helpful links & updates…
December 2017 • AB1222 Reminder
In order to ensure you are in compliance with the law, we wanted to once again highlight the new requirements found in AB 1222 (Bloom), which went into effect on January 1, 2016.
As brief background, AB 1222 by Assembly member Richard Bloom was the bill sponsored by the City of L.A. to identify and eliminate “bandit towers.” Early on the bill contained a number of provisions that were viewed by CTTA and its T-ROC as potentially devastating to the tow industry in California. Most notably, the bill would have overturned CTTA’s legal victory over the City of San Francisco and allowed each city in the state to regulate and tax every tower that merely drove through its jurisdiction. As towers oftentimes drive through dozens of jurisdictions on a daily basis to assist stranded motorists, the financial ramifications of this could have been crushing to each towing company in the state. As a result, CTTA worked with the author and sponsors to remove this provision as well as fix other provisions in the bill that would have jeopardized the safety of our drivers and motorists by imposing a number of unworkable conditions prior to moving a vehicle from the scene of an accident.
While we have provided a link to the entirety of the new law [HERE], we have also summarized the changes to the law as follows:
Vehicle Code Section 22513 requirements:
When a tower is summoned to the scene of an accident or a disabled vehicle:
Vehicle Code Section 22513.1 requirements:
A business taking possession of a vehicle from a tow truck shall obtain the following info:
All of the above info must be retained by the business for three years.
Question: When does AB 1222 go into effect?
Answer: January 1, 2016
Question: Is it true that AB 1222 requires a tow truck driver to provide a copy of his driver’s license, along with a bunch of other information, when he drops off a vehicle at a body shop or dealer?
Answer: The requirements are on the business receiving the vehicle. AB 1222 (V.C. 22513.1) requires a “business taking possession of a vehicle from a tow truck to document the name, address, and telephone number of the towing company, the name and driver’s license number of the tow truck operator, the make, model, and license plate or Vehicle Identification Number, and the date and time that possession was taken of the vehicle.”
Question: Does this mean the business must get a photo copy of the tow truck operator’s driver’s license?
Answer: AB 1222 requires the business to “document” the required information. The Cambridge Dictionary definition of “document” is “to record information about something by writing about it or taking photographs of it.” A photo copy is one way to document. Another would be to simply show the driver’s license to the business owner’s representative allowing them to see only the number and name and not other identifying information such as date of birth or home address.
A number of Associations including our own, are working on creating forms to help speed up the process and ensure the business gets only the necessary information.
Question: What happens if the vehicle is dropped off after hours?
Answer: AB 1222 requires that “if the vehicle was dropped off after hours, the business shall obtain the information from the towing company the next day.”
Question: What happens if my driver fails to provide the required information the next day, if dropped off after hours, or just refuses to provide the information when he drops off the vehicle during regular business hours?
Answer: The legal liability lies entirely with the business receiving the vehicle, and there is no liability for the tow truck driver or the towing company. While a business could refuse to accept a vehicle if a driver refused to give his information, a driver is not legally required to provide the information
Question: My drivers don’t want to provide their driver’s license numbers because they are concerned about ID theft. How can we ensure this information will be protected?
Answer: Civil Code sect. 1798.81.5 requires “a business that owns, licenses, or maintains personal information, including a driver’s license number, shall implement and maintain reasonable security procedures to protect the personal information from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.”
CTTA’s T-ROC is talking with the author of AB 1222, Assembly Member Bloom, and other stakeholders like the car dealers and automotive repair industry to work on ways to provide additional protections against identity theft.
Question: What happens when another tow company drops a vehicle off at my tow yard? Am I obligated to get the information from the tow company dropping off the vehicle?
Answer: Yes. In this situation because you are “a business taking possession of a vehicle from a tow truck” you would be obligated to obtain the following required information and you must retain this information for 3 years. A violation of Vehicle Code section 22513.1 may result in a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $2,500 or imprisonment in a county jail for not more than 3 months.
