LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Towing Laws

Published 10:55am Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dear Editor:

A recent experience proved to be quite enlightening concerning towing laws. A family member became disorientated and was found in a nearby town without his car.
He was taken to a local hospital there and was unable to tell what had happened to him and where his car was. Days after his release we began the process of attempting to find his car.
Police were told on the night he was found that he was in possession of a burgundy Toyota Corolla. Calls were made to more than five law enforcement officers who searched for the car. A BOLO (Be On Look Out) was done to assist with the search to recover his property.
Many Alabama cities allow private business to tow wrecked and abandoned vehicles through contract services. Recent changes in Montgomery’s towing laws requires mandatory towing of a vehicle involved in an accident if the car isn’t insured or the driver doesn’t provide a valid driver’s license.
If a vehicle is on private property, the owner can call a wrecker service and that vehicle can be moved without law enforcement notification. That is a dangerous precedent; without notification to law enforcement, the car might as well have been stolen.
If there are not towing laws that require the wrecker service or the private owner to call law enforcement, the owner of the vehicle is denied access to information on his or her second largest asset.
Finally, information about the car’s location came from the Alabama Title Division because the wrecker service had applied for the title of the car, citing a wrecker and storage charge of $2,653.
The car was missing from Thanksgiving night 2013 until March 17, 2014. The private property owner called a wrecker service Dec. 4, 2013 and the police issued a BOLO approximately Dec. 10, 2013. The car was in the possession of the wrecker service more than 120 days.
If a notification had been made to law enforcement, the owner would have had access to his vehicle within days instead of months. Let law enforcement keep a database of all vehicles towed.

Carolyn Eaves
Montgomery
3/22/2014

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