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Legislative Year: 2022 Change
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Bill Detail: HB22-1314

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Title Towing Carrier Nonconsensual Tows
Status Signed by the President of the Senate (06/06/2022)
Bill Subjects
  • Business & Economic Development
  • Transportation & Motor Vehicles
House Sponsors E. Hooton (D)
N. Ricks (D)
Senate Sponsors J. Sonnenberg (R)
J. Gonzales (D)
House Committee Business Affairs and Labor
Senate Committee Finance
Date Introduced 03/21/2022
Summary

Current law requires a towing carrier (carrier) to notify law
enforcement, within 30 minutes after towing an abandoned vehicle, of the
carrier's name and the storage location and description of the vehicle. The
bill clarifies that the carrier is deemed to have complied if:
  • The carrier gave the location of the storage facility to law

enforcement when obtaining authorization for the tow; or
  • The carrier made 2 or more attempts within the 30 minutes
after the tow to notify a law enforcement agency but was
unsuccessful for reasons beyond the control of the carrier.
When a carrier tows a vehicle without the owner's or lienholder's
consent, current law requires the carrier to notify the department of
revenue, the owner, and the lienholder of the tow between 2 and 10 days
after the tow, thus imposing a 2-day waiting period before notification.
The bill repeals this waiting period and instead requires notice within 10
days after the tow. The carrier is authorized to use a telephone to notify
the owner or lienholder. Current law also denies the carrier daily storage
fees if the carrier fails to reasonably notify the owner and lienholder. The
bill forbids daily storage fees until the carrier has sent the required notice
to the owner and lienholder.
The bill requires that carriers that are towing a vehicle from private
property without the owner's, operator's, or lienholder's consent:
  • Charge the same fees for tows made without the owner's
consent as the carrier charges for tows made with the
owner's consent. These fees must be filed with the public
utilities commission (PUC) and posted at the carrier's
storage location.
  • Accept cash and major credit cards, as defined by rule of
the PUC, and, upon request, disclose the accepted forms of
payment;
  • Not charge storage fees for a day on which the carrier did
not store the vehicle;
  • Before connecting to a vehicle, photographically document
the vehicle's condition and the reason for the tow. Failure
to produce documentation of the vehicle's condition or the
reason for the tow creates a rebuttable presumption that any
damages to the vehicle were caused by the carrier or that
the tow was not authorized.
  • Maintain an area at each storage facility with lighting
adequate to inspect a vehicle for damage;
  • Upon demand of the owner, retrieve the vehicle or the
contents of the towed vehicle or allow the owner to retrieve
the vehicle or the contents;
  • Obtain authorization from the property owner, leaseholder,
or common interest community within 24 hours before
towing a vehicle from private property;
  • Give 24 hours' written notice before removing a vehicle
from a parking spot or the common areas of a
condominium, cooperative, apartment, or mobile home
park;
  • Upon request, provide evidence of the carrier's insurance
coverages;
  • Have a sign at storage facilities that states the name,
telephone number, and hours of operation of the carrier's
business;
  • Upon request, provide an itemized bill showing each
charge and the rate for each fee that the person has
incurred;
  • Give a written notice of the ability to make a complaint to
the PUC;
  • To perform a nonconsensual tow, other than for an
abandoned motor vehicle, from private property normally
used for parking, the property owner must have provided
adequate signs communicating the parking regulations that
subject a vehicle to being towed; and
  • Unless ordered by a peace officer, not tow a vehicle from
private property because the rear license plate shows the
vehicle registration is expired.
A carrier's mechanic's lien is abolished if the carrier tows a vehicle
from private property without the owner's, operator's, or lienholder's
consent.
If a carrier fails to comply with the provisions of the bill, the
carrier may not charge or retain any fees or charges for the services
performed with respect to the vehicle and must return any fees it collected
with respect to the vehicle. It is an affirmative defense in any action to
collect towing fees that the carrier failed to comply with these provisions.
If a carrier damages a vehicle or violates these provisions in a manner that
causes damages and refuses to reimburse the owner, operator, or
lienholder, the owner or lienholder may recover attorney fees.
The carrier and an owner or lienholder may use mediation to
resolve disputes involving nonconsensual tows. Any mediated agreement
may be submitted to the office of tow hearings (office), which is created
in the bill, and a court, both of which are authorized to enforce the
agreement.
The office is created within the PUC to adjudicate disputes
between carriers and owners or lienholders when a vehicle is towed from
private property without the owner's or lienholder's consent. The office
will employ hearing officers or use administrative law judges to govern
proceedings and to hold hearings to determine whether a carrier violated
the law or caused damages. The office may order carriers to reimburse
owners or lienholders, and this reimbursement may include attorney fees.
The final actions of the office are subject to judicial review in accordance
with the State Administrative Procedure Act.
Carriers are required to record certain information about each
nonconsensual tow, retain the information in their records for 3 years, and
produce the records within 48 hours upon request.
A carrier is prohibited from paying money or other valuable
consideration to a landowner or business for the privilege of
nonconsensually towing vehicles.
It is a deceptive trade practice to violate the provisions of the bill,
and the attorney general is responsible for enforcement.

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