HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2013
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. Section 291C-165.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§291C-165.5 Motor vehicle towing and
storage; settlement. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this
chapter, any vehicle identified for removal pursuant to any county ordinance
ordering removal of motor vehicles by any county police department for traffic
violations, including a vehicle [
which] that constitutes an
obstruction or hazard to traffic, may be towed away at the expense of the
registered owner of the vehicle, as provided by this section.
(b) The towing company shall determine the name of the lien holder and the registered owner of the vehicle from the department of transportation or the county department of finance. The lien holder and the registered owner shall be notified by the towing company in writing at the address on record with the department of transportation or with the county department of finance by registered or certified mail of the location of the vehicle, together with a description of the vehicle, within a reasonable period not to exceed twenty days following the tow. The notice shall state:
(1) The maximum towing charges and fees allowed by law;
(2) The telephone number of the county finance department that arranged for or authorized the tow; and
(3) That if the vehicle is not recovered within thirty days after the mailing of the notice, the vehicle shall be deemed abandoned and will be sold or disposed of as junk.
Any towing company engaged in towing pursuant to this section shall comply with the requirements of section 291C-135. When the vehicle is recovered after the tow by the registered owner or lien holder, the party recovering the vehicle shall pay the tow and storage charges which shall not exceed the charges as provided by section 290-11(b) or the rates agreed upon with the respective counties, whichever is lower, except that tow operators may charge additional reasonable amounts for excavating vehicles from off-road locations; provided that if the notice required by this section was not sent within twenty days after the tow, neither the registered owner nor the lien holder shall be required to pay the tow and storage charges. No notice shall be sent to a legal or registered owner or any person with any unrecorded interest in the vehicle whose name or address cannot be determined. A person, including but not limited to the owner's or driver's insurer, who has been charged in excess of the charges permitted under this section may sue for damages sustained, and, if the judgment is for the plaintiff, the court shall award the plaintiff a sum not to exceed the amount of these damages and reasonable attorney's fees together with the cost of the suit.
(c) When a vehicle is recovered by the owner or lien holder before written notice is sent by registered or certified mail, the towing company shall provide the owner or lien holder with a receipt stating the maximum towing charges and fees allowed by law and the telephone number of the county finance department that arranged for or authorized the tow.
(d) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, and except when releasing a damaged or recovered-theft vehicle to a licensed salvage processor or body shop, or otherwise at the direction of an insurer, a towing company shall not release a motor vehicle towed pursuant to this section unless the party recovering the vehicle provides proof that the vehicle is currently registered pursuant to chapter 286.
(d)] (e) When a vehicle is not
recovered within thirty days after the mailing of the notice, it shall be
deemed abandoned and the owner of the towing company, or the owner of the
towing company's authorized representative, after one statewide public notice
as required in section 1-28.5, may negotiate a sale of the vehicle or dispose
of it as junk.
(e)] (f) The authorized seller
of the vehicle shall be entitled to the proceeds of the sale to the extent that
compensation is due to the authorized seller for services rendered [ in]
with respect to the vehicle, including reasonable and customary charges
for towing, handling, storage, and the cost of the notices and advertising
required by this part. Any remaining balance shall be forwarded to the
registered owner or lien holder of the vehicle if the registered owner or lien
holder is found. If the registered owner or lien holder cannot be found, the
balance shall be deposited with the director of finance of the State and shall
be paid out to the registered owner or lien holder of the vehicle if a proper
claim is filed therefor within one year from the execution of the sales
agreement. The lien holder shall have first priority to the funds to the
extent of the lien holder's claim. If no claim is made within the year
allowed, the money shall escheat to the State.
(f)] (g) The transfer of title
and interest by sale under this section is a transfer by operation of law;
provided that if the certificate of ownership or registration is unavailable, a
bill of sale executed by an authorized seller is satisfactory evidence
authorizing the transfer of the title or interest.
(g)] (h) This section shall not
apply to a county that has adopted ordinances regulating towing operations[ .];
provided that the county ordinances conform to the requirements of subsection
SECTION 2. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 3. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2112.
Motor Vehicle Towing and Storage
Prohibits a towing operator from releasing a motor vehicle unless the party recovering the vehicle provides proof that the motor vehicle is currently registered. Requires county ordinances that regulate towing operations to include this prohibition. Effective July 1, 2112. (HB602 HD2)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.