Magazine article State Legislatures

Cars Now Safer in Parking Lots

Magazine article State Legislatures

Cars Now Safer in Parking Lots

Article excerpt

Tucked into the new highway bill passed by Congress in late July is a provision that authorizes states and localities to enact laws that would protect citizens from unscrupulous towing companies. This national solution is based on a similar law passed in California in 2003.

The California law, sponsored by Speaker Pro Tern Leland Yee, was in response to a ruling by a federal appeals court that said tow trucks are interstate carriers under the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 and therefore only subject to federal regulation, except for matters pertaining to public safety.

Yee's bill made technical changes to state law, tying the towing of vehicles to the safety and welfare of the public. As a result, the federal appeals court reversed itself in May. The provision in the federal highway bill specifically allows states to pass laws requiring property owners to authorize and be present at each tow. …

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