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AB-294 Vehicle Tow and Storage Act.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 01/21/2021 09:00 PM
AB294:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 294


Introduced by Assembly Member Santiago

January 21, 2021


An act to amend Sections 22524.5, 22651.07, and 34620 of, and to add Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 30000) to Division 13 of, the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 294, as introduced, Santiago. Vehicle Tow and Storage Act.
Existing law governs the licensing and regulation of tow truck drivers, authorizes the removal and storage of vehicles from public and private places, and regulates the storage of towed vehicles. A violation of the Vehicle Code is a crime.
This bill would establish the Vehicle Towing and Storage Board in the Department of Consumer Affairs and would empower the board to, among other things, regulate and resolve disputes involving vehicle towing businesses. The bill would require the board to maintain a public database on its internet website on vehicle towing businesses. The bill would require a business to obtain a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit and pay an annual fee before operating a tow truck or tow vehicle in California. The bill would establish various penalties for violations of these provisions. The bill also would require a permit applicant or permitholder to submit specified information to the board under penalty of perjury. Because a violation of these requirements would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
Existing law makes an insurer that is responsible for reasonable towing and storage charges, as defined, liable to the person providing those services and requires that fees charged for towing and storage be reasonable. Under existing law, a towing and storage charge is deemed reasonable if it does not exceed those fees and rates charged for similar services provided in response to requests initiated by a public agency, including, but not limited to, the Department of the California Highway Patrol or a local police department. Existing law also provides that a storage fee is deemed reasonable if it is comparable to storage-related rates and fees charged by other facilities in the same locale.
This bill would instead provide that a towing and storage charge is deemed reasonable if it does not exceed those fees and rates charged for similar services provided in the same geographical organization area established by the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
Existing law prescribes certain consumer protection requirements for facilities that store towed and impounded vehicles, including, among others, a requirement that those facilities provide a specified notice to a vehicle owner.
This bill would add to that notice information related to the Vehicle Tow and Storage Board.
Existing law requires every motor carrier of property to comply with specified safety, permit, and liability insurance regulations and to pay the fees required by these provisions. Existing law also prohibits a motor carrier of property from releasing a vehicle to another motor carrier of property utilizing a tow truck until the releasing motor carrier obtains a copy of the motor carrier permit from the retrieving motor carrier.
This bill would further restrict the releasing motor carrier from releasing the vehicle until the releasing motor carrier obtains a copy of the other motor carrier’s Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit.
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.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The emergency roadside assistance provided by tow truck operators is a valuable service that benefits millions of California motorists. Emergency roadside assistance is provided statewide in cooperation with, and at the direction of, public safety agencies.
(b) While the vast majority of towing and storage operations behave ethically and are engaged in lawful conduct, some less professional tow operators, oftentimes acting in concert with automotive repair facilities, take advantage of consumers by overcharging for the costs of towing and storing vehicles.
(c) The state has a public interest in ensuring that Californians who are stranded on our highways and roads, or who are not necessarily in a position to meaningfully compare and negotiate rates, are receiving services by professional operators who are in compliance with California’s laws.

SEC. 2.

 Section 22524.5 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

22524.5.
 (a) Any An insurer that is responsible for coverage for ordinary and reasonable towing and storage charges under an automobile insurance policy to an insured or on behalf of an insured to a valid claimant, claimant is liable for those charges to the person performing those services when a vehicle is towed and stored as a result of an accident or stolen recovery. The insurer may discharge the obligation by making payment to the person performing the towing and storage services or to the insured or on behalf of the insured to the claimant.
(b) Any An insured or claimant who has received payment, which includes towing and storage charges, from an insurer for a loss relating to a vehicle is liable for those charges to the person performing those services.
(c) (1) All towing and storage fees charged when those services are performed as a result of an accident or recovery of a stolen vehicle shall be reasonable.
(2) (A)For purposes of this section, a towing and storage charge shall be deemed reasonable if it does not exceed those fees and rates charged for similar services provided in the same geographical organization area established by the Department of the California Highway Patrol in response to requests initiated by a public agency, including, but not limited to, the Department of the California Highway Patrol or a local police department.

