Parking in the wrong spot could spoil the party for some spring breakers in Panama City Beach this year.
At their Tuesday meeting, Bay County commissioners voted to hire White's Wrecker Service as the exclusive provider for towing and impounding of illegally parked vehicles during Spring Break 2013.
Commissioners say vehicles parked along right of ways force pedestrians out into the street and block access for emergency responders and law enforcement vehicles.
Signs will be posted in "no parking" areas and motorists will be expected to be aware of the law. Commissioner Mike Thomas said relieving law enforcement officers of the responsibility for calling a towing service will enhance public safety efforts. "If you're parked in this zone, you get pulled away," said Thomas. "It doesn't keep the police tied up where they're not doing their other duties."
Sheriff Frank McKeithen welcomed the new ordinance and said impounding vehicles in a central location will eliminate problems. "We were spending hours and hours trying to track down someone's car... [we] didn't know if it was stolen and didn't know if it was towed," he said. "This would eliminate that problem as far as just towing off the right of way and towing from places that are properly marked."
The exclusive deal with White's Wrecker Service only applies to the Spring Break period and only for vehicles parked on right of ways. Law enforcement agencies will continue to use a "rotation system" for contacting towing companies after traffic accidents.