Skip to main content
Colorado General AssemblyToggle Main Menu
Agency NameToggle Agency Menu

Towing Carrier Regulation

Concerning the regulation of businesses that obtain a permit from the public utilities commission to tow motor vehicles, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2024 Regular Session
Business & Economic Development
Transportation & Motor Vehicles
Bill Summary

Colorado law authorizes the public utilities commission (commission) to deny or refuse to renew a towing carrier permit (permit) if:

  • The towing carrier was convicted within the last 5 years of a felony or a towing-related offense or has failed to satisfy a civil penalty imposed by the commission; or
  • The commission determines that it is not in the public interest for the towing carrier to hold a permit.

The act:

  • Authorizes the commission to suspend or revoke a permit for each of these specified violations;
  • Authorizes the commission to suspend or revoke a permit if it is not in the public interest for the towing carrier to hold a permit; and
  • Sets a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the public interest for a towing carrier to hold a permit if the towing carrier has willfully and repeatedly violated the towing laws.

The act prohibits a member of the towing task force in the department of regulatory agencies, which advises the commission on towing matters, from voting on a matter if the matter concerns a rate-setting recommendation that will financially benefit the member or if the member is the subject of a complaint about which the task force is advising the commission.

Colorado law requires the commission to report certain towing issues and financial information to certain committees of the senate and house of representatives of the general assembly. The act requires the commission to promulgate a rule to require towing carriers to provide any information needed to prepare the report as part of the towing carrier permitting process. The information required by rule may include the annual volume of tows by category, the current pricing per category of tow for all fees charged, and the number of tow trucks each towing carrier operates.

A towing carrier is forbidden from patrolling or monitoring property to enforce parking restrictions on behalf of the property owner.

If a motor vehicle is towed in violation of the rights granted in state statute, the towing carrier must, within 48 hours after the determination of a statutory violation, return the vehicle to the place it was towed from unless otherwise requested or if not practical, as determined by the commission.

Colorado law prohibits a towing carrier from nonconsensually towing a vehicle from private property unless the carrier has received permission from the property owner or an agent of the owner within the last 24 hours. A towing carrier may not be the agent of the property owner. The act requires the permission to be documented and signed and prohibits automated or preapproved permission. If the property owner would earn income from the nonconsensual tow, the towing carrier is prohibited from making the tow but may authorize another towing carrier to make the tow. The act repeals the ability of the agent to authorize the tow and replaces it with authorization by an employee of the property owner or a property management service, except that employees that have a financial interest in or relationship with the towing carrier may not authorize the tow.

Before the act, Colorado law required certain nonconsensual tows to occur only after the vehicle owner has been given 24-hours' notice, unless the vehicle is parked without displaying valid authorization in a parking lot used exclusively for residents. The act removes the requirement that the vehicle display valid authorization and replaces it with a requirement that the vehicle have valid authorization and broadens the type of parking lot to include a parking lot for invited guests.

The sign requirement for conducting a nonconsensual tow is changed to require the sign to include certain lettering and placement requirements and to require print in both English and Spanish.

Colorado law authorizes the owner of a nonconsensually towed vehicle to retrieve the vehicle without paying the full fees for the nonconsensual tow. The act prohibits a towing carrier from requiring a person to undergo an approval process other than signing the appropriate form to retrieve the vehicle.

The act requires a towing carrier to be responsible for the security and safety of a towed vehicle, regardless of whether the vehicle was nonconsensually towed. A violation of the towing laws is made a deceptive trade practice in violation of the "Colorado Consumer Protection Act", which authorizes the attorney general or a district attorney to file a civil action for penalties of $10,000 or more.

The sunset repeal of the commission's regulation of towing carriers is moved from September 1, 2025, to September 1, 2030.

The act makes a violation of the towing laws an independent cause of action, which is not subject to administrative exhaustion, against the towing carrier.

To implement the act, $165,629 is appropriated for the 2024-25 state fiscal year to the department of regulatory agencies from the public utilities commission motor carrier fund.

APPROVED by Governor May 30, 2024

EFFECTIVE August 7, 2024
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details