Bill Summary for H 1024 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

May 2 2024

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
House Bill 1024 (Public) Filed Thursday, May 2, 2024
Intro. by Budd, Carson Smith, Pyrtle, Logan.

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Bill summary

Enacts new Article 7C, Nonconsensual Booting and Towing, to GS Chapter 20. Provides for fourteen defined terms including, tow, nonconsensual tow (towing with the prior consent or authorization the owner or operator of the motor vehicle), and boot. Specifies that Article 7C doesn’t apply to the towing of a vehicle at the direction of law enforcement or any other towing subject to Article 7A of GS Chapter 20 (concerning post-towing procedures). Adds new GS 20-219.40, requiring every nonconsensual towing business to obtain a permit from the Division of Motor Vehicles (Division) before operating in the State, which must be annually renewed. Provides for permit fees and permit forms. Requires the Division to issue or renew a permit if: (i) the application is complete and (ii) the applicant demonstrates the willingness and ability to comply with the requirements of the Article and other applicable laws. Provides for appeal of denial of initial or renewed permit. Specifies that engaging in the practice of nonconsensual booting or towing without a valid permit is an unfair trade practice.  

Adds GS 20-219.45, requiring the Division to develop and maintain a searchable statewide database accessible to members of the public. Requires the database to allow members of the public to report suspected noncompliance with the Article, allows searches by vehicle number or license plate to access information pertaining to vehicles towed or booted without the owner or operator’s consent, and allows for nonconsensual towing businesses to log in and to input information required information within six hours of nonconsensually towing or booting a vehicle. Sets out information that a nonconsensual towing business must put into the database within six hours of booting or towing.

Provides for required posting and display of signage for nonconsensual towing at parking lot entrances or areas where parking prohibitions apply in new GS 20-219.50 Prohibits a vehicle from being booted or nonconsensually towed on private property that does not have signs posted at the tie of the booting or towing and at least 24 hours prior. Violations of the statute constitute an infraction subject to a penalty of up to $100. Permits courts to order restitution to the owner of nonconensually towed or booted vehicle. Excludes owners of private residential property that consists of four or fewer residents from GS 20-219.50. 

Adds new GS 20-219.55, listing towing and booting practices, including (1) that any vehicle removed removed from a parking lot or area on private property cannot be transported for storage more than 25 miles from the place of removal, unless there is no storage area within 25 miles from the place of removal that is suitably sized to store the motor vehicle; (2) barring occupied vehicles from being booted; (3) prohibiting nonconsensual towing businesses from impeding or blocking occupied vehicles not yet booted that are attempting to leave the parking lot; and (4) notice requirements for booting. Specifies that violations of GS 20-219.55 is an unfair trade practice. 

Adds new GS 20-219.60, providing for nonconsensual towing fees (fees). Requires fees to be reasonable. Prevents a nonconsensual towing business from charging storage fees for: (1) personal property essential to the activities of daily living or cargo contained in a trailer or semitrailer, (2) days when the business is not open from at least 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Requires the business to wait one business day since the towed vehicle could first be recovered before charging a storage fee, unless it is open 24 hours per day. Requires a nonconsensual towing business to accept credit cards, debit cards and cash. Provides for a limit on payment processing fees. Specifies that charging a fee in violation of GS 20-219.60 is an unfair and deceptive trade practice. 

Establishes an eight-member Towing and Recovery Commission (Commission) to annually establish the maximum fees that a nonconsensual towing business may charge for booting, towing, storage, and handing of personal property. Specifies membership requirements and appointing authorities. Provides for two-year terms commencing on January 1, 2025. Bars members from receiving compensation but specifies that they are entitled to be paid necessary subsistence and travel expenses. Authorizes the chair of the Commission to appoint another person with the same qualifications if a vacancy occurs in the membership of the Commission. 

Authorizes the Division to adopt rules to implement the article. 

Makes conforming change to GS 20-219.20 (concerning the requirement to give notice of vehicle towing) to account for new Article 7C. 

Effective July 1, 2024, appropriates $500,000 from the Highway Fund to the Division in nonrecurring funds for the 2024-2025 fiscal year to be used to implement the act. 

Effective December 1, 2024, and applies to activities occurring on or after that date.