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Abandoned Cars Could Get Bum's Rush off Roads in 24 Hours

Posted May 10, 2007

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— The state House has sent the Senate legislation that would let police haul broken-down or abandoned cars off highways 24 hours after they are tagged.

The thinking is that the vehicles are not only litter, they’re dangerous to other drivers.

It takes only a trip around Raleigh’s Interstate 440 Beltline to see the problem that the legislation targets.

Thursday, WRAL found one near Gorman Street, another near Lake Boone Trail, several near Six Forks Road. All in all, there were 13 abandoned cars along I-440.

Last month, a similar swing turned up 11abandoned cars. In 2005, the same survey yielded 12 cars left by the side of the road.

“Yeah, they're an eyesore when you go by,” one driver said.

“Of course they distract drivers. You could run into them,” another said

“I just think they're dangerous,” said a third motorist.

State Rep. Ronnie Sutton, D-Robeson, is one who wants abandoned cars off the road faster.

Twenty-four hours is enough time to arrange to get a car towed, Sutton said.

“If you can't afford to get it towed within 24 hours, you probably don't need to own a car,” he said. “If the car is not worth towing, then you shouldn't be out on the road blocking traffic with it.”

The legislation he has co-sponsored would allow any law-enforcement agency to tow an abandoned car after 24 hours. Currently, the state can be held liable for damages if they tow an abandoned car before 48 hours.

Sutton's bill would not override local abandoned-car policies. On the other hand, Raleigh police, who say they tow abandoned cars after seven days, will go along if the state changes its law.


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  • TAO May 12, 2007

    I hate how comments get cut off on here. "Unable to remove it immediately." WRAL, at least put some JavaScript that tells you how many characters you have left in the stinkin' comment box, PLEASE.

  • TAO May 12, 2007

    I see that you are indeed correct about the low price of basic AAA service, and it does appear to cover most types of ugly situations. I think that perhaps a better solution to the car problem would be better promotion of car clubs such as AAA, rather than saying "if it's not gone in 24, screw you!" I'll be signing up for AAA service this month. However, my original complaint still stands: not all people actually have AAA, and towing bills are high, and repairs on-site take time to perform. Cars pulled sufficiently far off the road are no danger or distraction to anyone who is a competent driver, and a little more compassion should be shown for the people who break down and don't happen to be able to remove the vehicle immediately. In practice I see most roadside vehicles in place for around a week or two, but if such a thing were to suddenly be enforced as strictly as possible, it would cause a lot of harm to people who actually DO want their "rat trap" back, and are unable to rem

  • Steve Crisp May 12, 2007

    OK...one more time with feeling.

    There are dozens of AAA style programs including AAA itself that can be purchased for less than $100 per year, in some cases much less. Indeed in some cases it is included with something else that one already owns or has purchased for a different purpose. Insurance companies themselves push road assistance riders when they sell you that MANDATORY insurance the state REQUIRES you to purchase in order for you to even drive a car in the first place. With AAA, if you break down, you call them and even when they are busy, in two hours your broken down car is removed. And if someone can purchase and operate a car -- no matter what kind of rat trap it may be -- they can afford roadside assistance insurance. The basic AAA is about $60 per year. That is less than the cost of one six pack of beer, one pack of cigs, or five lottery tickets per month. So don't tell me that "poor" people can't afford it.

  • TAO May 12, 2007

    The commentary I see here is about 60% poorly thought out. Some people in the area have fragile, tight budgets that a mere towing bill severely damages. I am one of those people, in fact. Paying $80 to tow my car is a terrible expense; in fact, if possible I prefer to repair it "where it sits" over towing it, because many times parts are cheaper than a tow (belts, hoses, gaskets, etc.) but that's not an option for most low-budget homes. Cars are a huge expense, and this kind of legislation serves only to "kick a man while he's down" by essentially stealing a person's car, a key to his livelihood, simply because "it's an eyesore and distracts already bad drivers." Cars "on the side" may be a guy in trouble who has to wait for a check to come in before he can tow it. Why do you want to hurt that poor fellow even more? It's a simple matter of putting oneself in the other's shoes here.

  • Deb1003 May 11, 2007

    Abandoned cars are a distraction. I hope any legislation that gets those cars off the shoulders faster passes. As far as cell phones...get them out of drivers ears as fast as possible...those "gossip instruments" are causing way too many accidents!

  • B.T.D.B May 11, 2007

    Oh yeah! Big danger to the public!...why don't you stay off the cell phones! And use your proper turn signals when changing a lane! THAT'S a big danger to the public!

  • B.T.D.B May 11, 2007

    State Rep. Ronnie Sutton, D-Robeson is pure scum!!
    How could you say something like that! He should really think before he speaks!! I feel for you all in Robeson!

  • slappyh99 May 11, 2007

    These vehicles are a DANGER to motoring public and should be removed from the roadway ASAP.

  • lady-in-raleigh May 11, 2007

    I realize that it can be a distraction to other drivers. Then we also realize how much a towing fee can add up from one place to another. When you get your car towed you gotta make sure you know where you're going to get it towed too, or else the towing compnay will tow it to their place and charge storage fees, more money!! Or if you get it towed out of their little area they charge yet another fee for going out of the way! So its more money than we may think just to get a car towed! However, cars left after seven days then they tow it because then we know they aren't coming back for it.

  • twright530 May 11, 2007

    Hillary used to run a wrecker in college.