(B)A storage rate and fee shall also be deemed reasonable if it is comparable to storage-related rates and fees charged by other facilities in the same locale. This does not preclude a rate or fee that is higher or lower if it is otherwise reasonable.

(3) The following rates and fees are presumptively unreasonable:
(A) Administrative or filing fees, except those incurred related to documentation from the Department of Motor Vehicles and those related to the lien sale of a vehicle.
(B) Security fees.
(C) Dolly fees.
(D) Load and unload fees.
(E) Pull-out fees.
(F) Gate fees, except when if the owner or insurer of the vehicle requests that the vehicle be released outside of regular business hours.
(d) Notwithstanding this section, an insurer shall comply with all of its obligations under Section 2695.8 of Chapter 5 of Title 10 of the California Code of Regulations.
(e) Nothing in paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) prohibits Paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) does not prohibit any fees authorized in an agreement between a law enforcement agency and a towing company, if the tow was initiated by the law enforcement agency.

SEC. 3.

 Section 22651.07 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

22651.07.
 (a) A person, including a law enforcement agency, city, county, city and county, the state, a tow yard, storage facility, or an impounding yard, that charges for towing or storage, or both, shall do all of the following:
(1) (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), post in the office area of the storage facility, in plain view of the public, the Towing and Storage Fees and Access Notice and have copies readily available to the public.
(B) An automotive repair dealer, registered pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 9884) of Chapter 20.3 of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, that does not provide towing services is exempt from the requirements to post the Towing and Storage Fees and Access Notice in the office area.
(2) Provide, upon request, a copy of the Towing and Storage Fees and Access Notice to any owner or operator of a towed or stored vehicle.
(3) Provide a distinct notice on an itemized invoice for any towing or storage, or both, charges stating: “Upon request, you are entitled to receive a copy of the Towing and Storage Fees and Access Notice.” This notice shall be contained within a bordered text box, printed in no less than 10-point type.
(b) Prior to receiving payment for any towing, recovery, or storage-related fees, a facility that charges for towing or storage, or both, shall provide an itemized invoice of actual charges to the vehicle owner or his or her their agent. If an automotive repair dealer, registered pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 9884) of Chapter 20.3 of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code, did not provide the tow, and passes along, from the tower to the consumer, any of the information required on the itemized invoice, pursuant to subdivision (g) the automotive repair dealer shall not be responsible for the accuracy of those items of information that remain unaltered.
(c) Prior to paying any towing, recovery, or storage-related fees, a vehicle owner or his or her their agent or a licensed repossessor shall, at any facility where the vehicle is being stored, have the right to all of the following:
(1) Receive his or her their personal property, at no charge, during normal business hours. Normal business hours for releasing collateral and personal property are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., inclusive, except state holidays.
(2) Retrieve his or her their vehicle during the first 72 hours of storage and not pay a lien fee.
(3) (A) Inspect the vehicle without paying a fee.
(B) Have his or her their insurer inspect the vehicle at the storage facility, at no charge, during normal business hours. However, the storage facility may limit the inspection to increments of 45 consecutive minutes in order to provide service to any other waiting customer, after which the insurer may resume the inspection for additional increments of 45 consecutive minutes, as necessary.
(4) Request a copy of the Towing and Storage Fees and Access Notice.
(5) Be permitted to pay by cash, insurer’s check, or a valid bank credit card. Credit charges for towing and storage services shall comply with Section 1748.1 of the Civil Code. Law enforcement agencies may include the costs of providing for payment by credit when agreeing with a towing or storage provider on rates.
(d) A storage facility shall be open and accessible during normal business hours, as defined in subdivision (c). Outside of normal business hours, the facility shall provide a telephone number that permits the caller to leave a message. Calls to this number shall be returned no later than six business hours after a message has been left.
(e) The Towing and Storage Fees and Access Notice shall be a standardized document plainly printed in no less that 10-point type. A person may distribute the form using its own letterhead, but the language of the Towing and Storage Fees and Access Notice shall read as follows:
Towing and Storage Fees and Access Notice
Note: The following information is intended to serve as a general summary of some of the laws that provide vehicle owners certain rights when their vehicle is towed. It is not intended to summarize all of the laws that may be applicable nor is it intended to fully and completely state the entire law in any area listed. Please review the applicable California code for a definitive statement of the law in your particular situation.
The Vehicle Tow and Storage Board regulates and issues a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit to anyone operating a tow truck or tow vehicle in California, as defined in Section 615 of the Vehicle Code, or enforcing a lien on a vehicle pursuant to Section 3068.1 of the Civil Code. The board’s website at _____.ca.gov contains a database of all permitholders in California, which includes extensive information about each towing company, including the fees each permitholder is authorized to charge.

