Philadelphia tow trucks will be required to provide photos of parking violations

Tow truck drivers in Philadelphia will soon be required to collect photographic evidence of parking violations before towing a vehicle, under a state law signed Monday.

The law, authored by state Rep. Jose Giral (D., Philadelphia), is an attempt to hold towing companies accountable and give drivers a sure-fire way to challenge parking violations. It applies only to Philadelphia, where residents have frequently complained about the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s ticketing and towing practices.

“This is a meet-in-the-middle bill with the towing companies and the vehicle owners,” Giral said. “It’s something that should have been done a long time ago.”

The PPA, which operates as a state agency independent of city governments, will be able to impose penalties on contracted towing companies if they fail to comply with the up-to-date law.

The law is not related to the city’s unpopular practice of courtesy towing — when a car is moved from a legal parking space after it has been marked as a short-lived no-parking zone. The law applies only to vehicles with towing violations.

Under the PPA, a vehicle may be towed if it is in a designated towing zone or if it has three or more parking violations, red airy violations or speed camera violations website.

Photos of the vehicle and nearby signage are already taken if the vehicle is issued a parking ticket for towing, according to a PPA spokesman. The photos are available to drivers upon request and free of charge, which is also required by the up-to-date law.

Giral said constituents in his Kensington district often call him after being “wrongfully accused of parking illegally.” This legislation, he said, would address such issues.

“This goes beyond the violation itself,” he said, noting that if a vehicle is damaged during towing, the up-to-date law will provide photo evidence.

The law, which Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro signed this week after both chambers of the General Assembly unanimously passed it, will take effect Sept. 6.

Trebor Maitin is an intern at the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association. He can be reached at

Adjustment: This article has been updated to correct the identity of the entity responsible for towing in Philadelphia.

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