Duvall’s Towing Tips: What You Need to Know Before the Tow

by | Oct 6, 2015

Impounding a Vehicle from a Single Family Home or Private Property

The owner of a single family residence has the legal right to have any vehicle parked on their property without their permission towed to an impound facility; the only exception to this, however, is if the automobile in question is an emergency, police or fire department vehicle. The property owner may choose any licensed towing company whose impound yard is within 10 miles of their property, but cannot receive any type of compensation from the towing company or have any claim to the vehicle in question. If the towed vehicle is not claimed by its owner, the lien holder, or the insurance company within a specified period of time, it then becomes the property of the towing company.

It is very important to understand that the vehicle can only be towed if it is specifically on your property.  So, how can you be sure what is and isn’t considered your property? In most cases, there is an easement at the front of your home that is adjacent to the street. It usually includes the sidewalk and extends to the street. You do not own this property, and have no right to have a vehicle towed from this area or from the street. The only exception to this is if the vehicle is blocking access to your driveway.

Note: Tow Away Zone signs are not required for a single family property, but are necessary for various public properties.

Impounding a Vehicle from Other Properties

The law requires that there be a Tow Away Zone sign posted within 25 feet of every entrance and exit to a public property. All too often, people attempt to have a car impounded when it is parked in its designated space within a business or residential complex. Towing, unfortunately, doesn’t work like that. The only people allowed to authorize the impounding of a vehicle are those designated by the owner or manager of the property in question.

A vehicle can be impounded for various reasons, including—but not limited to—inoperability (caused by a malfunction like a flat tire), operating with an expired registration, having backed into a space against bylaws, or being parked in the grass or in a No Parking Zone. It is important to understand that the person authorizing the tow is ultimately responsible and therefore subject to legal action if they sanction the illegal towing of a vehicle. In cases like this, the towing company is not held responsible.

What Are the Steps to Impounding a Vehicle?

The person authorizing the towing of a vehicle can handle it one of two ways:

  1. Meeting the tow truck at the location of the vehicle and signing the tow slip
  2. Faxing a designated authorization form with descriptive information concerning the vehicle, the vehicle’s location, and the name of the authorized person requesting the tow to the licensed towing company

For Those at Risk of Impoundment

To anyone trying to evade impoundment, it is not a good idea to:

  1. Have the wheels turned when parked
  2. Park within close proximity to a tree or concrete light post
  3. Remove the wheels of your vehicle after parking

These are some of the many methods people have attempted in order to avoid having their vehicle towed. However, because the law states that as long as the towing company takes reasonable care in towing a vehicle, they are not liable for damages that could not otherwise be avoided. Remember, it is always better to have your vehicle towed in good condition than it is to have it damaged as a result of attempted tow evasion.

These are all important things to keep in mind before the authorization of a vehicle impoundment.  At Duvall’s Towing, we want you to stay informed and know your rights as a property owner or vehicle owner.  If a vehicle is parked illegally on your private property or on public property near you, call us at (561) 432-8488.

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