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Abandoned Cars On Road Can Be Eyesore, Dangerous

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Highway Patrol and each city have different timetables for clearing abandoned cars, but the towing deadline isn't always enforced, which can lead to a number of problems.

Raleigh police say their policy is to give owners seven days to move an abandoned car. State troopers say they give people two days.

"At the end of that 48 hours, we're going to tow it and store it for a lot of reasons. No. 1, it keeps it from becoming a hazard, and No. 2, it protects that person's property," said Sgt. David Henderson of the state Highway Patrol.

Despite the policies, abandoned cars fall through the cracks. A Raleigh officer placed an orange tag on a car July 29. Eighteen days later, most of the orange has faded and the car is still there.

"We get to them as best we can as quick as we can," Henderson said.

Abandoned cars are an eyesore, but they can also be dangerous.

In 1998, a tractor-trailer slammed into an abandoned car on an I-40 ramp near Benson. In 1999, two people died on I-95 near Dunn when their car slammed into an abandoned military truck. In 2000, a Raleigh police officer was hurt when someone crashed into an abandoned car he was checking on South Saunders Street.

Aside from the safety factor and the legalities of just leaving a car abandoned, there are other reasons to get the car off of the road. Oftentimes, cars are broken into while they sit by the side of the road.

Motorists who think an abandoned car is a hazard or has just been on the road too long can call police to have it removed.