently. Boots don´t work here any more, they were used a long time ago but only for a short period of time. I think it was worst to have the cars immobilized than the fact of don´t paying the parcking tickets or leaving the cars at inappropriate places.
    Now there are little cranes that take the car off from the streets and carry them to a big place where the owners may get the car back again after paying a lot of money as penalty.

    Having a car you have to pay nearly for everything, in fact I think that if millions of people refuse the fact of having a car it´s possible that the State Goverments of many occidental countries would be off as they don´t get enough taxes from the citizens to survive.
    A big portion of development is based on cars industry and Govenment´s taxes related with the possesion of cars by the
    majority of citizens.

    Yes, I don´t have any car since the year 1994 that I sold the one I had and of course I have not in mind to have any in future, despite I could have a lot of money.
    If I would have any money, or too much money….??? who knows…??? I will prefer to spend it doing other things that giving it to contribute to the planet´s polution having a car or to financing bad politicians like the ones we have here and now.
    I know that some times and some places you may need a car or it could be necessary by all means, but it´s also true
    that very often they are unuseful and unnecessaries, they are only a matter of social position.
    Everybody needs to have a car, that´s the idea…..a good one if it´s possible, and it doesn´t matter if you are going to do a good use
    of it or not….that´s the way of contribute to the stablishment.

    Thank you Lucy, as you know quite well I use to write too much and too often sharing so unright political ideas or behaviours, and
    reading your advise now I am more relaxed.

  8. Julio says:

    In Spain the enforcement of traffic laws especially those related to parking into every city can be different according to its size, its system of urbanization (wide avenues and streets or, in contrast, an very old downtown with very narrow streets), obviously the neighborhood in question, and above all the proximity or not of a new local elections for the Local Council because in the end the politicans who are going to make the decisions, and they depend on the votes from people, what implies that the fewer months up to the new elections, the fewer fines are going to be handed by the police.
    I wish there could be more elections.
    Best regards from Spain,

  9. lynette says:

    l.o.l. this is hilarious. I live in NYC, I also got quite a few parking tickets. Fortunately, we don’t have the “boot ” here.

  10. khaalid says:

    hi i’m really happy to this wondrful story. nowadays traveling has become one of the most common that you could encountre when traveling. I’d like say thank you very much

  11. fayssal says:

    your blogs always clear the gloomy atmosphere…………

    I am so lucky, you know why? Because God loves me, you know how? Because he gave a gift, you know what? It’s you dear Jeff and Lucy.

    i am at your beck and call for any help i can provide just for the sake of keeping on doing your second to none job…..

    Really marvelous

    Your one in a million


  12. fayssal says:

    where i live it’s easy when you get a boot, put if you have strings to pull then you don’t have to worry…catch the drift lol

  13. fayssal says:

    Owning a car involves a lot of expense – that’s the nature of the beast.

  14. Fabio says:

    That is an interesting post. I think if you have a house or a store and the police in that region don’t allow parking there because its cause a lot of problems to the people who depend on that space, maybe we will agree about that when the authorities always give a penalty to drivers who broke the rule. Here in Brazil every year we have a lot of news drivers on the streets and every week a huge campaign to sell more and more cars, so image that without law. I agreed as emiliano said “Car cost a sum of money”, we could spend in others things. If we change ours habits maybe some disasters in agriculture and some disorders temperatures don’t interfere in some lives who didn’t participated on this.
    Thank you Dr Jeff and Lucy
    Best regards,
    Fabio Bastos

  15. Farahnaz says:

    In my country, Iran, one of the rules for drivers is, they must not to drive on even days with even car’s number. If they do, their carswill get boots. It’s because of air pollution. Especially in the capital.
    I wish I could live in a city with no pollution. Especially air pollution. People don’t care how polluted the air is, they use their cars. We have some companies that manufacture thousands of cars and sell them without any control on the rate (number) of cars in the streets.

    I want to thank you Lucy and the podcast team. You all are very intelligent, considerate, and kind teachers; actually you are devoting your time and energy to prepare all those you do. I really appreciate it. Please continue your work. We are your students and you are our best teachers.
    Best regards,
    Farahnaz (Iran)

  16. Baljid says:

    Thank you Lucy & Jeff for the interesting topic. Here in Ulaanbaatar, the traffic jam is getting bigger and bigger year to year. Because the city don’t have a proper public transport system as other cities and don’t build any proper road for bicycle and pedestrians. So, the most people prefer to drive. This phenomenon causes many problems in the city from air pollution to any forms of accidents. In my opinion, parking tickets and getting “boots” will not work here. Currently, police tries a solution that is take the car off from the wrong parking place and carry them into a big place as Emiliano said. However, it cots a lot for the both side –police and car owner. In reality it doesn’t work well.

  17. Dr. Lucy Tse says:

    Thanks, everybody, for your interesting comments. We’ve enjoyed reading them and appreciate them very much!

  18. kuong do says:

    I have no car so I have not got this problem. In my country Vietnam, people use almost motorbike instead of automobile.

  19. emiliano says:

    Talking about how Jeff and Lucy are important in my life, in my family´s life, I could tell all of you that Cuca and me have three daughters Eva, Fatima and Laura, when they were little girls I used to teach them a few English, I knew it was important for them to learn it and I had in mind that they need to learn it as good as possible.
    It was impossible for us to send them out from Spain, to England, Irland or USA, so their English wasn´t so good as it was my desire.

    My three girls have been listening to Jeff and Lucy along the last years, some more than the other, and the results are:

    Eva has listened not so much as the others, but her English was good enough to be in USA twice and she could practise it at work.
    She has been listening to ESL from time to time but she likes to do several things simultaneously and it´s her way of living, having lot of things in mind and without enough time to do all of them.

    Fátima who has been listening to ESL along the last four years is reading several English books now, and it´s quite easy for her what it is incredible good, she is listening to Audio-English Books, watching TV or films in English, and speaking/understanding English when she is outside Spain. In fact she knows better English than me now, that´s fine.
    Twice a month she came home and recharged her Ipod with all the last ESL podcast and also comments with me the last lessons of Jeff and Lucy or the book she is reading, usually she picks one or two here and left the last she has read already.
    Frequently we read the same English books, she always first because is more clever and fast, and afterward she told me her opinion about it and if it´s good or not for me. While she reads three or four I read only one.

    Laura, listening to ESL for one and a half year is now in Copenhagen, studying on a scholarship, and without the help of ESL lessons it would be quite difficult or nearly impossible for her to be living and studying in the university of that Denmark city.
    Your help, Jeff and Lucy, has been fundamental.

    Sorry Lucy, you have given us free way to write wichever thing we like…….so just in this moment I want to tell the blogger´s friends something about your labor and why I am so grateful with Jeff and you.

    Bye, till tomorrow.

  20. Lisa says:

    Hi Lucy,

    Thank you so much for the interesting topic. I have a very simple question. I understand the parking tickets are usually given by the police officers in the USA, but could you please let me know who will place a boot on an illegally parked car. Many many thanks for your great job, as always.

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