We have received a number of calls from members seeking additional information on the requirements contained within AB 1222, a new towing law that went into effect on January 1, 2016. Because of this new law, some dealerships and auto body shops are requiring that tow company drivers provide information, including driver’s license numbers, before they drop off a vehicle. This is permissible under the new law. However, it is also important to note that there are extensive privacy protections in place under California law to ensure that this info is carefully maintained by the business and not misused or disclosed in any way. We have summarized the new law below, but we thought it was important to first give you some background on the new law, including UCMCS’ involvement.
AB 1222 by Assembly Member Richard Bloom, a Democrat from Santa Monica, was sponsored by the City of Los Angeles and at one point contained language that would have allowed every local government to regulate (and charge fees) for every tow truck that drove through its jurisdiction. Because this could have been financially devastating to UCMCS members, UCMCS fought alongside the towing industry to remove this intolerable language. Fortunately, the author and sponsors finally relented due to the industry’s pressure and agreed to remove this provision. However, even with the local government regulation expansion language removed, there were a number of other problematic remaining provisions of the bill. This included provisions that would have required all drivers to produce work estimates on the side of the road when solicited to the scene of an accident or disabled vehicle, despite the extreme dangers associated with such a task. UCMCS worked particularly hard to ensure that motor club contractors were not unfairly treated in the ongoing discussions on the bill. Ultimately, the bill that was signed by the Governor greatly minimized the requirements on motor club contractors, including an exemption for motor club contractors from the estimate requirement.
Attached is the final version of AB 1222. It amended Vehicle Code section 22513 and added a new section 22513.1, which are summarized as follows.
- If summoned by a motor club, a tower must possess:
- Name of motor club; referral/ID number; date and time summoned
- If summoned by law enforcement, a tower must possess:
- Law enforcement agency; log/call/dispatch number or surname and badge number of officer; date and time summoned
- If summoned by the vehicle owner or operator, a tower shall:
- Possess the first and last name and telephone number of person who summoned; make, model, year, and license plate of vehicle; date and time summoned; name of person who obtained info
- If vehicle owner or operator is present, tower shall furnish a written itemized invoice of all charges and services prior to attaching vehicle (unless first moved to safe spot) and obtain the owner or operator’s signature. This invoice shall contain:
- The name, address, telephone number, and motor carrier permit number of the towing company
- The license plate number of the tow truck performing the tow.
- The first and last name of the towing operator, and if different than the towing operator, the first and last name of the person from the towing company furnishing the estimate.
- A description and cost for all services, including, but not limited to, charges for labor, special equipment, mileage from dispatch to return, and storage fees, expressed as a 24-hour rate.
- Not charge a fee in excess of CHP or law enforcement rate for that jurisdiction, unless the towing is performed with the prior consent of the owner or operator of the vehicle.
- All of the above info must be retained by the tower for three years.
- Tow Company Info:
- Name, address, and telephone number of the towing company
- Tow Truck Driver Info:
- Name and driver’s license number of the tow truck operator
- IMPORTANT NOTE: California law protects privacy by prohibiting the inappropriate usage of a driver’s license number including, but not limited, to:
- Penal Code sect. 529.7 (prohibits obtaining or assisting another obtain a driver’s license if not entitled to the document)
- Vehicle Code sect. 1808.45 (prohibits unauthorized disclosure of information from any DMV record to any person)
- Civil Code sect. 1798.81.5 (a business that owns, licenses, or maintains personal information, including a driver’s license number, shall implement and maintain reasonable security procedures to protect the personal information from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.)
- Civil Code sect. 1798.90.1 (prohibits collecting information by swiping a driver’s license for any purposes other than verifying age or authenticity of the license, check verification or when legally required.)
- Vehicle Info:
- Make, model, and license plate or Vehicle Identification Number
- The date and time that possession was taken of the vehicle. If the vehicle was dropped off after hours, the business shall obtain the information from the towing company the next day.