Towing ordinance requires changes

Getting a car towed seems quite trivial compared to major tragedies that can occur in people’s lives. But if the car was towed illegitimately and without regulations properly posted in the area, it can be a frustrating and demeaning experience.

The DeKalb City Council is considering either abolishing its current towing ordinance or improving it. The towing companies in the city, as can be expected, are not too thrilled with the proposed changes.

The ordinance should not be abolished. If anything, it should be extended and strictly enforced. Each change now being considered only would help protect the consumer and in no way would do harm to the towing companies.

One consideration would require all impound lots be secured by either a fence with a locked gate or 24-hour security personnel. There never is anything wrong with ensuring people’s property be protected from theft or damage.

Another amendment would set towing fees at a flat rate of $40 with a $10 per day storage charge after the first 72 hours. The towing companies argue that the city should have no right to pick prices for a private company.

That argument is invalid. Towing companies should not be considered nor treated like private businesses such as retail stores, where consumers have the choice whether or not to buy an item. When a car is towed, there is no choice involved. The owner must pay the price to regain what is rightfully his. With no regulation, the towing companies can charge at will and take advantage of the no-choice situation.

Finally, a proposal which would require specific information about the ordinance to be placed on signs at private parking lots is by far the most sound amendment. In this way, the towing companies, apartment dwellers and owners, the innocent consumer and the illegal parker know exactly what the policy is. This would put a curb on the amount of towing cases and thus lead to a reduced amount of car owners seeking appeals.

esidents are forced to park illegally because of a lack of parking spaces in town. Until the parking situation can be improved, towing practices should be regulated. There are some situations when government control is necessary to protect the rights and property of the consumers. Towing practices fall into that category.