Lowenthal bill that cracks down on rogue tow trucks goes to governor

The California State Assembly on July 3 passed Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal’s (D-Long Beach) AB 306, which requires storage yards and others that contract with a tow operator to obtain proof of a valid motor carrier permit (MCP) before allowing the operator to retrieve vehicles from or deliver vehicles to its premises. AB 306 passed unanimously and now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown.
According to a statement from Lowenthal’s office, AB 306 closes a loophole in existing law that not only puts the public at risk, but also allows unscrupulous or rogue tow-truck drivers to undercut their competition. While California law requires all motor-vehicle carriers to maintain a valid MCP, it does not explicitly require impound or storage yards to verify that the tow operators they contract with actually possess a MCP.
“By closing the loophole, we’re leveling the playing field,” Lowenthal said. “AB makes it abundantly clear that all tow-truck operators have to play by the rules and carry the proper permits.”
Typically, tow services are provided under contract with an auto club, the California Highway Patrol, a local parking control agency or some other authority. Those contracting for these services ensure that the company operating the tow trucks has a valid motor carrier permit. Once a vehicle is in an impound lot, an insurance company or the registered owner may want the vehicle moved. In these cases, the storage yard may hire a low-cost tow operator to retrieve the vehicle in an effort to save money. Sometimes these “cut rate” tow operators work cheaply because they are not operating with a valid motor carrier permit, according to Lowenthal’s office.
AB 306 is supported by the California Tow Truck Association, Official Police Garages Association of Los Angeles, and the Personal Insurance Federation of California.

Source: Lowenthal’s office

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