436.14  REMOVAL OF VEHICLES AFTER ACCIDENTS.
   (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, a public safety official may do either of the following without the consent of the owner but with the approval of the law enforcement agency conducting any investigation of the accident:
      (1)   Remove, or order the removal of, 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.
      (2)   If the motor vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle, allow the owner or operator of the vehicle the opportunity to arrange for the removal of the motor vehicle within a period of time specified by the public safety official. If the public safety official determines that the motor vehicle cannot be removed within the specified period of time, the public safety official shall remove or order the removal of the motor vehicle.
   (b)   (1)   Except as provided in division (b)(2) of this section, the Department of Transportation, any employee of the Department of Transportation, or a public safety 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, regardless of whether the removal is executed by a private towing service, is not liable for 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, except as provided in division (b)(2) of this section, if a public safety official authorizes, employs, or arranges to have a private towing service remove any unoccupied motor vehicle, cargo, or personal property as authorized by division (a) of this section, that private towing service is not liable for 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.
      (2)   Division (b)(1) of this section does not apply to any of the following:
         A.   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;
         B.   A private towing service that was not authorized, employed, or arranged by a public safety official to remove an unoccupied motor vehicle, cargo, or personal property under this section;
         C.   Except as provided in division (b)(2)D. of this section, a private towing service that was authorized, employed, or arranged by a public safety official to perform the removal of the unoccupied motor vehicle, cargo, or personal property but the private towing service performed the removal in a negligent manner;
         D.   A private towing service that was authorized, employed, or arranged by a public safety official to perform the removal of the unoccupied motor vehicle, cargo, or personal property that was endangering public safety but the private towing service performed the removal in a reckless manner.
   (c)   As used in divisions (a) and (b) of this section:
      (1)   “Hazardous material.” Has the same meaning as in Ohio R.C. 2305.232.
      (2)   “Public safety official.” Means any of the following:
         A.   The sheriff of the county, or the chief of police in the municipal corporation, township, or township, port authority, or joint police district, in which the accident occurred;
         B.   A state highway patrol trooper;
         C.   The chief of the fire department having jurisdiction where the accident occurred;
         D.   A duly authorized subordinate acting on behalf of an official specified in divisions A. to C. of this definition.
(ORC 4513.66)
   (d)   If a towing service is removing a motor vehicle, and the removal was not authorized under Ohio R.C. 4513.60, 4513.601, 4513.61, or 4513.66, or any substantially equivalent municipal ordinance, prior to removing the motor vehicle, the towing service shall provide a written estimate of the price for the removal to the operator of the motor vehicle, if requested.
   (e)   The towing service shall ensure that any estimate provided under division (d) of this section includes the fees, services to be rendered, and destination of the vehicle.
   (f)   If a towing service fails to provide a written estimate as required by this section, the towing service shall not charge fees for the towing and storage of the motor vehicle that exceed 25% of any applicable fees established by the public utilities commission in rules adopted under R.C. § 4921.25(B)(4) or, if the vehicle was towed within a municipal corporation that has established vehicle removal and storage fees, 25% of the fees established by the municipal corporation.
   (g)   Any storage facility that accepts towed vehicles shall conspicuously post a notice at the entrance to the storage facility that states the limitation on fees established under division (f) of this section.
(ORC 4513.68)