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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2007
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Hartselle OKs towing ordinance
Officers can impound vehicles if drivers do not have licenses

By Deangelo McDaniel
dmcdaniel@decaturdaily.com 340-2469

HARTSELLE — Beginning Nov. 23, if a Hartselle officer stops you without a driver license, you'll have your vehicle towed.

A unanimous City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday night allowing officers to impound vehicles of unlicensed drivers.

"If a person has their license revoked or suspended, we don't want them on the street because of safety involved with our citizens," Mayor Dwight Tankersley said.

Athens adopted its towing ordinance in June, and Decatur is considering adopting a similar ordinance. Falkville adopted a similar ordinance earlier this month.

Hartselle's ordinance has safeguards for drivers who have licenses but not in their possession.

"Officers have to make reasonable attempts to verify claims from drivers who say they have a license," Tankersley said.

Even if the officer verifies the claim, he may still issue a ticket for driving without a
license but cannot impound the vehicle.

But if you have to retrieve you vehicle from an impound lot, it could be costly. Hartselle will charge a $25 administrative fee plus the cost of wrecker service, which is $125 for towing and $20 per day for storage.

Tankersley said owners have 60 days to claim impounded vehicles or the wrecker service may dispose of the vehicle as state law allows.

To retrieve an impounded vehicle, according to the ordinance, the owner has to provide proof of ownership to the Police Department before the city will issue a written release to the wrecker service.

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