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Government and People
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2002
"We've all heard horror stories about how unscrupulous towing companies have taken advantage of people," said Mayor Williams. "The new regulations, which are critical to protecting the public from bad actors in the towing industry, provide tighter control, greater enforcement powers to towing inspectors and police officers, and stiffer sanctions for those who break the law."
Over the past year, the Office of the Mayor has received numerous complaints about dishonest towing practices, including fraudulent billing and illegal towing of vehicles. The new towing regulations, which were published on Friday, February 15 in the DC Register, would require towing companies to obtain a towing control number for most tows. This new reporting system would make it more difficult for towing companies to tow cars without proper justification. It would also make it easier for car owners and insurance companies to determine where their cars had been towed.
The regulations also clarify the fees - including storage fees - that towing companies may charge, and they remove obstacles that law enforcement and Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs personnel may encounter while conducting towing-related investigations.
The public and towing companies have until the close of business on March 20, 2002 to submit written comments on the proposed regulations. Written comments may be submitted to: Karen Edwards, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 941 North Capitol Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20002. The John A. Wilson Building.
U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
601 4th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20535
February 20, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Van A. Harp, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, today announced the successful conclusion of a four year FBI-led investigation into the activities of corrupt tow truck operators. The operation was dubbed "Towhook." Much of what investigators learned in the Towhook investigation has been used to help draft new towing legislation being offered today by D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams.
Begun in January 1998, Towhook succeeded because of the cooperation of a number of state, local, federal and private agencies, including the Montgomery County Police Dept., the Maryland State Police, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Dept., the Fairfax County Police Dept., the Prince George's County Police Dept., the Virginia State Police, the IRS, the ATF, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the U.S. Postal Inspectors.
The multi-agency task force identified 26 targets involved in criminal conspiracies. Investigators used four undercover facilities, including a store front, to purchase cars, parts and other stolen goods.
Towhook has produced 60 arrests, twenty-eight indictments, fourteen criminal complaints, and twenty-nine convictions. More than $2 million in stolen vehicles and stolen vehicle parts were recovered, as well as 59 illegal guns and more than $23,000 in other stolen property. Authorities also seized a significant quantity of illegal drugs. Federal Courts in Maryland, Virginia, and the District have ordered more than $850,000 in restitution to citizens.
Mr. Harp noted that the new legislation, once enacted, should go a long way in reforming the corrupt segment of the District's towing industry and help prevent many of the flagrant abuses uncovered by investigators.
For more information, please call SA Peter (Chris) Murray, FBI/WFO, 202-278-3519.
NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING
The Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs ("DCRA") pursuant to the authority set .forth in the Towing Vehicles Rulemaking Authority Emergency Act of 2002; effective January 30; 2002 (D.C. Act 14-266; D.C. Official Code. § 47-2850 (2001 Ed.)) and Mayor's Order 2002-32, effective February 8, 2002, and D.C. Official Code 47-2851.04(c), hereby gives notice of the intent to adopt the following amendments to Title 16 of the District Columbia Municipal Regulations, (DCMR) not before the proposed rules are approved by the Council of the District of Columbia by resolution following a 45-day period of view.
The proposed amendments amend Chapter 4: Towing Service for Motor Vehicles; establishing specific regulations for public and private tows, establishing procedures for application for. licensure and endorsement, establishing new specific required tow truck equipment and markings, enumerating new specified prohibited acts and establishing new penalty and enforcement procedures.
Title 16. DCMR (Consumers, Commercial Practices & Civil Infractions) (July 1998) is amended as follows:Chapter 4 is amended to read as follows:
401 General Provisions
402 Authority To Tow: Public Tows
403 Authority To Tow: Private Tows
404 Licensing Of Towing Businesses, Tow Trucks And Tow Truck Operators
405 Application For Towing Business Licenses and Endorsement s
407 Towing Service Storage Lots And Repair Facilities
408 Payment For Services
409 Issuance And Display Of Tow Truck License and Endorsement
410 Required Tow Truck Equipment And Markings
411 Itemized Statements And Receipts
412 Prohibited Acts
413 Inspections Authorized
414 Penalties And Enforcement
415 - 499 [Reserved]
400.1 When used in this chapter, the following tenors and phrases shall. have the meanings ascribed:
Chief of Police - the Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (hereinafter WD) of the District of Columbia, or his/her designated agent.
Crane service - a form of towing service which. involves moving. vehicles by the use of a wheel-lift device, such as a lift, crane, hoist, winch, cradle, jack, automobile ambulance, tow dolly, or any other similar device.
