Towing reforms enacted in Virginia

April 10, 2024

Keith Goble


Two new Virginia laws are intended to protect the public from predatory towing. Specifically, the changes prohibit solicitation of towing.

Sen. Bill Stanley, R-Franklin, was behind the legislative push to address a specific problem occurring throughout the state. Speaking at a recent hearing, he explained to lawmakers that all too often, tow truck companies are using first responders that respond to wrecks, disabled vehicles or trucks on the side of the road.

He added that tow companies “talk to these first responders and say if they provide their business card and it results in a tow … (the first responder) will get a kick-back.”

Rule revisions

In an effort to halt these actions, Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed into law SB94. The new law prohibits tow truck drivers and towing and recovery operators from solicitation or offering tow services in any manner, directly or indirectly, at the scene of any wrecked or disabled vehicle on a highway.

Violators will face up to $500 fines. Repeat offenders will face up to six months behind bars and/or a fine up to $1,000.

Another new law on the topic, HB1073, prohibits tow truck drivers from driving by the scene of a wrecked or disabled vehicle and initiating contact with the owner or operator of such vehicle by soliciting or offering towing services, and towing such vehicle, if the affected vehicle has a law-enforcement initiated tow.

At a bill hearing, Virginia State Police Major Ron Maxey told lawmakers the rule change is intended to address situations when an officer calls for a tow or a vehicle owner or operator requests a specific tow service, and before the requested tow service arrives, the officer is dispatched to another call that requires leaving the scene.

He added that the rule revision “would prevent another vehicle from coming in and taking that vehicle out from underneath the police-requested tow.”

The new laws take effect on July 1.

Local ordinances

One more towing revision signed into law addresses concern about predatory practices in Northern Virginia.

HB959 permits localities to pass ordinances to require a tow company to get a property owner or its agent’s signature before a tow company can tow a vehicle parked on the property. Localities also are allowed to regulate monitoring practices used by tow operators.

Del. Alfonzo Lopez said on social media that the new law “ensures that every part of Virginia uses the same rules when allowing localities to address predatory towing.” LL

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