Bitter Irony Department: New TowTruck Rules

towtruck.jpgEverybody raise your hand if you’ve ever been unjustly towed – or had someone justly towed and not cared who did it or how.

I thought so.

In the years since the feds deregulated the towing industry in ’94, rogue towtruck operators have “tarnished the entire tow industry,” says the LAPD Blog – almost with a tear in its eye. (I’ll let you decide whether there was much there to tarnish in the first place.)

Now Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg is pushing AB 2210 through the Legislature to stifle the towtruck bandits who “lie in wait” for careless parkers whose precious vehicles they can suck into a hellish vortex of usurious towing and storage fees …

  • Allow municipalities to license and regulate tow companies and their drivers. In Los Angeles, this process will be handled by Los Angeles Police Commission Investigation Division (CID). All tow companies and their drivers will be required to obtain permits from CID beginning January 1st. Enforcement of this requirement will begin in April.
  • Require that the property owner or lessee provide written authorization for a vehicle to be removed, and that the tow company provide fact of the removal of a vehicle, the grounds for the removal, and the place where the vehicle has been removed.
  • Require, that upon a vehicle owner’s request, a tow company or its driver, must immediately and unconditionally release a vehicle that is not yet removed from private property and in transit.
  • Require that tow companies accept credit cards.
  • Require that tow companies notify the local law enforcement agency that the vehicle has been towed within 30 minutes of the removal.
  • Require that a tow company’s California Highway Patrol approved rates be made available for inspection and copying within 24 hours of request.

I’m all for restoring regulation.

But while it’s good to know we’ll be able to order a towtruck to drop a car it’s about to remove from private property just by waving our little fingers (just the little ones, mind you), and we’ll be able to pay by credit card if we’re too late, it doesn’t change anything: getting towed by an LAPD-approved tow squad sucks no less than getting yanked by a non-approved truck. (Those little “OPG” stickers just dont’ scream “warm and fuzzy.”)

On the flip side – in case of rush hour artery jams, blocked driveways, nuisance vehicles – it’s reassuring to know that a simple phone call will still bring in the flying monkeys, with or without AB 2210.

Ever had someone towed – or spent most of the weekend trying to get your own towed car out of hock? Share here.

2 Replies to “Bitter Irony Department: New TowTruck Rules”

  1. Tow truck cowboyz.

    Hmmm… Here’s a quick rundown of things I’ve personally seen involving towtrucks and/or their drivers:

    1. A few legitimate tows where nothing ugly happened. A few.
    2. A gun battle between a crazy towtruck driver and an even crazier couple guys who parked a Uhaul in a red zone in front of a post office in Long Beach a few years ago. Everyone hit the deck. It was scary and ugly. I don’t think anyone actually got shot. The Uhaul guys drove off. I was inside the post office at the time.
    3. A barfight in Fullerton that turned into a serious cop scene sparked when a “3 guys towing” truck rammed a car out of a legit parking space and the towtruck cowboyz went inside the bar to have a few hundred (or so it seemed) beers.
    4. A towtruck cowboy waving a pistol out of his towtruck blasting down the 10 freeway about 100 mph in Fontana last year, apparently angry at a tiny lady in a tiny car who had the nerve to be driving less than 90 in the fast lane.
    5. And my all-time favorite – a towtruck on fire sitting on the side of the 91 freeway near the 710. Set ’em all on fire I say…

    I know towing companies serve a purpose, but I’ve seen too many cases of those assholes acting like lords of the road… even know a friend who got his car towed right out of his own garage due to a case of mistaken identity – he had a car he paid cash for – PAID OFF – and Toyota Financial sent a tow company to repo his car… the tow company guys actually hooked a chain to his garage door, tore it off the garage, it fell on top of and damaged his nice new PAID FOR car, and they hauled his car away. Of course, he came home with his wife, saw the wreckage, called the cops… and well, ended up with a nice new(er) car and a whole new front and door on his garage for his trouble. Sort of like rogue contractors tearing down the wrong house – but that’s a story for another thread!

  2. Man, a bumper crop of yarns. If there isn’t some TV development exec sniffing around this in the next 10 minutes, I shall be very surprised.

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