Question: I also own a body shop in addition to a tow company. Is my body shop obligated to get this information from my tow company each time it drops off a vehicle at my body shop?
Answer: Yes. AB 1222 applies to any “business taking possession of a vehicle from a tow truck.” Thus, in a situation in which you operate two legally separate entities – a body shop and a tow company – if your body shop is taking possession of a vehicle from a tow truck it would be the receiving company’s obligation to obtain the info and maintain it for three years.
Question: What is the purpose of AB 1222?
Answer: AB 1222 was sponsored by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office and authored by Assembly Member Richard Bloom, a Democrat from Santa Monica, to “curb predatory towing practices, which the sponsor indicates, is a growing problem in the Los Angeles area.” As support, the sponsor argued that “in a little over a year, 586 incidences of bandit towing were reported in California with most occurring in the Los Angeles area.” Specifically, the sponsor was particularly interested in being able to identify and track tow companies and drivers that are “illicitly towing disabled vehicles or vehicles involved in accidents.” (Quotes taken from the August 21, 2015 Assembly Floor Analysis)
Question: What did CTTA do about AB 1222?
Answer: CTTA used all of its resources, including mobilizing its members in fighting earlier versions of this bill. In fact many felt this was the biggest fight the Association had ever been involved in. AB 1222 contained a number of provisions that would have been devastating to the tow industry in California. Most notably, the bill would have overturned CTTA’s legal victory over the City of San Francisco and allowed each city and county in the state to regulate and tax every tower that merely drove through its jurisdiction. As towers oftentimes drive through dozens of jurisdictions on a daily basis to assist stranded motorists, the financial ramifications of this could have been crushing to each towing company in the state. For example, San Francisco’s permit fee is $15,000 per company per year. That is just one city. There are 89 cities and 9 counties in the Bay Area alone! In addition to charging each tower a fee each city and county would have had the authority to enact regulations on tow operators who drove in or through their respective jurisdictions. Any violation could have resulted in the tow truck being impounded and loss of lien on the towed vehicle. And there was no requirement in the bill that each jurisdiction’s regulations be consistent or compatible with each other. There were other provisions in the bill that would have jeopardized the safety of our drivers and motorists by imposing a number of unworkable conditions prior to moving a vehicle from the scene of an accident. CTTA’s T-ROC dedicated countless hours into analyzing the bill line-by-line, identifying the most devastating elements of the bill, and developing well-reasoned arguments against provisions that were unfixable and drafting more reasonable alternatives to those that were fixable.
CTTA moved hard and swift to convince the author Assembly Member Richard Bloom from Santa Monica and fellow legislators that the bill would be extremely harmful to the tow industry and motorists, both from a safety and financial standpoint. In addition to extensive meetings with the author, sponsor, and other legislators, CTTA called on each of its members to contact their representatives about AB 1222. As a direct result, the author and sponsors agreed to work cooperatively with the tow industry and remove the most offensive provisions of the bill. Over the course of this year, consistent with the direction of the CTTA Board and T-ROC, was able to obtain the following amendments to the bill: (1) removal of provisions that would expand a local agency’s regulatory authority over a tow company to anyone that is driving through its jurisdiction; (2) removal of provisions allowing tow trucks to be impounded for even minor violations of local regulations; (3) addition of provisions recognizing that towing companies legitimately summoned to the scene by law enforcement or a motor club are not the source of abuse in this area; (4) removal of provisions that would subject a towing company to a loss of its lien for even minor violations in this area; and (5) removal of “flagged down” language in Vehicle Code section 22513, which promoted abuse in this area. The remaining provisions were signed into law by the Governor on September 21, 2015.
Question: What will CTTA do about the remaining issues in AB 1222?
