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HB24-1051

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.
Session:
2024 Regular Session
Subjects:
Business & Economic Development
Transportation & Motor Vehicles
Bill Summary

Transportation Legislation Review Committee. The bill requires a driver of tow trucks to undergo a fingerprint-based criminal history record check (check). If the check produces a criminal history that the public utilities commission (commission) determines is inappropriate to drive a tow truck, the driver will not be permitted to drive the tow truck.

Current law authorizes the public utilities commission (commission) to deny or refuse to renew a towing carrier 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 towing carrier permit.

The bill:

  • 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 towing 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 bill 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 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.

Current 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 bill requires the commission to promulgate a rule to require towing carriers to provide:

  • Any information needed to prepare the report; and
  • Audited financial statements; and
  • Any other information required by rule of the commission.

The bill directs the commission to aggregate and anonymize the financial statements and make the aggregated and anonymized data publicly available.

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

Currently, the owner of a motor vehicle pays to retrieve the motor vehicle when the vehicle has been nonconsensually towed from another person's property. The bill requires certain property owners to pay for the removal of the vehicle from their property and for any storage for the first 30 days. The towing carrier is required to notify the vehicle owner that the vehicle owner can retrieve the vehicle free of charge for the first 30 days.

If a motor vehicle is nonconsensually 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. Current 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 a the property owner. The bill requires the permission to be documented and signed and prohibits automated or preapproved permission. If the private 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 bill 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. Current law requires 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 bill 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:

  • Be at least 2 square feet in size;
  • Have lettering at least one inch in height;
  • Have lettering that contrasts sharply in color with the background and contrasts sharply with the structure the signs are placed on;
  • Contain the information listed in the bill;
  • Be printed in English and Spanish;
  • Be permanently mounted both at the entrance of private property, in such a way as to be visible before and upon entering the private property, and inside the private property, facing outward toward the parking area;
  • Be not obstructed from view or placed in a manner that prevents direct visibility; and
  • Be between 3 and 10 feet high.

Current law authorizes the owner of a nonconsensually towed vehicle to retrieve the vehicle without paying the full fees for the nonconsensual tow. The bill prohibits a towing carrier from requiring a person to undergo an approval process other than signing the appropriate form to retrieve the vehicle. Current law makes a towing carrier responsible for the security and safety of a nonconsensually towed vehicle. The bill applies this to all towed vehicles. A violation of the towing laws is made a 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 is moved from September 1, 2025 to September 1, 2030. The bill 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 bill, $165,629 is appropriated to the department of regulatory agencies from the public utilities commission motor carrier fund.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)


(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)

Status

Introduced
Passed
Became Law

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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