Wyoming bill would overhaul towing rules

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/23/2015

An effort underway at the Wyoming statehouse would help ensure that truckers and other drivers are not victimized by dishonest tow truck operators.

Rep. David Zwonitzer, R-Cheyenne, has introduced a bill that would create new standards for towing and recovery companies to follow during nonconsensual towing and recovery operations.

One provision in the bill would authorize the Wyoming Department of Transportation to oversee a rotation list for nonconsensual towing. Specifically, procedures would be set for operations that want to be included on a wrecker rotation list.

Penalties would also be imposed for violating the standards and procedures set by the state DOT. In addition, towing and recovery companies would be required to prove their fees are fair.

Operations found to be in violation by law enforcement would be removed from the rotation list for one year.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports the legislative effort in the Wyoming House. The Association recently sent Zwonitzer a letter of support.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s director of state legislative affairs, said the legislation would provide new consumer protections for all drivers traveling on highways in the state.

He said that changes are needed in Wyoming and in many other states across the country “because small-business truckers are increasingly subjected to inappropriate and unreasonable charges from fraudulent towing companies engaged in nonconsensual towing and recovery operations.”

Matousek said that by definition, “a nonconsensual tow provides zero opportunity for consumers, in particular truckers involved in a roadside accident, to shop for a vendor or negotiate rates or services provided.”

“This frequently leads to unjustifiable towing and recovery invoices that reach tens of thousands of dollars, which is financially and emotionally devastating to truckers.”

The bill, HB106, awaits consideration in the House Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee.

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