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COURT OF APPEAL, FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT - page 9 / 29

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C.  Section 22658, subdivision (i)(2)

Section 22658, subdivision (i) pertains to towing and storage fees.  It provides in part:  "(1)  A charge for towing or storage, or both, of a vehicle under this section is excessive if the charge is greater than that which would have been charged for towing or storage, or both, made at the request of a law enforcement agency under an agreement between the law enforcement agency and a towing company in the city or county in which is located the private property from which the vehicle was, or was attempted to be, removed.  [¶]  (2)  If a vehicle is released within 24 hours from the time the vehicle is brought into the storage facility, regardless of the calendar date, the storage charge shall be for only one day.  Not more than one day's storage charge may be required for any vehicle released the same day that it is stored."  Under section 22658's regulatory scheme, a person who charges excessive towing or storage charges is liable to the vehicle owner for four times the amount charged.  (§ 22658, subd. (j).) Plaintiff concedes that a towing company such as defendant is a "motor carrier of property" falling within 49 U.S.C. section 14501(c)'s ambit,3 and it does not challenge the notion that section 22658, subdivision (i)(2) falls within the FAAAA's general preemption of state and local regulation of towing prices, routes, and services.  Rather, it maintains the storage fee limitation of section 22658, subdivision (i)(2) falls within both the FAAAA's safety and nonconsensual towing exceptions and thus the statute is entitled to be enforced according to its terms without FAAAA preemption.  

3 A "motor carrier" is broadly defined as "a person providing motor vehicle transportation for compensation."  (49 U.S.C. § 13102(12); Servantes, supra, 86 Cal.App.4th at p. 1088.)

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