HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2016
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to motor vehicles.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. Chapter 291C, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part XV to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§291C- Motor vehicle towing and storage; violations. (a) A police officer citing or arresting a driver for any of the following traffic violations may have the motor vehicle that the driver was operating at the time of the citation or arrest towed to a private tow yard and impounded at the registered owner's expense pursuant to section 291C-165.5(a):
(1) Fraudulent use of plates, tags, or emblems, pursuant to section 249-11;
(2) Driving without a license, pursuant to section 286-102;
(3) Driving while license is suspended or revoked, pursuant to section 286-132;
(4) Operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, pursuant to section 291E-61;
(5) Habitually operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, pursuant to section 291E-61.5;
(6) Operating a vehicle after license and privilege have been suspended or revoked for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, pursuant to section 291E-62; or
(7) Operating a vehicle after consuming a measurable amount of alcohol; persons under the age of twenty-one, pursuant to section 291E-64.
(b) Vehicles shall not be towed or impounded pursuant to this section under any of the following circumstances:
(1) The motor vehicle is parked on private property on which the registered owner or operator is legally residing, or the property owner does not object to the motor vehicle being left in the parked location;
(2) The registered owner or a passenger present in the vehicle when the operator is arrested, or when a summons or citation is issued, has a valid driver's license and is willing and legally able to operate the motor vehicle;
(3) The motor vehicle is legally parked at a time and place where the likelihood of it being subject to theft or vandalism is remote and traffic or public safety is not impeded; or
(4) The motor vehicle is engaged in community caretaking at the time of the encounter. As used in this paragraph, "community caretaking" means any situation in which a law enforcement officer is using the vehicle for a consensual police-citizen encounter that is unrelated to the investigation or detection of any criminal activity.
(c) No county police department or police officer shall be responsible for the protection of a motor vehicle left on any public way or private property after the motor vehicle's operator has been arrested for a violation listed in subsection (a)."
SECTION 2. Section 291C-165.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§291C-165.5 Motor vehicle towing and
storage; settlement. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this
chapter, any vehicle identified for removal pursuant to any county ordinance or
section 291C- ordering or authorizing removal of motor vehicles
by any county police department for traffic violations, including a vehicle [
that constitutes an obstruction or hazard to traffic, may be towed away
at the expense of the registered owner of the vehicle, as provided by this
(b) The towing company shall determine the name of the lien holder and the registered owner of the vehicle from the department of transportation or the county department of finance. The lien holder and the registered owner shall be notified by the towing company in writing at the address on record with the department of transportation or with the county department of finance by registered or certified mail of the location of the vehicle, together with a description of the vehicle, within a reasonable period not to exceed twenty days following the tow. The notice shall state:
(1) The maximum towing charges and fees allowed by law;
(2) The telephone number of the county finance
department that arranged for or authorized the tow; [
(3) That if the vehicle is not recovered within
thirty days after the mailing of the notice, the vehicle shall be deemed
abandoned and will be sold or disposed of as junk[
(4) That the lien holder or registered owner may:
(A) Recover possession of the vehicle by paying the towing and other fees allowed by law and file a lawsuit for damages with any court of competent jurisdiction as allowed by law; and
(B) Demand an administrative hearing, before or after the person has recovered possession of the vehicle pursuant to subparagraph (A), to determine whether there was a sufficient factual and legal basis for removing the vehicle.
Any towing company engaged in towing pursuant to this section shall comply with the requirements of section 291C-135. When the vehicle is recovered after the tow by the registered owner or lien holder, the party recovering the vehicle shall pay the tow and storage charges which shall not exceed the charges as provided by section 290-11(b) or the rates agreed upon with the respective counties, whichever is lower, except that tow operators may charge additional reasonable amounts for excavating vehicles from off-road locations; provided that if the notice required by this section was not sent within twenty days after the tow, neither the registered owner nor the lien holder shall be required to pay the tow and storage charges. No notice shall be sent to a legal or registered owner or any person with any unrecorded interest in the vehicle whose name or address cannot be determined. A person, including but not limited to the owner's or driver's insurer, who has been charged in excess of the charges permitted under this section may sue for damages sustained, and, if the judgment is for the plaintiff, the court shall award the plaintiff a sum not to exceed the amount of these damages and reasonable attorney's fees together with the cost of the suit.
(c) The lien holder and the registered owner shall have ten days after receipt of the notice provided pursuant to subsection (b) to request in writing an administrative hearing pursuant to chapter 91 from the county police department that caused the vehicle to be removed. The administrative hearing shall be conducted for the sole purpose of allowing the lien holder or registered owner of an impounded vehicle to contest the basis given for the impoundment of the vehicle. The hearing shall be held within five working days of the county police department's receipt of the written request.
(c)] (d) When a vehicle is
recovered by the owner or lien holder before written notice is sent by
registered or certified mail, the towing company shall provide the owner or
lien holder with a receipt stating the maximum towing charges and fees allowed
by law and the telephone number of the county finance department that arranged
for or authorized the tow.
(d)] (e) When a vehicle is not
recovered within thirty days after the mailing of the notice, it shall be
deemed abandoned and the owner of the towing company, or the owner of the
towing company's authorized representative, after one statewide public notice
as required in section 1-28.5, may negotiate a sale of the vehicle or dispose
of it as junk.
(e)] (f) The authorized seller
of the vehicle shall be entitled to the proceeds of the sale to the extent
that compensation is due the authorized seller for services rendered in respect
to the vehicle, including reasonable and customary charges for towing,
handling, storage, and the cost of the notices and advertising required by this
part. Any remaining balance shall be forwarded to the registered owner or lien
holder of the vehicle if the registered owner or lien holder is found. If the
registered owner or lien holder cannot be found, the balance shall be deposited
with the director of finance of the State and shall be paid out to the
registered owner or lien holder of the vehicle if a proper claim is filed
therefor within one year from the execution of the sales agreement. The lien
holder shall have first priority to the funds to the extent of the lien
holder's claim. If no claim is made within the year allowed, the money shall
escheat to the State.
(f)] (g) The transfer of title
and interest by sale under this section is a transfer by operation of law;
provided that if the certificate of ownership or registration is unavailable, a
bill of sale executed by an authorized seller is satisfactory evidence
authorizing the transfer of the title or interest.
(g)] (h) This section shall not
apply to a county that has adopted ordinances regulating towing
SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.
SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Motor Vehicles; Violations; Towing; Driving Under the Influence
Authorizes a police officer to cause to be towed a motor vehicle if the operator is arrested or cited for various traffic offenses, including driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Provides exceptions. Provides notice and hearing requirements.
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.