Philly’s ‘live stop’ vehicle-towing operation protested

    Two University of the Arts students mounted a protest at Philadelphia City Hall Wednesday against “live stop.” That’s the program that gives police and the Philadelphia Parking Authority power to tow vehicles with out-of-date registrations or inspection stickers.

    Jordan Shade’s own experience inspired the protest. She was pulled over simply because her car’s registration was out of date.

    “They told us they were going to tow our car on the spot. We had no say in the matter. There was no wiggle room,” Shade said. “And then we spent the entirety of the day going to Traffic Court, paying fines, taking taxis all over the city.

    “I think it cost about $800 in total by the time we got our car back,” she continued. “And that was lucky. We were lucky we could afford to get our car back that day.”

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    Shade set up a piece of glass symbolizing a car windshield in the courtyard of City Hall next to a copy of the “live stop” program law. She encouraged people such as Kristie Low to write their stories on the windshield.

    Low said she was driving a friend’s car when she was pulled over by the police.

    “I didn’t know the car had bad stickers on it. Me and my 13-year-old daughter were in the car and police pulled us over, turned around and said, ‘Ma’am hand me the keys, we’re taking your car.’

    “So they took it. It cost $1,300 to get taken out. I didn’t have the money so I let them keep the car,” said Low.

    The police left Low and her daughter without an alternative way to get home. They were stuck in the rain for three hours, waiting for a ride.

    “The police are required to give you a ride home or to take you to a center of public transportation but that doesn’t always happen,” Shade said. “That’s sort of an area of contention with people.”

    Shade hopes that this protest will inspire conversation about “live stop,” which was enacted to get better compliance with Pennsylvania’s mandatory car insurance law.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal