Interesting Tow Numbers, City Snags 188 On First Night Of Ban

City tow trucks snagged 188 vehicles in violation of Chicago’s Winter Overnight Parking Ban, which began promptly at 3 AM this morning according to the Department of Streets and Sanitation.

Last year, 215 cars got the hook on December 1st last year.

But, The Expired Meter did a bit of digging and got a hold of the tow numbers from all of last year’s winter ban season which spans December 1st to April 1st, and we found some interesting things.

More Cars Towed On Weekends Than During Weekdays

Perhaps the most interesting info is that most cars towed for violating the overnight ban are towed for on weekends.

Curiously, after the first few days of the ban, tow numbers flatten out over time during the week but spike dramatically on weekends.

According to numbers provided  in a document produced in a Freedom of Information request from the Department of Streets and Sanitation for last year’s season, 4418 of the total 8582 of the cars towed towed for disobeying the ban occurred on Friday night/Saturday morning and Saturday night/Sunday morning.

That breaks down to 51% of all tows taking place over weekend days, even though those two days account for only 28% of total days per week–an oddly disproportionate percentage.

Is it possible visitors from the suburbs or other areas outside the city lose track of time at that bar with the 4 AM license and stumble back to a missing vehicle parked on a Winter Overnight Parking Ban street after closing time?

Streets and Sanitation spokesperson Matt Smith says the department doesn’t have a theory why the bump in weekend tows.

“We can’t speculate why some people would ignore a permanently posted restriction that is routinely enforced between December 1st and April 1st every year,” said Smith.

Overnight Ban Tows Declining

Perhaps, slowly but surely drivers are getting smarter about avoiding parking on streets covered by the winter overnight ban as the number of tows annually has been decreasing.

From a high in 2007 of 10,991, last year’s winter only produced 8582 total tows–a 22% decrease from four years ago.

2007/2008      10,991
2008/2009       6962
2009/2010       8901
2010/2011       8582

The only anomaly to the trend was in the 2008/2009 season when budget cutbacks drastically decreased city employees dedicated to patrolling winter ban streets as an austerity measure on the part of the former Mayor Daley.


And don’t think for a moment you get a pass just because it’s a holiday. Tow trucks catch people parking illegally on every major winter holiday, most likely ruining that particular holiday of those motorists in the process.

Here’s the tow totals for last year’s holiday season.

Christmas Eve        68 tows

Christmas Day        53 tows

New Year’s Eve     103 tows

New Year’s Day     167 tows

Imagine coming to Chicago to spend Christmas with family, only to get towed on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

What a wonderful Christmas present from the City of Chicago.

Or, having a exciting  plans for New Year’s Eve. Dressing up, going out to dinner, toasting the New Year with friends and loved ones, only to find the car missing after stumbling out of the party after 3 AM.

Talk about having a hangover!

Special thanks to Mr. Neuhaus for sharing his FOIA data with us.

One Response to Interesting Tow Numbers, City Snags 188 On First Night Of Ban

  1. Take a bow Mr. Neuhaus.

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