Sheldon bill to help tow-truck drivers, customers passes Senate

Sen. Tim Sheldon’s bill allowing tow-truck drivers to let customers remain in their disabled vehicle while it’s being transported passed in the Senate today with a unanimous vote.

Senate Bill 5050 would give tow operators the option to let passengers to stay in their vehicle when it is safely secured to the tow truck’s bed.

“I introduced this bill because of an experience two of my constituents shared with me,” said Sheldon, D-Potlatch. “They had broken down in a very rural area, and there wasn’t enough room in the tow truck for both of them to ride in the cab, so the operator ratcheted their vehicle up, chained it to the flatbed and transported them all the way to the shop with them in their vehicle. It was unclear whether this was legal or not, so this bill would make it legal, so long as the people in the vehicle are safe, and are able to flash the headlights at the driver in case of an issue during the trip.”

In some cases, Sheldon noted, it’s not practical to call for a cab or find another form of transportation when a vehicle needing a tow has more occupants than the tow-truck cab can accommodate.

“It might be an entire family that breaks down, but if you are a in a rural area, there are no cabs,” Sheldon said. “This is a law that will help families in rural areas and allow for consistent law enforcement across the state.”

Tow-truck drivers and law enforcement officials support the bill, and Sheldon expects it to pass the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.