Columbus - 

State Representative Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) today announced that legislation providing additional safeguards for drivers against predatory towing companies has passed the Ohio House of Representatives.

Substitute House Bill 382, which cleared the House with unanimous support, contains several provisions that modify current state law regarding the process of towing a vehicle in Ohio. Among the changes is a requirement that tow truck drivers take a towed vehicle to a place within 20 linear miles of the tow-away zone, if practicable.

“Rep. Bishoff and I started this process saying the most important characteristic of a good bill would be consistency in the industry, both for consumers and for tow trucks,” said Rep. Duffey in his floor speech. “I think we’ve achieved that in this bill.”

The bill also states that drivers who arrive on the scene after their vehicle has been prepared for towing, but prior to it being removed, must be offered the opportunity to pay a “drop fee,” equal to one-half the normal towing charge, to obtain the vehicle’s release on the spot.

To ensure adequate evidence of a parking infraction is gathered and collected, towing services are required to make reasonable efforts to take enough photographs to clearly prove a violation occurred and, thus, justify the vehicle being towed. Upon request, vehicle owners will be able to access copies of the photographs in the format in which they are stored (paper, electronic, etc.).

The bill now heads to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.

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