Predatory towing bill passed in House and Senate


The predatory towing bill, HB 115, has officially passed the house and the senate of the Utah State Legislature.

The bill, which unanimously passed the senate with a vote of 28-0, has moved onto Gov. Gary Herbert for approval.

Predatory towing is an age-old issue and Provo, but new legislation may soon alleviate the issue. (Photo illustration by Sarah Hill)
Predatory towing is an age-old issue and Provo, but new legislation may soon alleviate the issue. (Photo illustration by Sarah Hill)

The predatory towing problem has been around for a while. Provo mayor John Curtis has been at the forefront of the fight against predatory towing practices and fees due to a recent blog he opened for discussion.

When Mayor Curtis first began his predatory towing blog, he was expecting to receive a few dozen complaints. He was amazed when around 700 horror stories made their way to his page within the first 24 hours.

The mayor seemed pleased with the decision of the senate.

“It’s a good start, but more work still needs to be done,” he said.

Keven Stratton, Orem representative, initially saw a problem and put together a bill to remedy it. He has been working hard to get the bill to pass as well as change the way towing fines work. According to the bill, the government would force better signage and increase driver awareness as opposed to changing the fines towing companies are allowed to charge.

While the bill is only a temporary fix and doesn’t completely solve the issues at hand, Stratton, as well as Mayor Curtis, plans on continuing to push for a cap on enforceable fines.

Michael Purcell, a landscape management major from Elk Grove, Calif., recently had his car towed and agrees with the bill’s efforts. He parked in a spot he had parked in several times before, and left his car for about five minutes. When he returned, the car was being towed and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

“They were sitting, watching the lot just waiting to take cars,” he said. “It was embarrassing and expensive.”

In an interview with the Daily Herald, Mike Searle of the Utah Professional Towing Association said, “If that is what they are hired to do and the apartment management is telling them to do that, it is really their fault for parking there … A lot of it is the owner’s fault. They just like to blame us. We are just out doing our job. But there are some companies that are overaggressive.”

On the other side, Mayor Curtis won’t stop until he gets some results.

“I would have liked to have seen the bill give a city the ability to set the fee,” he said. “We are going to go to work on our end now that the bill has passed and see if we can add some local legislation that will improve the situation.”

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