There Oughta Be A Law: Tow Trucks

Monday is the last day for lawmakers to file legislation at the State Capitol.

One Arkansan has some ideas that she thinks "Oughta be a law" in Arkansas.

Her suggestions involve wrecker services and are born out of her personal experience.

Last year Bettye Collins of Little Rock had her minivan towed from her apartment complex.

She didn't have the $200 plus dollars necessary to get it back right away.

By the time she did, the cost to reclaim her vehicle had skyrocketed.

"It cost me $1,028.00," says Collins.

"And most of that was storage fees?"

"Yes," says Collins. "The majority of it was storage fees."

A report for Congress that looked at the towing laws in 10 states found that nine of the ten set caps on tow rates and/or storage fees.

For example, in Oklahoma and Louisiana storage fees for most vehicles are capped at $18.00 per day.

In Texas and Georgia the cap is $15.00

In Ohio, storage is capped at $12.00 a day.

In Maryland the rate can't top $8.00.

Arkansas has no such limit.

"I think it was $35.00$35.00 a day," recalls Collins. "I think it was $35 a day."

"And do you think that is reasonable or unreasonable?"

"I think it is unreasonable of course," says Collins. "Number one to take my car when they shouldn't have. And secondly, you know, to charge the fees, even herein this stateit's kind of crazy. Something needs to be done about it."

Many states have a law that storage fees can't be charged until a vehicle has been on the lot for more than 24 hours. In Arkansas as soon as the wrecker puts your car down you can be charged for a full day of storage.

And in Virginia if an owner gets to his vehicle before it is towed away, a wrecker operator can't tow it (but can charge the owner $25).

If that happens in Missouri and the wrecker hauls it off against the owner's wishes, he can only charge half-price.

Monday is the deadline to file a bill this legislative session but a lawmaker doesn't need all the details. Legislators can file a "shell" billsand State Representative Marshall Wright of Forrest City has already filed a shell bill relating to towing laws.

Air date: March 8th, 2013