TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Steve Sweeney to protect families who have suffered the loss of a loved one from being taken advantage of by towing and storage facilities was approved by the Senate Law, Public Safety, and Veterans’ Affairs Committee today.
Senator Sweeney said that the bill will be named Daniel Mackay’s Law, in honor of the 18-year-old Gloucester County man who was killed in a traffic accident on Interstate 295 in June of 2006.
“With the shock of loosing their son and the burden of making difficult funeral arrangements on the mind of his parents, the location of their son’s vehicle was not on their minds until a few days after the accident,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “When Daniel’s family went to retrieve his car, they had trouble tracking down the location of where the car was being stored. When they finally locate the vehicle, the family was hit with a bill of almost $650 for towing and storage.”
Senator Sweeney added that, “This measure is intended to ensure that accident victims and their families are not exploited, even inadvertently, during the vulnerable and confusing hours after a loved one’s death or injury from an auto accident.”
The bill, S-564, would require the law enforcement officer responsible for notifying the next of kin of an individual killed or incapacitated in a motor vehicle accident to provide written information for contacting the storage facility and obtaining a copy of the accident report.
Senator Sweeney noted that the bill would also cap vehicle storage fees in the hours after the accident. The bill would cap storage fee at $100 for the first 72 hours after the vehicle is placed on the premises.
“This legislation will help relieve some of the suffering of families by providing information about the vehicle’s location to them,” said Senator Sweeney. “With so much on their mind, there is no reason why they should need to try to play detective and track down a vehicle , or be hit with costly storage fees while they do so.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.