A new law in Wyoming is intended to help ensure that truckers and other drivers traveling through the state are not victimized by dishonest tow truck operators.
Gov. Matt Mead signed a bill into law creating new standards for towing and recovery companies to follow during nonconsensual towing and recovery operations. Previously HB106, the new law takes effect July 1.
The change authorizes the Wyoming Department of Transportation to oversee a rotation list for nonconsensual towing. Specifically, procedures will be set for operations that want to be included on a wrecker rotation list.
Penalties will also be imposed for violating the standards and procedures set by the state DOT. In addition, towing and recovery companies will be required to prove their fees are fair.
Operations found to be in violation by law enforcement would be removed from the rotation list for one year.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the Wyoming Trucking Association support the changes in the state’s towing rules. While the bill was being considered at the statehouse, OOIDA sent a letter of support to Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Curt Meier, R-LaGrange.
Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s director of state legislative affairs, said the legislation provides new consumer protections for all travelers driving on highways in the state.
He said that changes are needed in Wyoming and in many other states across the country because “small-business truckers are increasingly subjected to inappropriate and unreasonable charges from fraudulent towing companies engaged in nonconsensual towing and recovery operations.”
Matousek said that by definition, “a nonconsensual tow provides zero opportunity for consumers, in particular truckers involved in a roadside accident, to shop for a vendor or negotiate rates or services provided.”
“This frequently leads to unjustifiable towing and recovery invoices that reach tens of thousands of dollars, which is financially and emotionally devastating to truckers.”
He also points out that Wyoming law has lacked any efficient or effective recourse for challenging or disputing towing and recovery charges.
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