Breaking News
More (2) »

Tampa Bay and Sarasota's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Tampa Bay and Sarasota, FL | WTSP.com

Pinellas considers drastic new tow truck protections

PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida - Following a series of 10Investigates reports on aggressive towing, the Board of County Commissioners advanced an ordinance Tuesday that would add a series of consumer protections to the county's tow truck ordinances.

Commissioner Charlie Justice worked with the county's Consumer Protection division on the proposal, which will next get a public hearing on Aug. 23.

Among the protections in the proposed ordinance is a measure to prohibit tow trucks from patrolling bar and restaurant parking lots overnight. It mimics a City of Tampa ordinance that's been in place since 2008.

"Concern over being towed may act to discourage intoxicated consumers from seeking alternative transportation, and places consumers in position to make a difficult choice," according to an analysis by county staff. "This change helps to protect consumers and our streets while still affording an avenue for necessary tows."

ALSO READ: How do I get a towing refund?

Pinellas County's proposed ordinance would also require wrecker companies to accept credit card payments from drivers who have been towed, alleviating one of the biggest consumer complaints regarding demands for cash. The City of St. Petersburg passed a similar ordinance in 2015.

And Pinellas County proposes to require tow warning signs to include a phone number for Consumer Protection, so upset drivers would know where to file a complaint. Currently, many towed drivers get frustrated by not knowing which local agency to contact for complaints.

10Investigates will continue to track towing-related ordinances around Greater Tampa Bay.


7/11/16: More towing refunds coming
6/27/16: 10Investigates busts more bad tow practices
6/2/16: Tampa advances drastic mesaure to fight DUI
6/1/16: Do International Plaza parking policies encourage DUI?
5/10/16: Tampa downplays Ybor towing troubles, withholds public records
5/5/16: Tow trucks overcharge, while law enforcement looks other way
4/26/16: Pasco approves anti-DUI towing ordinance
4/13/16: Another case of predatory towing in Tampa
3/29/16: Pinellas commissioners consider anti-towing ordinance
3/17/16: Tampa to crack down on predatory towing outside bars
2/25/16: Can Tampa Bay invent new ways to discourage DUIs?
2/24/16: Pasco now considering copying Tampa's ordinance
2/16/16: Hillsborough moves toward better tow laws
2/10/16: Pinellas officials want tow truck protections too
2/9/16: Refunds for tow victims, as Hillsborough eyes amnesty law
2/9/16: EDITORIAL: Other cities should copy Tampa
2/8/16: Tampa council calls for immediate tow fixes
2/7/16: Tow trucks penalizing drinkers who don't drive
1/25/16: Confronting predatory towing & how to get a refund if you're towed illegally
1/18/16: Failure to "move over" puts tow operators in danger

Find 10Investigates' Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Send your story tips confidentially to npransky@wtsp.com.