Illinois lawmakers approve new rules on truck tows, HOS violations

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, August 14, 2015

Two rule changes in Illinois cover issues of interest to truckers. One change would put limits in place on nonconsensual tows of large trucks.

A bill on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk would prohibit towers from removing a commercial vehicle under the vehicle’s own power without authorization from law enforcement.

SB1441 forbids “towing” a truck by operating the vehicle under its own power as opposed to physically hauling the vehicle away unless police authorize moving the vehicle.

Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, has said the protection is needed to address use of a master key to start up and move vehicles without authorization from the truck driver, or company.

The bill also requires law enforcement agencies that are responsible for patrolling highways in the state to maintain at least one tow rotation list.

Tow operators that are present at the scene of a vehicle incident or disablement that were not requested by law enforcement, or the owner or operator of the vehicle would be told to leave the scene.

Towers found to be soliciting business at wreck or disablement scenes would face fines between $500 and $1,000. Offenders would also face three months suspension.

In addition, truck drivers arriving on the scene while a tow is in progress must be able to get the truck and/or trailer disconnected as long as they pay up to one-half of the posted rates of the towing service for each vehicle.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA director of state legislative affairs, said the changes to towing rules sent to the governor are a step in the right direction. He said the Association is hopeful that lawmakers will consider additional tow protections for trucks in the future.

A new law substantially increases the penalties for truck drivers who injure or kill someone because they willingly violated hours-of-service rules.

The offense would become a more serious, Class 2 felony – punishable by three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 fines – for incidents that result in death. Incidents that result in severe injuries to others would be a Class 3 felony – punishable by two to five years in prison and fines up to $25,000.

HB1516 stems from a January 2014 incident where an Illinois Tollway Authority worker was killed and a state trooper critically injured when they were struck by a truck on the shoulder of Interstate 88 near Aurora. Truck driver Renato Velasquez was sentenced to three years for driving fatigued, altering his logbook, driving too fast for conditions and failure to yield to emergency vehicles.

The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Illinois, click here.

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