Missouri lawmakers introduce bills to provide towing protections

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line associate editor | 2/4/2019

A pair of Missouri lawmakers introduced bills that would add consumer protections for truck drivers who are forced to have their tractor-trailer towed in the state.

Missouri Sen. Lincoln Hough recently unveiled S323, and Missouri Rep. Nate Tate introduced HR749 as avenues for providing truck drivers a way to file a complaint if they believe they were overcharged for a nonconsensual tow in Missouri.

Providing these protections to truckers in every state has been a mission for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

“The bills are very similar,” said Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s manager of government affairs. “We are supporting both of them. We essentially gave Missouri legislators two options to consider. We would be happy with either one of them prevailing.”

The Senate version would create a Commercial Motor Vehicle Towing Advisory Committee, comprised of government and industry stakeholders, tasked with developing recommendations regarding regulations for the towing of commercial motor vehicles. It gives the state discretion in adopting those recommendations. The House bill, in contrast, would create a Towing Task Force within the Missouri Department of Transportation to create the process.

Both bills would allow potential overcharges to be investigated and adjudicated. Both versions also would create a process for removing offenders from law enforcement towing rotation lists.

“If you think you were overcharged, there will be a process to show you how to make a complaint,” Matousek said.

Currently, there is no process available to a truck driver who received a nonconsensual tow in Missouri.

“We’ve seen plenty of examples of inflated towing invoices in Missouri as recently as December 2018,” he said. “These are the kind of invoices we use as examples to lawmakers to show them that there’s a problem. Right now, if someone gets an excessive invoice, there’s nothing that can be done about it.”

 

 

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