Director - the Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (hereinafter DCRA) of the District of Columbia; or his/her designated agent.
Endorsement - a Motor Vehicle Sales, Service, and Repair. license endorsement issued. to owners and operators of towing businesses, tow trucks, and towing service storage lots. .
Flat bed (Roll-back) service - a form of towing service which involves moving vehicles by loading them onto a flat-bed platform instead of using a crane or winch to tow a vehicle.
License - the permission granted by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to owners and operators of towing businesses, tow trucks, and towing service storage lots.
Owner - the person or entity to whom a vehicle is registered, or to whom it is leased, if the terms of the lease require the lessee to maintain and repair the vehicle. The holder of a contract with a vehicle rental agency shall not be considered the owner of that vehicle.
Police officer - a sworn or reserve officer of the Metropolitan Police Department or any other law enforcement agency with authority to make arrests within, and enforce the laws of, the District of Columbia.
Private tow - the towing of any vehicle at the request of the owner or the authorized agent of the owner, except that a vehicle towed from the site of an accident, or at the direction of a police officer, shall be considered a public tow.
Public tow - the towing of any vehicle, other than a vehicle owned or controlled by a government agency, by or. at the. direction of a police officer, parking enforcement officer, or other public official authorized by law to direct the removal of a vehicle.
Relocation - the towing of a vehicle from a place where it was illegally parked, or for which some exigent circumstance necessitated its removal, to a nearby. location, but not a towing service storage lot.
Safekeeping - the interim maintenance of custody of a vehicle until it can be released to its rightful owner, or other legally authorized person.
Seizure - the taking of a vehicle for law enforcement purposes such as the maintenance of the chain of custody of evidence, or forfeiture of assets.
Towing business or service - any business entity or operation that exists to tow or otherwise move motor vehicles by means of a tow truck, or the ownership or operation of a towing service storage lot.
Towing service storage lot - a property used to store vehicles that have been towed from a prohibited space; disabled by accident, stolen and recovered, or otherwise moved from the place they were left by their owner or operator.
Tow truck - a motor vehicle equipped to provide either crane or flat-bed towing service.
Tow truck operator - a person who operates a motor vehicle that is equipped to provide either crane or flat bed towing services.
401.1 Towing service businesses and operators shall have ninety days (90) from the effective date of these regulations to comply with these regulations:
401.2 The provisions of this chapter shall be applicable to any entity or person engaging in, or offering to engage in, the business of providing towing service in the District of Columbia. The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to vehicles towed into the District of Columbia or through the District of Columbia if the tow originates in another jurisdiction and the- tow truck is licensed in that: other jurisdiction.
401.3 Nothing contained in this chapter shall prohibit any agency or subdivision of the Government of the District of Columbia from establishing additional procedures governing the towing of vehicles by or for that agency, provided that such additional procedures are consistent with the provisions of this chapter.
401.4 The provisions of this chapter are not applicable to the towing of government-owned or government controlled vehicles by the government agency that owns or controls them.
402.1 Any private towing business used by DPW for public tows must be on a roster of approved towing businesses maintained by DPW. In order to be included on the roster of approved towing businesses, a private towing business must be in full compliance with these regulations and must agree in writing to participate in a towing rotation system to be administered by the DPW towing center.
402.2 Prior to initiating a public tow; the tow truck operator shall provide the following information to DPW; in a manner prescribed by DPW:
(a) Name and license number of the tow crane operator and if a private towing business, the name and license number of the towing business;
(b) Make, model, year; color arid license state and tag number of vehicle to be towed.
(c) Vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle to be towed;(d) Name and authority of the person requesting the tow (e.g., police officer, parking enforcement official, etc.);
(e) Reason for towing the vehicle;
(f) Current location of the vehicle;
(g) The nature and location of any damage to the vehicle; and
(h) Place to which the vehicle will be towed.
402.3 In an emergency, such as an incapacitated vehicle blocking traffic, a police officer may direct that a vehicle be towed prior to a tow truck operator providing the information required by §402.2; as long as the information is furnished as soon thereafter as practicable and in no event more than two (2) hours after the vehicle has been towed.
402.4 Upon receipt of a sequential towing control number from DPW, a tow truck operator shall place the towing control number on the windshield of the vehicle to be towed in a manner prescribed by DPW. The towing control number shall be used on all documents concerning the tow.
