Missouri governor vetoes towing rule changes

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 7/12/2016

A proposed change to towing rules in Missouri will have to wait.

Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that includes a provision that covers motor vehicle extended service contracts and the use of rotation lists for towing. The governor cited concerns about extended service contracts for his veto decision.

Of direct interest to truck drivers, HB1976 called for making the Missouri State Highway Patrol responsible for setting up rotations to tow or remove disabled vehicles at accident scenes.

Troopers would be prohibited from calling on tow operators from outside the state, except under certain circumstances that include the driver’s or owner’s request.

Tow operators already on the scene of wrecks when law enforcement arrives could be dismissed in favor of a listed wrecker. Additionally, towers who stop and tow a vehicle from the scene of a wreck without having been called by the vehicle owner or contacted from the rotation list could face fines and the possibility of the tow truck being impounded.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association previously communicated to state lawmakers an opposition to setting up rotation lists. The Association pointed out that rotation lists can result in truckers and others paying two to three times more to get towed.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA director of state legislative affairs, has said the Association receives no complaints about existing rules on arranging for towing services from its nearly 7,200 Missouri members.

At the urging of OOIDA, one provision included in the legislation would allow the Highway Patrol to remove any towers from a rotation list for any reason.

Carriers would retain the right to call a tow company in lieu of using a listed company.

“These are important consumer protections as it relates to nonconsensual towing,” Matousek said.

The issues covered in the legislation can be brought back for consideration when the General Assembly convenes in January 2017.

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

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