House Study Bill 549 - Introduced SENATE/HOUSE FILE _____ BY (PROPOSED DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION BILL) A BILL FOR An Act concerning the removal of damaged or disabled vehicles 1 from the roadway following an accident and the removal of 2 abandoned vehicles by the department of transportation. 3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 4 TLSB 5314DP (6) 85 dea/nh
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ Section 1. Section 321.89, subsections 1 and 2, Code 2014, 1 are amended to read as follows: 2 1. Definitions. As used in this section and sections 321.90 3 and 321.91 unless the context otherwise requires: 4 a. “Abandoned vehicle” means any of the following: 5 (1) A vehicle that has been left unattended on public 6 property for more than twenty-four hours and lacks current 7 registration plates or two or more wheels or other parts which 8 renders the vehicle totally inoperable. 9 (2) A vehicle that has remained illegally on public property 10 for more than twenty-four hours. 11 (3) A vehicle that has been unlawfully parked on private 12 property or has been placed on private property without the 13 consent of the owner or person in control of the property for 14 more than twenty-four hours. 15 (4) A vehicle that has been legally impounded by order of 16 a police authority and has not been reclaimed for a period 17 of ten days. However, a police authority may declare the 18 vehicle abandoned within the ten-day period by commencing the 19 notification process in subsection 3 . 20 (5) Any vehicle parked on the highway right-of-way 21 determined by a police authority or a representative of the 22 department to create a hazard to other vehicle traffic. 23 (6) A vehicle that has been impounded pursuant to section 24 321J.4B by order of the court and whose owner has not paid the 25 impoundment fees after notification by the person or agency 26 responsible for carrying out the impoundment order. 27 b. “Demolisher” means a person licensed under chapter 321H 28 whose business it is to convert a vehicle to junk, processed 29 scrap, or scrap metal, or otherwise to wreck or dismantle 30 vehicles. 31 c. “Highway right-of-way” means as defined in section 318.1. 32 c. d. “Police authority” means the state patrol, a peace 33 officer designated by the department under section 321.477, 34 any law enforcement agency of a county or city, or any special 35 -1- LSB 5314DP (6) 85 dea/nh 1/ 4
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ security officer employed by the state board of regents under 1 section 262.13 . 2 e. “Representative of the department” means an employee 3 of the department acting in the exercise of the management, 4 control, or maintenance of the primary road system. 5 2. Authority to take possession of abandoned vehicles. A 6 police authority, upon the authority’s own initiative , or upon 7 the request of any other authority having the duties of control 8 of highways or traffic, or at the direction of a representative 9 of the department, shall take into custody an abandoned vehicle 10 on public property and may take into custody an abandoned 11 vehicle on private property. The police authority may employ 12 its own personnel, equipment, and facilities or hire a private 13 entity, equipment, and facilities for the purpose of removing, 14 preserving, storing, or disposing of abandoned vehicles. A 15 property owner or other person in control of private property 16 may employ a private entity who is a garagekeeper, as defined 17 in section 321.90 , to dispose of an abandoned vehicle, and the 18 private entity may take into custody the abandoned vehicle 19 without a police authority’s initiative. If a police authority 20 employs a private entity to dispose of abandoned vehicles, the 21 police authority shall provide the private entity with the 22 names and addresses of the registered owners, all lienholders 23 of record, and any other known claimant to the vehicle or 24 the personal property found in the vehicle. The owners, 25 lienholders, or other claimants of the abandoned vehicle shall 26 not have a cause of action against a private entity for action 27 taken under this section if the private entity provides notice 28 as required by subsection 3 , paragraph “a” . 29 Sec. 2. Section 321.262, Code 2014, is amended to read as 30 follows: 31 321.262 Leaving scene of traffic accident vehicle damage 32 only —— removal of vehicle . 33 The driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting 34 only in damage to a vehicle which is driven or attended by 35 -2- LSB 5314DP (6) 85 dea/nh 2/ 4
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ any person shall immediately stop remove such vehicle at the 1 scene of such accident or as close thereto as possible but 2 shall forthwith return to and in every event from the roadway 3 if the vehicle is operable and the removal can be done in a 4 safe manner. The vehicle shall be removed to the nearest 5 shoulder, emergency lane, or median, such that the vehicle is 6 completely off the roadway. Such removal shall be done without 7 obstructing traffic more than is necessary. The driver shall 8 remain at the scene of such the accident until the driver has 9 fulfilled the requirements of section 321.263 . Every such 10 stop shall be made without obstructing traffic more than is 11 necessary. Any person failing to stop or comply with said the 12 requirements of this section under such circumstances shall be 13 guilty of a misdemeanor and punished as provided in section 14 321.482 . 15 EXPLANATION 16 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 17 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 18 This bill relates to the removal of abandoned vehicles from 19 public or private property and the removal of damaged vehicles 20 from a roadway. 21 The bill amends the definition of “abandoned vehicle” 22 to specify that a vehicle parked anywhere on the highway 23 right-of-way and creating a hazard to other traffic is 24 considered an abandoned vehicle. A police authority or 25 a representative of the department of transportation may 26 determine that such a vehicle is creating a hazard. 27 Currently, police authorities, including the state patrol, 28 city and county law enforcement agencies, and special security 29 officers employed by the board of regents, have the authority 30 to remove, or direct the removal of, abandoned vehicles from 31 public or private property. The bill grants the same authority 32 to peace officers of the department of transportation. In 33 addition, the bill authorizes the department of transportation 34 to direct that an abandoned vehicle on public property be taken 35 -3- LSB 5314DP (6) 85 dea/nh 3/ 4
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ into custody by a police authority. Currently, abandoned 1 vehicles are taken into custody upon a police authority’s own 2 initiative or at the request of any other authority having 3 control over highways or traffic. 4 Current law requires any driver who is involved in an 5 accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle to immediately 6 stop at the scene and remain there until the driver has 7 exchanged pertinent information with the person attending the 8 other vehicle involved in the accident, or to stop as close to 9 the scene as possible and return immediately to the scene to 10 exchange information. Under the bill, a driver involved in an 11 accident resulting only in damage to a vehicle is required to 12 remove the driver’s vehicle completely off the roadway if the 13 vehicle is operable and the removal can be done safely. The 14 removal is to be done without obstructing traffic more than is 15 necessary. The driver is then required to remain at the scene 16 to exchange information. Pursuant to current law, a violation 17 of these requirements is a simple misdemeanor. 18 -4- LSB 5314DP (6) 85 dea/nh 4/ 4