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COURT OF APPEAL, FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT - page 12 / 29

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in that case had been stranded on a Saturday evening, spent 45 minutes trying to hail a taxi and then spent all of his money on the cab while waiting for the tow company representative, traveled to another location to make a pay phone call, and eventually had to be taken by the defendant to a teller machine to pay the $140 fee in cash.  (Id. at pp. 1091-1092.)  

In reaching its conclusion, the Servantes court disagreed with a decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Tocher v. City of Santa Ana, supra, 219 F.3d 1040 (Tocher), which held certain provisions of section 22658, including subdivision (k) and subdivision (l) (pertaining to written authorization by the property owner to tow the vehicle) did not fall within the FAAAA's safety exception because they were "based on consumer protection rather than safety. . . ."  (Servantes, supra, 86 Cal.App.4th at p. 1090, citing Tocher, at pp. 1044, 1052.)  The Servantes court reasoned:  "As noted, Vehicle Code section 22658 requires the owner of private property to notify the police before causing a vehicle to be towed and requires the towing company to obtain the written authorization of the property owner ([§ 22658,] subds. (a) & (l)); it also requires that the storage facility accept a credit card for payment of the towing and storage charges ([§ 22658,] subd. (k)).  In our view, this statute offers far more than economic protection to the consumer.  By ensuring that removal occurs only upon proper authorization, the statute obviously serves to protect vehicle owners and the public at large from both towing mistakes and outright theft of vehicles from private property.  And by the requirement that the tow operator accept credit cards, the statute expedites

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