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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 23 : Motor Vehicles

Chapter 013 : Operation of Vehicles

Subchapter 010 : Stopping, Standing, and Parking

(Cite as: 23 V.S.A. § 1102)
  • § 1102. Removal of stopped vehicles

    (a) Subject to subsection (c) of this section, any enforcement officer is authorized to:

    (1) cause the removal of a vehicle stopped, parked, or standing contrary to section 1101 of this title, or require the driver or other person in charge to move the vehicle to a safe position off the main-traveled part of the highway;

    (2) cause the removal of an unattended vehicle or cargo that is an obstruction to traffic or to maintenance of the highway to a garage or other place of safety;

    (3) cause the removal of any vehicle found upon a highway, as defined in 19 V.S.A. § 1, to a garage or other place of safety when:

    (A) the officer is informed by a reliable source that the vehicle has been stolen or taken without the consent of its owner; or

    (B) the person in charge of the vehicle is unable to provide for its removal; or

    (C) the person in charge of the vehicle has been arrested under circumstances that require his or her immediate removal from control of the vehicle.

    (b) In the case of a crash involving a serious bodily injury or fatality, clearance of the crash scene may be delayed until the crash investigation is completed.

    (c) A towing operator shall undertake removal of a vehicle or cargo under this section only if summoned to the scene by the vehicle owner or vehicle operator, or an enforcement officer, and is authorized to perform the removal as follows:

    (1) The owner or operator of the vehicle or cargo being removed shall summon to the scene the towing operator of the owner’s or operator’s choice in consultation with the enforcement officer and designate the location to where the vehicle or cargo is to be removed.

    (2) The provisions of subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not apply when the owner or operator is incapacitated or otherwise unable to summon a towing operator, does not make a timely choice of a towing operator, or defers to the enforcement officer’s selection of the towing operator.

    (3) The authority provided to the owner or operator under subdivision (1) of this subsection may be superseded by the enforcement officer if the towing operator of choice cannot respond to the scene in a timely fashion and the vehicle or cargo is a hazard, impedes the flow of traffic, or may not legally remain in its location in the opinion of the enforcement officer.

    (d)(1) Except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, the vehicle owner and the motor carrier, if any, shall be responsible to the law enforcement agency or towing operator for reasonable costs incurred solely in the removal and subsequent disposition of the vehicle or cargo under this section.

    (2) When applicable, the provisions of 10 V.S.A. § 6615 (liability for release of hazardous materials) shall apply in lieu of this subsection.

    (e) Except for intentionally inflicted damage or gross negligence, an enforcement officer or a person acting at the direction of an enforcement officer who removes from a highway a motor vehicle or cargo that is obstructing traffic or maintenance activities or creating a hazard to traffic shall not be liable for damage to the vehicle or cargo incurred during the removal.

    (f) Any enforcement officer causing the removal of a motor vehicle under this section shall notify the Department as to the location and date of discovery of the vehicle, date of removal of the vehicle, name of the towing service removing the vehicle, and place of storage. The officer shall record and remove from the vehicle, if possible, any information that might aid the Department in ascertaining the ownership of the vehicle and forward the information to the Department. A motor vehicle towed under authority of this section may qualify as an abandoned motor vehicle under chapter 21, subchapter 7 of this title.

    (g)(1) Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection, the operator of a vehicle involved in a crash who is required by law to stop the vehicle, or who elects to stop the vehicle, at the crash scene shall move and stop the vehicle at the nearest location where the vehicle will not impede traffic or jeopardize the safety of a person.

    (2) The duty to move a vehicle under subdivision (1) of this subsection shall not apply when:

    (A) the crash involved the death of or apparent injury to any person;

    (B) the vehicle to be moved was transporting hazardous material;

    (C) the vehicle cannot be operated under its own power without further damage to the vehicle or the highway; or

    (D) the movement cannot be made without endangering other highway users.

    (3) An operator required to move a vehicle under this subsection who fails to do so shall not be ticketed, assessed a civil penalty, or have points assessed against his or her driving record. (Added 1971, No. 258 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 1, 1973; amended 1973, No. 164 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1997, No. 144 (Adj. Sess.), § 14, eff. April 27, 1998; 2015, No. 50, § 23; 2017, No. 71, § 25, eff. June 8, 2017.)