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AB-1359 Vehicles: tow trucks.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 04/08/2019 09:00 PM
AB1359:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 08, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 26, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1359


Introduced by Assembly Member Santiago

February 22, 2019


An act to add and repeal Section 22658.3 to of the Vehicle Code, relating to tow trucks.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1359, as amended, Santiago. Vehicles: tow trucks.
Existing law authorizes a person who owns or possesses private property to cause the removal and storage of a vehicle parked on that property, as specified.
Existing law requires a motor carrier of property, including a tow truck, to obtain a permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Existing law prescribes certain consumer protection requirements for facilities that store towed and impounded vehicles, including, among others, a requirement that those facilities be accessible during prescribed normal business hours, that they accept prescribed forms of payment, and that they not charge a fee for certain transactions.

This bill would require the Department of the California Highway Patrol to maintain a registry of tow operators, as defined. This bill would require any tow operator to register with the department and provide specified required information, including information about all drivers and vehicles. The bill would require a tow operator to update their registration whenever any of the required information changes. The bill would make it a misdemeanor for any unregistered person to engage in the business of a tow operator.

By creating a new offense, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

This bill would require the Department of the California Highway Patrol to convene an advisory working group that includes representatives from the department, the towing industry, the insurance industry, and other stakeholders to study the feasibility of developing and maintaining a registry of towing companies operating in the state. The bill would require the advisory working group to report its findings and recommendations, and any appropriations that may be necessary to implement those recommendations, to the Assembly Committee on Transportation and the Senate Committee on Transportation on or before May 1, 2021, and would repeal these provisions on January 1, 2022.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YESNO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 22658.3 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

22658.3.
 (a) The Department of the California Highway Patrol shall convene an advisory working group that includes representatives from the department, the towing industry, the insurance industry, and other stakeholders to study the feasibility of developing and maintaining a registry of towing companies operating in the state.
(b) The advisory working group shall report its findings and recommendations, and any appropriations that may be necessary to implement those recommendations, to the Assembly Committee on Transportation and the Senate Committee on Transportation on or before May 1, 2021.
(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2022, and as of that date is repealed.

SECTION 1.Section 22658.3 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
22658.3.

(a)The Department of the California Highway Patrol shall maintain a registry of towing companies.

(b)Every person engaging in the business of a towing company shall register with the Department of the California Highway Patrol, and shall provide all of the following information:

(1)The name of the towing company owner, or, if the towing company is not owned by a natural person, the name of the person in charge of the management and operation of the towing company.

(2)The names and drivers’ license numbers of all tow truck drivers employed by or otherwise providing service for the towing company.

(3)The description, license plate number, and vehicle identification number of each tow truck operated by the towing company.

(4)The towing company’s motor carrier permit number.

(5)The physical address and phone number of the towing company and the physical addresses of all storage yards or facilities owned or operated by the towing company.

(6)The insurance carrier and policy numbers for the business, liability, and automobile insurance of the towing company.

(c)(1)A towing company shall update its registration within three business days of any changes to its ownership or management, location, insurance, or motor carrier permit.

(2)A towing company shall update its registration with any new vehicles or drivers before a new vehicle or driver is used in any towing operations.

(d)The Department of the California Highway Patrol shall verify the registration of any towing company or provide registration information, upon request, to any state or local law enforcement agency at any time.

(e)Any person who operates a towing company or who engages in any towing operations for a towing company that is not registered in accordance with this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(f)As used in this section, “towing company” means any person or entity that engages in the business of removing vehicles from private property pursuant to Section 22658, regardless of whether that activity is the primary activity of the business. “Towing company” does not include a person or entity who exclusively provides the prearranged transportation of vehicles at the request of the vehicle owner, who exclusively provides roadside assistance to motorists and incidental towing to repair facilities, or who exclusively provides towing services pursuant to requests made by a law enforcement agency.

SEC. 2.

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.