PPA Launches Tool to Tackle ‘Ghost Cars’ on Philly Streets

Taking on “ghost cars.”

The Philadelphia Parking Authority has launched an online tool to allow residents to report ‘ghost cars’ – or, cars with no license plate or a hidden license plate or VIN number.

The move comes about a week after NBC10’s Randy Gyllenhaal took a look at the scope of the problem. It seems that this is often done by drivers hoping to avoid fines from red light cameras or speed traps.

In the past week, Gyllenhaal reports, that there has been an uptick in enforcement on the issue from the PPA.

In fact, NBC10 has learned that, over the past week, at least 36 cars with missing plates and covered VIN numbers were towed by the state-operated parking authority.

The parking agency has also taken to social media to bolster use of the new tool.

The new online utility allows residents to provide the parking authority with make, model, color and location of a ‘ghost car’ in order to allow the PPA to send out a tow truck. Concerned residents can also upload a photo of the offending vehicle.

What’s has caused the proliferation of ‘ghost cars?’ Some have pointed to the city’s Driving Equality Act — which, is intended to cut down on discriminatory traffic stops in the city — as allowing for lax enforcement of regulations already on the books.

Yet, as Gyllenhaal reports, City Councilman-at-Large Isaiah Thomas, argues that the police should step up enforcement of the problem, as well.

“Nothing in the legislation says that someone cannot be pulled over for having a fake tag, a ‘ghost tag’ or a license plate that’s covered,” the Democrat said. “All we allow is for the license plate to be relocated as long as it’s clearly visible.

“Police almost never do it, they only did in nine times in this eight months, so to say driving equality can’t do it… in fact police never even charge anybody,” Michael Mellon, of the Defender Association of Philadelphia, said.

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