Pennsylvania bill would revise towing rule for large trucks

September 3, 2019

Keith Goble

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If one Pennsylvania state lawmaker gets his way, a rule change would be made that applies to towing tractor-trailers.

Sen. Robert Tomlinson, R-Bucks, is the sponsor of a bill to revise towing requirements in an effort to enhance road safety for tow truck operators and other motorists.

Pennsylvania law requires tow truck operators to tow disabled tractor-trailers to the nearest place of repairs or place of safety.

In a memo to fellow state lawmakers, Tomlinson said because the terms are “so vague, there is little consistency as to where the tow truck operator will be ordered to go.”

“If they are directed to the nearest place of safety, the broken down tractor-trailer remains on or by the road for a longer period of time, jeopardizing the safety of the motorists as well as the tow truck operator.”

In these instances, Tomlinson wrote that tow truck operators often must stand along busy roadways coupling and uncoupling the tractor and trailer in order to get it to the intended place of repair.

“In most cases, there is no need to add this extra step.”

He notes that tow trucks now are equipped to handle larger loads and should be able to do so in a safe and efficient manner.

Tomlinson assured legislators that his bill would follow the intent of the law while clarifying the provisions with parameters for how tow trucks can operate. Specifically, towing affected vehicles would be limited to within 75 miles of the point of disability.

Towing length restrictions for affected tows would also be limited to 150 feet.

For instances when the tow truck operator is unable to meet the requirements set in the bill they would be required to report the incident. An emergency plan would then be implemented to remove the disabled vehicle within 24 hours of the initial report.

He adds that the changes would also make the Keystone State more consistent with other states.

The bill, SB467, is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.