Press Release

Trucking Industry Applauds Enactment of Predatory Towing Reform in Mississippi

Apr 22, 2024

Washington — The American Trucking Associations commended Mississippi on enacting comprehensive reforms to crack down on predatory towers that target heavy-duty trucks.  The bill, SB 2635, was signed into law by Governor Tate Reeves after passing the Mississippi House of Representatives overwhelmingly and the Senate unanimously.

Predatory towing entails any incident in which a towing operator severely overcharges; illegally seizes assets; damages assets by use of improper equipment; or illegitimately withholds release of a truck, trailer and/or cargo.  

Mississippi’s new law, which was drafted with recommendations from the Mississippi Trucking Association and the Mississippi Towing Association, will protect trucking companies by creating an advisory committee that will set maximum towing rates, establish a process to resolve complaints and disputes over invoices and take other actions to fight predatory behaviors.  It will also protect reputable towing companies by rooting out bad actors.

“Predatory towing companies that hold equipment and cargo hostage with inflated, excessive and fraudulent invoices tarnish the reputation of the entire towing sector.  They have taken advantage of the trucking industry for far too long, and we refuse to continue making these ransom payments any longer,” said American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear.  “ATA’s federation of state associations is prepared to fight back against unscrupulous companies that target our industry by injecting more accountability and fairness in state and local laws pertaining to towing.”

“Predatory towing is an egregious practice that not only disrupts our state’s supply chain, but also costs Mississippi truck owners thousands of dollars for each unwanted tow,” said Mississippi Trucking Association President Hal Miller.  “We are grateful to Mississippi legislators for listening to our concerns about this unfair tactic, and we thank Governor Reeves for swiftly signing this bill into law.  We look forward to our continued partnership with our state’s leaders on commonsense reforms that promote justice, fairness and safety.”

There is an essential partnership between trucking companies and towing companies, and truckers depend on towers when there is a mechanical breakdown.  Unfortunately, when a truck is towed without the owner’s consent, rogue towing companies can exploit the situation.  Truck drivers and trucking companies have little choice other than to pay the exorbitant bill since the truck is their livelihood and deliveries may be time sensitive.  Legislation to reign in predatory towing creates guardrails that evens the playing field to ensure that both parties are treated fairly.

According to a recent study by the American Transportation Research Institute, the most common types of predatory towing are excessive rates, experienced by 82.7% of motor carriers, and unwarranted extra service charges, experienced by 81.8% of carriers.  A majority of carriers encountered additional issues such as truck release or access delays, cargo release delays, truck seizure without cause and tows misreported as consensual.

The trucking industry plays a significant role in the Mississippi economy and is a key provider of middle-class jobs, employing approximately 82,000 Mississippians across the state. More than 85% of Mississippi communities rely exclusively on trucks to receive their goods.