The nightmare parking clamp coming to a lot near you: The ‘Barnacle’ suctions on to car windshield and blocks a driver’s view until fines up to $900 are paid
- The Barnacle is a boot device used for drivers with outstanding parking violations or unregistered vehicles
- It attaches onto the driver’s side of the windshield using suction cups with 750lbs of force
- Drivers must pay a deposit and any outstanding fines before it can be removed
- Students at the Universities of Houston and Oklahoma say they have parking tickets adding up because there aren’t enough spaces to park their cars
A controversial new, high-tech device is being used to catch parking violators and sparking outrage over outrageous fines.
The plastic tool is called the Barnacle and it works by clamping onto the windshield of cars, blocking the driver’s view and making it impossible to remove.
Once drivers pay a deposit and a fine, they receive a code that releases the device from the glass.
One University of Houston claimed she paid more than $900 to get the tool removed from her car.
The Barnacle has been employed at several universities, and even in a few towns across the US, but young student drivers in particular say their universities don’t have enough spaces for them to park, causing tickets to add up.
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The Barnacle is a boot device used for drivers with outstanding parking violations or unregistered vehicles
It attaches onto the driver’s side of the windshield using suction cups with 750lbs of force
WHAT IS THE BARNACLE?
Created by New York-based security firm Ideas that Stick, the Barnacle is a device used to immobilize cars that are either unregistered or have several parking violations.
The lightweight and yellow tool attaches to the windshield of cars using too large suction cups.
As opposed to a boot that makes the car impossible to drive away, the Barnacle makes it impossible for a driver to see.
It’s been used in towns in Connecticut, Hawaii, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and at universities and hospitals.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
When a traffic officer sees an offending car, he or she will place the Barnacle on the windshield over the driver’s side.
A code is typed into the device and it latches onto the glass with 750 pounds of force making it impossible to remove.
If a driver tries to take the Barnacle off, an alarm will go off. Attempting to pry it off could also damage the windshield.
Additionally, if someone tries to drive off without removing the device, an alert will be sent to traffic officers.
WHAT SHOULD A DRIVER DO IF A BARNACLE IN ON THEIR WINDSHIELD?
Drivers can either visit the website or call the phone number listed and enter the Barnacle’s device number.
After paying the fine, and a deposit – which will vary from state to state – the driver will be given a four-digit release code.
The code for the Barnacle is entered for it to be released and then drivers return the device to a drop-off location nearby.
Drivers must pay a deposit and any outstanding fines before it can be removed
tudents at the Universities of Houston (pictured) and Oklahoma say they have parking tickets adding up because there aren’t enough spaces to park their cars
WHY ARE STUDENTS UPSET?
The use of the device on campuses has sparked outrage, particularly at the University of Houston and the University of Oklahoma.
At Oklahoma, the device is only used after three outstanding fines; at Houston, it’s five such fines.
University officials explain the Barnacle was meant to be more convenient and less expensive than simply towing away illegally parked cars.
But students say their universities either don’t have enough permits or enough spots for all student vehicles.
‘I circle around 40 minutes, can’t find a single spot and so the tickets started, you know, to add up,’ Anna Chenoweth, a junior at Oklahoma, told News 4 Oklahoma.
‘It cost about $400 total to get my car back in my hands.’
And one Houston student said she had to pay $920 to remove the tool, reported KHOU 11.