Tow truck operators to be required to take photo of violation before removing vehicle in new state law

A new state law will require tow truck operators to snap a photo of the violation before removing a vehicle.

State Representative Jose Giral, of the 180th Legislative District, said his office received hundreds of calls from constituents claiming their vehicles were wrongfully towed.

Rep. Giral introduced the bill that was signed into law on Monday as Act 43 and said it will provide further accountability.

"I think this is the step in the right direction to protect not only the constituents, but also the tow companies wrongfully accused of towing vehicles," said Rep. Giral. "They create a checks and balance kind of scenario. It helps the tow company prove that they towed a car that was illegally parked, and at the same time the constituent has the right to request photos from the tow company."

FOX 29 met Devin Bathgate at the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) Impoundment Lot 10.

"Not a good day in Philadelphia," said Bathgate who is visiting from out of town. "Went to the casinos and I lost a lot of money last night, and now I got towed today. I was staying at a B&B and the guy actually told me that I can use that spot."

Bathgate had to pay a $175 fee and said his SUV was also damaged during the tow.

"The ticket was supposed to be $222, but I’m going to dispute it, so they said pay them $175 today," said Bathgate.

While the new law doesn’t take effect in time to help Bathgate, he believes the photo evidence could have made a difference.

Representative Giral said he previously had conversations with PPA and said the agency is on board with the new law.

Many companies already require tow truck operators to keep a photo log on the job.

"It’s a pretty simple thing to do. You know take a picture of the vehicle before you load it, I mean I guess it’s good because you’re protecting yourself and that way there’s no discrepancies down the line," said Durning.

The new law takes effect in September. Giral believes there’s potential for the legislation to expand beyond Philadelphia mentioning Pittsburg and Allegheny County.