402.5. No public tow shall be conducted in the District of Columbia unless and until a unique towing control number has been assigned for that tow by DPW, except in the case of an emergency as set set forth in §402.3.
402.6. All vehicles removed by public tow shall be promptly taken to a storage lot operated by DPW for inspection by DPW. If there is no space at a DPW storage lot, DPW may provide written authorization for towing the vehicle to a private towing service storage lot. It shall be considered part of the original tow and not a second tow; therefore, there shall be no additional charge for removing and towing the vehicle to a towing service storage lot.
402.7 Notwithstanding §402.6, when a vehicle is involved in an accident,
the vehicle may be taken to a towing service storage lot designated by the
owner/operator, unless there is a need for DPW or another agency to maintain custody of
the vehicle. The owner/operator shall bear the costs associated with towing
storage of the vehicle. All other requirements of a public tow shall remain in force, including the issuance of a towing control number.
402.8 Notwithstanding §402.6, a vehicle that is relocated from a public way need not be taken to a towing service storage lot. However, all such relocations shall be reported to DPW and a towing control number shall be issued as provided above.
402.9 Notwithstanding §402.6, a vehicle that is towed at the direction of a police officer for safekeeping purposes, or as a seizure for evidentiary purposes, need not be taken to a towing service storage lot. However, all such tows shall be reported to DPW and a towing control number shall be issued as provided above.
403:1 A private tow shall not be subject to the requirements of §402, but shall be subject to all other sections of these regulations.403.2 A tow initiated by a finance company that holds title to a vehicle for the purpose of repossessing the vehicle for nonpayment of a loan shall be considered a private tow, but shall not be conducted unless a towing control number has been issued by DPW, as provided in §402. A private tow for the purpose of repossession may be carried out by a towing business and the vehicle need not be towed to a DPW storage lot, as long as the towing business notifies DPW, in a manner to be a prescribed by DPW, of the exact location to which the vehicle is to be towed.
403.3 A tow from private property that is initiated by the owner of the private property, or the agent of such owner, and not by the owner of the vehicle, shall be considered a public tow and shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of §402. No vehicle may be towed from private property, without the consent of the owner of the vehicle, unless that vehicle has been issued a citation by a police officer or parking enforcement official; except in case of emergency at the direction of a police officer. Under such circumstances, the owner/operator is responsible for the costs associated with towing and storing the vehicle.
404.2 No person or entity subject to these regulations shall engage in, or offer to engage in, the business of providing towing services without a current and valid Commercial Driver's License (CDL) from the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles in accordance. with Title 18 DCMR, Chapter 13.
404.3 Prior to the issuance of a license, endorsement, permit or certificate for providing towing services, the Director is authorized to conduct any investigation which the Director deems necessary to determine the applicant's trustworthiness and other qualifications to perform towing services without detriment to the public. The Director's investigation may include, but shall not be limited to inquiries into driving and criminal records:
405.1 Each person or entity making application for a license and endorsement in the towing services business shall submit the following information to the Director in the manner specified by the Director:
(a) The name, primary location of business, and primary phone number of the towing business;
(b) The name, address, and telephone number of each person or, entity with an ownership interest in the towing business;
(c) The primary storage location, description, license plate number, and a unique towing business-issued alphanumeric identifier of each tow. truck to be used by the towing business;
(d) A list of the names, addresses, dates of birth, drivers' license numbers, and Social Security numbers of all employees, agents and contractors who will be involved in the towing business;
(e) The location and description of the space to be used for the storage of towed vehicles, together with a copy of a deed, lease, or other proof of the right to use the space. as a towing, service storage lot, and a valid certificate of occupancy permit;(f) Proof of current insurance coverage that meets or exceeds the coverage required by the District of Columbia for towing services and that covers each towing service storage lot. and every tow truck to be used by the towing business. Failure to maintain insurance continuously in the amounts required by law is a basis for revocation of the license and endorsement of the towing business. Anew certificate of insurance must be provided any time the coverage is changed, amended, renewed, canceled, or re-written;
(g) A bond in the minimum amount of $100,000.00;
(h) A copy of the billing form that the towing business proposes to use, which reflects current legal rates for towing and storage services; and
(i) A certificate of compliance with the Clean Hands Act [D.C. Official Code §7-2862 (2001 Ed.)].
405.2 Each person or entity making application for an endorsement to operate a towing service storage lot shall submit information required by the Director'in the form and manner specified by the Director:
405.3 Any changes (additions or deletions) to information provided in an application for a license or endorsement, shall be provided to DCRA within 14 days of the date of the change in a manner specified by the Director.
