Ford Wrecker Bill signed into law

April 30, 2021 | Headlines

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill updating wrecker services regulations in a way that could help solve missing persons or cold cases was signed into law by the governor this week.

House Bill 2741 by Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, would modernize the towing and wrecker system as well as Department of Safety regulations.

“This upgrade will allow for vehicles to be identified more easily as a potential crime scene before evidence gets lost at the impound yard,” said Ford, a former police officer. “Properly processing these vehicles also could help us in finding missing persons quicker and solve some of the state’s cold cases.”

Several years ago, Ford held an interim study in which family members of several cold case victims spoke about the impact of the crimes committed against their loved ones. One of the compelling factors in the cases was the fact that their vehicle had been found and impounded. If it had been properly processed, it could have helped find the victim and given the family closure much more quickly.

He said he’s grateful to finally see changes in the law that will help these and other families.

Sen. Brent Howard, R-Altus, carried the measure in the Senate.

“This bill helps modernize our wrecker statutes by allowing an immediate family member to pick up a vehicle from a wrecker or tow service should their loved one be incapacitated or deceased,” Howard said. “Our current law makes it extremely difficult for family members to retrieve a vehicle after an accident if their loved one is killed or seriously injured.  This change is also going to make the claims and recovery process more efficient by having instant electronic records available to towing and storage facilities,”

HB 2471 also would allow Oklahomans to more easily find their vehicle if it is sent to an impound yard and would allow family members to retrieve impounded cars for their relatives.

The measure also allows an application fee increase for a wrecker license, something that has not been changed in 40 years. The increase is approved by the Oklahoma Wrecker Owner Association. Ford said the fees are much needed to improve the system.

Ross Ford represents District 76 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes part of Tulsa County.