Tow-Away Zones are indicated by a Tow-Away Zone sign or by a red curb on a public street. You may not park, even temporarily, in a Tow-Away Zone. Vehicles in a Tow-Away Zone are subject to immediate removal and impound. Tow-Away Zone signs may appear by themselves or may appear in combination with other parking regulations.
If you believe your vehicle has been impounded due to parking in a Tow-Away Zone, please call the Automobile Records Unit of the Seattle Police Department at (206) 684-5444. This number is available 24 hours a day.
Towing Impounded Vehicles
Vehicles that are towed from public streets are handled by one of three towing companies. Each towing company maintains their own impound lot(s) located within Seattle city limits. It may take several hours for information on a vehicle that has been towed to be available at the Automobile Records Unit of the Seattle Police Department. The Automobile Records Unit can help determine whether your vehicle has been towed or if it has been stolen and also will direct you to the appropriate towing company. Contact information for the towing services is:
ABC Towing - (206) 682-2869
E T Towing - (206) 622-9188
Lincoln Towing - (206) 364-2000
Retrieving an Impounded Vehicle
To retrieve a vehicle that has been towed, the registered owner of the vehicle must bring appropriate documentation with them and must go in-person to the respective towing company's impound lot. Washington State requires that all vehicles have registration paperwork in the vehicle and that all vehicles' license plates have current tabs - this aids in establishing vehicle ownership. Appropriate documentation may include (but is not limited to) the following: vehicle title, vehicle registration, current valid Driver's License, and/or a copy of the rental contract if the vehicle was rented (including car-sharing clubs). Please ask the respective towing company what documentation of vehicle ownership you will need to bring with you when retrieving your vehicle.
Persons other than the owner may retrieve a vehicle if the owner has provided a clear statement of permission to the towing company, or if the owner accompanies the person to the impound lot when retrieving the vehicle (and provides appropriate documentation of ownership). If the person retrieving the vehicle is not accompanied by the owner, the towing company may require the vehicle owner to directly fax documentation of ownership and/or provide a notarized statement authorizing release of the vehicle to a person other than the owner. Please ask the respective towing company what they require in order to release a vehicle to someone other than the vehicle's registered owner.
Fees for Impounded Vehicles
To retrieve a vehicle, the towing fee and storage fee (and applicable administrative fee) must be paid to the towing company at the time the vehicle is released (the ticket for parking in the Tow-Away Zone is paid to the City as per instructions on the ticket). Towing fees and storage fees vary - generally towing fees can start at a minimum of $65 but can be significantly higher depending on circumstances. Storage fees can start at a minimum of between $6 and $29 per day but can be significantly higher depending on circumstances. There is no fee for the first 12 hours of storage. Each towing company may accept different forms of payment. Note: Vehicles in storage for over 21 days are subject to being sold at auction. Please ask the respective towing company what fees will need to be paid in order to release the vehicle and what forms of payment they accept.
Contesting a Tow-Away Zone Ticket
If your vehicle has been impounded and you wish to contest the ticket for parking in a Tow-Away Zone, please follow the instructions on the ticket.
- If you want to retrieve your vehicle immediately and you want to contest the ticket, follow the instructions for contesting a ticket and retain your receipt for the towing and storage fees to present to the magistrate at your hearing.
- If you are unable to or do not want to retrieve your vehicle immediately and you want to contest a ticket, inform the towing company that you wish to contest the ticket - a hearing will be scheduled usually within 48 hours. Note: Vehicles in storage for over 21 days are subject to being sold at auction.
Click here To Pay a Parking Ticket
Seattle Police Department-issued parking ticket payment is handled by the Seattle Municipal Court. Tickets can be paid 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, either on-line or over the phone at (206) 684-5600.
Click here To Contest a Parking Ticket
If you believe you were issued a parking or traffic ticket in error, you may request a hearing before a Municipal Court Magistrate. It is at this hearing that you will be able to explain why you believe the ticket was issued incorrectly. You may reach the Seattle Municipal Court at (206) 684-5600.