Answer: With any fight of this magnitude there are undoubtedly going to be some things that remain in the bill that the membership may not still like. Whether that is because of the “give and take” nature of negotiations, unintended consequences, oversights, or merely misunderstanding about what the law requires. Oftentimes after one of these huge fights at the Capitol, “cleanup” legislation is introduced the next year to fix some of these things. It sounds increasingly likely that cleanup legislation will be negotiated this year. CTTA will be front and center at these negotiations. However, it is important to note that changes to AB 1222, if any, would likely not go into effect until January 1, 2017. CTTA has and will continue to keep the membership updated about AB 1222 and any related legislation.
Question: I have heard that AB 1222 requires me to give a written estimate at the scene of an accident—how is that supposed to work?
Answer: The estimate requirement in AB 1222 does not apply to any law enforcement or motor club dispatched calls to the scene. It only applies when a tower is summoned directly by a vehicle owner or operator to the scene of an accident or near a disabled vehicle and the owner or operator is present at the time and location of the tow. The estimate provision of the bill is considerably more narrow than when the bill was originally introduced. Originally, the bill required an estimate at every accident scene. CTTA was successful in narrowing the bill.
In those instances where it is required, an estimate must include the following info: 1) The name, address, telephone number, and motor carrier permit number of the towing company; 2) The license plate number of the tow truck performing the tow; 3) The first and last name of the towing operator, and if different than the towing operator, the first and last name of the person from the towing company furnishing the estimate; and 4) A description and cost for all services, including, but not limited to, charges for labor, special equipment, mileage from dispatch to return, and storage fees, expressed as a 24-hour rate. The written estimate may be completed after the vehicle is moved to the nearest safe shoulder or street if done at the request of law enforcement or public agency.
Question: Is it true that AB 1222 caps the towing fees I can charge?
Answer: It only applies to non-consensual tows. Thus the cap would apply to a law enforcement call (in which a tower would already be subject to a rate), a motor club call (in which a tower would already be subject to a rate), or a private property situation (in which a tower would already subject to the same cap.)
Question: Do motor clubs have a blanket exemption from all the requirements of AB 1222?
Answer: No. While the requirements are greatly reduced for a tower summoned to the scene by a motor club, including an exemption from the written estimate requirement, all of the requirements of section 22513.1, including the driver’s license number, still apply to a tower doing a motor club call.
REMINDER: 2014 CTTA vs. City & County of San Francisco
July 16, 2014
The California Tow Truck Association achieved a significant legal victory in its battle against burdensome regulation. The First District Court of Appeal issued its decision in our appeal challenging the San Francisco Towing Permit System, and in a published opinion, the court found that local governments can only license and regulate tow truck companies if their principal place of business is within the jurisdiction of the local government. This means that San Francisco cannot force businesses located outside of San Francisco to obtain their costly permits.
As you will recall, under San Francisco’s permit scheme, any company operating a tow truck in San Francisco – no matter how infrequently – was required to get a permit for each truck and each driver, resulting in the expenditure of thousands of dollars per year. Failure to obtain the permit meant that the tow truck was subject to citation and even impoundment if driving through the city.
The decision reversed the earlier trial court decision, and remanded the matter. While there will be additional proceedings, it is likely that the trial court will now be compelled to issue the injunction we originally sought.
The appellate court decision rejected our argument about the permit fees being an illegal tax, and thus, any business whose principal place of business is within San Francisco must still pay the exorbitant license fees. But any business whose principal place of business is outside of the city can operate tow truck in the city without having to pay the fees or obtain a permit.
It is important to note that the court stopped short of defining what a “principal place of business or employment” is within the meaning of Vehicle Code section 21100, subdivision (g). For example, it is theoretically possible that a towing company whose storage yard is located outside of San Francisco, but which does 100% of its business within San Francisco, could be deemed to have its principal place of business within the city. Alternatively, if the company’s drivers spend the majority of their time towing cars inside the city, it could be that their principal place of employment is San Francisco, subjecting them to the permit requirement even if the towing company that employs them is not subject to the permit scheme. Those questions were not resolved, and may be the subject of future litigation.
