We wanted to update you on a significant victory for the towing industry at the State Capitol. AB 2586, dubbed the “Parking Bill of Rights,” was introduced by Assembly Member Mike Gatto, a Democrat from Glendale, on February 19th, and included the following provision:
“The owner of a motor vehicle is not required to pay any fine or charge, including towing and impounding fees, whether public or private, resulting from the illegal parking of the vehicle if the illegal parking was the result of third party criminal activity and no fault of the owner of the vehicle.”
In essence, the bill 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.
UCMCS took a stand in opposition to the bill and teamed up with the California Tow Truck Association (CTTA) and the Los Angeles Official Police Garages (OPG) to collectively fight the bill on behalf of the entire tow industry. We argued at the Capitol that while we were certainly sympathetic to the plight of a vehicle owner who has had their vehicle stolen, AB 2586 attempted to address the issue in a manner that merely shifted the problem – and financial responsibility – onto the backs of small tow businesses. Tow companies are being requested to provide a critical service and to later statutorily deny them any payment for these services whatsoever – despite no knowledge or fault about the underlying criminal activity – is hypocritical and ultimately would likely result in more illegally parked cars on California’s already crowded streets and parking lots as tow companies would be disincentivized from towing any illegally parked vehicles. Furthermore, vehicle owners are in the best position to readily protect themselves from costs associated with a stolen vehicle by obtaining a suitable auto insurance policy.
Ultimately with a showdown looming at the upcoming Assembly Transportation Committee hearing on Monday, April 4th, Assembly Member Gatto backed down and agreed to take out this towing provision from his bill. In exchange UCMCS has agreed to remove its opposition. We thank Assembly Member Gatto for being responsive to the towing industry’s concerns.
While this is great news, AB 2586 is just one of the many fights the tow industry continues to face at the Capitol. We’ll continue to keep you updated as the 2016 legislative year progresses.