Traffic Related Information

Traffic Safety Watch | Lane FilteringHands Free Ordinance | Police Motorcycle Safety | Child Passenger Seat Safety | How to Retrieve an Impounded Vehicle

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Frequently Asked Questions  

How did you know my vehicle was involved?   

The vehicle description and license plate number provided by the complainant is verified by the Tucson Police Department to be a match with current Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) records. The letter is then addressed to whomever was the registered owner of the matching vehicle at the time of the incident.   

What if the vehicle/plate indicated is not mine?   

You received the letter because the vehicle/plate are registered to you through the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) data base. If you have sold or transferred the vehicle/license plate, then you should contact MVD and update your information.   

What if I wasn’t the driver?   

The letter is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle at the time of incident. If you (registered owner) were not the driver, we encourage you to address the complaint with whomever has access to your vehicle. If you choose to do so, you may also provide the identity of the involved driver to a member of the Traffic Safety Unit. It is your obligation to ensure your vehicle is driven safely and responsibly.   

What do I need to do?   

No follow-up on your part is required. However, Tucson Police Department encourages you to consider the letter an opportunity to learn about unsafe driving practices and improve your driving skills and ensure compliance with Arizona traffic laws.   

Will I be charged?   

This is not a ticket. You will not receive a citation via mail. If evidence was submitted to the Tucson Police Department that would necessitate a citation, an officer would make contact with you in person.   

How long will this stay on my record?   

The offense is not a recorded offense on your record. However, details of the incident will be kept on file with the Tucson Police Department for follow up should offenses continue.   

Will this affect my insurance rates?   

This information will NOT be released to your insurance company.   

Who reported it?   

A citizen who observes an unsafe driving incident may make a complaint to the Tucson Police Department at the following web address: The name of the individual who reported the incident will not be released and may have been reported anonymously.   

Who can I speak to regarding the letter?   

No follow up on your part is required. If you would like to speak with someone regarding the letter, you can contact Officer Ed Schwenn, Traffic Safety Unit at Ed.Schwenn@TucsonAZ.Gov  

Lane Filtering

Arizona's new lane filtering law (SBI 273) allows a motorcycle to travel between lanes of traffic in very specific instances: 
Here are some things you, as a motorcy-clist, need to know: 

This is not the California "lane splitting" law! The Arizona law only allows lane filtering on surface streets with a speed limit of 45 MPH or slower. 

Only on streets that have 2 or more lanes in the same direction.

You may not pass a vehicle in motion. You may only overtake a vehicle between lanes that is stopped.

The maximum speed for a motorcycle traveling between lanes is 15 MPH.

And (you'll want to do this anyway) you must recognize that you can move between lanes safely before beginning lane filtering. 

Here's a couple more things you should know: 

  • This law is for 2-wheeled motorcycles. Sorry Trike, Spyder, Slingshot and Ural sidecar riders. 
  • Make sure you tell all your non-motorcyclist friends and neighbors about the law and what to expect.
    It will help keep them and every motorcyclist safe. 


Hands Free Ordinance

“Hands-free use” means the use of a mobile communication device or portable electronic device without the use of either hand by employing an internal feature of, or an attachment to, the device.

“Mobile communication device” and “portable electronic device” are wireless communication devices designed to engage in calls; and/or receive and transmit text, images, and/or data; but excludes devices that are physically or electronically integrated into a motor vehicle and are operated hands-free so that the user composes, sends, accesses, communicates or receives messages or data without the use of a hand except to activate, deactivate or initiate the hands-free use.

Access the ARS statute in its entirety for specific information

Police Motorcycle Safety

Motorcycle officers are allowed to ride on the white line if they are conducting official business (ARS 28-903).  Motorcycle officers can ride on the sidewalk or between lanes of traffic if they are conducting official business (ARS 28-904). 

Child Passenger Seat Safety

520-837-7232 TPD Car Seat Assistance Line - Request  information or assistance with child passenger safety (i.e. car seats or booster seats)
Leave your name, phone number and closest major intersection in the message.
A Car Seat Technician will get back to you as soon as possible. 

Safety tips and additional car seat fitting information - Safe Kids Pima County.

How to Retrieve an Impounded Vehicle

Come to the Impound Lobby at the Westside Police Service Center at 1310 W. Miracle Mile, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., excluding holidays, with the required documents listed below.

Impounded as Evidence

Contact the case detective to obtain specific information on the release of your vehicle.

Impounded by any agency other than the Tucson Police Department?  
You will need to contact that agency directly for assistance.

Documents required at the time of visit:

  1. A valid Driver License - We cannot release a vehicle to a person if their driver license does not show valid when run through a Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) database.
  2. Valid and current vehicle registration - If the vehicle was sold or the title was transferred after it was impounded, the vehicle will only be released after the full 30 day mandatory storage period.
  3. Title - If you are using a temporary registration permit, and are not the historically registered owner, you must bring the title to the vehicle to prove ownership.
  4. Title - If you are repossessing the vehicle, you will need to bring the title to prove you are the lien holder.  
    You will also need:
  • An original notarized Authorization Letter
  • An original notarized Hold Harmless Lette
  • And an original Repossession Affidavit from MVD
  1. Proof of valid and current insurance -  Must be vehicle-specific.
  2. Means to pay an Administrative Fee of $150 - We accept cash (no coins or split types of payment), cashier’s checks, credit and debit cards, and money orders. Cashier checks and money orders should be made out to “City of Tucson”.

