Wheel clamp

A wheel clamp, also known as wheel boot, parking boot, or Denver boot,[1][2] is a device that is designed to prevent motor vehicles from being moved. In its most common form, it consists of a clamp that surrounds a vehicle wheel, designed to prevent removal of both itself and the wheel.

In the United States, the device became known as a "Denver boot" after the city of Denver, Colorado, which was the first place in the country to employ them, mostly to force the payment of outstanding parking tickets.[3]

While primarily associated with law enforcement and parking violations, a variety of wheel clamps are now available to consumers as theft deterrent devices for personal use as an alternative to the steering-wheel lock.

1920 Hudson Speedster Touring at 2015 Rockville Show 8of8
An early wheel clamp device offering a $100 reward for arrest of tamperers, mounted on a 1920 Hudson
Wheel clamped BMW5Series, Little Collins St, Melb, 19.10.2011, jjron crop
A modern wheel clamp placed on a vehicle for a parking violation in Melbourne by the Victorian Sheriff; note the tire spikes and panel preventing the vehicle being driven or the wheel being removed
Denver boot
Wheel clamp as used by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation


Wheel clamps have five main functions:

  • To punish unauthorised or illegal parking, in lieu of towing the offending vehicle; in these cases, police or property owners who place the clamp may charge a high "release fee" to remove it
  • To enforce unpaid fines previously applied to the vehicle; a certain number of nonpayments or time elapsed from the issuance of the most recent fine results in clamping upon the next violation
  • To prevent driving by a suspended driver or moving of a disabled vehicle
  • To preclude escape of a prosecuted person
  • For security purposes, such as preventing a car, trailer, or caravan from being driven or towed away by a thief


As the automobile was introduced and became popular, cars also became a target for thieves and for a new concept that became known as joyriding. A variety of after-market security devices were introduced. An early invention were locking wheel clamps or chocks that owners could shackle onto one of the car's road wheels as a hobble, making it impossible to roll the vehicle unless the entire wheel was removed. Between 1914 and 1925 there were at least 25 patents related to wheel locks that attached on the tire and spoke wheel.[4] These devices were available in many sizes from a number of manufacturers (including several patented by Miller-Chapman), and became popular during the early 1920s.[5][6]

The modern wheel clamp, originally known as the auto immobiliser, was invented in 1944 and patented in 1958 by Frank Marugg.[7] Marugg was a pattern maker, a violinist with the Denver Symphony Orchestra, and a friend of many Denver politicians and police department officials. The police department needed a solution to a growing parking enforcement problem. The city used to tow all ticketed cars to the pound, where they were often vandalised. Those who were ticketed sued the city for the damage and the police had to itemise everything in the cars. Dan Stills, a policeman, thought an immobiliser would avoid the expensive towing problem and approached Marugg with an idea on how to immobilise a vehicle.

The Denver police first used the wheel boot on 5 January 1955 and collected over US$18,000 (US$168,350 in 2018 dollars[8]) in its first month of use. Although the wheel boot was first cast in steel, Marugg soon switched to a lighter aluminum-based alloy. Marugg later sold the device to parking lot owners, hotels and ski resorts, as well as a Jumbo version for farm equipment and larger vehicles. The Smithsonian Institution now has a copy of Marugg's boot on display in Washington, D.C.[9][10] By 1970 Marugg had sold 2000 boots. Although the patent ran out in 1976 and modern tire rims necessitated a redesign, Marugg's daughter kept up the business until 1986. Clancy Systems International, Inc. later bought the rights to the boot. The boot allowed Denver to maintain one of the largest collection rates for parking fines of any city in the US through its first fifty years.[10]

The best known wheel clamp in the UK is the 'London Wheel Clamp'. The designer, Trevor Whitehouse and patent owner of device number GB2251416A filed the patent in 1991. He originally called the device the 'Preston', after his home town in Lancashire. Primarily used on private land, its notoriety grew once it was introduced to public roads under the Road Traffic Regulations Act of 1991 (commonly known as the de-criminalising of the yellow lines act). The first areas in the country to be decriminalised were the 33 London Boroughs during 1993/94, hence the name change.


