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PROPOSED NEW TOWING LAW ADDED TO 2015 FEDERAL HIGHWAY FUNDING LEGISLATION

TRAA Call to Action

Washington, DC, November 5, 2015 - The Towing and Recovery Association of America, Inc. ® (TRAA) has been closely monitoring H.R.2563 - State and Local Predatory Towing Enforcement Act since its introduction by representatives from Maryland and Virginia on May 21, 2015. The proposed new law would permit broader regulation of the towing industry by state and local governments.  On Tuesday, that proposed new towing law was attached to the 2015 federal highway funding bill which is rocketing through Congress.  Earlier today, the funding bill, with the towing amendment attached, was referred to a joint conference committee for final consideration.

 

The proposed new towing law would amend Title 49, Section 14501 of the U.S. Code to read as follows: [The 1994 federal deregulation law] does not apply to the authority of a State or a political subdivision of a State to enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision relating to the price of for-hire motor vehicle transportation by a tow truck, if such transportation is the regulation of tow operations performed without the prior consent or authorization of the owner or operator of the motor vehicle."

 

The law expands local regulatory authority over non-consensual towing beyond the current authority to regulate only price, safety and prior written authorization.  While the amendment proposed in the Bill may seem simple please do not underestimate its intent, TRAA is concerned that it would allow for the regulation of all non-consent "tow truck operations," not just private property impounding (PPI). 

 

Predatory towing is not an activity engaged in by most towers. Of the towers that do perform PPI, many use aggressive towing practices.  While the instances of PPI towing problems are limited, they have become much publicized and a concern for the general motoring public. With that in mind, some in Congress believe that all towing industry practices need to be regulated. In essence the philosophy is to regulate the whole in order to eliminate the problematic minority.

 

We must continue to conduct ourselves as professionals in our work and in our charges. Those that engage in aggressive PPI towing practices need to develop more professional techniques. Once regulation starts, more will come. This is the time for the towing industry to stand united for the good of everyone large and small.

 

TRAA will lobby the members of the Conference Committee against the further passage of the towing amendment in its current form and at minimum press for an amendment to stipulate the regulation of private property tow operations rather than the regulation of all non-consent tow operations. This amendment would better represent the legislature's true intent.

 

TRAA will be submitting a position paper outlining the deficiencies with this bill, highlighting the fact that no public hearings were held to allow for input from the towing industry.  This we believe was a gross oversight and should be corrected.

 

This is a call to action to the industry as a whole! Please contact the TRAA office via email at contact@traaonline.com for a copy of the legislative action bulletin providing a summary of TRAA objections, and then call or e-mail your congress members offices to express your concerns about this last minute amendment to the highway funding bill. We still have a chance to make a difference. Don't delay...call and email today!

 

TRAA has been the "The Voice of America's Towing Industry" for over 35 years. Our mission is to serve the needs of the towing and recovery industry through legislation, education and communication. Working diligently with state associations and members we strive for professionalism and a fair and profitable industry. Our National Driver Certification Program (NDCP) developed through a grant from the Federal Department of Transportation is recognized as the national standards for tow truck operators. TRAA is proud to have contributed to the safety of our industry through the certification of over 16,000 tow operators across the country.

 

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Joanne Blyton, Legislative Chair

at 888.392.9300 or email at contact@traaonline.com.

700 12th St NW, Suite 700  Washington, DC  20005

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