New Proposed Legislation May Ban Towing In Some Cases

Getting you car towed sucks.

All it takes is having unpaid parking tickets, registration fees, parking your car on a street for more than three days and BAM your car is towed. Even worse, if you can't afford the fees to get your car back, the towing center is at risk of selling your car!

Well now there's some hope for people who are stuck in this predicament. CBS 13 reports a new legislation is up for discussion to ease people of those worries. AB 516 would ban towing in a handful of case. The goal of this bill is to keep the poor from penalized.

“They get their cars towed away because they can’t afford parking tickets. They get their cars towed away because they can’t afford DMV registration,” said Michael Herald “And then to tow away their car, their main economic asset which they use to earn a living, it’s like a punishment. It’s like trying to kill a gnat with a sledgehammer.”

Michael Herald is with the Western Center on Law and Poverty and spends his efforts focusing on the 46% of Americans who can't afford a $400 emergency bill. He document this problem in a report called ‘Towed into Debt: How California Towing Practices Punish The Poor.”

Apparently this report was written wonderfully because California Assemblyman David Chui took all the information Herald wrote to heart.

“The fact that we have a law on the books, that tries to collect for these minor debts is literally putting people into a spiral of poverty,” said Chui.

So he wrote AB 516 which bans towing for things like unpaid parking tickets, unpaid registration, or parking on the street for more than 72 hours when drivers can’t afford private parking. Chui feels the legislation will motivate cities to pursue other collection mechanisms including affordable payment plans.

“Cities are losing tens of millions of dollars on their towing programs because they are going after folks for minor debts. But they actually aren’t collecting for these minor debts,” Chui said.

That’s because if people can’t pay to get their car out of impound lot, the tow company sells it, and the tow company makes the money.

Don't celebrate to fast though. You're not clear from ever getting a parking ticket again. This bill would not impact towing for traffic and public safety enforcement.

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