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Donald B.
Democrat VA 8

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  • Conference Report on H.R. 22, Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015

    by Representative Donald S. Beyer Jr.

    Posted on 2015-12-03

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    Read More about Conference Report on H.R. 22, Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015

    BEYER. Mr. Speaker, now that the House has approved the conference report I would like to recognize and commend my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting the inclusion of bill language in H.R. 22 (Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act of 2015) that will help protect consumers from the longstanding problem of predatory towing.

    For some time now, egregious vehicle towing and storage practices performed by some unscrupulous companies have been a serious concern in many parts of the country. While the vast majority of towing and storage firms are honest and well-intentioned, some have been engaged in predatory business tactics designed to delay access to vehicles and increase costs for consumers. Because these companies have possession of vehicles, they are in a position to take advantage of consumers and charge excessive towing and storage fees.

    For reasons that are not entirely clear, current Federal law allows states to regulate some, but not all aspects of tow truck operations, limiting their ability to protect consumers from predatory towing tactics. The language included in the amendment introduced by myself and Rep. Van Hollen broadens the authority of states and localities to regulate tow truck operations, which is limited by current motor carrier law. This additional authority will now allow states and localities to regulate all aspects of tows conducted without the prior [[Page H8998]] consent or authorization of the owner or operator of a vehicle. The language is also intended to apply to accident scene and breakdown towing, to allow states to protect consumers who are often unable to make an informed choice and give meaningful consent or acknowledgment on towing in those situations.

    I want to thank the conference chair and vice chair for their support of this important provision. I would also like to thank my predecessor, Jim Moran, who was a champion on this issue for so long and first introduced this language during the 109th Congress.

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