Motor Vehicles Tows And Crime Victims
The bill requires a towing carrier (carrier) to release a motor vehicle without demanding or accepting payment for any fee or charge associated with the tow or storage if the motor vehicle was towed without the owner's consent from public or private property and the tow was a result of the owner being a victim of a crime or the motor vehicle being stolen. The owner must provide appropriate documentation.
To reimburse tow carriers for nonconsensual tows from private property, the bill creates an enterprise with a 5-person governing board. The governing board must meet at least annually and may:
- Take actions necessary to implement and administer the enterprise;
- Issue bonds;
- Audit participating carriers;
- Hire any necessary employees; and
- Obtain the necessary office space, equipment, and services.
The governing board is required to:
- Implement and administer the enterprise;
- Annually report to the public utilities commission;
- Establish policies; and
- Coordinate with the commission and department of revenue (department).
The enterprise will administer a voluntary reimbursement program for participating carriers. Under the program, a carrier collects a fee, sends it to the enterprise, and the enterprise reimburses the carrier for the cost of providing a law enforcement tow and storage based on average costs of providing the tow and storage.
The department must create a database of motor vehicles that have been reported abandoned on public or private property. The database must contain certain information to identify the motor vehicle and be made available online to the public, so that a person may search the database to find an abandoned motor vehicle.
Current law requires a law enforcement agency or carrier with a motor vehicle towed from private or public property to check to see if the motor vehicle has been stolen within 30 minutes after the carrier tows the motor vehicle. If the motor vehicle has been stolen, the law enforcement agency will return it to the owner. The bill requires another check 48 hours after towing the motor vehicle.
Current law requires an abandoned motor vehicle to be sold no fewer than 30 days after and within 60 days after it is towed. The bill repeals the requirement that the motor vehicle be sold within 60 days. It states that if the carrier is notified that the motor vehicle was towed because of a crime, the sale must be made no fewer than 60 days after the tow and the owner is notified of the 60 day minimum time frame for holding the motor vehicle.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as introduced.)