405.4 All persons with a financial interest in a towing business, operation or towing service storage lot must be identified on the application for a license and endorsement under these regulations and are subject to all Provisions of this chapter and the Business and Professional Licensing Administration at the DCRA.
405.5 No one may operate a tow truck, or own a towing business or towing service storage lot, who has been convicted; within the preceding five (5) years, of a felony or misdemeanor which bears on the fitness of the applicant to hold a license.
406.1 Any loss, damage, or other expense incurred in the towing or storage of a vehicle will be the sole and. entire responsibility of the towing business and not the Government of the District of Columbia or any department or agency thereof. The towing business shall assume all liability for the vehicle and the property inside the vehicle, from the point of hook-up until the vehicle is released. The towing business shall take all precautions necessary to protect persons or property against injury or damage, and shall provide sufficiently trained personnel who perform in accordance with towing industry standards. Failure to compensate vehicle owners for valid claims shall be grounds for revocation of a towing business license and endorsement:
406.2. The towing business shall agree to indemnify and save harmless the District of Columbia, its employees, agents, and assignees, from suits, claims, or actions of every nature and description brought for, or on account of, or sustained by any person(s) or entity, as a result of any act(s) or omission(s)s of the towing business, its employees, or agents.
406.3 The towing business shall provide; upon demand. of the owner or operator of a towed vehicle, the name, address; current telephone number and account or policy number of the towing business's insurance carrier.
407 TOWING SERVICE STORAGE LOTS AND REPAIR FACILITIES
407.1 No vehicle may be towed to a towing service storage lot or repair facility located outside the borders of the. District of Columbia, unless the owner or lessee of the vehicle, in the case of a private tow, or the DPW towing center, in the case of a public tow, directs otherwise: Vehicles repossessed pursuant to §341.5 of DCMR Title 16 (Holder's Duties on Repossession) are not subject to this requirement.
407.2 A towing service storage lot or repair facility must be located on a secured lot, with appropriate and descriptive signage, and be in full compliance with all District. of Columbia laws, regulations, and zoning rules.407.3 The towing service storage lot or repair facility operator shall maintain a log of all vehicles towed to its location in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The log must contain the towing control number, if a public tow, the date and time the vehicle arrived at the towing service storage lot, a description of any damage to the vehicle when brought to the storage lot, and the date(s) and manner in which notification was provided to the :registered owner. The log shall be available at all tunes to police officers and DCRA investigators.
407.4 In no event may any vehicle owner or insurer be charged more than 10 days storage fees for storage on a private lot, except with the written permission of the DPW Director, or his/her designee. No storage fees may be assessed for any day on which the facility is not open to the public for the reclaiming of vehicles.
407.5 Any towing service storage lot that is used by more than one towing business must be partitioned or divided in a manner that clearly identifies or designates the towing business responsible for the tow.
407.6 Vehicle owners :must present proof of ownership (such as a title, deed, or registration) to the towing service storage lot operator before release of the vehicle. Upon presentation of such proof of ownership, and payment of all towing and storage fees due as provided in §408, the towing service storage lot operator shall promptly release the vehicle.
407.7 A printed "Owner's Bill of Rights" statement, in a form approved by the Director, shall be given to the vehicle owner prior to initiating the tow; if the owner is on the scene of the tow. The "Owner's Bill of Rights" statement shall also be conspicuously posted at each private towing service storage lot, and upon release of the vehicle, a copy shall be provided to the person to whom the vehicle is released.
408 PAYMENT FOR SERVICES
408.1 The following are the maximum fees that may be charged for private tows initiated within the District of Columbia to any location within the District of Columbia.
(a) For a motorcycle or any vehicle with fewer than four (4) wheels - $75.
(b) For a standard passenger vehicle, including station wagons and sport utility vehicles - $150.
(c) For a light truck, stretch vehicle, or other vehicle larger than a sport utility vehicle - $300.
(d) For a truck or other vehicle with more than four (4) wheels, a bus, or other heavy commercial vehicle - $500.
408.2 The charges made for public tows and ancillary costs, including storage on a public or private lot, whether the vehicle is towed by a public agency or by an approved private towing business contracted for by DPW, will be as established and published from time to time by DPW. The current list of approved charges for public tows shall be made available upon request to any vehicle owner or insurer.
408.3 No extra charges may be made for the use of cranes, winches, dollies, or other services necessary or incidental to the tow, or to the restoration or cleaning of an accident site, unless approved is writing by the DPW Director upon submission of documentary evidence of unusual or extraordinary circumstances.
