The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is working with the Wyoming Highway Patrol and the Wyoming Trucking Association to help prevent truckers from being overcharged for third-party tows.
Mike Matousek, the director of government affairs for OOIDA, traveled to Casper, Wyo., earlier this month to discuss the issue. Over the years, Matousek said there have been OOIDA members who have been overcharged thousands of dollars by Wyoming towing companies.
A third-party tow is when a towing company is called to the scene of a crash without the vehicle owner’s approval. In those instances, the vehicle owner isn’t able to check prices or research a company before being obligated to pay for its services.
“I’ve provided them specific examples of invoices that we thought were inflated by tens of thousands of dollars,” Matousek said.
“I think the highway patrol is looking for some short-term solutions and some changes they could make to their towing manual that would mitigate the problem while also looking for some long-term ideas.”
OOIDA provided a list of suggested requirements that would help protect truck drivers from being excessively overcharged after a crash.
The suggestions included the creation of a clearly defined complaint process.
“There needs to be a clear structure for how someone should file a complaint,” Matousek said. “It should be ‘If you think you were overcharged, here’s who you need to contact and here’s the information you need to provide.’”
To make it as clear as possible, OOIDA recommended that the invoices should include the phrase “if you feel that you have been charged unfairly, you may file a complaint with the Wyoming Highway Patrol at (insert address) or by contacting the local division lieutenant” in bold, capital letters.
OOIDA also suggested that the Wyoming Highway Patrol should be granted more broad authority to levy sanctions.
“They seem genuinely interested in solving the problem, and we want to do all we can to help them in this endeavor,” Matousek said.
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