Missouri towing bill would create complaint task force

March 5, 2021

Land Line Staff

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is taking another crack at trying to add consumer protections for truckers who are forced to have their tractor-trailer towed in Missouri.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s manager of government affairs, testified earlier this week before the Missouri State Senate Transportation Committee in Jefferson City to promote SB387, which would establish a task force to handle complaints about being overcharged for third-party tows.

A third-party tow is one that is initiated by law enforcement with no opportunity for the trucker to negotiate services or compare prices. The Senate bill was introduced by Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield.

(H3) OOIDA has been working for the past several years to get similar bills passed in Missouri.

Matousek has told Land Line of instances where truckers have received invoices for more than $40,000 after a third-party tow in Missouri. The way it stands, truckers do not have a way to contest those charges in the state.

“This bill basically creates a task force made up of industry and government stakeholders get together,” Matousek told Land Line Now’s Scott Thompson. “It gives clear authority to actually come up with some regulations, which is great. Theoretically, you could have a lot of really good consumer protection rules in place. It doesn’t regulate rates, but it would establish a complaint process. So if a member of ours is driving through Missouri gets in an accident or a fender bender or whatever, and law enforcement dispatches a tow company, if you feel like you’ve been overcharged, if this bill is law, there will be a process for you to file a complaint process for that to be adjudicated and then some disciplinary measures as well for an offending tow company.”

To get lawmakers to understand the severity of the problem, all he has to do is send them a copy of some of the invoices.

“The easiest thing for me to do is we actually send these invoices,” he said. We … just print them out. We redact the any sort of personal information, and it speaks for itself. I mean … it’s not like we have to sell this issue. It kind of sells itself. When these people look at these invoices, and they see some of these charges …”

Rep. Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City, has introduced a similar Missouri towing bill, (HB389) in the House. Matousek and OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh will travel back to Jefferson City next week to testify in front of the House Transportation Committee. LL

WW Williams