DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado lawmakers are looking to tighten up on nonconsensual tows in the state, meaning they want to put more parameters on tows that happen on private property without the car owner’s consent.
They say the main point they want Coloradans to understand about the new bill is that the goal is to end predatory towing and get drivers back in their cars quickly.
“This bill is a bill that evens the playing field between tow truck companies and consumers,” Arapahoe County Representative Naquetta Ricks said.
She said it’s time to give car owners rights when it comes to getting their cars towed away from private properties. A newly introduced measure calls for the tow companies to be more accountable when they take cars without the driver’s knowing about it.
“After they have taken a car, they need to make a phone call, they need to do their best efforts to try to reach the consumer and let them know. Right now, it only requires that they let law enforcement know but they will need to reach out to the vehicle’s owner,” Ricks, a prime sponsor of the measure, said.
Towers would need to do reach out quickly under this new bill:
- They would need to give 24 hours written notice before removing a car
- Towers would have to take a picture of the car and notify the owner within 10 days of the tow
- Towers would not be able to collect daily storage fees without doing that
- Charge the same fees for nonconsensual tows as they would for consensual tows
- Tow companies would have to allow drivers to get items out of their car
“It allows consumers to get their cars back if they cannot pay the tow fee if they cannot get their property back out of the car; for example a car seat or their tools. Any of your personal possessions in the car,” Ricks said.
While several towing groups are against the measure, some of the state’s largest police groups haven’t taken a position on the new bill. Durango Deputy Police Chief Brice Current said the bill mainly deals with consumers, property owners and towing companies.
“I always have wondered why there are two different fee schedules for consensual versus nonconsensual tows and I’ve seen it cause difficulty on some individuals trying to get their vehicles back,” Current said. “From what I’m reading so far, this is more between the tow companies and private entities and I don’t see where it’s going to cause a major concern with law enforcement at this point.”
Some tow companies have threatened to be removed from the list of towers that can assist with nighttime tows if this measure passes. That would create a headache for law enforcement if it gets out of hand but officers we spoke to do not believe it will come to that.