Towing Reform Bill (HB 341) Signed by Governor
On January 4th Governor Kasich signed HB 341 into law, which builds upon last session’s reforms to Ohio’s towing laws. While, as the name suggests, the bill is focused on towing issues, ASA Ohio was involved throughout the entire legislative process, advocating on behalf of its members. Through its work, ASA Ohio made significant improvements to the unclaimed motor vehicle affidavit process. This affidavit process is a valuable resource to repair facilities as it allows them to more easily handle the costly problem of unclaimed vehicles being left on their property. This legislation will take effect 90 days from January 4th.
Currently, a repair facility may obtain a title to an unclaimed vehicle if all the following apply:
1) The motor vehicle has a value of less than $3,500.
- “Value” means the wholesale value minus the cost of any agreed-upon repairs and any estimated costs of repairs to restore the motor vehicle to wholesale value.
2) The vehicle has been left unclaimed for 15 days or more following the completion of the requested repair.
3) The repair facility mails notices to the vehicle owner and any lienholder informing them that the vehicle has been left unclaimed. The vehicle must remain unclaimed for 15 more days after the mailing of the notices.
4) The repair facility submits a completed unclaimed motor vehicle affidavit to the clerk of courts.
SB 341 Keeps this Process But Makes the Following Improvements:
Provides Clarity -
1) Clarifies that the repair facility may use the unclaimed motor vehicle affidavit even if the person who requested the repair was not the owner or lienholder of the vehicle.
- If the person is not the owner or lienholder, the repair garage must notify the sheriff or police that it is in possession of the motor vehicle. (A facility would notify law enforcement at the same time it sends notices to the owner and lienholder).
Saves Shops Money -
2) Allows a repair facility to deduct the following from the amount owed to the clerk of courts for the title:
- The towing fee, if the motor vehicle was towed by the repair facility.
- Storage fees for the period of time the vehicle was stored without payment.
Helps Shops Deal With the Problem of Salvaged Vehicles -
3) SB 341 also establishes a process for a repair facility to obtain a salvage title to a vehicle left unclaimed on its property for purposes of disposing of the vehicle through a motor vehicle salvage dealer or scrap metal processing facility if the vehicle meets the following requirements:
- It has a value of less than $1,500.
- The vehicle is inoperable.
- The vehicle is impossible to restore for highway operation.