HB1309 - TOWING OF MOTOR VEHICLES - May, Brian H.
HB1309 CHARGES LAW ON THE TOWING OF ABANDONED MOTOR VEHICLES.
Sponsor: May, Brian H. (108) Effective Date: 00/00/00
CoSponsor: LR Number: 2877-01
Last Action: This Bill is a Substitute - Check Primary Bill HB1174
SCS HS HCS HB 1174 & 1309
Next Hearing:Hearing not scheduled
Calendar:Bill currently not on calendar
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BILL SUMMARIES BILL TEXT FISCAL NOTES
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Available Bill Summaries for HB1309
| Perfected | Committee | Introduced |

Available Bill Text for HB1309
| Introduced |

Available Fiscal Notes for HB1309

BILL SUMMARIES

PERFECTED

HS HCS HB 1174, 1309 -- REMOVAL OF ABANDONED PROPERTY (May)

This substitute regulates all towing of abandoned property under
order of law enforcement and other agency authority from public
rights-of-way and towing from private property.

Abandoned property, under this substitute, is defined as any
motor vehicle, trailer, all-terrain vehicle, outboard motor or
vessel removed or subject to removal from public or private
property, whether or not operational.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Department may
immediately remove property which is unattended, wrecked, burned
or partially dismantled, spilled cargo, or other personal
property from the roadway.  Abandoned property may be towed when
left on highways or water ways when the operator is arrested and
is unable to arrange for the vehicle's or vessel's timely
removal, when left in violation of a law or ordinance, when
obstructing normal flow of traffic and there is no reasonable
indication that the person in control of the property is
arranging for its immediate removal, when a vehicle or vessel is
unattended for a designated time limit, when stolen or taken
without consent, or when simply abandoned.

Drivers of vehicles must make every reasonable effort to remove
stalled vehicle from the roadway.  A violation is an infraction,
beginning January 1, 1999.

Cities are prohibited from requiring fees, permits or licenses
for tow service businesses.  Counties can require such fees,
permits or licenses.

Law enforcement must make a criminal record check on every towed
vehicle.  Law enforcement must submit a report to the Department
of Revenue within 10 working days.  The Department of Revenue
notifies the towing company for the owner's name and address.
The owner may petition in court if the property was wrongly
taken or withheld.  Local ordinances must be at least as strong
as these provisions.

Property retitled under this law will have a "SALVAGE/ABANDONED
PROPERTY" brand and must be reinspected before receiving an
original title.

The substitute regulates all the possible circumstances for
towing from private land, both by law enforcement order and by
direction of the landowner, lessee or agent of the real
property.  The landowner, lessees, or agent of the real property
must give prior notification and file an abandoned property
report with the police on any tow which they authorize, except
tows from a lot where a proper sign is posted.  Towing companies
must also report to the police on any private tow authorized by
a landowner.

Towing companies are responsible for damages caused to the
property or for towing the wrong property.  Damages for wrongful
towing are 4 times the cost of the tow and storage.  The
property owner will be liable for double damages for failure to
comply with this law.

A towing company must have its name printed on the truck or
other towing device.  Charges must be reduced by one half if the
property owner returns before it is towed away.

FISCAL NOTE:  Estimated Net Increase to Highway Fund* of $24,604
in FY 97, $29,525 in FY 98 & FY 99.

*Does not reflect unknown administrative impact to DOR, expected
to be minimal.


COMMITTEE

HCS HB 1174 & 1309 -- TOWING OF MOTOR VEHICLES

CO-SPONSORS:  Sheldon (May (108))

COMMITTEE ACTION:  Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Motor
Vehicle and Traffic Regulations by a vote of 11 to 0.

This substitute revises the law pertaining to the towing of
personal property.  Vehicles, trailers, vessels, or outboard
motors may be towed when left on highways or water ways when the
operator is arrested and is unable to arrange for the vehicles's
or vessel's timely removal, when left in violation of a law or
ordinance, when obstructing normal flow of traffic and there is
no reasonable indication that the person in control of the
property is arranging for its immediate removal, when a vehicle
is unattended for 6 hours, when stolen or taken without consent,
or when abandoned.

Law enforcement officers and landowners may authorize the towing
of vehicles, trailers, vessels and outboard motors from private
property when, (1) they constitute a safety hazard or
unreasonably interfere with the use of real property; (2) they
are left unattended for at least 48 hours; (3) the owner is
issued a notice of parking violation and 96 hours have elapsed
since the notice.  The substitute also spells out the
circumstances in which the owner of real property may authorize
a towing company to remove a vehicle without authorization by a
law enforcement officer. Any property owner who requests a
towing company to tow a vehicle, trailer, vessel, or outboard
motor without authorization from a law enforcement officer must
file an abandoned property report with the proper law
enforcement agency. The agency receiving the report must record
the date the report is filed and within 5 days make any inquiry
with the national crime information center and any statewide
computer system to determine if the property has been stolen.
Any towing company which tows such property without law
enforcement authorization must report the event to the local law
enforcement agency within 24 hours.

The owner of the property towed may recover for any damages.
Towing companies are responsible for damages caused to the
vehicle or for towing the wrong vehicle.  Damages for wrongful
towing are 4 times the cost of the tow and storage.  The
property owner will be liable for double damages for failure to
comply with this law.

