Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

Amendment

 

February Session, 2012

LCO No. 5202

   
 

*HB0516405202SRO*

Offered by:

 

SEN. SUZIO, 13th Dist.

 

To: Subst. House Bill No. 5164

File No. 620

Cal. No. 471

After the last section, add the following and renumber sections and internal references accordingly:

"Sec. 501. Section 14-66 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2012):

(a) (1) No person, firm or corporation shall engage in the business of operating a wrecker for the purpose of towing or transporting motor vehicles, including motor vehicles which are disabled, inoperative or wrecked or are being removed in accordance with the provisions of section 14-145, 14-150 or 14-307, unless such person, firm or corporation is a motor vehicle dealer or repairer licensed under the provisions of subpart (D) of this part. (2) The commissioner shall establish and publish a schedule of uniform rates and charges for the nonconsensual towing and transporting of motor vehicles and for the storage of motor vehicles which shall be just and reasonable. Upon petition of any person, firm or corporation licensed in accordance with the provisions of this section, but not more frequently than once every two years, the commissioner shall reconsider the established rates and charges and shall amend such rates and charges if the commissioner, after consideration of the factors stated in this subdivision, determines that such rates and charges are no longer just and reasonable. In establishing and amending such rates and charges, the commissioner may consider factors, including, but not limited to, the Consumer Price Index, rates set by other jurisdictions, charges for towing and transporting services provided pursuant to a contract with an automobile club or automobile association licensed under the provisions of section 14-67 and rates published in standard service manuals. The commissioner shall hold a public hearing for the purpose of obtaining additional information concerning such rates and charges. (3) With respect to the nonconsensual towing or transporting and the storage of motor vehicles, no such person, firm or corporation shall charge more than the rates and charges published by the commissioner. Any person aggrieved by any action of the commissioner under the provisions of this section may take an appeal therefrom in accordance with section 4-183, except venue for such appeal shall be in the judicial district of New Britain.

(b) The commissioner, or an inspector authorized by the commissioner, shall examine each wrecker, including its number, equipment and identification, and shall determine the mechanical condition of such wrecker and whether or not it is properly equipped to do the work intended. A wrecker shall be deemed properly equipped if there are two flashing yellow lights installed and mounted on such wrecker that (1) show in all directions at all times, and (2) indicate the full width of such wrecker. Such lights shall be mounted not less than eight feet above the road surface and as close to the back of the cab of such wrecker as practicable. Such lights shall be in operation when such wrecker is towing a vehicle and when such wrecker is at the scene of an accident or the location of a disabled motor vehicle. In addition, each wrecker shall be equipped with a spot light mounted so that its beam of light is directed toward the hoisting equipment in the rear of such wrecker. The hoisting equipment of each wrecker shall be of sufficient capacity to perform the service intended and shall be securely mounted to the frame of such vehicle. A fire extinguisher shall be carried at all times on each wrecker which shall be in proper working condition, mounted in a permanent bracket on each wrecker and have a minimum rating of eight bc. A set of three flares in operating condition shall be carried at all times on each wrecker and shall be used between the periods of one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise when the wrecker is parked on a highway while making emergency repairs or preparing to pick up a disabled vehicle to remove it from a highway or adjoining property. No registrant or operator of any wrecker shall offer to give any gratuities or inducements of any kind to any police officer or other person in order to obtain towing business or recommendations for towing or storage of, or estimating repairs to, disabled vehicles. No licensee shall require the owner to sign a contract for the repair of such owner's damaged vehicle as part of the towing consideration or to sign an order for the repair of, or authorization for estimate until the tow job has been completed. No licensee shall tow a vehicle in such a negligent manner as to cause further damage to the vehicle being towed.

(c) Each wrecker used for towing or transporting motor vehicles shall be registered as a wrecker by the commissioner for a fee of one hundred twenty-five dollars. Each such registration shall be renewed biennially according to renewal schedules established by the commissioner so as to effect staggered renewal of all such registrations. If the adoption of a staggered system results in the expiration of any registration more or less than two years from its issuance, the commissioner may charge a prorated amount for such registration fee.

(d) An owner of a wrecker may apply to the commissioner for a general distinguishing number and number plate for the purpose of displaying such number plate on a motor vehicle temporarily in the custody of such owner and being towed or transported by such owner. The commissioner shall issue such number and number plate to an owner of a wrecker (1) who has complied with the requirements of this section, and (2) whose wrecker is equipped in accordance with subsection (b) of this section. The commissioner shall charge a fee to cover the cost of issuance and renewal of such number plates.

(e) With respect to the nonconsensual towing or transporting of a motor vehicle, no licensee may tow or transport a vehicle to the premises of any person, firm or corporation engaged in the storage of vehicles for compensation unless such person, firm or corporation adheres to the storage charges published by the commissioner.

(f) The provisions of this section shall not apply to [: (1) Any] any person, firm, [or] corporation [licensed as a motor vehicle dealer under the provisions of subpart (D) of this part, towing] or association: (1) Towing or transporting a motor vehicle, [for salvage purposes,] provided such person, firm or corporation is licensed as a motor vehicle dealer under the provisions of subpart (D) of this part, or is a contractor of such dealer, and does not offer direct towing or wrecker service to the public or engage in nonconsensual towing or transporting; (2) [any person, firm or corporation] operating as an automobile club or automobile association licensed under section 14-67; (3) [any person, firm or corporation] operating as a motor vehicle recycler licensed under section 14-67l or any contractor of such recycler, provided such recycler or its contractor does not offer direct towing or wrecker service to the public or engage in nonconsensual towing or transporting; (4) [any person, firm or corporation engaged] engaging in the business of repossession of motor vehicles for lending institutions; [or] (5) [any person, firm or corporation] towing motor vehicles owned or leased by such person, firm, association or corporation; (6) towing or transporting motor vehicles for hire, with the appropriate operating authority as defined in 49 CFR 390.5, as amended from time to time, provided such person, firm, corporation or association does not offer direct towing or wrecker service to the public or engage in nonconsensual towing or transporting; or (7) towing motor vehicles to or from an auction conducted by a dealer licensed under the provisions of subpart (D) of this part, provided such person, firm, corporation or association does not offer direct towing or wrecker service to the public or engage in nonconsensual towing or transporting.

(g) For the purposes of this section, "nonconsensual towing or transporting" means the towing or transporting of a motor vehicle in accordance with the provisions of section 14-145 or for which arrangements are made by order of a law enforcement officer or traffic authority, as defined in section 14-297.

(h) Any person, firm, corporation or association that violates the provisions of this section shall, for a first offense, be deemed to have committed an infraction and be fined not less that two hundred dollars, and for a second or subsequent offense, shall be fined not less than three hundred dollars."

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Sec. 501

October 1, 2012

14-66