If you would like to file a dispute about a tow or storage bill that you have paid or know of a company that is operating without a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit, please visit the board’s website at _____.ca.gov to submit a dispute.
How much can a towing company charge?
Rates for public tows and storage are generally established by an agreement between the law enforcement agency requesting the tow and the towing company (to confirm the approved rates, you may visit the Vehicle Tow and Storage Board’s website at _____.ca.gov or contact the law enforcement agency that initiated the tow; additionally, these rates are required to be posted at the storage facility).
Rates for private property tows and storage cannot exceed the approved rates for the law enforcement agency that has primary jurisdiction for the property from which the vehicle was removed or the towing company’s approved CHP rate.
Rates for owner’s request tows and storage are generally established by mutual agreement between the requestor and the towing company, but may be dictated by agreements established between the requestor’s motor club and motor club service provider.

Where can you complain about a towing company?

For public tows: Contact the law enforcement agency initiating the tow.

Your rights if your vehicle is towed:
Generally, prior to paying any towing and storage-related fees you have the right to:
● Receive an itemized invoice of actual charges.
● Receive your personal property, at no charge, during normal business hours.
● Retrieve your vehicle during the first 72 hours of storage and not pay a lien fee.
● Request a copy of the Towing and Storage Fees and Access Notice.
● Pay by cash, valid bank credit card, or a check issued by your insurer.
● Inspect your vehicle.
● Have your insurer inspect your vehicle at the storage facility, at no charge, during normal business hours. However, the storage facility may limit the inspection to increments of 45 consecutive minutes in order to provide service to any other waiting customer, after which the insurer may resume the inspection for additional increments of 45 consecutive minutes, as necessary.
You and your insurance company or the insurance company representative have the right to have the vehicle released immediately upon (1) payment of all towing and storage-related fees, (2) presentation of a valid photo identification, (3) presentation of reliable documentation showing that you are the owner, insured, or insurer of the vehicle or that the owner has authorized you to take possession of the vehicle, and (4), if applicable, in the case of a fatality or crime, presentation of any required police or law enforcement release documents.
Prior to your vehicle being repaired:
● You have the right to choose the repair facility and to have no repairs made to your vehicle unless you authorize them in writing.
● Any authorization you sign for towing and any authorization you sign for repair must be on separate forms.
What if I do not pay the towing and storage-related fees or abandon my vehicle at the towing company?
Pursuant to Sections 3068.1 to 3074, inclusive, of the Civil Code, a towing company may sell your vehicle and any moneys received will be applied to towing and storage-related fees that have accumulated against your vehicle.
You are responsible for paying the towing company any outstanding balance due on any of these fees once the sale is complete.
Who is liable if my vehicle was damaged during towing or storage?
Generally the owner of a vehicle may recover for any damage to the vehicle resulting from any intentional or negligent act of a person causing the removal of, or removing, the vehicle.
What happens if a towing company violates the law?
If a tow company does not satisfactorily meet certain requirements detailed in this notice, you may bring a lawsuit in court, generally in small claims court. The tower may be civilly liable for damages up to two times the amount charged, not to exceed $500, and possibly more for certain violations.
(f) “Insurer,” as used in this section, means either a first-party insurer or third-party insurer.
(g) “Itemized invoice,” as used in this section, means a written document that contains the following information. Any document that substantially complies with this subdivision shall be deemed an “itemized invoice” for purposes of this section:
