Industry News

January, 2013

Once again, the fight over jurisdictional towing regulation is in the courts.  The Supreme Court has finally agreed to hear the issue, and determine once and for all how much of the towing industry's activities fall outside state and municipal jurisdiction.  

Put simply, the Supreme Court's decision will decide if cities and states can implement regulations on everything from retail towing and recovery fees to licensing requirements and lien sales, or whether the 1994 federal deregulation of trucking continues to prohibit local price-fixing and other regional regulation of the towing industry.  

Please read the attached letter from TRAA:
Pelkey v Dan's City Used Autos; United States Supreme Court.

Towers interested in supporting this effort can email:
or contact TRAA directly:  

Legal Info:  For any towers that missed it's launch, check out our Resources  page for a link to order Mike McGovern's new book,  Towing and the Law. It's only available through TowTimes.

June 2011--Of Special Interest to towing companies that perform impounds:

The Alaska Towing Association has been involved in conversations via email with State DMV personnel, regarding the necessity for impound towers to provide notification of Impound and impending sale to untitled vehicle owners.  Specifically, the DMV maintained that individuals named as the "transfer pending" owners had to be notified within seven days in the same manner as the titled owners of a vehicle, even if they had never submitted an application for vehicle title.

The newest word is that the DMV has revisited this position, and determined that transfer pending owners that have not applied for a vehicle titel within the 30 days allowed by Alaska Statutes do NOT have to be notified of a towing and storage lien, or impending lien sale.


Alaskan Credit Unions find a Loophole in the Law

Also of interest for those towers who perform impounds, either privately or for law enforcement--There have been multiple instances, both in Anchorage and Fairbanks, where a little known paragraph in the Alaska Statutes (AS 28.10.391) has been used to reclaim liened vehicles from impound without paying the impound fees accrued.(more...)

Update:  In response, the State Legislature passed House Bill 251, which also included stipulations for Notification of Lien and Sale, tightening the requirements for notifiying owners of towed or stored vehicles of charges and impending sale per AS 28.10.502.  Towers performing impounds should make themselves familiar with the changes to the statute. 

The most misunderstood aspect of the changes implemented by HB251 is the requirement that allows only seven days for towers to notify vehicle owners of the possessory lien. Seven days is legally interpreted as "seven business days."  And since notification by certified mail is required, the tow company providing the notification is not responsible for the length of time the notification remains in the hands of the US Postal service. 

The Association recommends that all towers manage the requirements with a eye toward promptly scheduled notifications. Despite the fact that weekends and poor mail service may in some circumstances delay notification beyond the seven day period with no penalty upon the tower, the perception of those receiving tardy notifications will be that the tower failed to follow the rules.  That is a perception all tow companies should work diligently to avoid.