9-84-025 Towing Law

Pre-Tow Photographs Required

As of 1/17/2017, relocation towing vehicles are required to have on-board cameras. this new law in response to a rise in complaints from vehicle owners claiming that relocators had towed their cars from lots where signs were not posted, and had been abusive. Complaints about some of the many companies that provide relocation towing have been ongoing for decades, but most towing companies follow the rules and receive few complaints.
Ameya Pawar, the alderman from the 47 ward was the driving force behind the new towing bill. Pawar was motivated to take action after receiving hundreds of irate calls from people in his ward. At a public hearing, Pawar voices the anger of vehicle owners as Allen Perl, a legal representative of Lincoln Towing, did his best to explain that property owners have the right to control who parks in their spaces.

“If you have a store or a business or a private parking lots, you should be able to maintain that without having people parking illegally. Tow truck companies need to exist. They just need to learn how to behave. And they need to do it in a way that’s not abusive or criminal.”
“People are tired of being abused by tow truck companies. Simple as that,”
Pawar has said.

Of course no one likes getting their car towed, so it’s unlikely to find anyone in a good mood after they find their car gone, knowing it’s going to cost them a handful of cash to get their car back. However the over 3,000 complaints against Lincoln Towing and more against other relocators, often contained allegations that cars were damaged, items were stolen and people were threatened. Towing companies responded that people will have autos with preexisting damage, and then claim the towing company had been the cause. In the end a bill was written that requires that a towing company take photos confirming the vehicle was parked in an unauthorized space, and confirm the condition of the car before the tow.
There is also a requirement that relocator’s annually provide the Chicago Police with a list spelling out locations where they have an “active contract to remove unauthorized vehicles.”

The Towing Bill of Rights includes the following protections:

* Relocators must to post signs informing people of the amount of the tow.
* Release any vehicles if the owner arrives with the keys prior to it being towed.
* The towing company must provide the owner access to their personal belongings in the event
they are unable to pay the required fee at that time.

* The Police Department must be notified “within 30 minutes” of every tow.

9-84-025 Pre-tow photographs – Required
Prior to relocating any unauthorized vehicle, the relocator or operator shall take at least one photograph of the unauthorized vehicle which clearly shows: (i) the date and time the photograph was taken; (ii) the entire vehicle and its location on the date and time the photograph was taken; and (iii) the vehicle’s license plate. The relocator shall maintain the photographs, in electronic or print format, for a period of two years from the date on which it was taken. The relocator shall provide the photographs, without charge, to the owner of the relocated vehicle, upon request.

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