Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Transportation Committee

HB 1036

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

Brief Description: Concerning business practices of registered tow truck operators by authorizing electronic records creation and storage.

Sponsors: Representatives Harmsworth, Kirby, Short and Muri.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Authorizes tow truck operators to create and maintain a transaction file for each towed vehicle in an electronic format, which must be available for audit and inspection.

Hearing Date: 1/12/17

Staff: Jennifer Harris (786-7143).


Registered tow truck operators are required to keep a transaction file on each vehicle that has been towed for a minimum of three years. The transaction file must include the following, which must be part of the file at the time the vehicle is redeemed or becomes abandoned and is sold at the public auction: (1) a signed impoundment authorization; (2) a record of the 24-hour written impound notice to a law enforcement agency; (3) a copy of the impound notification to registered and legal owners, sent within 24 hours of impoundment (which must provide the owners with the address of the impounding firm, a 24-hour telephone number, and the name of the person or agency under whose authority the vehicle was impounded); and (4) an itemized invoice of charges against the vehicle.

For abandoned vehicles sold at public auction, the following information must also be included in the transaction file: (1) a copy of the abandoned vehicle report that was sent to and returned by the Department of Licensing (DOL); (2) a copy of the published notice of public auction; (3) a copy of the affidavit of sale showing the sales date, purchaser, amount of the lien, and the sale price; (4) a record of the two highest bid offers, with the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the two bidders; and (5) a copy of the notice of opportunity for hearing given to those who redeem vehicles.

Records kept by tow truck operators, including transaction files, must be available for audit or inspection during normal business hours by the DOL, the Washington State Patrol, or any other law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction to perform audits and inspections.

Summary of Bill:

The transaction file that registered tow truck operators are required to keep for each vehicle that has been towed may be created and stored electronically. These electronic records must be available for audit or inspection to the same extent other records are available for audit and inspection.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Preliminary fiscal note available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.