Tow truck drivers required to take pictures of vehicles they tow in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A new law signed by Gov. Josh Shapiro on Monday will require changes for tow truck drivers in the city of Philadelphia.

Under the new law, tow companies will be required to collect photographic evidence of parking violations for vehicles they tow.

State lawmakers passed the bill after Philadelphia drivers found it hard to prove their vehicles were towed unreasonably.

"This is a safety mechanism for the people that live in Philadelphia and also visit Philadelphia," said Democratic State Rep. Jose Giral, who represents Kensington, Port Richmond and Juniata Park in the 180th District. "That way, if they do park somewhere, they can feel safe."

A vehicle being towed in Chicago, Illinois.

CBS Chicago

Giral introduced the bill as House Bill 816 in 2023 and it passed the Pennsylvania Senate 50-0 on July 2. The law is now referred to as Act 43.

Once the bill takes effect, people who go to a hearing over a parking ticket will have more evidence they can present to make their case.

"This will benefit everyone involved, the courts, drivers and towing companies, and will ensure greater accountability and transparency in our city," Giral added in an emailed statement.

The bill also gives the Philadelphia Parking Authority the power to establish penalties for towing companies that violate the new law.

A spokesperson for the PPA said its parking enforcement officers already take pictures of license plates of the vehicles they are ticketing, and that tow operators called out to the scene will also take photos. More pictures are taken for PPA's records when vehicles arrive at the impound lot, the spokesperson said in an email.

"The PPA is reviewing the provisions of the Act dealing with the issuance of penalties," PPA said in a statement.

The law is set to take effect in 60 days in September.  

Joe Brandt

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