Any towing company must have its name printed on the truck or
other towing device.  Charges must be reduced by one half if the
vehicle or vessel owner returns before it is towed away.
Storage facilities must accept a valid credit card, check, or
cash for payment of towing and storage charges.  If not, they
are liable for 4 times the cost, up to $500.  Towing companies
may not remove a vehicle without written authorization unless
the vehicle is within 15 feet of a fire hydrant or fire lane.

The owner of the property is responsible for reasonable towing
and storage charges.  The towing company will have a lien for
the charges.  No personal property, except prescription drugs,
will be released to the owner.

The title owner of the property has 30 days after notification
to pay for the charges or request a hearing.  If the charges are
not paid, the towing company can apply for title.  The bill
provides for the manner of enforcing the towing/storage lien and
obtaining title.

The substitute does not apply in cities adopting similar
ordinances, if the ordinances give the same protection for
property owners' rights.

The driver of any vehicle which obstructs the regular flow of
traffic must make every reasonable effort to remove the vehicle
obstructing the traffic flow.

FISCAL NOTE:  Estimated Net Cost to Highway Fund* of $26,501 in
FY 97, $21,486 in FY 98, and $23,330 in FY 99.

*Does not reflect unknown administrative impact to Department of
Revenue, expected to be minimal.

PROPONENTS:  Supporters say that an adjustment in Missouri's
towing laws is needed to help curb some of the problems and
scams that are happening, especially in the metropolitan areas.

Testifying for the bill were Representatives May and Tate;
Highways and Transportation Department; Office of Attorney
General; Pipes Towing Service, Kansas City; and Missouri State
Highway Patrol(neutral).

OPPONENTS:  Those who oppose the bill say that the original bill
did not provide language to remove illegally parked cars which
block fire plugs and that the time for preparing and submitting
crime inquiry reports is too short.  Opponents would like to see
removed the requirements for a municipality operating a storage
facility to accept bank cards for payment of towing and storage
charges.  Opponents say bank card use requires additional
expense, which is ultimately passed on to the vehicle owner or
taxpayers.

Testifying against the bill was the city of Kansas City.

Robert Triplett, Research Analyst


INTRODUCED

HB 1174 -- Towing Motor Vehicles

Sponsor:  May(108th)

This bill revises the law pertaining to the towing of motor
vehicles.  Vehicles, trailers, and vessels may be towed when
left on highways when the operator is arrested, when left in
violation of a  law or ordinance, when obstructing water
traffic, or when abandoned.

Law officers and landowners may authorize the towing of
vehicles, trailers, and vessels from private property in five
circumstances: (1) a sign warning of towing has been placed; (2)
a safety hazard has been created; (3) 4 days have passed since
issuance of a parking ticket; (4) the vehicle lacks major
component parts; or (5) the property is unattended for at least
48 hours.  The person having the vehicle towed must give notice
to the registered owner, including the grounds for the removal.

The owner of the property towed may recover for any damages.
Towing companies are responsible for damages caused to the
vehicle or for towing the wrong vehicle.  Damages for wrongful
towing are 4 times the cost of the tow and storage.  The
property owner will be liable for double damages for failure to
comply with this law.

Any towing company must have its name printed on the truck.
Charges must be reduced by one half if the vehicle or vessel
owner returns before it is towed away.  Storage facilities must
accept a valid credit card or cash for payment of towing and
storage charges.  If not, they are liable for 4 times the cost,
up to $500.  Towing companies may not remove a vehicle without
written authorization unless the vehicle is within 15 feet of a
fire hydrant or fire lane.

A law enforcement officer must inspect each vehicle towed and
must report specified information to the Director of Revenue.
Copies will also be sent to towing companies and to real
property owners who authorized a tow.

The owner of the property is responsible for reasonable towing
and storage charges.  The towing company will have a lien for
the charges.  Any personal property will be released to the
owner.  Any towing company claiming a lien must give notice to
the title owner within 7 days.  Both the Department of Revenue
and then the towing company must make any necessary checks to
determine who the owner is.

The title owner of the property has 30 days to pay for the
charges or request a hearing.  If the charges are not paid, the
towing company can apply for title.  The bill provides for the
manner of enforcing the towing/storage lien and obtaining title.

The owner of the property may petition in court to determine if
the abandoned property was wrongfully taken or withheld.  The
petition must name the towing company but not name the
Department of Revenue.  No title will be issued until the
petition is decided.  Bond can be posted by the petitioner to
get release of the property.

This bill will not apply in cities adopting similar ordinances,
provided the ordinances provide the same protection for property
owners' rights.

The driver of any vehicle which obstructs the regular flow of
traffic must try to take it from the roadway.  Violators will be
given warnings until August 26, 1997.  Thereafter, violators
will be guilty of an infraction and will be fined $10.

Vehicles may be ordered towed from the right-of-way on
interstate and state highway if they have been left unattended
for a minimum amount of time:  12 hours on interstates in urban
areas; 48 hours on interstates outside urban areas;  10 hours on
state highways in urban areas; and 48 hours on state highways
outside of urban areas.


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Last Updated October 30, 1996 at 10:54 am