REPORT TITLE:
Towing Fees


DESCRIPTION:
Permits a county to establish towing company fees within its
jurisdiction.  Repeals the drop-dead date of Act 138, Session
Laws of Hawaii 1998, which would have repealed the current
maximum allowable towing company fees and the credit card and ATM
payment accommodation. (SD1)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                        348
THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________


                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT

RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION.


BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 1      SECTION 1.  Section 290-11, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 
 2 amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:
 
 3      "(b)  Towing companies engaged by the owner, occupant, or
 
 4 person in charge of the property shall charge not more than $50
 
 5 for a tow, or $60 for a tow using a dolly, plus a mileage charge
 
 6 of $5 per mile towed and $15 per day or fraction thereof for
 
 7 storage for the first seven days and $10 per day thereafter.
 
 8 When the tow occurs between the hours of six o'clock p.m. and six
 
 9 o'clock a.m., the towing company shall be entitled to an overtime
 
10 charge of $15.  If the vehicle is in the process of being hooked
 
11 up to the tow truck and the owner appears on the scene before the
 
12 vehicle has been moved by the tow truck, the towing company shall
 
13 be entitled to an "unhooking" fee of not more than $50.  In the
 
14 case of a difficult hookup, meaning an above or below ground
 
15 hookup in a multilevel facility, a towing surcharge of $25 shall
 
16 be applicable.
 
17      The fees in this subsection shall not apply in counties
 
18 where allowable towing company fees are established by ordinance.
 
19      The towing company shall determine the name of the legal
 

 
Page 2                                                     348
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1 owner and the registered owner of the vehicle from the department
 
 2 of transportation or the county department of finance.  The legal
 
 3 owner and the registered owner shall be notified in writing at
 
 4 the address on record with the department of transportation or
 
 5 with the county department of finance by registered or certified
 
 6 mail of the location of the vehicle, together with a description
 
 7 of the vehicle, within a reasonable period not to exceed twenty
 
 8 days following the tow.  The notice shall state:
 
 9      (1)  The maximum towing charges and fees allowed by law;
 
10      (2)  The telephone number of the consumer information
 
11           service of the department of commerce and consumer
 
12           affairs; and
 
13      (3)  That if the vehicle is not recovered within thirty days
 
14           after the mailing of the notice, the vehicle shall be
 
15           deemed abandoned and will be sold or disposed of as
 
16           junk.
 
17 Where the owners have not been so notified, then the owner may
 
18 recover the owner's car from the towing company without paying
 
19 tow or storage fees; provided that the notice need not be sent to
 
20 a legal or registered owner or any person with an unrecorded
 
21 interest in the vehicle whose name or address cannot be
 
22 determined.  Absent evidence to the contrary, a notice shall be
 
23 deemed received by the legal or registered owner five days after
 

 
Page 3                                                     348
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1 the mailing.  A person who has been charged in excess of the
 
 2 charges permitted under this section may sue for damages
 
 3 sustained and, if the judgment is for the plaintiff, the court
 
 4 shall award the plaintiff a sum not to exceed the amount of the
 
 5 damages and reasonable attorney's fees together with the cost of
 
 6 suit."
 
 7      SECTION 2.  Section 291C-165.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 
 8 amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:
 
 9      "(b)  The towing company shall determine the name of the
 
10 lien holder and the registered owner of the vehicle from the
 
11 department of transportation or the county department of finance.
 
12 The lien holder and the registered owner shall be notified by the
 
13 towing company in writing at the address on record with the
 
14 department of transportation or with the county department of
 
15 finance by registered or certified mail of the location of the
 
16 vehicle, together with a description of the vehicle, within a
 
17 reasonable period not to exceed twenty days following the tow.
 
18 The notice shall state:
 
19      (1)  The maximum towing charges and fees allowed by law;
 
20      (2)  The telephone number of the county finance department
 
21           that arranged for or authorized the tow; and
 
22      (3)  That if the vehicle is not recovered within thirty days
 
23           after the mailing of the notice, the vehicle shall be
 

 
Page 4                                                     348
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1           deemed abandoned and will be sold or disposed of as
 
 2           junk.
 
 3 When the vehicle is recovered after the tow by the registered
 
 4 owner or lien holder, the party recovering the vehicle shall pay
 
 5 the tow and storage charges which shall not exceed the charges as
 
 6 provided by county ordinance or section 290-11(b) [or the rates
 
 7 agreed upon with the respective counties, whichever is lower,
 
 8 except that] in the absence of a county ordinance establishing
 
 9 allowable towing company fees and tow operators may charge
 
10 additional reasonable amounts for [excavating] recovering
 
11 vehicles from off-road locations; provided that if the notice
 
12 required by this section was not sent within twenty days after
 
13 the tow, neither the registered owner nor the lien holder shall
 
14 be required to pay the tow and storage charges.  No notice shall
 
15 be sent to a legal or registered owner or any person with any
 
16 unrecorded interest in the vehicle whose name or address cannot
 
17 be determined.  A person who has been charged in excess of the
 
18 charges permitted under this section may sue for damages
 
19 sustained, and, if the judgment is for the plaintiff, the court
 
20 shall award the plaintiff a sum not to exceed the amount of these
 
21 damages and reasonable attorney's fees together with the cost of
 
22 the suit."
 
23      SECTION 3.  Act 138, Session Laws of Hawaii 1998, is amended
 

 
Page 5                                                     348
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1 by amending section 3 to read as follows:
 
 2      "SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval[;
 
 3 provided that the amendment set forth in Section 1 shall take
 
 4 effect on September 1, 1998, and shall be repealed on July 1,
 
 5 2000]."
 
 6      SECTION 4.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed.
 
 7 New statutory material is underscored.
 
 8      SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.