(1) The name, address, telephone number, and carrier identification number as required by subdivision (a) of Section 34507.5 of the person that is charging for towing and storage.
(2) If ascertainable, the registered owner or operator’s name, address, and telephone number.
(3) The date service was initiated.
(4) The location of the vehicle at the time service was initiated, including either the address or nearest intersecting roadways.
(5) A vehicle description that includes, if ascertainable, the vehicle year, make, model, odometer reading, license plate number, or if a license plate number is unavailable, the vehicle identification number (VIN).
(6) The service dispatch time, the service arrival time of the tow truck, and the service completion time.
(7) A clear, itemized, and detailed explanation of any additional services that caused the total towing-related service time to exceed one hour between service dispatch time and service completion time.
(8) The hourly rate or per item rate used to calculate the total towing and recovery-related fees. These fees shall be listed as separate line items.
(9) If subject to storage fees, the daily storage rate and the total number of days stored. The storage fees shall be listed as a separate line item. Storage rates shall comply with the requirements of subdivision (c) of Section 22524.5.
(10) If subject to a gate fee, the date and time the vehicle was released after normal business hours. Normal business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., inclusive, except state holidays. A gate fee shall be listed as a separate line item. A gate fee shall comply with the requirements in subdivision (c) of Section 22524.5.
(11) A description of the method of towing.
(12) If the tow was not requested by the vehicle’s owner or driver, the identity of the person or governmental agency that directed the tow. This paragraph shall not apply to information otherwise required to be redacted under Section 22658.
(13) A clear, itemized, and detailed explanation of any additional services or fees.
(14) The driver’s name, driver’s identification number issued by a motor club, as defined in Section 12142 of the Insurance Code, or other government-authorized unique identifier of the tow truck operator that performed the tow.
(h) “Person,” as used in this section, includes those entities described in subdivision (a) and has the same meaning as described in Section 470.
(i) An insurer, insurer’s agent, or tow hauler, shall be permitted to pay for towing and storage charges by a valid bank credit card, insurer’s check, or bank draft.
(j) Except as otherwise exempted in this section, the requirements of this section apply to any facility that charges for the storage of a vehicle, including, but not limited to, a vehicle repair garage or service station, but not including a new motor vehicle dealer.
(k) A person who violates this section is civilly liable to a registered or legal owner of the vehicle, or a registered owner’s insurer, for up to two times the amount charged. Liability in any action brought under this section shall not exceed five hundred dollars ($500) per vehicle.
(l) A suspected violation of this section may be reported by any person, including, without limitation, the legal or registered owner of a vehicle or his or her their insurer.
(m) This section shall not apply to the towing or storage of a repossessed vehicle by any person subject to, or exempt from, the Collateral Recovery Act (Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 7500) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code).
(n) This section does not relieve a person from the obligation to comply with any other law.
(o) Notwithstanding this section, an insurer shall comply with all of its obligations under Section 2695.8 of Chapter 5 of Title 10 of the California Code of Regulations.

SEC. 4.

 Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 30000) is added to Division 13 of the Vehicle Code, to read:
CHAPTER  3. Vehicle Tow and Storage Act

30000.
 (a) This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Vehicle Tow and Storage Act.
(b) For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Board” means the Vehicle Towing and Storage Board.
(2) “Business” means any business entity formed as a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or corporation.
(3) “Tow truck or tow vehicle” means a vehicle specified in Section 615.

