Parking permits illegal outside school grounds

State law prohibits anything (including parking permits)  hanging from car mirrors

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By Tom Lany

Stinger-Gazette staff writer

 

Senior Jack Swanson said he thinks dice dangling from the rear-view mirrors of cars are not only an interesting form of expression, but also a necessity for all “cool” teen motorists.

 

“It’s like a law [to have dice],” Swanson said.

 

The state of Minnesota disagrees.

 

According to Minnesota Statute 169.71, motorists cannot have anything in any of their car windows while driving: no dice, no hanging necklaces, no decorations in the back window – and, no Edina High School parking permit hanging from the rearview mirror.

 

The parking policy stated in the student handbook requires students to hang an assigned parking permit from the rear view mirror in their car while it is parked at school during the school day.

 

Once out on the road, students must remove the permit to comply with state law.

 

“I promise you it [a parking permit] doesn’t obstruct your view,” junior Molly Kohweder said.  She, like many other students, thinks only large objects should be disallowed.

 

Edina Police Officer and school liaison, Marc Limbeck, said police can pull students over simply because they have a permit displayed while they are driving.

 

“It [the law] gives the officer a reason to stop the driver and inquire,” Limbeck said.  He said other factors are typically involved when a driver is pulled over for this violation.  In such cases, Limbeck said the parking permit violation is generally not cited.

 

Despite the law, many students leave their permits up while they are on the road.

 

“I just don’t care [about taking it down],” Swanson said.

 

While students should take their permit down when they leave the lot, it definitely must be visible to security staff while their car is parked during the school day.

 

Security staff monitors the parking lot during the school day.  Staff will place a boot (a device which prevents a motorist from moving their vehicle) around a tire on any car it finds without a permit displayed.  The driver of a booted vehicle must pay between $30 and $90 (depending on how many times this has happened to the driver) before staff will remove the boot. 

 

Students complain their permits sometimes fall down.  Many students do not think they should have to pay to have a boot removed, if they can prove they have a permit.

 

Limbeck said horizontal permits, such as the ones issued at Farmington High School (the school his daughter attends), might be a slightly better alternative to the low hanging vertical permits issued at our school.  Horizontal permits are not visible on the driver’s side of the rear view mirror, and therefore can be legally displayed while a car is in motion.

 

Limbeck said parking stickers would not be a viable choice, as students would try to peel them off of other student’s cars.