The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association continues to get the word out about its mission to add consumer protections for truckers forced to have their tractor-trailer towed.
Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s manager of government affairs, discussed the topic with WDAF-TV Fox 4 Kansas City on Tuesday, March 26. OOIDA is supporting a pair of bills that would add those consumer protections regarding nonconsensual tows in Missouri. A nonconsensual tow is one that is initiated by law enforcement with no opportunity for the trucker to negotiate services or compare prices. Without the ability to shop around, OOIDA says it is not uncommon for the price of these tows to be inflated by thousands of dollars.
In its quest to eliminate the problem across the country, OOIDA has encountered some extreme examples in Missouri and nationwide.
“Towing companies will come out, and they will bill you for equipment that was never on the scene, that was never necessary to be there in the first place,” he told Fox 4 Kansas City. “They will double or triple prices when it is a nonconsensual tow.
“We’re talking about bills that are inflated by thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.”
When Matousek testified in front of Missouri’s Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee in February, he provided a copy of an invoice that an OOIDA member received in Missouri for $43,000. He also referenced bills in Pennsylvania and West Virginia for $250,000 and $185,000, respectively.
Missouri Sen. Lincoln Hough introduced S323, which 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 but gives the state discretion for the adoption of those recommendations.
A similar bill, HR749, was introduced in the House by Missouri Rep. Nate Tate.
OOIDA supports both bills as they would both give truckers a way to contest an invoice when they believe they were overcharged. Currently, there is no process available to a truck driver who received a nonconsensual tow in Missouri.
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