30001.
 (a) There is in the Department of Consumer Affairs the Vehicle Tow and Storage Board, which consists of nine members.
(b) The Legislature finds and declares that it is the mandate of the board to regulate the practice of towing and storing vehicles in the interest and for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare. For this purpose, the board shall have the authority to issue a permit to any business that tows and stores a vehicle, as described in this chapter, maintain a public database of permitholders, promptly review and resolve disputes associated with the tow and storage of vehicles, as contemplated by this chapter, and enforce the provisions of this chapter to provide for the protection of the consumer.
(c) The board shall be composed of nine members, comprised of both of the following:
(1) Seven members who shall be appointed by the Governor, as follows:
(A) Two members from the law enforcement community, at least one of whom is from the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
(B) Two members from the towing industry who have at least 10 years of direct management or ownership experience with a business that primarily conducted services with a tow truck, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 615.
(C) Two members from the insurance industry.
(D) One member from an automotive repair facility regulated by the Bureau of Automotive Repair.
(2) Two members of the public, one of whom shall be appointed by the President pro Tempore of the Senate and one of whom shall be appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly.
(d) A member of the board shall serve for a term of four years and until the appointment and qualification of their successor. There shall not be term limits. A member of the board shall receive a per diem and expenses.
(e) The board shall meet at least once each month for the purpose of transacting business.

30002.
 A business shall obtain a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit from the board prior to operating a tow truck or tow vehicle in California or enforcing a lien on a vehicle pursuant to Section 3068.1 of the Civil Code. Each permit holder shall post in the office area of the storage facility, in plain view of the public, a copy of the permit.

30003.
 (a) The board shall establish and maintain a database on a publicly available internet website that contains the following information on each holder of a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit:
(1) The legal business name and any additional business names, including fictitious business names, under which the permitholder tows or stores vehicles in California.
(2) The motor carrier permit number issued to the business by the Department of Motor Vehicles, if applicable.
(3) The license number issued to the business by the Bureau of Automotive Repair, if applicable.
(4) The vehicle identification number and license plate number of all tow trucks or tow vehicles used to tow a vehicle in California.
(5) The names of each person that owns an equity stake in a business holding a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit and the business names of any additional businesses that tow or store vehicles in California in which the person has owned an equity stake in the past 10 years.
(6) The name of each driver of a tow truck or tow vehicle that is employed by a business holding a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit.
(7) The address and phone number for each location of a business holding a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit.
(8) All tow and storage rates.
(9) A record of any disputes decided by the board adversely to the permitholder.
(b) Information provided to the board by a permit applicant or permitholder shall be submitted under the penalty of perjury. Any changes to the information required by subdivision (a) shall be submitted to the board by a permitholder with the payment of its annual fees due to the board.

