BEND, Ore (KTVZ) -- Towing can be a headache for anyone, especially if it's not regulated or practiced fairly.
Gov. Kate Brown recently signed Senate Bill 300 to deal with the problems that some tow companies are inflicting on the general public. The new law creates the Oregon Board of Towing, and Lori Anton, general manager of Consolidated Towing in Bend, is in favor of it.
“It allows the industry as a whole to do a self-policing, or self-regulation. So we 100% support it," Anton said Wednesday.
Anton added that the issues with towing are huge, and a lot of it is a result of predatory towing. That is, towing in parking lots.
She also made it clear that the offenses are typically caused by small tow companies that act unfairly, which include not having the right accreditation and charging whatever prices they like.
“There are lawsuits, there are complaints to the Better Business Bureau, complaints to the Oregon Tow Truck Association." Anton said, "Hopefully, (the new board is) going to go after the towing companies that are not licensed, insured, qualified, and who are just taking advantage of people out there, just because they have a tow truck on the road.”
Some issues that result from unlawful towing practices are damaged cars, which often gets passed onto insurance companies. The difficulty is identifying whether the damage was caused by a car accident, for instance, or the towing company.
“People who do not have the proper equipment to do the job and are a danger to both themselves and the motoring public," Anton said.
Anton reiterated that it’s a good thing that towing companies will be closely evaluated to stop poor business and help the people that are affected by it.
Senator Riley’s Bill to Create Oregon Board of Towing Signed into Law
SALEM – On July 19, Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 300, a bill championed by Senator Chuck Riley (D-Hillsboro) to create the Oregon Board of Towing within the Department of Transportation. The bill passed the Oregon Legislature with bipartisan support during the recent 2021 Legislative Session. Senate Bill 300 goes into effect on January 1, 2022.
“Towing companies can face a variety of safety challenges while going about their work to assist Oregon drivers and property owners,” said Senator Chuck Riley (D-Hillsboro). “Their voices should be considered as the Oregon Board of Towing determines appropriate action to take when a towing company engages in predatory practices or has committed other violations.”
Senate Bill 300 creates a nine-member Board of Towing that will include policy-makers, towing business members and law enforcement. The bill also creates the State Board of Towing Account, where possible fees for towing certificates and renewals along with funds appropriated by the Legislative Assembly may be held.
In 2017, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 117, which was also championed by Senator Riley. That bill specifically targeted businesses engaged in predatory towing practices. Senate Bill 300 builds on that work and improves accountability and oversight.
“For many Oregonians, having a car towed is devastating. The price to retrieve a vehicle can be insurmountable, especially when that vehicle is one of few family assets. Proper oversight of towing companies and towing practices will provide greater fairness for some of our most vulnerable Oregonians and ensure that towing laws are followed,” added Senator Riley.