New law prevents drivers in US state from being towed for common issue

A NEW regulation keeps certain American car owners from getting their cars towed for unpaid parking tickets.

A bill that was signed into law last week has reneged on the rule that saw that Minnesota drivers with several unpaid parking tickets had their cars towed.

It can cost a vehicle owner around $640 to retrieve their vehicle from an impound lotCredit: GETTYThe new regulation from State Representative Erin Koegel keeps towers from hauling vehicles from expired parking metersCredit: GETTY

Lawmakers in the state are hoping the change will take a heavy burden off of lower-income car owners, local news publication MinnPost reported.

Before the law went into effect, towing operators could tow vehicles from expired parking meters if the vehicle had five or more unpaid parking tickets.

The new regulation from State Representative Erin Koegel keeps towers from hauling those vehicles as a method to collect that debt.

"When parking tickets result in the loss of a vehicle, it has immediate and negative economic outcomes that can result in job loss, and disruptions to child care and education," she said.

"So many people in Minnesota use cars to commute to work, and 30 percent of households in Minnesota only have one vehicle,

"So how could we expect people to pay back their fines when we’re taking away their way to work."

The new provision was a part of a transportation policy bill that passed by both chambers earlier this month.

It received a unanimous 67-0 vote in the Senate.

The law builds on legislation passed last year in the state that prohibits debt-based driver’s license suspensions. 

Governor Tim Walz signed the policy into law on Wednesday. 

Delaware's New Towing Law: Relief for Drivers

It can cost a vehicle owner around $640 to retrieve their vehicle from an impound lot, state policy manager for Justice Action Network Jenny Catchings told MinnPost.

The whopping total includes the previous parking debt and new fees incurred by the tow.

In addition to how costly towing for debt collection is for lower-income residents, Catchings said the practice isn't actually effective.

An audit found that the city of San Diego, California was losing about $1.5 million by towing vehicles and housing them at impound lots.

What to do if your car is towed

Wrongfully or not, retrieving a towed vehicle can be a hassle.

If your vehicle is towed after parking in a "No Parking" zone or other legitimate reason, there are a few steps to take to get it back.

Steps to take when your car is towed:

Try to figure out why your car was towed. Did you not see a posted "No Parking" sign? Did you miss a car payment? Did you return to a lot where you have unpaid citations? Finding the reason can narrow down the phone numbers to dial.
Locate the vehicle. Most states, cities, or counties require towing companies to leave some form of contact information via a posted sign or sent by mail.
Recovery dates and times depend on the company that towed the vehicle, but those times will be posted to the website or can be recited by a representative.
Pay the fees. Be careful to be as prompt as possible, as some tow yards may charge storage fees by the day.

If you feel your vehicle was wrongfully towed, contesting the action can be done with the following steps:

Be prompt - many states have a small window of time where it's acceptable to file a complaint against a company that wrongfully towed the vehicle.
Gather supporting documents: photos, emails, receipts, police reports, and witness statements if applicable. The more evidence, the better.
Get familiar with your local laws, as laws for towing companies vary per state.
Try speaking with the towing company. Sometimes it may have been a simple oversight, and the matter can be resolved quickly.
Contact the Justice of the Peace in your area, as they may have more insight or resources to help. They are often utilized for towing cases.
Talk to a lawyer. Many lawyers have free case consultations, and depending on the case, it may be worth it to utilize a lawyer.

Source: Oregon Department of Justice, National General, Rak Law Firm

Nearly 30 percent of the towed vehicles in the city were never recovered. 


Despite the new Minnesota towing restrictions, vehicles can still be towed for violating snow emergency regulations.

A car can also be towed if it's blocking driveways, fire hydrants or is parked in restricted areas.

Minneapolis issued about 430,000 tickets between 2018 and 2019, according to an analysis released last year by the Urban Institute.

That is the fifth-highest amount of parking tickets in the country.

According to the data, Minneapolis had the most tickets issued per resident.

The city also had the highest ticket amount per resident among the three cities - totaling about $37 million. 


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