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City Council passes 'Towing Bill of Rights,' which is bad news for Lincoln Towing

Written by
Clayton Guse

If you're a car owner in Chicago, life is about to become a little less miserable. At Wednesday's City Council meeting, the body approved a new ordinance that established a "Towing Bill of Rights."

The measure was headed up by 47th ward Alderman Ameya Pawar and is in response to a litany of complaints about Lincoln Towing, a North Side company who inspired the song "Lincoln Park Pirates." In February, Pawar threatened to shut down the company's Uptown lot, which operates at 4882 N Clark St. A few weeks later, the Illinois Commerce Commission launched an investigation into Lincoln Towing's shoddy practices, and community members launched a petition to suspend its business license. 

For decades, the company has allegedly towed legally parked vehicles, overcharged drivers and engaged in predatory practices that rival a mountain lion's. Now, Pawar and his City Council colleagues have moved to regulate towing companies throughout the city.

The ordinance lays out in clear terms a series of rules that companies like Lincoln Towing must follow. For starters, tow trucks that relocate vehicles must report the towed car's year, make, model and state license plate number to the Chicago Police Department's nonemergency line within 30 minutes after the move. Within 24 hours of relocating a vehicle, towing companies will be required to submit a written report to the superintendent of police that contains the contact information of the relocator, the information on the car that was moved, when and where the car was moved, where it's being stored from and information on the person with whom the relocation agreement was made. 

Moreover, towing companies will be required to provide CPD with a list of all locations where they have an active agreement to remove and relocate unauthorized vehicles before they can start towing cars. 

If the ordinance has the effect that Pawar hopes it will have, companies like Lincoln Towing will have to, you know, cease being dickheads. If Pawar gets his way, though, Lincoln Towing will face sanctions and potentially be put out of business. 

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