The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association continues to work with Missouri lawmakers to establish consumer protections for truckers who need to have their tractor-trailer towed, usually as the result of an accident.
A bill that would establish a Towing Task Force is expected to be introduced during the 2019 Missouri legislative session. Currently in Missouri, there is no process in place for truckers to file a complaint if they believe they were overcharged for a nonconsensual tow, which generally includes all law enforcement tows.
This effort was almost successful in 2018 but was removed from a larger legislative package at the end of the legislative session.
“We’ve spent the last couple of months looking at the bill and making changes that reflect what truly needs to be addressed in Missouri, as well as including provisions to prevent abuses from happening in Missouri that are already problematic in other states,” said Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s manager of government affairs. “We’ve also put a little more teeth into it. We’ve been working closely with the Missouri Trucking Association on this and greatly appreciate everything they’ve done.”
Some of the additional provisions in the bill would be to prohibit “drive-away” tows and establish rules addressing the booting of occupied commercial motor vehicles.
The bill is modeled off nonconsensual towing regulations and laws that are already in place in other states.
“We didn’t come up with any of this out of thin air,” Matousek said. “Most of the language in this bill are regulations or laws in another state. We’ve basically taken what works in other states and included them in a comprehensive towing reform bill in Missouri. Our goal, as always, is to address the bad actors within the towing industry while minimizing the impact to those who do things the right way.”
Matousek said he hopes the bill will be ready to be introduced for prefiling in December.
“That’s what we’re pushing for,” he said. “Very few bills, if any, make it through the legislative process without being amended at some point, but I think we have a good starting point. We’re certainly open to revisions from any interested stakeholder as this process moves forward.”
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