New Arizona laws make tow rule changes

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/23/2015

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has signed into law a bill that covers towing operations in the state.

The new law requires the Department of Public Safety to conduct rate surveys and create a heavy-duty rotator recovery vehicle classification for towing services. A requirement for towers to notify consumers of their right to file a complaint with the DPS if they believe they have been assessed unreasonable charges is included.

Previously HB2416, the new law takes effect in July.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association cautions the new law could potentially allow Arizona towing companies to charge hourly rates that could be among the highest in the nation while doing very little to protect consumers from inflated towing charges.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA director of state legislative affairs, said small-business truckers are increasingly subjected to inappropriate and unreasonable charges from towing companies engaged in non-consensual towing and recovery operations.

“By definition, a non-consensual tow provides little, if any, opportunity for consumers, in particular truckers involved in a roadside accident, to shop for a vendor or negotiate rates or services,” he said.

Matousek also said rate caps unfortunately become the de facto rate minimums, which essentially legalizes inflated charges. In addition, he said “adjudicating complaints without meaningful enforcement penalties for towing violations is ineffective.”

While data shows bad practices appear to be less common in Arizona, he said the new law has the potential to make the situation worse.

Another new law also covers towing.  HB2523 permits vehicle owners to choose any towing company or tow operator to move a vehicle from a towing company’s storage premises to a repair facility.

The new rule takes effect July 1.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Arizona, click here.

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