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Towing laws and regulations

There is significant potential for abuse in the towing industry. Towing occurs most often in difficult situations with few options for the customer. Towing operators might also be able to initiate towing procedures that are not necessary. In these cases, the consumer could be required to pay the operator before the vehicle is released. Numerous jurisdictions have passed various consumer protection laws that protect consumers from predatory or unwarranted towing.

Other laws might govern safety equipment and practices, licensing, training, and licensing of operators and businesses of tow trucks, as well as special permits for certain roads and areas.

Towing law in America

A number of states in the United States have laws that regulate how a vehicle can be towed. Some laws in the United States prohibit "predatory towing," which means that a legally parked vehicle cannot be tow.

Even when towing is legally performed and even if the customer requests it, the towing company acquires physical possession. In the absence or regulation, unexpectedly high towing charges may apply.

Some jurisdictions might prohibit the towing of occupied cars. The majority of states require additional mirrors on vehicles that tow behind them. [15] State regulations and requirements vary. Towing mirrors are an accessory to the standard vehicle mirrors that allows for greater vision. Mirrors that reflect behind a vehicle are standard. To reflect a trailer, the mirrors reflect it. For a better view of the trailer behind it, larger mirrors are needed that cover the entire coverage. There are three main types:

Permanently mounted mirrors They are fixed to the vehicle's fender or door and will not move.

Clip-on mirrors. These mirrors attach to the OE mirror via a plastic housing. This completely covers the mirror on the vehicle.

Extension mirrors. This type of mirror is attached to an OE mirror by using a bar. The bar is then clipped onto the plastic housing.


California law requires that the tow company release the vehicle immediately and unconditionally if the driver arrives on the scene before the vehicle is to be towed. This was done to avoid possible dangerous and violent confrontations between vehicle owners, towing operators, and the physical injury of vehicle owners, as well as the stranding and delay of vehicle recovery.


In October 2008, McHenry county, Illinois repealed an earlier decision that placed the Illinois Commerce Commission in charge for towing. This was in an effort to reduce "predatory and illegal towing". "[17]


Massachusetts regulations establish a maximum towing fee for noncommercial vehicles at $108 plus $35 for each day the vehicle is stored in storage.[18]


Maryland Towing industry representatives testified in October 2008 to a state task team that nearly all complaints are at fault with "gypsy-towers" and "snatcher-and-grabbers." "[20]

New Jersey

Tow trucks must be only allowed on certain highways with restricted access, such as the Garden State Parkway, and the New Jersey Turnpike. This is for safety and better traffic flow. However, not all tow trucks are familiar enough with roads, access points and turnarounds points, road construction quirks, and how to safely and quickly remove disabled cars from the roadway. There is also concern about delays due to arrival. The roadway authorities do not want out-of-area companies to be able to arrive late, which can lead to traffic delays.


Oregon law stipulates that the tower will release a vehicle free of charge if the driver is present at the time the hookup is completed. The tower must also take a photograph of the vehicle and record its date and time. The photograph must clearly show that the vehicle was in violation. [21]


Virginia and its cities have adopted anti-predatory-towing legislation. Some of the provisions include the requirement that warning signs be posted at all entrances. The maximum towing fees and storage fees are set. Photographs must also be taken before any towing is performed to verify the vehicle's legality.