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New Law Allows Free Parking at Broken Meters

Gov. Jerry Brown signs Senate Bill 1388 into law. The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, makes it OK to park at a broken meter.

Starting Jan. 1, drivers across California will be able to park at broken parking meters without receiving a ticket, thanks to a new state law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this week.

Senate Bill 1388, authored by State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), prohibits law enforcement agencies from issuing parking tickets to vehicles parked in a space with a broken meter, as long as the time the car is parked doesn't exceed the maximum limit, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California. Local governments that pass ordinances restricting parking at broken meters must post signs giving motorists adequate notice of the restriction in parking lots, at single-space meters and at multispace meters or parking payment centers.

According to the Auto Club, the bill will clear up confusion regarding the rules of parking at broken meters.

“We’re pleased that the new law will help resolve an issue that can be especially frustrating to drivers in urban areas with limited parking spaces,” said Steve Finnegan, the Auto Club’s government affairs manager. “Drivers will now know the rules and will be able to park at broken meters without fear of being ticketed as long as they comply with posted regulations and parking time limits.”

Additionally, SB 1388 requires cities and other local authorities to pass an ordinance to establish parking meter zones or set fees. 

The new law also addresses the prevalence of smartphones. Though local authorities may accept payments via a mobile device, it cannot require people pay that way, according to SB 1388.

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