Chapel Hill moves ahead with towing rules, delays cellphone ban
Posted June 17, 2013
Chapel Hill, N.C. — A ban on using cellphones while driving in Chapel Hill will be delayed until Oct. 1, town leaders said Monday.
The delay is needed to conduct an awareness campaign for drivers and wait on the outcome of potential litigation, officials said.
The town adopted the cellphone ban in March 2012, but the ordinance never took effect because towing company operator George King challenged them.
King also sued over towing regulations that Chapel Hill passed in February 2012 to cut down on complaints about predatory towing.
Those rules require tow zones to be properly marked, set fees towing companies can charge, require them to accept credit or debit card payment, mandate that they inform police before towing any vehicle and prohibit impound lots from being located more than 15 miles from town.
King argued that the combination of the two ordinances would harm his business, saying that his drivers would be cited for using a cellphone in responding to calls from people seeking to recover their towed cars.
Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson threw out both ordinances last year, backing the sentiment of King's attorney that Chapel Hill couldn't arbitrarily regulate the towing industry.
But the state Court of Appeals reversed the ruling earlier this month, saying Hudson was wrong in that King hadn't shown any harm from either ordinance.
Town leaders said they want to see whether the state Supreme Court will hear King’s his case before implementing the cellphone ban. However, the towing ordinance will become effective June 24.