Once you have met all the requirements

  • You will be given a release form.  
  • You must present your release form, proof of identity, and ownership at the tow company.
  • You must pay all the associated towing and storage fees associated with the tow company.

The towing company will not release your vehicle until all fees are paid and appropriate paperwork from the Tucson Police Department is received.  

If you do not claim your vehicle within 45 days from the date of the original impound, the contracted towing company, under Arizona law, may file for an abandoned title with MVD.

 If you have difficulty in paying the towing and storage, but wish to retain ownership of your vehicle, you should contact the towing company and discuss the matter with them directly.


The amount charged for the Administrative Fee and daily storage are set and mandated by state law.  The fees for the towing and mileage are set through a contract with the City of Tucson and the current towing vendor.  Refer to the Notice of Impound (given to the driver at time of impound and/or sent via mail) for the current towing vendor and their contact information.

Administrative Fee - $150 payable to the City of Tucson

Storage Fee - $15 per day; per calendar day and any portion of a calendar day

Towing and mileage fee– Contact the current contracted vendor.   This fee is paid directly to the towing company.


If you feel your vehicle was improperly impounded, you may request a hearing from the Tucson Police Department either in writing or in person.  According to ARS 28-3514 (6G), a request for a hearing must be received within 10 days from the date on the Notice of Impound.  If your request is received after that time, you will not be granted a hearing.

Impound hearings -

  • Conducted by the Impound Unit Sergeant of the Tucson Police Department and may be conducted telephonically or in person. 
  • There is no fee or charge for a hearing and an attorney is not required as the process is informal. 
  • You will be required to articulate why your vehicle was impounded improperly.  The outcome of any criminal or civil traffic citation will have no bearing on the impoundment of your vehicle.

Release Timeframes

State law dictates specific conditions to release a vehicle prior to the mandatory 30 days - personal hardships cannot be considered.  In addition to a valid and current driver’s license, registration, and vehicle specific insurance, the following criteria must be met:

  • You must have been listed as an owner on the title in the MVD computer at the time of impound. If you sell the vehicle or change the name on the title after the vehicle was impounded, the new owner will not qualify for an early release.
  • If you own the vehicle, but have not yet transferred the title into your name, in order to have the vehicle released early you will have to prove to our satisfaction that you owned the vehicle at the time it was impounded.  This can be accomplished by an original notarized bill of sale or an original notarized title.  If the title is changed while the vehicle is in impound, this will result in your vehicle remaining for the entire mandatory 30 day period.

If your vehicle was impounded due to:

Revoked/Cancelled, or No Driver’s License:

  • The registered owner was the driver and their driver’s license has been reinstated;
  • The registered owner or their spouse was not the driver, and is willing to appear in person with a valid driver’s license to sign an “Agreement of Operations” stating they will only allow the vehicle to be driven legally by a driver with a valid driver’s license. 
    The registered owner is responsible for all fees associated. 

Extreme/Aggravated DUI or a driver under 21 with alcohol in their system (State law only requires probable cause to be established):

  • The vehicle will not be released early if the registered owner was the driver;
  • The registered owner or their spouse was not the driver, and is willing to appear in person with a valid driver’s license to sign an “Agreement of Operations” stating they will only allow the vehicle to be driven legally by a driver with a valid driver’s license.

An ignition interlock violation:

  • If the registered owner was the driver, and has had the interlock installed while in impound, present documentation showing the device is now installed;
  • The registered owner or their spouse was not the driver, and is willing to appear in person with a valid driver’s license to sign an “Agreement of Operations” stating they will only allow the vehicle to be driven legally by a driver with a valid driver’s license.


Rentals If the vehicle was a rental (registered under ARS 28-2166) and was being driven by a renter:

  • An employee of the rental agency with proper credentials, and identification, must present all required documents, along with a valid rental contract and a notarized letter on company letterhead authorizing the employee to recover the vehicle on the company’s behalf.

Parking Services, Repair Garages, or Business Vehicles
If an employee of a parking service, repair garage or business was operating the vehicle (“subject to bailment”) when it was impounded, the registered owner may claim the vehicle with proper documentation.

Lien Holders

If you are the lien holder (Repossession information) :

  • Lien holders must meet the requirements of ARS 28-3512.D, E, F and G. The lien holder must have been listed as the lien holder on the MVD record at the time of the tow or impound in order to be granted a release. The lien must still be in force in order for the lien holder to qualify.
  • Must provide a Repossession Affidavit and Letter of Authorization/Hold Harmless form to obtain a release. Documents must be the original notarized documents.

Off-Road Violation Impounding

* If you were cited for an “off-road” violation (TC 11-70.1) and your vehicle was impounded, you should have been given a court date at Tucson City Court within 48 hours of the violation. 

At that hearing the judge will determine if your vehicle will be released and if you will pay the towing and storage costs.  Per ARS 28-3511, this impound is not subject to the mandatory 30 days. 

*You do not need paperwork from the Tucson Police Department, prior to obtaining your vehicle in (this instance only)

Letter of Authorization

A Letter of Authorization is a letter from the vehicle owner, to the Tucson Police Department, authorizing a specific individual (agent) to obtain the release for a specific vehicle. 

The letter must include:

  1. The complete legal name and date of birth of the agent
  2. A complete description of the vehicle, to include year, make, model, body style, color, and VIN. 
  3. The letter must be notarized and must be an original.  Copies of a notarized letter with not be accepted.

You must complete the steps above to obtain your vehicle.  A tow company will not release a vehicle at any time without paperwork from the Tucson Police Department.