OOIDA continues fight for fair towing prices in West Virginia
November 24, 2021
•Land Line Staff
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been working for years to protect truckers from exorbitant charges for third-party tows.
A third-party tow, also known as a nonconsensual tow, is one that is initiated by law enforcement with no opportunity for the trucker to negotiate services or compare prices. OOIDA believes each state should have protections in place for when a trucker believes the towing bill has been inflated.
In West Virginia, OOIDA has advocated for a cap on the administrative fees that can be charged and for towing companies to provide justification for the use of multiple wreckers.
Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s director of state legislative affairs, cited a West Virginia towing invoice from 2020 for more than $86,000. The towing company charged for the use of eight wreckers in a nonrollover crash. The towing company also tacked on a 5% administrative fee for nearly $4,000.
Earlier this year, the West Virginia Public Service Commission proposed to cap the amount of administrative fees at 5% up to $1,000 and to require towing companies to provide justification for the use of multiple wreckers.
In late October, the commission elected to move forward with its multiple wrecker rule but decided not to place a cap on administrative fees.
“Upon reconsideration of the administrative fee, we conclude that an uncapped administrative fee applicable only to valid accident and recovery work is reasonable,” the West Virginia Public Service Commission wrote.
Matousek said that OOIDA plans to pursue the creation of a cap on administrative fees through the state legislature.
“The fight on that is not over,” Matousek said. “But all things considered, we think progress has been made. Of course, we’d like more, and we’re going to pursue more.”
Although the administrative fee cap wasn’t implemented, limiting the amount of wreckers that a towing company can bill for will likely reduce the overall bill and the administrative charge. LL