408.4 Tow truck operators shall be responsible for removing all accident debris from the roadway prior to towing any vehicle involved in a collision. Failure to do so is grounds for disciplinary action, including, for repeat violations, license revocation. Unless approved in writing, as provided in §408.3, no extra charge may be made for debris removal or cleaning of the roadway.
408.5 For a private tow, the tow truck operator shall move any disabled motor vehicle for which that operator is providing towing service to the place, within the District of Columbia, designated by the owner or operator of the vehicle, or the authorized agent of the owner or operator. For a public tow, the tow truck operator shall move the vehicle to a storage lot owned or leased by the Government of the District of Columbia, or to an alternative private towing service storage lot, as directed by the DPW towing center.
408.6 Fees higher than those specified in § 408.1 may be charged for private tows made at the request of the owner or insurer of a vehicle, from within the District of Columbia to a site outside the District of Columbia, if agreed, to in advance, in writing, by the person or entity authorizing the tow. No towing business subject to these regulations is required to provide a private tow to a location outside the District of Columbia.
408.7 The maximum amount that maybe charged for storage in a towing service storage lot is $25 for any 24-hour period or portion thereof, calculated from the beginning of the first 24-hour period after the time the vehicle enters, the towing service storage lot.
408.8 If a tow truck responds to a dispatch, and the police officer or other official who authorized the tow determines that services are no longer required, no charge shall be made by the towing business to the owner or the owner's insurance company, if a private tow, or to DPW, if a public tow.
408.9 If a private tow truck has applied chains, a dolly, a winch, or other towing device to prepare a vehicle for tow; and the owner or operator of the vehicle appears and asks that the tow be discontinued, the tow truck operator shall comply, upon payment of a fee not to exceed $50. If a. towing control number has already been issued, the tow truck operator shall ensure that the towing database is updated to reflect that the tow has been discontinued at the request of the owner or operator of the vehicle.
408.10 If the owner or lessee of a towed vehicle, or the authorized agent thereof, presents himself or herself at the place to which the vehicle has been towed, and pays the accrued towing and storage charges by cash, insurance draft, certified check, money order, or commonly used credit card, and presents proof of ownership or notarized authorization from the owner, the vehicle shall be released to that person without delay.
408.11 The owner or operator of the towing service storage lot shall provide to the person to whom the vehicle is released a copy of the written notice of infraction or other legal authority for removal of the car; a receipt for all monies paid and an itemized statement of the charges being made. The person or entity claiming the vehicle shall provide to the owner or operator of the towing service storage lot his/her name, driver's license number, address; telephone number, proof of ownership/lease and/or authorization from the owner/lessee, and place of employment (if any). The owner/operator of a towing service storage lot shall employ reasonable procedures and requirements to protect vehicle owners having their vehicles released to unauthorized individuals.
408:12 Any vehicle ordered moved by an authorized official, and not by the owner or operator, shall only be stored, and no repair work shall be done on the vehicle unless and until specifically authorized in writing by the owner of the vehicle or the owner's authorized agent.
409.1 Upon: approval of an application by. the Director arid the payment of the prescribed fees, the Director shall issue a license and endorsement for each tow truck identified or described in the application.
409.2 The license and endorsement year shall begin on June 1st of the first year, and shall end May 31st of the second year.
409.3 The license and endorsement must be displayed in the lower left corner of the front windshield of the tow truck while actually engaged in the towing service.
409.4 In case of loss; mutilation, or destruction of a license or endorsement, the Director may issue a duplicate upon proof of the fact of loss and payment of the prescribed fees. A police report shall constitute proof of such loss.
410 REQUIRED TOW TRUCK EQUIPMENT AND MARKINGS
419.1. To operate as a towing .business under this chapter, the company must have available for its exclusive use a minimum of one (1) fully equipped and licensed tow crane or flat-bed tow truck.
410.2 The name and address of record of the towing business shall appear on both doors of the cab of the tow truck in contrasting paint or vinyl lettering not less than three inches (3") in height.
410.3 The minimum and maximum towing fees charged by the towing business shall appear on both sides of the tow truck in contrasting paint or vinyl lettering not less than two inches (2") in height.
410.4 The towing business issued alphanumeric identifier unique to a tow truck, as provided in §405.1(c), shall appear on both front fenders or both doors of the tow truck in contrasting paint or vinyl lettering not less than one inch (1") in height.
