JEFFERSON CITY - If your car has ever broken down on the side of the road, you know that finding a ride can be the least of your problems. After you get a ride, you have to find some way to get your car fixed.
Under legislation approved by the House Tuesday, you would only have six hours to get the problem solved.
After six hours, police could have the car towed - at the car owner's expense.
In a heated debate that lasted almost two hours, legislators discussed exactly how long drivers should have before their cars are towed from the side of the road.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Brian May, D-St. Louis City, said that cars can be towed after six hours. May said that there is no limit at all right now, and this bill makes sure that people have at least six hours to get cars off the side of the road.
"I believe that six hours is a pretty long period of time," May said."If a car causes a problem in the morning rush hours, it will be removed before evening rush hours."
But Rep. Jon Bennett, R-St. Charles, argued that six hours isn't long enough. Bennett offered an amendment, rejected by the House, to increase the time limit to 12 hours.
"This amendment," Bennett said, "Is for all of those people, myself included, whose car has broken down on them on their way to work, and they haven't had time to get to it until after work."
Rep. O.L. Shelton, D-St. Louis City, said that he agreed with Bennett.
"I think that six hours is a very short period of time, especially if a car breaks down at night. Give working Joe a little more time."
May responded by saying that for every working Joe whose car has broken down, there's another working Joe stuck in a traffic jam caused by the abandoned car.
Bennett's amendment was defeated by a narrow margin, and the bill was given preliminary approval with the six hour limit.
The bill faces one more House vote before going to the Senate.