To all present and past TRAM members:
The Towing and Recovery Association of Maine has hired an attorney to help guide us as we speak to the Transportation Committee on April 7th. We have spent a significant amount of money to fight LD 1022 and LD 989. You can find additional information regarding these on the State Of Maine website but I will summarize them below.
LD 1022 is the bill designed to require an itemized tow bill for anyone who tows a commercial vehicle without consent. This bill will also include a notice on where to direct complaints about towing companies overcharging which will be sent and addressed by the Traffic Division of the Maine State Police. It will also provide a way to fine towing companies for not itemizing the invoices. The worst part of this legislation is that it prohibits towing companies from holding its cargo until payment is made.
LD 989 was introduced by the Credit Union Industry. They are currently not notified timely of the whereabouts of a vehicle in which they are the lien holder. The notification comes from the Title section of its location and charges. This legislation will require us to notify the Secretary of State within 3 days but not longer than 5 days upon towing the vehicle in. If they are not notified timely, than we can only charge 3 days of storage. If they were notified timely, than we cannot charge more than $900 in storage within a 30 day period.
The Association is taking one step at a time. We are taking care of these two bills first. Last year the Owner Operator independent Drivers Association introduced legislation regulating the towing industry. This year there are two smaller bills, next year I am certain that there will be more.
The cause of the all of this new legislation is the vast range in the cost of towing services. Some towers are not charging nearly enough while others are drastically overcharging. Neither are willing to change their ways. Either way you look at it, we have to come closer to a happy medium or all of this will continue to happen year after year.
Wreckmaster tried to develop a billing system called “price per pound” but it was not used correctly by all companies utilizing it and it didn’t seem to work as an national standard as they had hoped. The towing industries national leaders have not tried to come up with a standard and I’m not sure that they ever will. We are all adults and business professionals and it seems that we could figure out something together.
Meanwhile, the Towing and Recovery Association of Maine, as I said, has spent a significant amount of its money on these two legislative bills and cannot financially afford to keep doing this year after year and would be forced to collapse if there are no funds to function. We urge you to share your input. Please email me at Mainetowing@yahoo.com or Leightonsgarage@yahoo.com at your earliest convenience.
Dana - President