New Towing Reform Legislation Could Impact Repair Shops
New legislation was just introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives that would reform Ohio’s towing laws. If this sounds familiar it is. Just last session SB 273 was signed into law that addressed predatory towing in the state. The new legislation (HB 341), which was introduced by Rep. Ron Young (R-Leroy), hopes to build upon the changes made last session and further update Ohio’s outdated towing regulations.
While on the surface this legislation may appear to only impact towing services, it will actually have a major impact on automotive repair businesses, specifically how they go about obtaining titles to unclaimed vehicles. Last session ASA Ohio was heavily involved in the towing reform debate and successfully advocated for changes that would improve the unclaimed motor vehicle affidavit process for our members. Previously, repair shops were only permitted to use the unclaimed motor vehicle affidavit if the value of the vehicle was below $2,500. That threshold value had not been updated in decades, and we fought to increase that level to a more appropriate amount. Not only were we successful in increasing the threshold value to $3,500, but we also advocated for language allowing repair garages to deduct actual and needed repairs from the value of the vehicle (these deductions were previously prohibited).
While the unclaimed vehicle affidavit process was much improved last session, we hope to make further improvements in HB 341. Under the new proposal, repair facilities would be allowed to deduct storage fees (up to 65 days) from the value of the vehicle when using the affidavit. Storage fees for an average vehicle would be capped at $12 a day. This provision would allow a deduction of over $750 should a vehicle be left unclaimed on your property for 65 days. This is appropriate since unclaimed vehicles take up valuable space on our members’ lots, space that could be used for paying customers.
HB 341 would also require the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to review Ohio’s towing and storage fees and update them on an annual basis. This provision will ensure that these fees are appropriate and will hopefully prevent interested parties from trying to change the law any time they seek an increase.
ASA Ohio will remain active in future negotiations involving Ohio’s towing laws. We will continue to advocate on behalf of our members and work to improve Ohio’s automotive repair industry.
To see a complete copy of HB 341 please click the following link: HB 341