SB 0560 Regulates Towing of Motor Vehicles and Vessels
LR Number:S2332.15T Fiscal Note:2332-15
Last Action:07/12/96 - Signed by Governor
Title:CCS/HS/HCS/SS/SB 560
Effective Date:August 28, 1996
Full Bill Text | All Actions | Senate Home Page | List of 1996 Senate Bills
Current Bill Summary

CCS/HS/HCS/SS/SB 560 - This act regulates all towing of motor vehicles under law enforcement and other agency authority from public rights-of-way and all towing from private land. Trailers, all-terrain vehicles, vessels and outboard motors may also be towed under this law.

LOCAL FEES - Counties shall require a fee, permit or license from any wrecker or tow service company located in the county or doing 50% of its business in the county. Cities may charge such fees to wreckers not registered with the U. S. Dept. of Transportation.

REMOVAL OF VEHICLES FROM ROADWAY - Drivers of vehicles must make every reasonable effort to remove stalled vehicles from the roadway. A violation is an infraction beginning January 1, 1999.

TOWING FROM PUBLIC AREAS - Section 304.155 of the act regulates all towing of abandoned property under law enforcement and other agency authority from public rights-of-way. The Missouri Highways and Transportation Department may immediately remove abandoned vehicles from the roadway, and vehicles may be towed from the right-of-way after designated time periods (10 hours urban, 48 hours rural). Unattended vessels may be towed after 10 hours. Other government agencies shall report tows to the Highway Patrol within 1 hour.

Law enforcement must make a criminal record check on every towed vehicle. Law enforcement shall submit a crime inquiry report and inspection report to the Department of Revenue (DOR) within 10 working days. The report details are expanded.

Personal property in a towed vehicle may be examined by the owner; the storage company shall make a list of the personal property and shall be strictly liable for any damages to it.

PROCEDURES FOR NOTICE, TITLING - The DOR shall search its records within 5 working days after receiving a report. The DOR shall notify the towing company, the owner and any lienholder within 15 working days. Towing companies must then notify the vehicle owner and any lienholder within 10 business days. The owner may petition in court if the property was wrongly taken or withheld.

The towing company may obtain title to the abandoned property if no arrangements are made by the property owner or lienholder. Vehicles retitled under this law shall have a "SALVAGE/ABANDONED PROPERTY" brand and must be reinspected before receiving an original title. No fee is charged for the salvage title. Local ordinances must be consistent with these sections.

TOWING FROM PRIVATE LAND - Section 304.157 of the act regulates all the possible circumstances for towing from private land, both by law enforcement order or by direction of the landowner or lessee in possession. Landowners and lessees shall give prior notification to police unless a 17" x 22" sign on the property indicates that vehicles will be towed and indicates the maximum charges. An abandoned property report must be filed with the police within 1 hour after any tow without police authority. Towing companies must also report to the police within 1 hour on any private tow authorized by the landowner.

The Department of Revenue may design a uniform "authorization to tow" form for use by law enforcement (HA 11). The Department may also design informational brochures for towing companies and property owners (HA 13). Any lienholder repossessing a vehicle by towing it shall notify the Highway Patrol within one hour (HA 12).

CONSUMER HELP - The act establishes protection for consumers from wrongful actions by towing companies. Any person or agency authorizing a tow shall notify the vehicle owner within 5 days if the owner is known. Responsibilities are imposed upon towing companies and property owners authorizing tows, with monetary penalties. Valid bank credit cards shall be accepted in large cities except in cases of accident or arrest. The Attorney General is given the power to enforce this section.

MAXIMUM CHARGES - Cities and counties may enact maximum reasonable charges which can be imposed by towing and storage companies.

OTHER - The act also allows additional circumstances for off-site sales of motor vehicles and recreational vehicles (HAs 6 & 9). Commercial motor vehicles with temporary license plates may carry a load.

This act is similar to HS/HBS 1174 & 1309.