Sweeney Bill To Keep Auto Storage Fees Reasonable For First 72 Hours

Daniel Mackay’s Law Approved by Full Senate

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 auto towing and storage facilities received final legislative approval today when the Senate unanimously approved the measure.

“When a fatal accident occurs it is unlikely that the surviving family members immediately think about the location of the vehicle,” said Senator Sweeney, D-Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem. “Currently, family members are then forced to try to track down which storage facility had the motor vehicle. Unfortunately, by the time family members are able to locate the vehicle, hundreds of dollars in fees have been racked up.”

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 fees at $100 for the first 72 hours after the vehicle is placed on the premises.

According to Senator Sweeney, this measure 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.

“The tragic loss of their son Daniel, left the Mackay family with the burden of making difficult funeral arrangements,” said Senator Sweeney. “Locating their son’s vehicle was not on their minds until a few days after the accident. Daniel’s family had a difficult time tracking down the location of where the car was being stored, and when they finally were able to locate it, they were hit with an almost $650 bill for towing and storage.”

Senator Sweeney stated that this bill will go a long was easing the burden that the family will have after losing a loved one by providing a location to the vehicle and allowing fees to remain reasonable.

The bill now heads to the Governor’s office for enactment.

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