UCMCS, with help from its legislative advocates Ellison Wilson Advocacy and other stakeholders, worked overtime this year at the State Capitol to defend the tow industry from the following potentially devastating attacks:
AB 2167 by Assembly Member Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) was passed by the Legislature to address privacy concerns surrounding 2015’s AB 1222 (Bloom) – specifically, the requirement that tow truck drivers leave their driver’s license info at dealerships and autobody shops each time a vehicle is dropped off. UCMCS successfully advocated to allow drivers to be able to legally submit a motor club ID number or other government authorized unique identifying number as an alternative to a driver’s license in this context. Overall, AB 2167 included the following changes to Vehicle Code section 22513.1, which will go into effect on January 1, 2017:
- AB 2167 includes an option for tow truck drivers to be able to legally submit a motor club ID number or other government authorized unique identifier when dropping off a vehicle as an alternative to a driver’s license during hours that a business is open to the public.
- AB 2167 provides that, if a tow truck operator refuses to provide any information, a new motor vehicle dealer, as defined in Vehicle Code section 426, is in compliance if the dealer is able to document that reasonable efforts were made to obtain the tow operator’s information.
- AB 2167 provides that a business taking possession of a vehicle from a tow truck operator when a business is closed to the public is required to document the following information: a) The make, model, and license plate or vehicle identification number; b) The date and time that the business first observed the vehicle on its property; c) That reasonable effort was made by the business to contact the towing company, if identifying information was left with the vehicle, and the following information is provided with the vehicle: i. The name, address, and telephone number of the towing company; ii. The name and driver’s license number, driver’s identification number issued by a motor club or other government-authorized unique identifier of the tow truck operator.
AB 873 by Assembly Member Brian Jones (R-Santee) would have subjected towers to regulation by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) if performing minor automotive repair services, that have previously been exempt, including changing batteries. In order to avoid more unnecessary governmental regulation on the towing industry, UCMCS successfully advocated alongside fellow stakeholders for a complete exemption from BAR for all towers performing roadside service that have a valid Motor Carrier Permit and are in the BIT Program. The bill was ultimately signed by the Governor with the towing exemption in place.
AB 2586 by Assembly Member Mike Gatto (D-Glendale), dubbed the “Parking Bill of Rights,” included an unreasonable provision that would have required towers to provide free towing and storage to vehicle owners when their vehicle was towed for illegal parking if the illegal parking was the result of the vehicle being stolen or other third party criminal activity. After intense lobbying from UCMCS and the tow industry, Assembly Member Mike Gatto agreed to remove this offensive towing provision from his bill due to the unjustified negative impact this provision would have had on the small businesses in our industry.
While UCMCS is proud to have stood up at the Capitol to protect towers in California this year, we know that next year will inevitably bring new threats and opponents. Nevertheless UCMCS vows to continue to fight for the rights of its members and the tow industry.