Illinois law sets new rules on truck tows

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/25/2015

A new law in Illinois puts in place limits on nonconsensual tows of large trucks.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a bill to prohibit towers from removing a commercial vehicle under the vehicle’s own power without authorization from law enforcement. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.

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 called for the protection to address use of a master key to start up and move vehicles without authorization from the truck driver, or company.

The new law 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 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.

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