Trucking Sector Celebrates New Predatory Towing Legislation in Mississippi

Trucking Sector Celebrates New Predatory Towing Legislation in Mississippi

The American Trucking Associations has praised Mississippi for implementing significant reforms aimed at combating predatory towing practices that specifically target heavy-duty trucks. Governor Tate Reeves recently signed the legislation, SB 2635, into law following its overwhelming approval in the Mississippi House of Representatives and unanimous passage in the Senate.

Predatory towing involves scenarios where tow operators grossly overcharge, unlawfully seize assets, use improper equipment causing damage, or illegitimately withhold the release of trucks, trailers, and cargo.

Crafted with input from both the Mississippi Trucking Association and the Mississippi Towing Association, the new law will safeguard trucking firms by establishing an advisory committee to cap towing fees, develop a process for addressing billing disputes, and implement measures against predatory actions. It also aims to uphold the integrity of legitimate towing services by eliminating unethical operators.

Chris Spear, President and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, commented, “Predatory towing firms have long exploited the trucking sector by issuing inflated and fraudulent invoices, holding equipment and cargo hostage. We are now taking a stand against these practices by promoting greater accountability and fairness through state and local towing regulations.”

Hal Miller, President of the Mississippi Trucking Association, also expressed his gratitude, stating, “Predatory towing disrupts our supply chain and imposes significant costs on Mississippi truck owners for each unwarranted tow. We are thankful to the Mississippi legislators for addressing this issue, and to Governor Reeves for his prompt action in signing the bill. We anticipate further collaborative efforts with state leaders on reforms that ensure justice, fairness, and safety.”

This legislation acknowledges the crucial relationship between trucking and towing companies, particularly when mechanical issues occur. However, in situations where towing happens without the truck owner’s consent, rogue operators can take advantage of the circumstances, compelling truck drivers to pay hefty fees due to the urgency of their deliveries. This new law aims to create a more balanced environment, ensuring fair treatment for all involved parties.

Research by the American Transportation Research Institute indicates that the most frequent predatory towing practices include exorbitant rates, encountered by 82.7% of motor carriers, and unjustified additional service charges, experienced by 81.8% of carriers. Many also face delays in truck or cargo release, unauthorized truck seizures, and misreported consensual tows.

Trucking is vital to Mississippi’s economy, providing middle-class employment to approximately 82,000 residents and serving as the primary transportation mode for over 85% of communities in the state.

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