30004.
 (a) The board shall establish a process to receive, review, and issue determinations on any of the following disputes submitted by a vehicle owner or the vehicle owner’s agent that has had their vehicle towed or stored in California:
(1) Whether the business that towed or stored the vehicle had a valid Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit at the time of the tow or storage.
(2) Whether the fees charged for the tow or storage exceeded the rates authorized by law, the rates approved by the applicable law enforcement entity that initiated the tow, or were otherwise reasonable, as defined in Section 22524.5.
(3) Whether the business that towed or stored the vehicle charged for unreasonably excessive time.
(4) Whether an insurer’s check was accepted when the vehicle was retrieved by an insurer as required by Section 22651.07.
(b) The board shall not review, nor issue determinations, on any of the following disputes:
(1) Tow or storage charges when the tow was initiated by a motor club holding a certificate of authority pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 12160) of Part 5 of Division 2 of the Insurance Code.
(2) Tow or storage charges when a written agreement between the vehicle owner and the business charging for tow or storage was entered into prior to the incident that triggered the tow.
(c) The board shall resolve disputes according to the following process:
(1) A vehicle owner or their agent, referred to as the complainant, shall file a dispute against a business charging for towing or storage charges, referred to as the respondent, with the board within 30 calendar days following the payment of tow or storage charges on which the dispute is based. In its dispute, the complainant shall provide the board with sufficient information to identify the respondent, the basis for the dispute, and if it is a vehicle owner’s agent filing the dispute, the name of the vehicle owner that it represents. The board shall not have jurisdiction to resolve any dispute filed after 30 calendar days following the payment of tow or storage charges on which the dispute is based.
(2) The respondent bears the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the dispute is meritless, except the complainant shall bear the burden on any disputes based on paragraph (4) of subdivision (a). All disputed charges shall be presumed to be unreasonable unless sufficiently rebutted by the respondent.
(3) The board shall promptly notify the respondent of the dispute, including all pertinent details of the dispute.
(4) The respondent shall have 15 business days from receipt of the board’s notice to respond to the board. If the respondent fails to respond within 15 business days, the board shall issue a determination in the complainant’s favor. In its response, a respondent may either:
(A) Contest the dispute and provide the board with exculpatory evidence.
(B) If a dispute is based on either paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (a), the respondent may elect to not contest the dispute and return the full amount charged for towing or storage to the board to be returned to the complainant.
(5) After reviewing all evidence provided to it by the parties, the board shall issue a determination in one party’s favor and assess any penalties within 30 days, or as close to 30 days as possible, after receiving the response.
(6) The respondent shall pay any penalties assessed by the board within 30 days of receipt of the determination. If a respondent fails to pay penalties within the 30-day period, the board shall suspend the respondent’s Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit, or delay the issuance of a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit if the respondent does not have a permit, until paid.
(d) Upon the issuance of a determination in the complainant’s favor, the board shall assess the following penalties upon the respondent:
(1) If the board determines that the respondent failed to obtain a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit at the time of the tow or storage in dispute, the respondent shall be assessed a penalty equivalent to the cost of the tow or storage in dispute plus four times the amount charged, but in no event shall the total penalty exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(2) If the board determines that the respondent charged a fee for towing or storage that exceeded the rates authorized by law, approved by the applicable law enforcement entity that initiated the tow, or were otherwise reasonable, as defined in Section 22524.5, the respondent shall be assessed a penalty equivalent to the cost of the tow or storage in dispute plus four times the amount charged, but in no event shall the total penalty exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(3) If the board determines that the respondent charged for unreasonably excessive time, the respondent shall be assessed the following penalties:
(A) For a first adverse determination related to charging unreasonably excessive time within a rolling 18-month period, the respondent shall be assessed a penalty equivalent to the amount charged for the time determined to be excessive, but in no event shall the total penalty exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(B) For a second adverse determination related to charging unreasonably excessive time within a rolling 18-month period, the respondent shall be assessed a penalty equivalent to two times the amount charged for the time determined to be excessive, but in no event shall the total penalty exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(C) For a third or subsequent adverse determination related to charging unreasonably excessive time within a rolling 18-month period, the respondent shall be assessed a penalty equivalent to four times the amount charged for the time determined to be excessive, but in no event shall the total penalty exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(4) If the board determines that the respondent did not accept an insurer’s check when the vehicle was retrieved by an insurer as required by Section 22651.07, the respondent shall be assessed a penalty equivalent to the cost of the tow or storage in dispute plus four times the amount charged, but in no event shall the total penalty exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(e) One quarter of any penalties paid to the board shall be retained by the board to fund its activities, with the remaining amount promptly paid by the board to the complainant. If the complainant is a vehicle owner’s agent, any penalty amounts paid to the complainant shall be returned to the vehicle owner.
(f) A respondent may appeal a board’s determination by filing a writ of administrative mandate with the superior court of the county in which the incident occurred. If the writ is filed within 30 days of receipt of the board’s determination, the determination shall not be enforced by the board until the court issues a final resolution on matter.
(g) The filing of a dispute with the board precludes the complainant from bringing the same or similar claim for the same incident against the same respondent in any court of law in California.
(h) If a single complainant files more than 10 disputes with the board in a calendar year, the board shall assess a one hundred dollars ($100) filing fee for each additional dispute. The filing fee shall be returned to the complainant if the board issues a determination in the complainant’s favor.

