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City Moves Forward With Towing Restrictions

Tow truck drivers met with little sympathy from the Charlotte City Council last night in a public hearing about new towing restrictions. The changes are meant to stop predatory towing, where tow trucks aggressively police lots for business. A parking lot near Starbucks on East Boulevard is of particular concern. But the tow truck driver who patrols that lot told city council members last night, it's not his fault. "I think the issue here is bigger," said Tim Harden. "It's the fact that you got a company here that's luring people into a place where they don't have adequate parking. And if I'm doing my job than I'm the bad person." Despite similar complaints from a half dozen tow truck drivers and company owners at the public hearing, city council members appear set to approve the new restrictions at their next meeting. The rules require towing companies to take credit cards and be available to release a towed vehicle 24-hours a day. Tow truck operators will also be required to call the police and make sure a car isn't stolen before taking it from the lot. Several drivers told the city council they fear for their safety if the car's driver comes back while the towing is in progress. The new rule also requires the tow truck to release the vehicle free of charge if that happens.