Supporters say predatory towing bill is a step in the right direction

Posted at 6:10 PM, Mar 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-02 00:02:53-05

SALT LAKE CITY - State lawmakers are considering a bill that would put new rules on towing companies to prevent predatory towing.

Predatory towing is a common complaint, especially in Utah County. Tow truck drivers would wait for drivers to park illegally, then tow a car and charge hundreds of dollars to get it back.

House Bill 115 wouldn't totally prevent predatory towing, but supporters say it's a step in the right direction.

The bill would require tow truck companies to take payments with credit cards and hand out a statement of your rights under Utah law if you've been towed for illegally parking. It would also ask UDOT to study whether towing fees are fair.

The cost of towing right now is $145, but towing companies can also charge fees and some car owners wind up paying close to $250 to get their car back.

"While they illegally parked, I don't think it's fair for them to pay hundreds of dollars to get their car back and be stranded on the side of the road," said Provo Mayor John Curtis.

Tow truck owners say Utah lawmakers have already set towing prices and they feel HB 115 rewards those who park illegally.

Curtis helped spearhead the legislation. He's worried that with only two weeks left in the legislative session, HB 115 won't get out of committee and make it through the legislature.