Philadelphia is cracking down on predatory towing.
Right now, truck drivers in Philadelphia only have to take a picture of an illegally parked car before hauling it off to an impound lot. But, thanks to a bill passed by City Council Thursday, they’ll soon have to wait for a police or parking authority officer to ticket the car first.
For years, city officials have received complaints from drivers who say their cars were towed from legal spots.
“There is grand auto theft happening in the city every day,” said Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez who sponsored the bill.
But towing company owners argued that having to wait for an officer will cut down on the volume of their businesses.
Anthony Kitt was one of several tow truck drivers from Philadelphia who showed up at City Hall asking council to delay the vote.
“You have a bill being passed that goes against everybody when they know who the bad guys are,” Kitt said. “The names have been blasted all over the news. They have video of what’s going on. And you affect the lives and lifestyles of a lot of people behind the bad doings of a few.”
Instead of putting off the vote, Quiñones-Sánchez agreed to delay enforcement of the new rule for 30 days once it’s signed by the mayor.
She said the city will create a hotline so tow truck drivers can call one of the nine law enforcement agencies authorized for ticketing illegally parked cars under the bill and get a faster response.
“But in the interim, the bad actors continue to steal cars, and this is about protecting consumers right now,” she said.
All of the agencies involved will meet on Tuesday to get down to work, Quiñones-Sánchez said.