Commissioners OK new towing regulations on I-Drive

Ordinance stops tow truck companies from targeting tourist district

Local 6 News at 6:00p
Local 6 News at 6:00p

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County commissioners adopted changes to the county's ordinance governing towing companies as a way to cut down on "predatory" towing.

Representatives from two major hotel companies warned commissioners that aggressive towing could hurt tourism.

"I have had numerous guests who have been absolutely horrified by the towing of their vehicles that they feel was absolutely unnecessary and unjustified," David Vallillo, who manages three hotels along International Drive, told commissioners.

Commissioners approved an ordinance that will require tow companies to have written authorization from property owners for every vehicle towed.

Some tow companies have been accused of illegally towing vehicles from businesses without having a contract with the business to do so.

In July, the Orange County Sheriff's Office arrested the owner of ASAP towing for allegedly illegally towing more than 100 vehicles from a parking lot on I-Drive during the annual Gay Days celebration.

Deputies say the owner of the company did not have permission from the property owner to do it.  The change in the ordinance could prevent it from happening again.

The owner of a tow truck company told commissioners not all companies are underhanded.

"Even if we are towing a vehicle for an insurance company, people are not happy to see us," Angela Warrington said.  "They automatically think we're the bad guy."

Companies will also now be required to take major debit and credit cards. Many have only accepted cash before now.

Enforcement will begin in six weeks.