Towing of Vehicles – ESSB 5689


Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5689 (ESSB 5689) directed Washington State University (WSU) to secure relevant stakeholders from each of six areas: 1) vehicle resident advocates, 2) nonprofit legal services organizations, 3) tow truck operators or associations, 4) municipal court representatives, 5) fire chiefs and marshals, 6) and representatives from cities and counties. WSU successfully secured a 10-member stakeholder group with representation from each of these areas.

Below is a summary of key recommendations reached by the workgroup, as they pertain to chapter 46.55 RCW and vehicle residency more generally:

• As a general approach to vehicle residences, when they do not pose safety concerns, towing and impound should be used as a last resort.

• To assist with the identification of vehicles used as residences, law enforcement and tow operators should adopt and use the Vehicle Residence Identification Criteria described in this report.

• To further assist with identification of vehicle residences, consider the feasibility of providing voluntary, discrete ID stickers.

• Chapter 46.55 RCW should adopt language specifically allowing courts to authorize release of vehicle residences via impound hearings.

• The state, counties, and municipalities should expand short-term and long-term parking options for vehicle residences.

• Municipalities should avoid impounding vehicle residences for unpaid parking tickets and/or expired registration.

Towing of Vehicles Final Report

Project Leads:

Christina Sanders – Principal Investigator

Photo of Christina Sanders

Travis Franklin – Co-Principal Investigator