Public Utilities and Carriers

CHAPTER 39-12.1
The Towing Storage Act

SECTION 39-12.1-1

§ 39-12.1-1. Declaration of purpose and policy.

The legislature hereby finds the following legislation to be in the public interest for these reasons:

WHEREAS, A tow truck in the hands of an incompetent operator is a dangerous instrumentality; and

WHEREAS, The public has an inherent right to ready access to the name, location, and telephone number of certificated towers; and

WHEREAS, The operation of a tow truck on the public highway with a vehicle in tow is a dangerous instrumentality exposing others on or about the highway to loss or damage, which must be covered by adequate insurance; and

WHEREAS, The motoring public has a right, when delegating to law enforcement the selection of an operator in the towing-storage business, to expect that the operator selected and responding will be competent; and

WHEREAS, The motoring public has a right when delegating to law enforcement the selection of an operator in the towing-storage business, to expect that the charges for the services to be rendered will be reasonable and compensatory, and that the operator is physically equipped in his or her business to function properly; and

WHEREAS, The towing and storage of a vehicle without the owner's consent, as is the case in most police instigated tows, requires certain procedures to assure the owner that rights of due process of law are not violated; and

WHEREAS, The owner or person in control of private property of real estate has a right to be free from trespass by vehicle on the private property; and to have any such trespassing vehicle removed at the owner's expense; and

WHEREAS, The police powers delegated by the legislature of the state include the power of the police, even without the owner's consent, to have public ways cleared of conditions which, in the opinion of the officer, creates a hazardous condition to the motoring public; to have removed abandoned, abandoned and of no value, and unattended vehicles; to have removed and/or relocated vehicles in violation of parking ordinances; and to have removed any vehicle under control of any person arrested for any criminal offense; and

WHEREAS, The process of selection of the operator of a towing-storage business for police work is unique in that law enforcement, though having the legal duty to order the work, has no legal duty to pay costs and charges connected therewith, the same being the duty of the vehicle owner.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1994, ch. 328, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 216, § 14.)