But it is clear that companies located outside of San Francisco that only do a portion of their business inside the City are free from the onerous permit requirements. We will keep you updated on future developments in this important case.
October 2017 • ELDs: The More You Know
An Electronic Logging Device, or ELD for short, is defined as a device that electronically records a driver’s Record of Duty Status for the purposes of hours-of-service compliance. ELDs replace the paper logbooks that have been used throughout the transportation industry.
Why do I need to know about this? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) amended its hours-of-service regulations in 2015 so that all interstate motor carriers and drivers must use either an ELD or an AOBRD (automatic onboard recording device) by December 18, 2017 to prepare hours-of-service (HOS) records of duty status (RODS).
Currently this ELD rule only applies to interstate carriers. At its simplest, an interstate carrier provides transportation services across state borders or is carrying an “interstate load” – i.e. a load that came from out of state or is going out of state. However, it should be noted that an operator could operate entirely within California and still be considered an interstate operator if, for example, they haul loads to and from a port. An intrastate carrier has its operations entirely within one state and is not hauling an interstate load. more
Who is exempt? Drivers who are authorized to use timecards under the current “short-haul exception”, are not required to keep records of duty status (RODS) or use ELDs. In order to qualify for the short-haul exception (and thus be able to use timecards rather than an ELD), a driver must: 1) operate with a 100 air-mile radius of the normal work reporting location; 2) be released from work within 12 consecutive hours; and 3) have at least 10 consecutive hours off duty separating each 12 hours on duty.
Additionally, the following drivers are not required to use ELDs; however, they are still bound by the RODS requirements in 49 CFR 395 and must prepare logs on paper, using an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRD), or with a logging software program when required:
What about California interstate drivers & companies? At this point, California has not yet changed, nor initiated a change to, its hours-of-service rules to require ELDs for California intrastate drivers and companies. As such, there is currently no requirement that California intrastate drivers and companies use ELDs. CTTA will keep its membership updated if California adopts this ELD rule for its intrastate drivers and companies.
What if I operate both intrastate AND interstate? The federal ELD rule applies to each motor carrier and its drivers only when they are performing interstate work (unless any of the federal exemptions apply.) If it’s not an interstate job then the federal ELD rule is not applicable.
ELD & Hours of Service Supporting Documents and FAQs
UPDATE June 2017 • Escalating Insurance Rates
To help our Members in the fight over the rising cost of doing business in the towing industry, we have created a survey that will help us takcle this problem head-on. If interested, please click HERE to start the survey. It is an in-depth look at the cost of running a towing business and the results will be crucial in our various efforts to curb some of these costs. Please call us at 916-617-2882 with any questions!
As towing companies are unfortunately all too aware, insurance rates within the industry have dramatically increased in recent years. CTTA, through its Towing Regulatory Oversight Council (T-ROC), has been working hard to gather concrete data in order to educate industry partners, including the California Highway Patrol (CHP), about the business realities currently facing towing companies. The following actions are a result of these discussions.
CHP Headquarters has recently contacted each of its local Towing Officers in order to provide them with guidance on the 2017-18 Tow Service Agreement (TSA) towing and storage rates, including data that confirms drastic increases in insurance rates at no fault of the towing companies. However, the reasonableness and validity of TSA rates is up to the discretion of the local Area Commander. As such, should any towing company that experienced an insurance rate increase within the past year wish to submit a commensurate rate increase for the 2017-18 TSA, it is still critical that the towing company provide sufficient justification for its requested rate increase. If any towing company already has an approved rate for the 2017-18 TSA, but failed to request a rate increase due to insurance rate increases, it can request a rate resubmittal with its local Tow Officer. Any such resubmittal must also include sufficient justification for its requested rate increase. Please note that the final decision to accept a resubmittal or ultimately approve a rate increase is up to the local Area Commander and a tow company will not automatically receive an increase if they justify it or receive approval to resubmit.
