A new law providing you additional rights regarding towing went into effect in Pennsylvania earlier in September. It provides that a tow truck operator shall undertake towing at the scene of a motor vehicle accident only if summoned to the scene by the vehicle owner or operator, law enforcement, or authorized municipal personnel.
Most importantly, it provides that “[t]he owner or operator of the vehicle being towed shall summon to the scene the tow truck operator of the owner’s or operator’s choice in consultation with law enforcement or authorized municipal personnel and designate the location where the vehicle is to be towed.” This provides the owner or the operator of the vehicle the right to choose the tower and the location to be towed.
The law makes an exception to this right if the owner or operator is incapacitated, unable to summon a tow operator, or defers to law enforcement or municipal personnel. It also provides that the owner or operator’s right may be superceded by by the law enforcement officer or authorized municipal personnel if the owner or operator’s tower cannot respond in sufficient time and the vehicle “is a hazard, impedes the flow of traffic or may not legally remain in its location in the opinion of law enforcement or authorized municipal personnel.”
Accordingly, the key to protecting your right of choice will be:
a. Contact your chosen tow operator ASAP;
b. Have them give you an estimated time of arrival;
c. Tell law enforcement and municipal authorities immediately of your choice, that you notified them, that they are on the way, and what time they are expected.
The law also contains provisions regarding the release of the vehicle, access to it, and storage fees.
Let us know if you would like a copy of the law emailed to you.