The Barnacle: A new kind of parking ticket coming to a windshield near you?
No, it's not the pesky sea creature you find stuck to the bottoms of boats. It's a contraption only humans could create. The Barnacle takes your standard, old parking ticket infraction to a whole new level.
Kevin Dougherty, the president of Barnacle Parking Enforcement, spoke with As It Happens host Carol Off about the smart device that makes the dreaded wheel boot clamp seem tame.
Carol Off: Mr. Dougherty, what does "The Barnacle" look like?
Kevin Dougherty: The Barnacle is about three feet four inches wide and two feet tall when deployed. It's bright yellow plastic that covers the windshield. It attaches to the windshield using commercial-grade suction cups that provide hundreds of pounds of force. It's the same kind of suction cups professional glazers use to move around very heavy pieces of glass.
CO: So who would use these?
KD: Municipalities do parking enforcement. It's different for each municipality. But when somebody hasn't paid a certain amount of parking tickets or speeding tickets then they are flagged for enforcement immobilization. That's when they would be coming out and currently they'd be using the boot or towing. The boot was invented back in the 1940s. It's like a medieval device — a big hunk of metal they strap to your tire or wheel. We're looking to make the process easier for everybody and use technology to solve the problem.
CO: Well how is it making it easier for people if you have The Barnacle attached to your windshield?
CO: Can they just get some pliers or a crowbar? Can they get this thing off their windshield in any other way than paying their fines?
KD: It was designed to be as tamper-proof as possible. Also, it's got a tamper alarm so if you are hitting it with a hammer, or drilling on it, or whatever, the alarm is going to be going off drawing attention.
CO: People have suggested that maybe somebody could just, I don't know, get in their car and look out the window and drive around with this on their windshield. Is that possible?
KD: [Laughs] We call that The Ace Ventura. It's physically very difficult to drive that way. Cars are designed to keep you in. Ace Ventura, I'm not sure if you've seen the movie, but he had the benefit of still being able to look to his right and see out of his windshield, even though his head was out the window. With The Barnacle attached, you can't see anything. Also, like I said, the alarm will be going off so you'll be drawing a lot of attention. It's illegal to drive with an obstructed windshield and what are you going to do when you get to where you're going? You still have The Barnacle attached and now you've stolen government property potentially.
CO: Have you had any interest from Canada? What law enforcement agencies are interested?
KD: We're running a pilot in two U.S. cities: Allentown, Pennsylvania and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We have had some interest from different groups in Canada, some private and some public.
For more on this story, listen to our full interview with Kevin Dougherty.