Lithuania: Over 750 cars have already been towed in Vilnius – most of them were left in parking places intended for the disabled



In three months, 755 vehicles, which were parked in violation of road traffic rules, have been forcibly tower in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, 480 of which – from parking spaces intended for the disabled. On average, 8 cars are towed every day, most of the violations are recorded in the Old Town and New Town.

145 vehicles, which were parked in within the 5 m distance from pedestrian crossings, have also been towed. 71 car drivers left an insufficient distance (less than 3 m) between a parked vehicle and a continuous horizontal marking line.

“We have come across some funny situations when towing cars. Once, the owner of a car followed the car being tower with a taxi, as suitcases prepared for a trip to the airport were located in the car being tower. But not everyone is upset. For example, one woman was glad to notice the car being removed, because otherwise she would have been very scared in the morning,” recalls Andžej Dinikis, the Head of the Public Order Department of Vilnius Municipality.

Nutempiamas ne vietoje paliktas automobilisPhoto: by Saulius Žiūra

According to Dinikis, upon recording of the violations, the residents of Vilnius city and district are the ones who commit most of the offences. However, cars owned by residents of Ukraine, Belarus and other countries have also been towed. Although cars with Ukrainian state licence plates are not uncommon in cases of forced removal, some of the owners of these cars are citizens of the Republic of Lithuania, who are thus likely trying to avoid paying a toll for parking the car.

Interestingly, just under 20 percent of the towed vehicles are cars owned by companies, mostly involved in car-sharing platforms.

There have been several cases where cars have been removed from parking spaces intended for disabled people because the persons who drove them were not properly marked with the “Disabled” signs on their vehicles or the parking cards for disabled persons were not properly placed inside the vehicles. Sometimes drivers who do not notice the relevant road signs pay the local toll for the parking of a car, ignoring the road signs prohibiting parking in the area.

Some of the drivers of the vehicles present themselves at the place of the incident after the commencement of the towing procedures. However, once the towing truck lifts up the offending car, the decision can no longer be changed. At the request of the driver, the car can be transported to the nearest viable parking place instead of the storage site. However, such drivers still have to pay not only for the violation of the road traffic rules, but also EUR 48.40 for the work of the towing truck. If the car is transported to the storage site, the driver or car owner has to pay EUR 36.30 for the work of the towing truck, and EUR 8.47 for each day spent in the storage site. When vehicles are forcibly removed, their drivers are given the opportunity to pick up the cars from the storage site without any additional obstacles, after paying the fee for the forced removal.

To date, only one case is known where the forcibly removed vehicle has not yet been picked up from the car storage site.

Upon returning to the car and failing to find it, the offender should call 112. The operator of the general helpdesk will provide information on who towed the car and where can the person go to pick it up. If the driver does not start searching for the vehicle on the same day after it is towed, information about the towing and what to do in order to recover it is sent to the car owner within one business day.

The new order came into force on 1 January of this year, and the forced removal of vehicles began on 15 March.

So far, one towing truck is patrolling Vilnius, which can tow up to 10 cars violating the road traffic rules per day. Priority is given to representative urban areas, access to squares, public transport stops and the places most visited by the residents.

You can find frequently asked questions and answers about the order that came into force this year here.

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