Controversial Vehicle Towing Proposal Up for Debate at Florida Capitol

By Mike Vasilinda
March 26, 2007 6:52 p.m.

It takes Eddie Ogletree less than a minute to hook up a car he's towing.

Eddie pulled three cars out of this lot across the street from Florida State University in less than an hour. None were registered locally. Under new legislation moving through the Capitol, only the registered owner of the vehicle could claim the car from the impound lot.

Operator Jim Patton says it could be very hard on parents.

"She’s gotta call you and you have to sign an original, notarized document authorizing her to have access to that car to pick it up."

Even if you are the registered owner, getting the car returned under the new law could be a nightmare.

Here’s a real catch 22. It’s your car, but the law says you have to keep your registration in the glove compartment. How do you get to it to prove that it’s yours?

The legislation is intended to prohibit so called "gypsy" operators who monitor police scanners and prey on unsuspecting motorists, but it penalizes the 2,400 or so operators by requiring a $500 license and equally expensive training even for veteran operators.

Jim Patton said, "Sounds to me like somebody’s pockets are going to get lined substantially. The cost to the consumer is going to have to go up for that kind of money."

The association pushing the bill says by requiring a license, owners have something to lose and will follow the law more closely.

Similar legislation passed two years ago, but was vetoed by then Gov. Jeb Bush.