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Two Bills Sponsored by Santa Monica Assemblyman Signed into Law

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Lookout Staff

September 23, 2015 -- Two bills authored by Santa Monica Assemblyman Richard Bloom -- one cracking down on “bandit” tow trucks, the other addressing bicycle safety – have been signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, Bloom’s office announced Tuesday.

Both bills were signed into law Monday.

Assembly Bill 1222 is meant to “discourage unethical tow truck business practices,” said Bloom, adding that "bandit" towing companies solicit tows at accident scenes, poaching work from local towing businesses.

The legislation will protect consumers from “unscrupulous” towing activities, while also ensuring that lawfully- operating towing businesses are not put at a disadvantage, the former Santa Monica Mayor said.

"Unethical business practices by these so-called ‘bandit’ towing operators hurt consumers and towing businesses that follow the law," Bloom said. The bill “gives law enforcement the tools its needs to prevent disreputable towing operators from taking advantage of consumers in their time of need.”

He said stopping bandit towing has been difficult because tow truck operators aren’t required to document that they were called to the scene. AB 1222 requires tow trucks to obtain and maintain proof they were actually summoned to the scene, and to provide the information to law enforcement at the scene of the tow.

The documentation must be kept for inspection and copying for three years. The bill also requires that tow truck operators provide a detailed estimate of cost before services are rendered.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, whose office co-sponsored the legislation, said the new law will protect drivers from “being gouged by tow truck companies as they were during the recent El Cajon fire.”

Also signed into law Monday was Assembly Bill 902, which allows adult bicyclists to attend a "bicycle traffic school" class to get their fine reduced or eliminated, Bloom said.

"Everyone can benefit from safety education -- this bill gives bicyclists the same opportunity that motorists already have,” Bloom said. “And, just like motorists, following safe practices can mean the difference between life and death for bicyclists, too."

He added that offering an educational alternative “will incentivize cyclists to be more informed and make better choices to improve safety for cyclists and drivers."

Most people, he said, receive their only training on bicycle law through the driver's license test, which does not go into significant detail.

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