Governor Signs CTTA-supported Bill to Allow Tow Trucks to Use Center Lane and Shoulder
In order to more efficiently remove disabled vehicles on our highways, the California Tow Truck Association (CTTA) and its Towing Regulatory Oversight Council (T-ROC) worked side-by-side with Assemblymember Jim Frazier to enact Assembly Bill 198. AB 198 allows a tow truck driver to use the center median or right shoulder of a roadway when directed to do so by a peace officer in an emergency situation. The bill successfully advanced through the Legislature without a single “no” vote and was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on June 30th. It will go into effect on January 1, 2016.
In the formation of AB 198, the T-ROC consulted extensively with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and other stakeholders about how best to respond to and clear traffic incidents in a safe and efficient manner that is consistent with the policy recommendations of the federal Traffic Incident Management Program (TIM). AB 198 adds Vehicle Code section 21719, which permits a tow truck driver to utilize the center median or right shoulder of a roadway if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) A peace officer employed by the investigating law enforcement agency is at the scene of the roadway obstruction and has determined that the obstruction has caused an unnecessary delay to motorists using the roadway.
(2) A peace officer employed by the investigating law enforcement agency has determined that a tow truck can provide emergency roadside assistance by removing the disabled vehicle and gives explicit permission to the tow truck driver allowing the utilization of the center median or right shoulder of the roadway.
(3) The tow truck is not operated on the center median or right shoulder at a speed greater than what is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the roadway, and in no event at a speed that endangers the safety of persons or property.
(4) The tow truck displays flashing amber warning lamps to the front, rear, and both sides while driving in the center median or right shoulder of a roadway pursuant to this section.
Please contact CTTA with any questions about this significant legislation.