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COURT OF APPEAL, FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT - page 11 / 29

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Auto Body & Towing, Ltd. v. City of New York (2d Cir. 1999) 171 F.3d 765, 771; Hott v. City of San Jose (N.D.Cal. 2000) 92 F.Supp.2d 996; Harris Cty. Wrecker Owners v. City of Houston (S.D.Tex. 1996) 943 F.Supp. 711, 720-724.)

However, relying in part on a decision by another division of its court, Berry v. Hannigan (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 587, Servantes found "the protections Vehicle Code section 22658 offers to the owner of a vehicle" had a public safety purpose and thus fell within the safety exception of the FAAAA.  (Servantes, supra, 86 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1090, fn. 10, 1092.)  In upholding the constitutionality of the provision requiring towing operators to accept credit cards (§ 22658, subdivision (k)), Berry had reasoned:  

" ' "It cannot be doubted that the unexpected loss of the use of one's vehicle directly affects the safety and welfare of vehicle operators and owners.  A person may be stranded hundreds of miles from home with no alternative mode of return travel and with no place to stay until the vehicle can be recovered . . . .  Legislation which tends to assist members of the public from involuntarily losing the use of their vehicles and which tends to expedite recovery of their vehicles once they have been removed fairly and clearly promotes the safety and welfare of the public." ' "  (Servantes, at p. 1091, quoting Berry, supra, at p. 591.)  The Servantes court adopted similar reasoning to apply the FAAAA's safety exception to its facts, pointing out that storage facilities for towed cars are unlikely to be located in densely populated, highly lighted locations, but rather in areas that "might be described as desolate, especially at night when so much of the retrieval of towed cars takes place."  (Servantes, at p. 1091.)  The court observed the vehicle owner

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