Wheel-clamping is notoriously unpopular with unauthorised parkers. While a traffic warden or police officer has jurisdiction over public roads, in many countries, the law allows landowners to clamp vehicles parking on their property without permission.

One British man became so annoyed at having his car clamped that he removed the clamp with an angle grinder. He subsequently received publicity as a self-styled "superhero" called “Angle-Grinder Man”, offering to remove clamps for free with his angle grinder.[11]

Other motorists have cut the clamps off with bolt cutters or even clamping their own cars beforehand so that property owners will be unable to clamp an already-clamped vehicle and may think that another owner has clamped it. However, the practice of removing clamps is usually only done for those that were installed by firms and other citizens; the removal of clamps installed by authorities (chiefly the police) is an offence.

A New Zealand wheel clamper made national headlines in 2013 after he secretly recorded a police officer allegedly threatening to not help if an aggrieved member of the public attacked him.[12] It was not the first time the clamper involved had been in the news.[13]

Legal issues

Wheel clamps Texas
Several vehicles wheel-clamped at University of North Texas, Denton, Texas

United Kingdom

In Scotland, local authorities are permitted by statute to clamp, tow, or otherwise remove vehicles. Outside that statutory authority, clamping on private land was found to be unlawful in the case Black v Carmichael (1992) SCCR 709, which held that immobilising a vehicle constitutes extortion and theft. Writing in dismissal of parking contractor Alan Black's appeal to the High Court of Justiciary, the Lord Justice General (Lord Hope) cited case law which said "every man has a right to dispute the demand of his creditor in a court of justice" and himself wrote "it is illegal for vehicles to be held to ransom in the manner described in these charges".[14]

In England and Wales, The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 criminalised certain wheel-clamping activity on private land without lawful authority from 1 October 2012. This prohibits clamping in many common locations such as supermarket car parks, but clamping is not entirely banned. For example, a railway operator may clamp a vehicle under the provisions of Railway Byelaw 14(4).[15] The act of clamping is still lawful by the police, DVLA, local authority, etc. but not by a private person or company acting on behalf of their own interests on either public or private property. For example, a person cannot lawfully be clamped on property such as a hospital site, private driveway, car park not operated by a local or government authority, etc. The only exception to this is if the clamping company are acting on behalf of a government agency e.g. contracted on behalf of the DVLA.[16] To allow landowners to deal with unauthorised vehicles the same statute allows land owners to hold the registered keeper of a vehicle liable for any charges relating to breach of contract under certain circumstances. Landowners who seek to enforce 'Parking Charge Notices'[17] (contractual payment terms) establish the contract through the use of onsite signage[18] detailing the 'conditions'.

United States

Wheel Clamp New Orleans on ground Open
A wheel clamp from Paylock[19] that was removed from a vehicle. This device has a keypad where the driver can obtain a code over the phone and remove it after paying a fee.

Despite it being illegal for private operators to immobilise vehicles with these types of devices in the U.S. state of Washington, the practice continues.[20][21] In February 2013 charges were laid against a private parking operator, along with the property owner, in the city of Los Angeles for attaching wheel clamps to vehicles in a privately owned parking lot.[22][23]


In the Republic of Ireland, clamping in public places is legal under a 1988 amendment to the Road Traffic Act 1961.[24][25] Clamping in private car parks is widespread but not regulated by statute, and the legality of the practice is unclear.[24][26] The breaches for which an "immobilisation device" may be fitted under the 1961 act are those specified in sections 35, 36, and 36A of the Road Traffic Act 1994 as amended (respectively "Regulations for general control of traffic and pedestrians", "Parking of vehicles in parking places on public roads", and "Bye-laws for restriction on parking — specified events"[27]).[25] Regulations under the 1994 act are made by statutory instrument by the minister responsible for transport (currently the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport).[27] Local authorities have delegated the clamping activity to private companies.[24] This contrasts with traffic wardens, who are employees of the authority.

