Motor Vehicle Towing

Requires towing businesses to have insurance coverage for towed
motor vehicles during towing and storage and to properly identify
their towing vehicles; repeals drop-dead provision of Act 138,
SLH 1998; allows suit against the towing company without
insurance for $1,000, or three-fold damages suffered, whichever
is greater. (SD1)

THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  Chapter 290, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
 2 by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to
 3 read as follows:
 4      "290-     Towing businesses; insurance, bond, and
 5 identification requirements.  (a)  No person shall operate as a
 6 towing business at any time unless the motor vehicles used for
 7 towing are insured in compliance with chapter 431:10C and the
 8 towing company has insurance that covers all damages that may
 9 occur to the towed motor vehicle while being towed and stored by
10 the towing business.
11      (b)  All vehicles used for towing motor vehicles in
12 furtherance of a towing business shall have permanently affixed
13 on each door of the towing vehicle a sign with the name and
14 telephone number of the towing business.  The letters and numbers
15 used in the sign shall be no less than two inches in height.
16      (c)  If a tow operator fails to comply with the insurance
17 requirements of this section, no charges, including storage
18 charges, may be collected by the tow operator as a result of the
19 tow or as a condition of the release of the towed vehicle.  Any

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                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 1

 1 person, including the registered owner, lienholder, or insurer of
 2 the vehicle, who has been injured by the tow operator's failure
 3 to comply with this section is entitled to sue for damages
 4 sustained.  If a judgment is for the plaintiff, the court shall
 5 award the plaintiff a sum of not less than $1,000 or threefold
 6 damages sustained by the plaintiff, whichever sum is the greater,
 7 and reasonable attorneys fees together with the costs of suit."
 8      SECTION 2.  Act 138, Session Laws of Hawaii 1998, is amended
 9 by amending section 3 to read as follows:
10      "SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval;
11 provided that the amendment set forth in Section 1 shall take
12 effect on September 1, 1998[, and shall be repealed on July 1,
13 2000]."
14      SECTION 3.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed.
15 New statutory material is underscored.
16      SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.