Few cities seem to have such a fierce battle over
non-consent towing issues as little West Lafayette,
Indiana, the home of Purdue University.
After my Google searches turned up one article
after another mentioning West Lafayette, I
contacted City Councilman Paul Roales,
who is the champion and defender of
college students on that spot of the earth
where tow trucks once roamed with impunity,
towing willy-nilly left and right until Roales
took on the bullies.
Below is Roales' reply, his outlook on towing issues
in West Lafayette.
I have been working on towing issues in West Lafayette for over a year
now. Long before my campaign for a seat on the West Lafayette City
Council I started thinking about the issues I saw in my community and
starting working on possible solutions.
Overly aggressive and unnecessary towing quickly became a key issue
that I believed absolutely needed to be fixed for the City of West
Lafayette to improve the quality of life in our community. West
Lafayette is a university town, with over 50% of our population full
time students at Purdue University. Tow trucks were aggressively
patrolling student apartment parking lots, patrolling them at all hours
of the day looking for any car they could possibly tow.
Often the cars that were towed, were not cars that were creating
problems, but instead were vehicles that were resting in nearly empty
parking lots during breaks like Christmas Break. it was clear that
much of the towing going on was not driven by concerns about parking,
but driven instead by how much profit could be made by removing the
A sample from my campaign website -
Problem – Student's Cars Are Getting Towed Unnecessarily
Solution – Enforce Laws to Eliminate Predatory Towing From West Lafayette
Currently the towing companies in West Lafayette are
acting with reckless abandon, towing every single car they can find
parked in an apartment parking lot without a sticker. Even when the
parking lot of an apartment building is nearly empty student cars are
being towed simply to make a profit for the towing companies.
We must eliminate this predatory towing of student cars. Currently in
West Lafayette there is a law that says a police officer must be present
for a car to be towed. This law is currently ignored by the towing
I am working hard to force the towing companies to follow
this law. Forcing the towing companies to have a police officer
respond will reduce the number of student cars that get towed. No
longer will cars that have stickers that fall off be towed. No longer
will cars parked in parking lots nearly empty be towed. No longer will
the tow trucks be allowed to simply take cars and force the owners to
Instead, students will be able to keep their hard-earned money
and avoid the frustration of having their cars towed by predatory
Today, I am working on a new ordinance that will help regulate the
maximum towing rates that could be charged and help clarify the rules
around what is legal towing. In clarifying the towing laws of West
Lafayette I hope that compliance with parking laws will increase and
that less profit-driven towing will occur.
Here is an article from The Exponent, Purdue's student paper,
about how towing hurts local businesses:
Roales' proposed ordinance failed to pass on a narrow vote.
However, Roales vowed to raise the issue again in the
Though calling attention to the abusive practices has
been helpful to Roales student constituents, and may
have helped curb some of the abuses, right now the battle
appears bogged down in West Lafayette.