Existing statutory provisions are due to be replaced by the Vehicle Clamping Act 2015, passed as part of the Fine Gael–Labour coalition's 2011 programme for government.[24][28][29] The 2015 act regulates private as well as public clamping.[28][24][29][26] It also seeks to improve and standardise the level of fines and the appeals process, which have been the focus of public dissatisfaction.[29]

See also


  1. ^ Lowe, David (2005). The Transport Manager's and Operator's Handbook 2006. London: Kogan Page. p. 255. ISBN 0-7494-4488-6. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  2. ^ "Denver boot". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Archived from the original on 21 August 2011. Retrieved 21 March 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  3. ^ Acton, Johnny; Adams, Tania; Packer, Matt (2006). Origin of Everyday Things. Sterling Publishing. p. 309. ISBN 978-1-4027-4302-3. Retrieved 21 March 2011.
  4. ^ Heitmann, John A.; Morale, Rebecca H. (2014). Stealing Cars: Technology and Society from the Model T to the Gran Torino. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 9. ISBN 9781421412979. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Miller-Chapman wheel locks". Model T Ford Forum. 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Automobile Anti-Theft Deterrents, Criminal Countermeasures, and Technological Change, 1900-1970 at the Society of Automotive Historians biennial conference". Automobile and American Life. April 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  7. ^ Marugg, F.P. (29 July 1958). "Wheel Clamp US patent number 2,844,954" (PDF). Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  8. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Denver Boot Interview". Expo1000.com. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  10. ^ a b Murdock, Linda (Autumn 2005). "The Man Who Invented the Denver Boot, Frank P. Marugg and His Infamous Auto Immobilizer". Colorado Heritage: 40–47. article includes bibliography
  11. ^ "'Superhero' takes on clampers". BBC. 16 September 2003. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Clamper: public enemy no 1". 3 News NZ. 7 March 2013. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 7 March 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  13. ^ Batten, Yvette (15 December 2012). "Attempt to remove wheel clamps fails". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  14. ^ "Carmichael v. Black, High Court of Justiciary HCJ Appeal, The Lord Justice-General(Hope), Lords Allanbridge and Cowie". Scottish Court Service. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  15. ^ "Railway Byelaws" (PDF). Department for Transport, GOV.UK. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 August 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  16. ^ "Appealing a parking ticket".
  17. ^ "Nathaniel Cars :: What Are Parking Charge Notices & 2019 New Law on Private Parking Fees". www.nathanielcars.co.uk.
  18. ^ "Parking Enforcement Signs | Parking Problems | Parking Solution | No Parking | Fine | PCN". www.parkingenforcement.online.
  19. ^ "Paylock, a company that specialises in parking enforcement operations". Paylock.
  20. ^ Heckman, Candace (22 January 2005). "Company ordered to stop using wheel clamp to immobilize cars". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  21. ^ Lewis, Peter (8 April 2005). "Lawmakers give solid boot to vehicle-clamping practice". Seattle Times.
  22. ^ "McDonald's Restaurant Owner and Parking Company Each Charged With Illegally "Booting" Vehicles In Parking Lot" (PDF) (Press release). From the office of the city attorney Carmen A. Trutanich. 14 February 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  23. ^ "Los Angeles Restaurant And Parking Company Charged For Illegally "Booting" Cars". California Business Law Report. 4 March 2013. Archived from the original on 25 August 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  24. ^ a b c d e "Parking fines and vehicle clamping". Citizens Information. Ireland: Citizens Information Board. 20 April 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  25. ^ a b "§101B: Immobilisation, removal etc. of unlawfully parked vehicles" (PDF). Road Traffic Act 1961. Revised statutes. Ireland: Law Reform Commission. 16 April 2013. pp. 206–208. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  26. ^ a b Joint Committee on the Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht (31 January 2012). "Regulation of Vehicle Clamping Industry: Discussion". Debates. Oireachtas. Retrieved 6 April 2017.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  27. ^ a b "Part VI; Regulation of Traffic" (PDF). Road Traffic Act 1994. Revised statutes. Ireland: Law Reform Commission. 30 August 2016. pp. 28–51. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  28. ^ a b "Vehicle Clamping Act 2015". Retrieved 6 April 2017.; "Vehicle Clamping Bill 2014 [Seanad]". Bills. Oireachtas. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  29. ^ a b c "Vehicle Clamping Bill 2014 [Seanad]: Second Stage". Dáil debates. KildareStreet.com. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2017.

