New Towing Law Creates Complications for Montgomery County

New towing legislation, which will provide for protections against aggressive towing practices and other consumer protections, is creating some complications for Montgomery County.  Based on the wording of the legislation, it is difficult to know which law is more stringent, the State’s or the County’s.  From the Washington Post article:

“It makes the complicated regulatory process even more difficult to enforce,” Eric S. Friedman, Montgomery’s consumer protection director, said of the guidelines at a County Council meeting.

One change provides protection for motorists in areas where towing isn’t regulated, such as Kensington and nearly all towns in the Chevy Chase area. Another change would force private towing lots to stay open 24 hours a day.

Some provisions seem like benefits for motorists but actually do little to protect them, officials said. For instance, the rules ban spotters — those who look for motorists violating parking rules in strip malls and other parts of the county. But Friedman said it would be all but impossible to enforce that regulation.

Also, officials said that other elements are bound to make towing problems worse in Montgomery. For instance, in areas such as Montgomery Village, residents have said they do not want towing signs visible, so county regulations have allowed them to post 48-hour warning notices on cars that violate parking rules. This gave drivers without permits a “cushion,” Friedman said.

But the new rules force the county to remove those 48-hour notices, he said. So on Oct. 1, signs would have to be installed in those areas and violators would be towed without warning, Friedman said.

The towing legislation takes effect October 1, 2012.

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