Towing the Line: The Worst Spot to Park on Campus.

How does parking enforcement work on campus and where are students most likely to lose their car?

How can students avoid the police?

As part of their responsibilities, the Police Department on Liberty University’s campus is constantly watching for vehicles that violate the guidelines established by the university and Virginia’s laws.

Students with tight budgets and in need of quick parking cannot afford a ticket but need to get around quickly. Where are the places with the highest towing or ticketing rate on campus? Where are students safe?

Although calls are sent out to Bee Line Transport from all over campus, according to Cari Ingram, the chief financial advisor at Bee Line, most of the calls they receive originate at South Tower.

“We do not decide which vehicles are towed,” Ingram said. “Liberty University patrols all of the parking areas on and off of campus and they call us when a vehicle is in violation.”

Bee Line impounds the vehicles to their facility, and they are stored in a secured area with security cameras until the drivers are able to pick them up. The first 24 hours are free of charge but after that, there is a $25 per day storage rate that will apply.

According to Ingram, the number of trucks sent out per day depends on the number of impounded vehicles that are called into the office and how many available trucks Bee Line has.

“On average, three rollbacks usually respond several times per day,” Ingram said.

Ingram said most of the time students are very pleasant to deal with and make the process quite simple. In the past, however, Ingram said students have tried to get away with being sneaky, evidenced by individuals hiding their vehicles.

“A motorcycle was parked in a hallway located inside of a dorm on campus,” Ingram said. “Our drivers had to walk it out and down the stairways into the nearest parking lot.”

When describing the towing process, Ingram said the Bee Line driver will first approach the vehicle, lower the wheel lift and back up to the drive axle of the vehicle. The driver will then secure the vehicle tires to the wheel lift and safely drive away.

“If necessary, we will apply tow dollies to the other axle on all wheel drive vehicles,” Ingram said. “This is the only process used when towing from the parking garage because rollbacks do not have enough clearance.”

According to the Liberty University Police Department’s web page, LUPD is authorized, at the registered owner’s expense, to remove from University property, impound, ticket, or immobilize any motor vehicle on LU’s property.

They do this when a vehicle has an expired state registration or no state registration (license plates) displayed; inhibits the flow of traffic, or impedes the right of way as determined by LUPD.

LUPD also has the legal right to remove any vehicle that creates a deterrent to protection from fire or combat of fire, is parked illegally in a reserved or handicapped space, is parked in any area not clearly marked as a parking space or has violated any of the parking rules and regulations.

In addition, if a vehicle which has been banned from campus is found parked or operated on campus, they can fine the student $500, plus the vehicle can also be towed or impounded.

After being towed, the owner has up to 30 days to claim their vehicle; if not, the law allows the owner of the storage facility to dispose of the vehicle, however, he or she sees fit.

Any individual who has had their vehicle towed or impounded has the opportunity to appeal the action. All appeals are handled by the LUPD Sergeant of the Administration Division.

First, a Towing Appeal Form must be submitted, then a caseworker is assigned to process the appeal. Lastly, the Chief of Police has the final say in whether or not an appeal is upheld or denied.

Liberty University has the right to call any hauling servicer but appears to prefer Bee Line.

Bee Line Transport describes itself as a “towing and hauling services” company. According to the website, Bee Line’s services include heavy-duty transport, heavy-duty hauling, light-duty hauling, emergency truck repair and construction containers that are available to rent.

Students react in a variety of ways to being towed. Ashlee Browning, a senior at Liberty University, decided to try to be graceful.  

“Personally, as a student that has received a number of tickets, warnings, and who has been towed, I think our enforcement officers are generous, but they can forget to listen and reassess the issue,” Browning said. “I only wish that there was more enforcement of residential students parking in their permitted lots.”

According to Browning, most of the issues that she has had with towing, have occurred as a commuter student.

She sees more commuter students being towed on a regular basis, than residential, even if they do not adhere to their designated parking areas.

LUPD was contacted via phone and email for a comment but did not respond.

Rivera is a Liberty News Reporter.
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