External links

Arthur v Anker

Arthur & Another v Anker & Another is an English legal case that set new case law in respect of the use of wheel clamps to immobilise vehicles on private land and is regarded as the leading legal authority on the subject. The case established a legal precedent in relation to the use of wheel clamps and the concept of consent but some years later this was expanded upon in the case of Vine v London Borough of Waltham Forest.


A bodyguard (or close protection officer) is a type of security guard, or government law enforcement officer, or soldier who protects a person or a group of people—usually high-ranking public officials or officers, wealthy people, and celebrities—from danger: generally theft, assault, kidnapping, assassination, harassment, loss of confidential information, threats, or other criminal offences. The personnel team that protects a VIP is often referred to as the VIP's security detail.

Most important public figures, such as heads of state, heads of government, and governors are protected by several bodyguards or by a team of bodyguards from a government agency, security forces, or police forces (e.g., in the U.S., the United States Secret Service or the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service).

In most countries where the head of state is also their military leader, the leader's bodyguards have traditionally been royal guards, republican guards and other elite military units. Less-important public figures, or those with lower risk profiles, may be accompanied by a single bodyguard who doubles as a driver.

A number of high-profile celebrities and CEOs also use bodyguards. In some countries or regions (e.g., in Latin America), wealthy people may have a bodyguard when they travel. In some cases, the security personnel use an armoured vehicle, which protects them and the VIP.

Car boot

Car boot may refer to:

Boot (car), a storage space in a car

Wheel clamp, a device to prevent a vehicle from being moved

Car boot sale, a market where people sell unwanted possessions from their cars

Clamp (tool)

A clamp is a fastening device used to hold or secure objects tightly together to prevent movement or separation through the application of inward pressure. In the United Kingdom and Australia, the term cramp is often used instead when the tool is for temporary use for positioning components during construction and woodworking; thus a G cramp or a sash cramp but a wheel clamp or a surgical clamp.

There are many types of clamps available for many different purposes. Some are temporary, as used to position components while fixing them together, others are intended to be permanent. In the field of animal husbandry, using a clamp to attach an animal to a stationary object is known as "rounded clamping." A physical clamp of this type is also used to refer to an obscure investment banking term, "fund clamps." Anything that performs the action of clamping may be called a clamp, so this gives rise to a wide variety of terms across many fields.


A clamper can mean:

A clamper, an electronic circuit.

A spiked plate worn on the sole of the shoe to prevent slipping when walking on ice.

A person who applies a wheel clamp to a vehicle parked illegally or on private land.

A person who belongs to the Ancient and Honorable Society of E Clampus Vitus.

Criminal damage in English law

In English law, causing criminal damage was originally a common law offence. The offence was largely concerned with the protection of dwellings and the food supply, and few sanctions were imposed for damaging personal property. Liability was originally restricted to the payment of damages by way of compensation.

As time passed, specific laws were introduced to deal with particular situations as they were judged to require intervention, most particularly alongside the rise of mechanisation and urbanisation during the Industrial Revolution.

The modern law of criminal damage is mostly contained in the Criminal Damage Act 1971, which redefines or creates several offences protecting property rights. The Act provides a comprehensive structure covering merely preparatory acts to the most serious offences of arson and causing damage with intent to endanger life. As such, punishments vary from a fixed penalty to life imprisonment, and the court may order payment of compensation to a victim.