410.5 Each tow truck must be equipped with a two-way communication system capable of transmitting and receiving between the company office and the tow truck anywhere in the District of Columbia. The towing business must have all permits and licenses required by District of Columbia and Federal law to operate the communications system.
410.6 Each tow truck that is available to provide public tows must be equipped with a computer, at the expense of the licensee, capable of transmitting the information required in §402.2 and of receiving and printing a towing control number. The computer shall be specified by DPW and installed in a manner determined by DPW.
410.7 Flat bed or roll-back tow trucks must have four (4) safety tie-down devices, chains, or straps in any combination. Chains used for light-duty tows (i.e., vehicles with a gross vehicle weight less than 4;000 pounds) must be "grade 7" high-test chains, a minimum of 5/16-inches (5/16") in diameter, straps must be 2 inch (2") webbing with an 8,000 pound-per-linear-inch rating. Chains and straps must be equipped with a "transportation cluster." Straps must have a ratchet device.
410.8 Each tow truck must have one (1) recovery chain made of "grade 8" alloy chain, a minimum of 5/16-inches (5/16") in diameter.
410.9 Each tow truck other than a flat-bed must have a four-ton boom with two (2) four ton winches each equipped with a minimum of 100 feet of 3/8-inch wire rope. Industry standards require a swage and thimble to be used when the wire rope is terminated with a fixed hook. A clip may only be used for an emergency repair.
410.10 Each tow truck other than a flat-bed must have dollies with securing devices.
410.11 The following equipment, in good working order, is required of all tow trucks:
(a) Two (2) four-ton (manufacturer stamped) snatch blocks with four (4) 1-inch pulleys equipped with locking devices;
(b) One (1) all-purpose 5-pound fire extinguisher (rating 5ABC, or better);
(c) One (1) set of wheel blocks;
(d) A minimum of two (2) gallons of commercial absorbent to be used as a quick cover up for minor oil/gasoline spills;
(e) An air compressor and/or portable air tank equipped with hose and tire chuck for tire inflation; .
(f) A minimum of ten (10) gallons of water and antifreeze mixture for vehicle protection to five degrees below zero, Fahrenheit (5F);
(g) A minimum of five (5) gallons of gasoline in an approved container,
(h) A minimum of two (2) red flags not less than twelve inches by twelve inches (12" x .12") in size;
(i) Two (2) portable red reflectors and two (2) red flares;.
(j) One (1) pair of skid chains;
(k) A complete set of standard trade tools (e.g., hammers,. screwdrivers, wrecking bar, and other related tools); and
(l) At least one (1) of each of the following: broom, shovel, waste container, and axe.
411.1 Before commencing a private tow, the tow truck operator shall furnish to the owner or operator of the vehicle to be towed a signed itemized estimate of costs for the tow and other services to be rendered, on a form approved by the Director. The actual charges for the tow may not exceed the estimate by more than 20 percent. The estimate must be signed by the owner or operator of the vehicle prior to commencement of the tow.
411.2 Each itemized statement shall contain the following:(a) The location from which and to which the vehicle is to be towed;
(b) The name and address of the tow truck company and the name of the tow truck operator;
(c) If available, the name and address of the owner or operator of the vehicle to be towed;
(d) A brief description of the vehicle to be towed;
(e) The license plate number and state of registration of the vehicle to be towed;
(f) The maximum fees to be charged for towing services;
(g) The maximum rate charged per day, or part of a day, for the storage of the towed vehicle, and a statement that storage fees will start at the beginning of the first 24-hour period after the vehicle enters the towing service storage lot; and
(h) The location of the towing service storage lot or repair facility to which the vehicle will be towed.
411.3 After rendering the towing service or towing and storage service, the tow truck operator shall enter upon the itemized statement the amount which is paid to him or her for the service or services rendered; and shall sign his/her name to the statement acknowledging the receipt of such payment.
411.4 A copy .of each statement and receipt submitted by a tow truck operator in accordance with the requirements of this section shall be retained by the towing business for three (3) years from the date of issuance. The copy shall be exhibited upon demand to the Chief of Police or the Director or their agents.
411.5 The direction to tow by an authorized official, in accordance with any section of this regulation, shall not constitute an agreement on his/her behalf or on behalf of the agency for which s/he works, to pay any charges in connection with the tow, but will constitute only an authorization to remove the motor vehicle.
411.6 In the event of a tow authorized by someone other than the owner or operator of the vehicle, the owner of the vehicle shall be responsible for paying the costs of the tow and any storage charges, in an amount not to exceed the charges authorized in §408.1.
