Once again I am reading about a very familiar towing problem. People being towed are are complaining they are being towed illegally. It is very hard to prove that a citizen has been towed illegally. It is also very hard to appeal your towing violation and get your vehicle back without excessive fees.
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There is an old saying ” an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I think looking at what causes this discrepancy and finding ways to PREVENT it would throw things back into balance between citizens and towing contractors. Before we can prevent towing conflicts we need to look at some reasons they are occurring:
- There are rogue towers who make the rest of us look bad by illegally towing cars
- Many of the tow away zones are not clearly marked
- There is no enforcement of laws limiting how much can be charged by the towing contractor
There are others, but I think the three listed above are a good starting point. Based on these reasons, I think there are some solutions which would be a good start in reducing the problem. The most obvious are the tow zones themselves.
Tow zones need to be marked in an obnoxious undeniable fashion with multiple signage and very bright paint. The city itself needs to have its maintenance department periodically check these to make sure the signs are there and the paint is not faded. On top of that there are going to have to be cameras watching the spot and documenting who is parking there with a timer
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Likewise, the tower themselves should have to photograph the car in the illegal zone and the violation must be called in before it can be towed. This is cumbersome for both the tower and the police, but I don’t know what else to do to prevent fraud and guarantee equal protection under the law for its citizens
Another possibility after clearly marking the no tow zones, would be to return to some version of the dreaded boot system. Towers can put the boot on a vehicle if in illegal parked zones but must call in to the police to record that the vehicle has been there past a certain period. Once this authorization is given, the boot can be removed and the vehicle towed.
As much as police forces are overwhelmed with their current responsibilities, they are going to have to be more involved. Human nature is not perfect and people cheat. There has to be proof that a person broke the towing ordinance and the tower had the right to tow them. The police HAVE to be involved in the process to at least be aware of the authorization. They also have to make sure the fees are clearly posted at the tow zone and on the cities website. If the tow companies charge more, they are in violation and subject to fines.
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The goal here is to make a level playing field for both the tow company and the citizen that is fair. If not your going to keep getting more of the same situation over and over. Eventually this could spiral out of control and could lead to violence or conflict situations between the towing company and the general public.