*** A PUBLIC HEARING ON TOWING PRACTICES IN VERMONT WAS HELD ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 9th FROM 12PM-2PM ***
UPDATE: DUE TO WEATHER AND ROAD CONDITIONS THE PUBLIC HEARING WAS ONLINE ONLY. ATTENDANCE WAS BY TEAMS LINK OR EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org:
Link to Video Recording of Public Hearing: Public Hearing: Towing Practices, 11/9/2023
Each link below will open a pdf of the associated file.
Act 41 (formerly S.99) (“An act relating to miscellaneous changes to laws related to vehicles”) requires the Attorney General to study motor vehicle towing practices. Specifically, the Act requires as follows:
Sec. 35. TOWING PRACTICES; REPORT
(a) The Office of the Attorney General shall study motor vehicle towing practices, including practices related to abandonment or suspected abandonment of motor vehicles, such as the use of liens and bonds to ensure the recoupment of costs borne by towing companies; storage practices; and pricing.
(b) In conducting the study, the Office of the Attorney General shall: (1) consult with the Department of Financial Regulation, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Public Safety, the Office of Professional Regulation, and the Office of the Vermont State Treasurer; and (2) solicit input and public comment from interested persons and hold at least one public hearing.
(c) The study shall, at a minimum, address:
(1) pricing of pleasure car and commercial vehicle towing and recovery, including from State and town highways that are restricted based on motor vehicle size;
(2) crash site remediation, including costs borne by towing companies;
(3) storage practices, including: (A) pricing; (B) vehicle access for removal of personal belongings; and (C) vehicle access for removal of cargo;
(4) practices relating to abandonment or suspected abandonment when necessary or appropriate;
(5) best practices from other states, including:
(A) a comprehensive survey of the following from other states, with a focus on states neighboring Vermont: (i) motor vehicle lien laws; (ii) laws related to access to towed motor vehicles for purposes of removal of personal belongings and cargo; and (iii) laws related to pricing, including for towing and recovery, remediation, and storage;
(B) the use of statutory liens when a motor vehicle has been towed at the request of the owner or the motor vehicle has been abandoned, as defined in 23 V.S.A. § 2151(1), in order to secure payment of a towing business’s towing and recovery, storage, and remediation charges;
(C) the retention of the motor vehicle and the contents of the motor vehicle until a towing business’s towing and recovery, storage, and remediation charges have been paid; and
(D) the use of a surety bond in lieu of the payment of a towing business’s towing and recovery, storage, and remediation charges in order to secure the release of a motor vehicle that is being retained until a towing business’s towing and recovery, storage, and remediation charges have been paid;
(6) any applicable recommendations for amendments to State statute; and
(7) any other information that the Office of the Attorney General deems pertinent to the study.
(d)(1) The Attorney General shall file a written report on the study, including any recommendations it deems appropriate, with the House Committees on Commerce and Economic Development, on Government Operations and Military Affairs, and on Transportation and the Senate Committees on Economic Development, Housing and General Affairs, on Finance, on Government Operations, and on Transportation on or before December 15, 2023.
(2) The recommendations in the written report shall balance consumer protections and the needs of towing businesses, reflecting the necessary role towing businesses serve in maintaining the health, safety, and welfare of Vermonters.