Further, as a result of CTTA/T-ROC’s request, the CHP will be presenting information to their Commissioner in consideration of a midterm review of the 2017-18 TSA rates due to the impending diesel tax increases enacted under SB 1, which take effect on November 1, 2017, as well as the continuing insurance rate crisis.
CTTA will continue to keep you updated as appropriate, however, CTTA strongly encourages all TSA towers to contact their local Tow Officers to discuss this matter as it continues to evolve.
April 2017 • CHP Gives Direction on Fuel Cans
From California Highway Patrol, Central Division Commercial Unit (401):
“Recently the California Highway Patrol has been contacted by the construction industry as a result of OSHA inspections at job sites. One of the topics of concern was the use of unapproved fuel cans at job sites. Upon reviewing the regulations for transporting fuel cans (Materials of Trade) to a job site, we notice a possible issue relating to the transportation of fuel on tow trucks. In the past when issues have been brought, the question of where does it say that has been asked. Throughout the email you will find the regulation sections that apply. I think this would be good time to review the Materials of Trade requirements.
In order to know if this applies to tow trucks, we need to know what a material of trade is, 49 CFR 171.8 (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=ad15a790a75feb9cc05907f70a439ddd&mc=true&node=se49.2.171_18&rgn=div8) defines a material of trade as the following:
Material of trade means a hazardous material, other than a hazardous waste, that is carried on a motor vehicle—
(1) For the purpose of protecting the health and safety of the motor vehicle operator or passengers;
(2) For the purpose of supporting the operation or maintenance of a motor vehicle (including its auxiliary equipment); or
(3) By a private motor carrier (including vehicles operated by a rail carrier) in direct support of a principal business that is other than transportation by motor vehicle.
Tow truck operations would fall under number 3 since the operator is using the fuel on the truck to provide fuel to disabled vehicles which is in direct support of the principal business.
Now that we know the fuel transported on a tow tuck is considered a material of trade, we need to know what regulations apply to that material. In order to determine what regulations apply, we refer to 49 CFR 173.6 (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=ad15a790a75feb9cc05907f70a439ddd&mc=true&node=se49.2.173_16&rgn=div8), which in essence states the following:
1) a single package/container containing a flammable liquid is limited to 8 gallons (49 CFR 173.6(a)(1))
2) packages must be leak tight (49 CFR 173.6(b)(1))
3) packages must be securely closed, secured against movement, and protected against damage (49 CFR 173.6(b)(1))
4) For gasoline, a packaging must be made of metal or plastic and conform to the requirements of this subchapter or to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Labor contained in 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(2) or 1926.152(a)(1). (49 CFR 173.6(b)(4))
5) A non-bulk packaging must be marked with a common name or proper shipping name to identify the material it contains, including the letters “RQ” if it contains a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance. (49 CFR 173.6(c)(1))
6) Can not exceed an aggregate gross weight of 440 lbs of all materials of trade on a motor vehicle. (49 CFR 173.6(d))
All the items above apply. In the past, the main issue we have had with fuel containers is a package spilling fuel when checking compliance. The new item of concern raised by the OSHA inspector is Item 4) above; we have noticed from past inspections the current containers will most likely not meet the requirements of 49 CFR 173.6(b)(4). Section 49 CFR 173.6(b)(4) has two ways to comply with this section.
Option 1– “…a packaging must be made of metal or plastic and conform to the requirements of this
subchapter“. This, in essence, states the container used to transport fuel must be made of metal or plastic and it must conform to USDOT packaging requirements or be a USDOT approved package for the transportation of gasoline. An approved DOT package will have a DOT package marking on the package. To the left is an example of a USDOT approved package with DOT package markings. A quick disclaimer, we are not recommending you purchase the fuel cans in the pictures. We are only including the pictures to give you an example of items that are approved. The top portion shows what the package looks like and the portion below shows a USDOT package marking, UN 3H1/Y1.2/100/10/USA/+BP084.