411.7 Payment of all lawful towing and storage charges must be made by the owner of the vehicle, an agent of the owner, or the insurer of the vehicle before the vehicle is released by the towing business, the tow truck operator, or towing service storage lot.
412.1 It shall be unlawful for any person to offer or to engage in the business of providing towing services without a current and valid license, endorsement, certificate or permit as required by these regulations.
412.2 It shall be unlawful for any person or entity conducting a towing business or for any person acting on his/her behalf; to represent falsely, either expressly or by implication, that the towing business represents or is approved by any private organization which provides emergency road service for disabled. motor vehicles.412.3 In any accident case requiring a report to the police, it shall be unlawful for any tow truck operator to move a vehicle involved in that accident from the position in which the vehicle came to rest after the accident. until authorized to do so by a police officer, provided that nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed as prohibiting the lifting or movement of :the vehicle to the .extent necessary to free the occupants) or any other person(s).
412.4 It shall be unlawful for. any person or entity conducting a towing business, or any agent for such person or entity, to require an owner/operator of a motor vehicle involved in an accident or breakdown, to sign an agreement for repair work performed as a condition to providing towing service for the vehicle.
412.5 It shall be unlawful for any tow truck operator to use any public space for the accommodation of a vehicle removed: from the scene of an accident or breakdown, except as the use of that public space may be directed by a police officer.
412.6 It shall be unlawful for any person or entity conducting a towing business, and for any person acting on his/her behalf, to charge more than one (1) towing fee when the owner/operator of a disabled vehicle requests transport of the vehicle to a repair facility owned or operated by the person or entity conducting the tow.
412.7 Tow truck operators shall not tow vehicles to a repair facility unless the owner or the owner's designated representative gives written consent before removal of the vehicle from the scene of the accident:
412.8 It shall be unlawful for any towing business owner or tow truck operator, and any person acting on his/her behalf, to install or maintain in a tow truck or in any other place, a radio receiver capable of being tuned to the WD radio frequencies.
412.9 It shall be unlawful for any tow truck operator to stop at the scene of any accident and furnish any towing service, unless he or she has been called to the scene by the owner/operator of a disabled vehicle or authorized by the DPW towing center to provide such service at that incident.
412.10 It shall be unlawful to deposit a vehicle taken in tow upon public space or private space, without express consent, except temporarily, and for emergency purposes, at the direction of a police officer or other authorized official.
412.11 No towing service provider may refuse to release a vehicle to the owner, the owner's authorized agent, or the insurer of the vehicle. upon-tender of full payment for all lawful charges by cash, insurance draft, certified check, money order, or commonly used credit card.
412.12 No towing service provider may refuse to provide to the owner or owner's agent an itemized receipt for all lawful charges made in connection, with the towing and storage of a vehicle.
412.13 It shall be unlawful for towing service providers to charge more for rendering services than is permitted in these regulations.
412.14 Prior to payment of fees and release of a vehicle, no towing service provider may refuse the right of physical inspection of the towed vehicle by the owner, the authorized agent of the owner; or the insurer of the vehicle:
412.15 No person or towing business shall fail or refuse to surrender to the DCRA upon lawful demand, any towing license or endorsement that has been suspended, revoked, or canceled.412.16 No towing service provider shall permit any unlawful use of a towing license or endorsement.
412.17 Failure to notify the DPW and obtain a towing control number from the DPW Towing Control Center before initiating a tow in the District of Columbia shall be a violation of these regulations; except as provided in §402.3.
413.1 Prior to the licensure of a towing business, and at any time while such license is in effect, a towing service shall permit personnel of DCRA and/or MPD to inspect towing equipment, tow trucks and towing. service storage lots.
413.2 To ensure compliance with these regulations, towing service storage lots shall be subject to periodic and random unannounced inspections by officials of DCRA, MPD, other duly authorized designees of the MPD and other law enforcement agencies authorized to inspect towing businesses and vehicles in the District of Columbia.
413.3 No person shall interfere with an inspection authorized under this section.
413.4 Copies of all documents, including the notice of infraction, computerized data, electronic records, and entries regarding the towing or impounding of a vehicle by a towing business must be maintained, at the place of business indicated on the application submitted in accordance with §405.1(a), for a period of not less than three (3) years. A tow truck operator or other employee of the towing business shall surrender or arrange the surrender of such records upon, lawful demand by any police officer or DCRA investigator, within one (1) hour of the time of such demand.
