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Traffic Tip: Removal Of Unlawfully Stopped Vehicle

Oct. 15, 2011 at 5:15 a.m.


By Julian Huerta

This week's traffic law is found in The Texas Transportation Code,

Sec. 545.305. Removal Of Unlawfully Stopped Vehicle.

(a) A peace officer listed under Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, or a license and weight inspector of the department may remove or require the operator or a person in charge of a vehicle to move a vehicle from a highway if the vehicle:

(1) is unattended on a bridge, viaduct, or causeway or in a tube or tunnel and the vehicle is obstructing traffic;

(2) is unlawfully parked and blocking the entrance to a private driveway;

(3) has been reported as stolen;

(4) is identified as having been stolen in a warrant issued on the filing of a complaint;

(5) is unattended and the officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the vehicle has been abandoned for longer than 48 hours;

(6) is disabled so that normal operation is impossible or impractical and the owner or person in charge of the vehicle is:

(A) incapacitated and unable to provide for the vehicle's removal or custody; or

(B) not in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle;

(7) is disabled so that normal operation is impossible or impractical and the owner or person in charge of the vehicle does not designate a particular towing or storage company;

(8) is operated by a person an officer arrests for an alleged offense and the officer is required by law to take the person into custody; or

(9) is, in the opinion of the officer, a hazard, interferes with a normal function of a governmental agency, or because of a catastrophe, emergency, or unusual circumstance is imperiled.

(b) An officer acting under Subsection (a) may require that the vehicle be taken to:

(1) the nearest garage or other place of safety;

(2) a garage designated or maintained by the governmental agency that employs the officer; or

(3) a position off the paved or main traveled part of the highway.

(c) A law enforcement agency other than the department that removes an abandoned vehicle in an unincorporated area shall notify the sheriff.

(d) The owner of a vehicle that is removed or stored under this section is liable for all reasonable towing and storage fees incurred.

(e) In this section:

(1) "Towing company" means an individual, corporation, partnership, or other association engaged in the business of towing vehicles on a highway for compensation or with the expectation of compensation for the towing or storage of the vehicles and includes the owner, operator, employee, or agent of a towing company.

(2) "Storage company" means an individual, corporation, partnership, or other association engaged in the business of storing or repairing vehicles for compensation or with the expectation of compensation for the storage or repair of vehicles and includes the owner, operator, employee, or agent of a storage company.

Why the emphasis on this particular traffic law?

This is just a reminder for people who may have car trouble and are forced to leave their vehicles in the roadway, to notify the police department as soon as practical to avoid having the vehicle towed.

A person must make a timely effort to get the vehicle out of the roadway as soon as possible to avoid traffic congestion issues. A vehicle left in the roadway is a safety hazard and a potential liability issue for the city.

When officers exercise their legal authority to have vehicles removed in these situations, it is with the safety of the motoring public in mind.

The Victoria Police Department reminds you to drive safe and obey all the traffic laws. The life you save may be your own.

If you have a traffic law question, contact Sgt. Julian Huerta, Victoria Police Department Traffic Safety Unit, 361-485-3700.

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