Option 2– the package used to transport gasoline must conform to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the Department of Labor contained in 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(2) or 1926.152(a)(1). When you read 29 CFR 1910.106(d)(2), it says only approved containers and portable tanks shall be used. If we read 29 CFR 1910.106(a)(29) it defines a safety can as the following: Safety can shall mean an approved container, of not more than 5 gallons capacity, having a spring-closing lid and spout cover and so designed that it will safely relieve internal pressure when subjected to fire exposure.
When you read 29 CFR 1926.152(a)(1), it states: Only approved containers and portable tanks shall be used for storage and handling of flammable liquids. Approved safety cans or Department of Transportation approved containers shall be used for the handling and use of flammable liquids in quantities of 5 gallons or less, except that this shall not apply to those flammable liquid materials which are highly viscid (extremely hard to pour), which may be used and handled in original shipping containers. For quantities of one gallon or less, the original container may be used, for storage, use and handling of flammable liquids.
If you refer to 29 CFR 1926.155(a) it defines a the term approved, Approved, for the purpose of this subpart, means equipment that has been listed or approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as Factory Mutual Engineering Corp., or Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc., or Federal agencies such as Bureau of Mines, or U.S. Coast Guard, which issue approvals for such equipment. The container will either state “Listed” or “Approved” on the container. Typically the container indicates “UL Listed” or “FM Approved”
29 CFR 1926.152(a)(1) also states Approved safety cans. We previously looked up approved in 29 CFR 1926.155(a), but now we have to look up safety can. 1926.155(I) states a safety can means the following: Safety can means an approved closed container, of not more than 5 gallons capacity, having a flash-arresting screen, spring-closing lid and spout cover and so designed that it will safely relieve internal pressure when subjected to fire exposure. Again, a quick disclaimer, we are not recommending you purchase the fuel cans in the pictures. We are only including the pictures to give you an example of items that are approved. The top portion shows what the package looks like, the bottom portion shows a UL Listed package marking, and the third picture shows an FM Approved marking.
March 2017 • CARB Protections for Truckers
CARB PROTECTIONS FOR TRUCKERS INCLUDED IN CALIFORNIA’S DIESEL & TAX BILL
After two years of negotiations, the California Legislature passed a 10-year, $52 billion transportation funding bill, SB 1 (Beall), on April 6th, which will raise $5.2 billion annually to fix the state’s roads and highways. While the bulk of this money will come from diesel and gas tax increases, CTTA is pleased to let you know there are a few good things for the trucking industry that made it into the deal as concessions to the sector.
The package is funded through a variety of new revenues, most notably for the towing industry, a 20-cent diesel excise tax increase (adjusted every 3 years for inflation) and a 5.75% diesel sales tax increase. Additionally, it includes a gas excise tax increase of 12 cents, a new “transportation improvement fee” ranging from $25-$175 depending on the vehicle’s value, a new $100 Zero Emission Vehicle Fee starting in 2020, and loan repayments from the General Fund.
Despite loud opposition from environmentalists, as concessions to the trucking industry, the following two provisions were added:
We note that in the final days leading up to the vote on the bill, environmentalists were working hard to remove these trucking concessions, arguing that “this dirty truck provision came out of nowhere” and “exempting trucks from clean air rules has no place in a package that’s about fixing roads and improving transit,” however, ultimately the final deal was passed with them included.
Because it included tax increases, the bill constitutionally required a 2/3’s vote of the Legislature. While Democrats alone have a 2/3’s supermajority in both houses and could have passed it without a single Republican vote, a few Democrats ended up voting “no” and thus the deal relied upon a deciding “yes” vote from Republican Senator Anthony Cannella of Ceres. For his vote, Senator Cannella purportedly secured a number of special bonuses for his district, including $400 million in transportation funds for the extension of the Altamont Corridor Express, a commuter rail line between the Bay Area and Central Valley.
Governor Brown is expected to sign SB 1 ASAP. The tax increases would then go into effect on November 1, 2017.
