Local News

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

Posted May 10, 2007 7:41 p.m. EDT

— 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.