Abandoned vehicles on city streets are violation of a city ordinance

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By Ray Johnson

An abandoned motor vehicle is any motor vehicle which remains unattended and unmoved on any public street, highway, right-of-way, or on any other public property for a period of more than three days, or which remains unmoved on any private property without a current license plate for a period of more than seven days, if the vehicle has been damaged or is deteriorated so extensively that it has no value but for salvage or the vehicle or any parts thereof are placed on jacks, blocks or other supports, or one or more parts of the vehicle necessary for lawful operations are missing.

People at times do some strange things. Why would someone keep a vehicle that they will no longer use - either because it does not run or has been involved in an accident, knowing that they probably will not fix or repair it - parked on their property or leave it parked on a city street? In most cases, people will buy another vehicle to drive and the one they used to drive just sits.

When you drive anywhere around town, you will see vehicles of all sorts parked on streets and in yards that do not run and have been sitting for quite some time. Everyone has an answer when you ask them the question, “What is the reason this vehicle is sitting here and how long will it remain?”

Some people have no idea they are violating a city ordinance. People think that if it is parked in their yard or their driveway, then the vehicle is okay, but that is not the case. Now, if the vehicle is properly registered with a current plate and it has insurance on it, then it’s fine. If it does not, then it is in violation of the city’s abandoned vehicle ordinance.

People, at times, do not realize that a vehicle they leave parked on the street is an eyesore, plus it takes up a parking space that someone else might be able to use. If you have an abandoned vehicle parked on the street and it is not properly registered or insured, chances are the police department will put an orange sticker on the windshield of the vehicle and within 24 hours will have the vehicle towed.

If the vehicle is not being used, then go ahead and make arrangements to have it removed from the street or your property. Do not wait and see how long it will remain there until the police show up knocking on your door to find out what the situation is with it. If you move to a different residence, take the abandoned vehicle with you. Do not leave it for the city to deal with. If the vehicle is junk, the wrecker company is stuck with it and that is not fair to them.

Another issue with these vehicles sitting around is a safety concern with children in the neighborhoods. What if a child were to get hurt playing around a junk vehicle, whether it is in a yard or parked on the street? The person responsible would be the owner of the vehicle.

Everybody needs to be more aware of what they can do and what they can’t do in the city. Do not assume you can do something because you live here. The city has ordinances for a reason and that is to make this a better place to live and to keep the city looking as good as it can.

People can expect to see the police tagging these vehicles from time to time when they come across them parked on the street and if they miss one, you can call and they will come and check it out. If it is considered abandoned, then they will take care of it as quickly as possible.