413.5 If such records do not exist at the time they are demanded, they may not be created and submitted at any time after that request was made, as evidence or explanation of any towing service that had already been provided.
414.1 The DCRA shall be responsible for the administration and enforcement of regulations regarding towing businesses and towing service storage lots.414.2 The DCRA shall have authority and responsibility for the inspection of towing businesses and towing service storage lots to determine compliance with these regulations. All violations discovered by such inspections shall. be reported to the Director who may fine, suspend, or revoke the licenses of towing businesses, tow truck operators, or towing service storage lots in accordance with this chapter. MPD police officers may conduct inspections and issue citations for such violations or refer such violations to DCRA for fines, suspension, or revocation of a license or endorsement.
414.3 Any person who believes that a violation of these regulations, or the laws of the District of Columbia on which they are based, has occurred, may file a complaint with the Director, who shall investigate such complaint and take all proper and necessary remedial action.
414.4 The Director may summon the owner of a towing business, a tow truck operator, or a towing service storage lot to appear before an administrative tribunal to respond to alleged violations of the provisions of this chapter.
414.5 Any license or endorsement issued under these regulations may be suspended or revoked by the Director for any of the following reasons:
(a) The application for the license or endorsement contained a false statement of a material fact, or failed to reveal a material fact which, if disclosed at the time the application for the license was filed, would have constituted just cause for denial of the application;
(b) Failure of the licensee to comply with the provisions of this chapter,
(c) Any charges for towing service or storage made in excess of the charges set forth in the schedule of fees contained in these regulations;
(d) Failure of the licensee to comply with the provisions of the General License Law [D.C. Official Code §47-2801 (2001 Ed.)];
(e) Engaging in, or holding oneself out as engaging in, towing services or the operation of a towing service storage lot without having current and valid licenses, endorsements, certificates and permits, and the equipment, insurance and available storage facilities required by-this chapter;
(f) Violation of the traffic laws or regulations of the District of Columbia;
(g) Failure to maintain qualifications and insurance required by this chapter;
(h) Failure to compensate vehicle owners for damage to their vehicles caused by, or due to the negligence of, the operators of a tow truck or towing service storage lot, and failure to reasonably secure and protect a towed vehicle and property therein; or
(i) Failure to pay fees, taxes, fines or other monetary obligations to the Government of the District of Columbia or the Government of the United States.
414.6 Any entity whose towing business license and endorsement has been revoked shall not be eligible to make application for a new towing business license and endorsement for a period of one (1) year from the date of revocation.
414.7 Any person or entity adversely affected by the denial, revocation, or suspension of a tow truck license or towing business license and endorsement, or who has been fined or otherwise disciplined in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, may file an appeal in writing with the Board of Appeals and Review of the District of Columbia.
414.8 In addition to any other penalty prescribed by law, any violation of this chapter shall be grounds for revocation or suspension of the license issued under this chapter, either before or after conviction.
414.9 A towing business or tow truck operator who performs towing services without a license or endorsement, or with a license that has been revoked or is currently suspended, may be subject to arrest, fine and imprisonment.
414.10 Civil fines, penalties, and fees may be imposed as alternative sanctions for any infraction of these regulations. Adjudication of any civil infraction, shall be pursuant to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Civil Infractions Act of 1985, [D.C. Official Code § 2-1801, et seq. (2001. Ed.)].
414.11 Any act or omission by a person acting on behalf of a licensed or endorsed towing business, tow truck operator, or towing service storage lot operator, may be considered the act or omission of the licensed or endorsed person or entity person, which act or omission; if in violation of this chapter, shall be cause for denial, suspension or revocation of a license and endorsement.
414.12 In addition to imposition of a civil fine, failure to pay the fine or request a hearing within fifteen (15) days of the issuance of a notice of infraction or other notice of violation may result in the imposition of a monetary penalty pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 2-1801.04(a)(2KA) equal to the amount of the civil fine.
414.13 Failure to answer a second notice of infraction may result in the imposition of a monetary penalty equal to twice the amount of the civil fine, pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 2-1801.4(a)(2)(B).
Persons desiring to comment on these proposed regulations should submit comments in writing to Karen Edwards, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 941 North Capitol Street, N.E:, Washington,. D.C. 20002, not later than thirty (30) days after publication of this notice in the D.C. Register: Copies of the proposed rules can be obtained from the address listed above. A copying fee of one dollar ($1) will be charged for each copy of the proposed rulemaking requested.
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