4513.66 Removal of highway obstruction.

(A) If a motor vehicle accident occurs on any highway, public street, or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel and if any motor vehicle, cargo, or personal property that has been damaged or spilled as a result of the motor vehicle accident is blocking the highway, street, or other property or is otherwise endangering public safety, the sheriff of the county, or the chief of police of the municipal corporation, township, or township or joint police district, in which the accident occurred, a state highway patrol trooper, the chief of the fire department having jurisdiction where the accident occurred , or a duly authorized subordinate acting on behalf of an official specified above, without consent of the owner but with the approval of the law enforcement agency conducting any investigation of the accident, may remove the motor vehicle if the motor vehicle is unoccupied, cargo, or personal property from the portion of the highway, public street, or property ordinarily used for vehicular travel on the highway, public street, or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

(B)

(1) Except as provided in division (B)(2) or (3) of this section, no employee of the department of transportation, sheriff, deputy sheriff, chief of police or police officer of a municipal corporation, township, or township or joint police district, state highway patrol trooper, chief of a fire department, fire fighter, or a duly authorized subordinate acting on behalf of such an official who authorizes or participates in the removal of any unoccupied motor vehicle, cargo, or personal property as authorized by division (A) of this section is liable in civil damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that results from the removal of that unoccupied motor vehicle, cargo, or personal property. Except as provided in division (B)(2) or (3) of this section, if the department of transportation or a sheriff, chief of police of a municipal corporation, township, or township or joint police district, head of the state highway patrol, chief of a fire department, or a duly authorized subordinate acting on behalf of such an official authorizes, employs, or arranges to have a private tow truck operator or towing company remove any unoccupied motor vehicle, cargo, or personal property as authorized by division (A) of this section, that private tow truck operator or towing company is not liable in civil damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that results from the removal of that unoccupied motor vehicle, cargo, or personal property . Further, the department of transportation, sheriff, chief of police, head of the state highway patrol, fire department chief, or a duly authorized subordinate acting on behalf of such an official is not liable in civil damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that results from the private tow truck operator or towing company's removal of that unoccupied motor vehicle, cargo, or personal property.

(2) Division (B)(1) of this section does not apply to any person or entity involved in the removal of an unoccupied motor vehicle, cargo, or personal property pursuant to division (A) of this section if that removal causes or contributes to the release of a hazardous material or to structural damage to the roadway.

(3) Division (B)(1) of this section does not apply to a private tow truck operator or towing company that was not authorized, employed, or arranged by the department of transportation, a sheriff, a chief of police of a municipal corporation, township, or township or joint police district, the head of the state highway patrol, a chief of a fire department, or a duly authorized subordinate acting on behalf of such an official or to a private tow truck operator or towing company that was authorized, employed, or arranged by the department of transportation, a sheriff, a chief of police of a municipal corporation, township, or township or joint police district, the head of the state highway patrol, or a chief of a fire department, or a duly authorized subordinate acting on behalf of such an official to perform the removal of the unoccupied motor vehicle, cargo, or personal property and the private tow truck operator or towing company performed the removal in a reckless or willful manner.

(C) As used in this section, "hazardous material" has the same meaning as in section 2305.232 of the Revised Code.

Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 7, HB 51, §101.01, eff. 7/1/2013.

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.28, HB 153, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2011.

Effective Date: 2008 SB129 12-30-2008