30005.
 The following fees shall be paid upon the initial issuance and annually thereafter to the board for a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit:
(a) For a fleet size of no more than one, one hundred twenty-five dollars ($125).
(b) For a fleet size of no less than two and no more than four, one hundred seventy-six dollars ($176).
(c) For a fleet size of no less than 5 and no more than 10, three hundred sixty-three dollars and fifty cents ($363.50).
(d) For a fleet size of no less than 11 and no more than 20, six hundred forty-one dollars and fifty cents ($641.50).
(e) For a fleet size of no less than 21 and no more than 35, eight hundred fifty-nine dollars ($859).
(f) For a fleet size of 36 or more, one thousand one hundred thirty-five dollars and fifty cents ($1,135.50).

30006.
 (a) Until January 1, 2023, a business operating a tow truck or tow vehicle in California or enforcing a lien on a vehicle pursuant to Section 3068.1 of the Civil Code without obtaining a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit shall be issued a notice to correct the violation.
(b) Commencing January 1, 2023, a business operating a tow truck or tow vehicle in California or enforcing a lien on a vehicle pursuant to Section 3068.1 of the Civil Code without obtaining a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000).
(c) A business operating a tow truck or tow vehicle in California or enforcing a lien on a vehicle pursuant to Section 3068.1 of Civil Code with a Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit that has been suspended by the board shall be punished as follows:
(1) For a first offense, the business shall be assessed a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars ($5,000).
(2) For a second offense, the business shall be assessed a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(3) For a third offense, the business shall be assessed a fine not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).

SEC. 5.

 Section 34620 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

34620.
 (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b) and Section 34622, a motor carrier of property shall not operate a commercial motor vehicle on any public highway in this state, unless it has complied with Section 34507.5 and has registered with the department its carrier identification number authorized or assigned thereunder, and holds a valid motor carrier permit issued to that motor carrier by the department. The department shall issue a motor carrier permit upon the carrier’s written request, compliance with Sections 34507.5, 34630, and 34640, and subdivisions (e) and (h) of Section 34501.12 for motor carriers listed in that section, and the payment of the fee required by this chapter.
(b) A person shall not contract with, or otherwise engage the services of, a motor carrier of property, unless that motor carrier holds a valid motor carrier of property permit issued by the department. A motor carrier of property or broker of construction trucking services, as defined in Section 3322 of the Civil Code, shall not contract or subcontract with, or otherwise engage the services of, a motor carrier of property, until the contracted motor carrier of property provides certification in the manner prescribed by this section, of compliance with subdivision (a). This certification shall be completed by the contracted motor carrier of property and shall include a provision requiring the contracted motor carrier of property to immediately notify the person to whom they are contracted if the contracted motor carrier of property’s permit is suspended or revoked. A copy of the contracted motor carrier of property’s permit shall accompany the required certificate. The Department of the California Highway Patrol shall, by regulation, prescribe the format for the certificate and may make available an optional specific form for that purpose. The certificate, or a copy thereof, of the certificate, shall be maintained by each involved party for the duration of the contract or period of service plus two years, and shall be presented for inspection at the location designated by each carrier under Section 34501.10, immediately upon the request of an authorized employee of the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
(c) (1) A motor carrier of property shall not retrieve a vehicle through the use of a tow truck, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 615, from the premises of another motor carrier of property until the retrieving motor carrier provides a copy of its motor carrier permit and Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit to the releasing motor carrier.
(2) A motor carrier of property shall not release a vehicle to another motor carrier of property utilizing a tow truck, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 615, until the releasing motor carrier obtains a copy of the motor carrier permit and Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit from the retrieving motor carrier. The motor carrier releasing the vehicle shall maintain a copy of the motor carrier permit and Vehicle Tow and Storage Permit for a period of two years after the transaction, and, upon the request of an authorized employee of the Department of the California Highway Patrol, shall immediately present the permit either or both permits for inspection at the location designated by the releasing motor carrier under Section 34501.10.
(3) This subdivision does not apply to a person licensed pursuant to the Collateral Recovery Act (Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 7500) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code).

SEC. 6.

 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.