Kerwin Duinmeijer

Kerwin Duinmeijer (born Kerwin Lucas, though he later took on the surname of his foster parents; 5 June 1968 – 21 August 1983) was a Dutch teenager of Netherlands Antillean descent who was murdered due to senseless violence. Though still a point of contention, it has generally been accepted in the past that racism played a major role in his murder.


Parking is the act of stopping and disengaging a vehicle and leaving it unoccupied. Parking on one or both sides of a road is often permitted, though sometimes with restrictions. Some buildings have parking facilities for use of the buildings' users. Countries and local governments have rules for design and use of parking spaces.

Parking Wars

Parking Wars is a reality television series which aired on the A&E television network. The program followed traffic enforcement employees as they ticket, "boot,", tow, and release cars back to their owners, as part of their parking enforcement duties.

The show began airing on January 8, 2008. The 7th and final season premiered on October 6, 2012. The final episode was aired on December 22, 2012.

Parking enforcement officer

A parking enforcement officer (PEO), traffic warden (British English), parking inspector/parking officer (Australia and New Zealand), or civil enforcement officer is a member of a traffic control department or agency who issues tickets for parking violations. The term parking attendant is sometimes considered a synonym but sometimes used to refer to the different profession of parking lot attendant.Even where parking meters are no longer used, the term "meter maid" is often still used to refer to female PEOs.


A sheriff is a government official, with varying duties, existing in some countries with historical ties to England, where the office originated. There is an analogous although independently developed office in Iceland that is commonly translated to English as sheriff, and this is discussed below.

Shopping cart

A shopping cart (American English) or trolley (British English), also known by a variety of other names, is a cart supplied by a shop, especially supermarkets, for use by customers inside the shop for transport of merchandise to the checkout counter during shopping. In many cases customers can then also use the cart to transport their purchased goods to their vehicles, but some carts are designed to prevent them from leaving the shop.

In many places in the United States and the United Kingdom, customers are allowed to leave the carts in designated areas within the parking lot, and store personnel will return the carts to the storage area. In many continental European premises, however, coin- (or token-) operated locking mechanisms are provided to encourage shoppers to return the carts to the correct location after use.

Studies have shown that it is advisable for shoppers to sanitize the handles and basket areas prior to handling them or filling them with groceries due to high levels of bacteria that typically live on shopping carts. This is due to the carts having a high level of exposure to the skin flora of previous users.

The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson

"The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson" is the first episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It was originally broadcast on the Fox network in the United States on September 21, 1997, as the 179th episode of the series. The episode features the Simpson family traveling to Manhattan to recover the family car, which was taken by Barney Gumble and abandoned outside the World Trade Center, where it has been repeatedly posted with parking tickets, and disabled with a parking boot.

Writer Ian Maxtone-Graham was interested in making an episode where the Simpson family travels to New York to retrieve their misplaced car. Executive producers Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein suggested that the car be found in Austin J. Tobin Plaza at the World Trade Center, as they wanted a location that would be widely known. Great lengths were taken to make a detailed replica of the borough of Manhattan. The episode received generally positive reviews, and has since been on accolade lists of The Simpsons episodes. The "You're Checkin' In" musical sequence won two awards. Because of the World Trade Center's main role, the episode was taken off syndication in many areas following the September 11 attacks, but had come back into syndication by 2006.

Traffic stop

A traffic stop, commonly called being pulled over, is a temporary detention of a driver of a vehicle by police to investigate a possible crime or minor violation of law.

Traffic violations reciprocity

Under traffic violations reciprocity agreements, non-resident drivers are treated like residents when they are stopped for a traffic offense that occurs in another jurisdiction. They also ensure that punishments such as penalty points on one's license and the ensuing increase in insurance premiums follow the driver home. The general principle of such interstate, interprovincial, and/or international compacts is to guarantee the rule "one license, one record."

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Moving violations
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