New Towing Sign Requirements? Bill proposes a statement of right to tow hearing on all towing signs

A bill filed in the Texas house of representatives in early January 2019 proposes to change the towing sign requirements currently contained in the Texas Towing and Booting Act. This bill, titled HB 626 (text of the bill HERE), would require each towing sign posted on a parking facility to contain “a statement describing the person’s right to request a court hearing to determine whether probable cause existed to remove, or install a boot on, a vehicle.”

In order to avoid requiring every private property towing company across the state to redo their signs on all of parking lots that they service, the bill adds an option that would allow an additional sign containing the required statement “directly above or below” another sign. However, the wording of this proposed legislation is quite confusing, and it is difficult to determine which sign is being referred to in the proposed Section 2308.301(f).

This legislation essentially proposes the addition of yet another notice that tow hearings are an available remedy in Texas. This bill, however, seems to be a solution in search of a problem, given that notice of a person’s right to request a tow hearing already exists (i) in the Texas Towing and Booting Act; (ii) on each receipt that a vehicle storage facility delivers a person when they pay for a private property tow; and (iii) typically, on each application for a tow hearing that is available from a justice court. While this additional notice is one more level of advising a person of his or her rights, it seems quite duplicative given the existing protections in the Texas Towing and Booting Act and the forms available from most justice courts across the state.