Towing of vehicles shall be carried out in
accordance with the applicable laws of the
State of Hawaii and City and County of Honolulu
and the procedures of the Honolulu Police Department.
A. The officer at the scene shall:
1. Remove, or cause to be removed, a vehicle
in violation of Sections 15-13.8, 15-13.9, 15-14.8,
or 15-16.5 of the Honolulu Traffic Code;
2. Issue the necessary citations;
3. Request the services of the towing company
through the Communications Division (officers
should not contact towing companies directly);
4. Inform the Communications Division of
the location and license number of the vehicle,
the reason for towing, and the need for any special equipment;
5. Complete the Inventory of Towed Automobile, HPD-48 form;
6. Remain at the scene until the vehicle is towed; and
7. Inform the Communications Division when the
vehicle has been towed and provide the vehicle’s
description and license number and the name of the towing company.
B. The Communications Division shall:
1. Call for the services of the towing company
holding the contract for that zone;
If the towing company is unable to handle the call
under the terms of the towing contract, obtain the
services of another company according to the terms of the towing contract.
2. Immediately inform the officer of any delay in the arrival of the tow truck; and
3. Notify the Hawaii Armed Services Police when
an official military vehicle is parked in a tow zone.
If the vehicle is not moved within a reasonable period
of time, the officer may ask the Communications Division
to have the vehicle towed.
C. Under the current towing contract,
operators/owners of vehicles that are disabled
or stolen and vehicles that require towing or
removal because of collisions may request towing
services of their choice. Officers shall relay
such requests to the Communications Division.
D. Officers may also relay private requests
for towing services to the Communications Division
when appropriate (e.g., from a driver whose car is
stalled off the roadway). Relaying such requests
is a courtesy to the public, not a requirement.
E. Certain exceptions to standard procedures
are authorized for tow-zone violations only in
specified towing-contract zones; these exceptions
are permitted under the city’s “tag-and-go/tag-and-bag” policy.
Where authorized by the contract, the officer
shall issue a citation and inform the Communications
Division of the violation. It is not necessary
for the officer to remain at the scene until the
vehicle is towed nor is it necessary for the
officer to complete an inventory form.
TOWING INTO POLICE CUSTODY
If towing into police custody requires the
expenditure of city funds, the investigating officer shall:
A. Assess the situation to determine if removal is warranted for:
1. Protection of public health;
2. Safekeeping of property; or
3. Preservation of evidence in criminal proceedings.
B. Obtain the concurrence of his or her
immediate superior and then complete the
appropriate police reports and a To/From report to the Finance Division.
C. Attach the towing company’s invoice to
the To/From report, which shall include the following information:
1. Circumstances requiring towing services;
2. Applicable police report number(s);
3. Name of the company providing the tow service;
4. Cost of towing;
5. Times of tow wagon’s arrival and departure from the pickup site;
6. Distance between pickup site and storage area;
7. Vehicle owner’s name, address, and telephone number (if known); and
8. Documentation and results of attempts to locate/notify owner.
TOWING AS A RESULT OF AN ACTIVATED ALARM
Under Section 15A-5.6, Revised Ordinances of
Honolulu 2021 (ROH), a vehicle may be towed
when its alarm system has been activated for
at least ten minutes.
A. The officer must make reasonable efforts
to locate the owner of the vehicle to request that
the alarm be silenced. If the owner does not
silence the alarm or if, after reasonable efforts,
the owner cannot be located, the vehicle may be
towed. The general guidelines outlined in section II above apply.
B. The officer may authorize the towing
company to enter the vehicle to silence the alarm.
After the alarm has been silenced by the towing
company, Section 15A-5.7, ROH, requires that the vehicle be towed.
C. The owner of the vehicle is responsible
for the costs of deactivating the alarm and towing the vehicle.
INVENTORY OF TOWED AUTOMOBILE FORM
The Inventory of Towed Automobile, HPD-48 form,
is a receipt showing the condition and contents
of the vehicle at the time of its release to the
tow driver. Accurately completed forms may help
refute charges of neglect, carelessness, or theft
in the handling of towed vehicles.
Except as authorized by section I F above, the
officer in charge shall prepare an inventory
form whenever a vehicle is towed under police
supervision, but the owner is not present.
1. The officer shall note whether the vehicle
and glove compartment were found locked or unlocked.
2. Except for the procedure outlined in
section III above, locked vehicles are to remain
locked. Any forced entry, if committed or
witnessed by the officer, may be detrimental to
the officer and the department.
3. The officer shall list all items found
in the cabin of the vehicle. If possible, the
officer shall also inventory and list the items
found in the glove compartment and the trunk.
4. The officer shall process as found property
any personal item of value (e.g., purse, wallet, money,
or jewelry) if the officer feels that security of the
item cannot be ensured and the item is not considered to be evidence.
5. The officer shall note the physical condition
of the vehicle (e.g., dents, scratches, or flat tires)
and shall indicate the manner in which it was towed (on a dolly or otherwise).
6. If the inventory form is to be attached to a
police report, the officer shall note the report
number in the upper right corner of the form.
7. The tow driver shall be asked to witness and sign the inventory form.
C. Distribution of Inventory Form
The officer preparing the inventory form shall
distribute the copies as indicated below:
a. For routine tow-zone violations, the
element requesting the tow shall retain the copy for 30 days.
b. For other tows, the officer shall attach
the original to the original copy of the police report.
2. Two copies shall be given to the tow driver.
The tow driver shall be instructed to give one copy
to the person in charge of the storage yard.
3. One copy shall be retained for the officer’s use.
DISPUTES INVOLVING TOWING VEHICLES AND FEES
A. Except for situations under the purview of
Section 290-11, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS),
all contracted tow companies are required to
accept payment by credit card, debit card, or cash.
B. All contracted tow companies on Oahu are
required to remain available 24 hours a day, every day.
C. In some cases, a dispute arises about
the tow truck driver not accepting a credit
card for payment or some other complaint arises
about the tow or its applicable charges. In
such cases, the owner should be advised that
he or she may call the Department of Customer Services
(see the attachment) to pursue a complaint with the city.
D. Failure or refusal to pay towing charges
is a civil matter between the vehicle owner and
the tow company. Complainants who wish to pursue
the matter should be advised to seek a civil remedy.
E. Towing disputes on public and private
properties, including an irrecoverable vehicle
due to a tow company closure, shall be documented
by officers on a Miscellaneous Public report.
TOWING UNDER SECTION 290-11, HRS
The following applies to trespass vehicles towed under Section 290-11, HRS:
A. Vehicles left unattended on public
and private property without the authorization
of the property owner or occupant may be removed,
provided that the property owner or occupant has
posted a notice prohibiting unauthorized parking
on the property in accordance with Section 290-11,
HRS. The property owner, occupant, or person in
charge of the property is obligated to engage a
towing company to carry out the removal, and the
vehicle’s owner is obligated to bear the expense.
Officers may provide standby assistance
in such cases but shall not provide anything further.
B. Tow companies are required to accept payment by credit card and cash.
C. If a vehicle is in the process of being
hooked up or is hooked up to a tow truck and the
owner appears on the scene, the towing company
shall unhook the vehicle and not charge any fee to the owner of the vehicle.
For example, if a vehicle is hooked up and the
tow truck’s engine is running but the truck is
waiting to enter traffic to begin transporting
the vehicle to the storage location, the owner’s
appearance will be considered “on the scene,”
and the vehicle should be unhooked at no charge.