You’ve heard of cow tipping, right? Well, now there’s an urban substitute, “smart car tipping.”
Recently, in San Francisco, the trend began locally when a group of people in hoodies went around tipping the small economical cars. Weighing approximately 1,800 pound, smart cars are small enough for just a small group of people to vandalize. A witness said they saw six to eight people huddling around just before one of the tipping incidents. According to witness Brandon Michael, “They looked like they were up to no good. And sure enough, they huddled around it and lifted it up.”
San Francisco is not the first place hit by these car tipping pranksters, however. There seems to be some confusion as to whether the pranks began in Toronto, Canada or Amsterdam, but there’s no doubt that it’s becoming an unnecessary trend.
In comparison to other new cars, smart cars are relatively cheap, starting at just over $12,000. Still, that much money is a lot to a great many people. In fact, very few people are willing to throw that kind of money out the window. Where car insurance is concerned, tipping can mean a higher premium for owners of smart cars mostly because it’s not covered by simple collision coverage. A person must have comprehensive coverage for their smart car in order to get any kind of reimbursement for this kind of vandalism.
As funny as this prank may seem, with pictures of tipped smart cars circulating the internet, it’s not a laughing matter. Those involved will be facing felony vandalism charges if they are caught. In some states, felony vandalism is when the vandals cause more than $400 of damage and the minimum punishment can be approximately 16 months in jail or a fine that can reach up to $10,000. As of this moment, police say the suspects have yet to be identified.
The small size of smart cars makes them the perfect fit for residents of cities that have small families. It allows drivers the freedom of using a car instead of public transportation and allows them to utilize smaller parking spots. However, that small stature also opens smart cars up for vandalism of all types, including tipping, flipping and dumping into canals. Smart car dealerships are beginning to worry about the effect rampant vandalism might have on their ability to sell the environment-friendly cars.
Regardless of what is driving these pranks, it is important to remember that vandalism is not tolerated under the law.