Barrar Hosts Hearing to Examine Emergency Towing Standards
9/23/2011
HARRISBURG – Rep. Stephen E. Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware), majority chairman of the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, this week presided over a hearing of the committee to examine his House Bill 1762, which would establish standards for emergency towing and towing rotation lists.

“Towing companies provide a valuable service to the people of this Commonwealth, and we depend on them to clear our roadways and restore traffic flow when a crash occurs,” said Barrar. “The majority of towers operate an upstanding business, but it is important to codify protections for consumers, especially in an emergency situation, when time is of the essence and vehicle owners are unable to shop around for a towing company. It is important to establish uniform standards for both towers and law enforcement personnel.”

House Bill 1762, which is a comprehensive emergency towing measure, would protect consumers, bring about fairness to police towing rotation lists and address emergency towing procedures in the Commonwealth.

Specifically, the legislation would require towing companies to comply with the following pro-consumer provisions: 

        • Maintain regular business hours, at a minimum of 40 hours per week. 
        • Provide vehicle owners with the name, address, telephone number, estimated price 
          for towing and related services and the location of where the vehicle will be 
          stored. 
        • Allow vehicle owners to remove personal property and belongings from vehicles. 
        • Adhere to owner requests of where a vehicle is to be towed.

Towers have expressed support of a provision that would require authorities (state police barracks, municipal police and parking authorities) to establish and maintain fair and equitable towing rotation lists. Towers would submit requested information to the authority and would then be placed on the rotation list. This would give each towing company on the list a relatively equal amount of emergency towing business and would help prevent authorities from showing preference to certain companies.

Participants in the hearing included: 

        • Steve Luongo of Steve Luongo’s Towing. 
        • Deborah Abel of Abel Brothers Towing and Automotive. 
        • Steve Quigley of Concord Towing Service. 
        • Cathy Tennis and Shane Staley of the Pennsylvania Towing Association. 
        • Major Harvey Cole of the Pennsylvania State Police. 
        • Elam Herr of the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors. 
        • Steve Berhnt of the Pennsylvania Collision Trade Guild. 
        • Ross DiBono of the Pennsylvania Association of Automotive Trades. 
        • Sam Marshall of the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania.

Barrar noted that based on the concerns raised at the hearing, he is considering amending the legislation.

“The purpose of the hearing was to receive input from all interested stakeholders so we can craft the best possible compromise legislation,” said Barrar. “I encourage anyone with an interest in this legislation to contact me with feedback. The legislative process does not work without the participation of the citizens.”

House Bill 1762 is awaiting further consideration by the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Information about Barrar and his legislative priorities is available at SteveBarrar.com or Facebook.com/RepBarrar.
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