March 2017 • CHP Clarifies New Cell Phone Prohibitions
CHP CLARIFIES NEW CELL PHONE PROHIBITIONS
Since California’s law prohibiting cell phone use while driving was amended last year with AB 1785, there has been some confusion about which devices towers are allowed to use while driving. CTTA has worked with the CHP to help identify the parameters of Vehicle Code 23123.5. Accordingly, the CHP has notified their enforcement personnel, as well as updated their Highway Patrol Manual, about the following clarifications:
As further history, California law prohibiting all drivers from using a handheld wireless telephone originally went into effect on July 1, 2008. Originally the law provided an exception for those operating a commercial motor truck, including a tow truck, to use a two-way radio operated by a Push-to-Talk feature. However, that exemption expired effective July 1, 2011. The law was expanded effective January 1, 2009 to also make it an infraction to write, send, or read text-based communication on an electronic wireless communications device while driving. The law was further expanded effective January 1, 2017 to address the use of GPS and other apps while driving, by requiring that all handheld wireless telephones or electronic wireless communications devices be: 1) mounted; and 2) the driver’s hand is used to activate or deactivate a feature with a single tap or swipe of the driver’s finger.
February 2017 • “Lead Acid Battery Recycling Act”
TOWERS SELLING BATTERIES MUST REGISTER WITH THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION AND COLLECT $1 FEE
As of April 1, 2017, the “Lead Acid Battery Recycling Act” goes into effect, which requires that anyone, including a tow company, who sells lead-acid batteries in California (a “dealer”) collect a $1 California Battery Fee from a customer for each battery sold. The dealer must pay the collected fee to the California Board of Equalization (BOE), however, the dealer is allowed to retain 1.5% of the fee as reimbursement for any costs associated with the collection of the fee.
In order to remit the fee, a company would need to register and submit it through the BOE’s website. Click “New Registration” on the left-hand top corner on the BOE’s website to begin the process: http://www.boe.ca.gov/
Additionally, the new Act requires that a dealer accept from a customer a used lead-acid battery for recycling and caps the number of batteries that can be returned by a customer at 6 per day. If a used battery is not exchanged for the new battery, the dealer must collect a refundable deposit, the amount of which must be displayed on a receipt. This refundable deposit shall be refunded to the customer if, within 45 days of the sale, the customer presents to the dealer a used battery of the same type and size. A dealer may keep any lead-acid battery deposit moneys that are not properly claimed within 45 days, not including any sales tax reimbursement charged to the consumer.
Further, a dealer shall post a written notice that is clearly visible in the public sales area of the establishment, or include on the purchaser’s receipt, the following language:
This dealer is required by law to charge a nonrefundable $1 California battery fee and a refundable deposit for each lead-acid battery purchased.
A credit of the same amount as the refundable deposit will be issued if a used lead-acid battery is returned at the time of purchase or up to 45 days later along with this dealer’s receipt.
Here’s a little more background info on AB 2153, the Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Act of 2016, by Assembly Member Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens). The bill is a reaction to the closing of the Exide Technologies battery recycling facility in Vernon, CA, which was forced to close and pay $7.7M to the state due to soil and groundwater contamination. Additionally, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has estimated that homes between 1.3 and 1.7 miles away from the facility may potentially be affected by Exide’s lead contamination (somewhere between 5,000 – 10,000 residential properties), with a cost of about $45,000 per home. This could result in the most extensive cleanup of its kind in California and will be among the largest cleanup ever conducted in the nation. On April 20, 2016, the Governor signed legislation appropriating a $176.6 million loan from the General Fund to the Toxic Substances Control Account to enable DTSC to test the area, but after this loan amount is expended, DTSC will likely need additional funds to do a complete and thorough cleanup. AB 2153 is intended to fill that gap while providing an ongoing source of funds to address future lead contamination from lead-acid batteries. The bill was supported by a wide range of groups including environmental groups, Battery Council International, the California Automotive Wholesalers’ Association, and the LA Board of Supervisors, amongst others, and was passed with a 2/3’s vote of the Legislature.