If you are issued a parking ticket while driving a rental car, the best way to resolve the issue is to pay the fine, right? That seems the most obvious choice. But in some cases, getting a parking ticket while driving a rental can present a real challenge. It is one reason why it is important to follow all traffic laws in your rental car.
What to do if you get a parking ticket
To understand why a parking ticket can be troublesome to rental car drivers, it is first important to understand the difference between a parking ticket and a traffic ticket, or moving violation. On the surface, both are similar. Tickets are a summons to pay a fine for breaking a law. What makes them different is how they are attributed.
Traffic tickets, like driving over the speed limit, are attributed to a person’s driver’s license. It is the physical thing the violation is legally attached to through the license number. So it does not matter what vehicle you are driving, or who owns the vehicle, when you are issued a traffic ticket.
The fine is linked to your driver’s license and points are applied to your license depending on the severity of the violation. In some cases, such as driving under the influence, you might lose your driving privileges altogether. Another good reason to follow all traffic laws in your rental car.
A parking ticket, however, is attributed to the illegally parked vehicle. Since the rental car company owns the vehicle, it is highly probable the company will learn of the infraction. There is a chance the rental car company will issue a fine on its own for the infraction on top of the parking ticket. Almost assuredly if you do not pay the ticket and the company is forced to make good on the fine. The best thing to do is to pay the fine immediately and inform the company of what happened.
What to do if you get a traffic ticket
Since a traffic ticket is attached to your driver’s license and not the rental vehicle, the best thing to do is take care of the fine on your own. As long as you do so in a timely manner – or follow proper legal procedures if you dispute the ticket – it is unlikely the rental car company will ever learn of the incident.
Note, however, that the vehicle’s license plate number and other identifying information, like the vehicle identification number, will be included in the police report. So while it is unlikely the rental car company will learn of the infraction, if you do not pay, they could. And they could charge you if they have to pay the fine.
What to do if the rental car company contacts you
If your rental car company contacts you about paying a ticket, make sure you have kept all your receipts to prove that you have paid. There is always the chance correspondence passed in the night, and the rental car company didn’t know you had paid until after it sent its letter.
If you haven’t paid, understand that you are liable to make good on the fine and may face additional fees from the rental agency. To avoid fines altogether, make sure to obey all traffic laws in your rental car.