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What You Should Know

Tallahassee Bans Overnight Towing From Bars

In what has been described by city officials as an effort to discourage driving under the influence, the Tallahassee City Commission unanimously voted to place a ban towing vehicles from alcohol-licensed establishments between the hours of 2 am and 10 am. The theory behind this ordinance is that if patrons of alcohol-licensed establishments have had too much to drink they will be more inclined to leave their vehicle overnight and catch a cab if they know their vehicle won’t be towed.

The new ordinance, which went into effect on earlier this year, can be found in Chapter 20, Article 5, Section 20-170 of the Tallahassee Code of Ordinances. The language of the ordinance makes it unlawful for a property owner, lessee or authorized employee of a property licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption, which also provides on-site parking, to cause any vehicle parked on such property to be removed by a wrecker, from 2:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m., unless the property owner, lessee, or authorized employee thereof has signed a towing invoice or order authorizing the removal of the vehicle or unless the vehicle is illegally parked in a handicap space or blocking ingress or egress to the licensed establishment, a fire hydrant, or a sanitation receptacle.

The ordinance also requires alcohol-serving establishments to post notices to its customers with the following language: “Know Your Rights: Your car cannot be legally towed off this property between the hours of 2 a.m. until 10 a.m. unless the owner, lessee or authorized employee signs a towing invoice/order prior to vehicle removal.” The notice must use light-reflective letters on a contrasting background with not less than two-inch high letters and must be prominently placed at each driveway access or curb cut allowing vehicular access to the property, within five feet from the public right-of-way line.

Tallahassee is not the first city to enact such an ordinance, in fact, a Tampa ordinance with similar language appears to be the impetus behind the ordinance enactment in Tallahassee. After the Tampa ordinance caught the attention of Tallahassee City Commissioner, Gil Ziffer, he presented the ordinance which was unanimously approved by the commission.

We at Fasig and Brooks applaud the efforts of the Tallahassee City Commission to stop predatory towing. Should you or a loved one feel you have been a victim of predatory towing, contact Fasig and Brooks today.