In Tampa, Florida, the South Howard district is the heart of the city’s nightlife. Here, steakhouses, bars, pubs, and clubs draw people from all over the city. Of course, when alcohol is served there is always a concern about drunk driving.
Unfortunately, an investigative report found that the area saw more cars towed than any other region of the city – and the majority of towed vehicles were towed in the early hours of the morning, after 5 a.m. This is despite the fact that Tampa has a law allowing cars to remain parked overnight near alcohol-serving establishments.
Under the Tampa ordinance, car owners who park near a bar or other establishment serving alcohol should have until noon the next day to pick up their cars. The law is in place to prevent drunk driving and to help drivers make good decisions after drinking.
The problem is that many drivers and residents don’t know about the 2008 ordinance and some towing companies have been picking up cars, despite the rule. Even if a parking area has a tow sign – required under Florida state statute 715.07(2)(a)(5) – telling customers their cars will be towed, the car should be safe until the next day.
If you live in Hollywood or other parts of South Florida, this ordinance may affect you more than you think. A number of municipalities in Florida have considered passing a similar rule prohibiting overnight towing to prevent drunk driving.
Tow truck drivers are usually trying to make an honest living, but if you feel your rights are being violated and if your car has been towed, there are several things you can do:
1) Take photos of the area where your car was parked. This can help determine if the area has the right signs.
2) Contact the tow company right away. The longer you leave your car with the towing company, the more it will cost you to get your vehicle.
3) Take photos of your vehicle right away and report any damage. Tow truck accidents in Hollywood and other cities happen every year and if they happen to your tow truck driver while your car is being hauled, your car may suffer damage. If there is any damage to your car, gather evidence and report the problem to the tow truck company at once.
3) Check your tow receipt and local laws for any discrepancies. Contact the tow company if you notice any problems and see whether they will refund you your money.
4) Get legal advice. If a tow truck company has charged you excessively or has caused expensive damage to your car, get legal advice. Report the problems to the agency in charge of towing in your area. If the damages are significant, contact an attorney about the possibility of a civil claim.
If you have been in a car or truck accident in Hollywood or South Florida or if you have suffered damages or injuries in any way caused by someone’s recklessness, contact Flaxman Law Group for honest, thorough advice. We can offer a free consultation so you can talk to a member of our legal team with no cost and no obligation.