FAIR LAWN – Legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph Coniglio to protect drivers from towing companies that charge excessive fees for towing and storage became law today at a public bill signing.
“Before today, there were very few regulations on towing companies in New Jersey,” said Senator Coniglio, D-Bergen. “Assemblyman Robert Gordon came to me and asked me to join him. He had received numerous complaints of towing companies charging inflated fees and exploiting drivers by waiting in parking lots for drivers to park illegally. Together we felt something needed to be done. We knew we needed to provide some basic rights to drivers and protect them from these sorts of predatory actions.”
The enacted bill, S-2759, sets certain conditions to be met before a car can be towed. A sign must be posted at all entrances and exits that states who is authorized to use the lot, that unauthorized parking is prohibited, the business information of the authorized towing company, including the address of the storing facility, and that charges will not exceed specified fees.
According to Senator Coniglio, the new law protects drivers by stating that a towing company’s fee for a towing service is presumed excessive if it exceeds 150% or a percentage established by the Division, of the average fee for the same services charged in the county of the towing company’s principal location. The new law also prohibits a motor vehicle from being towed to a storage facility unless it has business hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at least five days a week, is secured and has reasonable accommodations for after-hours release for no additional fee.
“Towing companies have a job to do by keeping some streets and parking lots clear, but they can not take advantage of our drivers,” said Senator Coniglio. “When towing companies are charging driver hundreds of dollars, the drivers are left to decide between getting their car back, and paying their rent. This law will be provide fairness to both the tow truck operators and the drivers of New Jersey.”