Predatory Towing Bill Becomes Law without Governor Hogan’s Signature
June 28, 2022
Although Governor Hogan elected not to sign it, MMTA’s legislation to provide some protections for motor carriers, truck drivers, and insurers against egregious towing bills is now the law. Most of the provisions take effect October 1, 2022.
Beginning October 1, 2022:
- Towers on the MD State Police rotation have to file their maximum rates for police-initiated tows when they apply annually for the program. The State Police must make those rates available to the public.
- The State Police must establish a complaint/discipline process where towers can be expelled from the list.
- Trucking companies must be allowed to use the tower of their choice and bypass the MSP list as long as the tower can arrive in 30 minutes or less, with some exclusions if it creates a safety risk.
- Hostage liens on cargo:
- If there is a dispute over the cost and the cargo is owned by a 3rd party other than the trucking company, the tower must release the cargo to its owner or designee.
- If there is a dispute over the cost and the cargo is owned by the motor carrier, the motor carrier must provide insurance information demonstrating it has sufficient coverage to cover the cost of the cargo cleanup. If it does not have sufficient coverage, the motor carrier will have to sign a letter of guarantee for payment of the cargo cleanup before cargo would be released.
Beginning October 1, 2023:
- Per pound billing will be banned in Maryland on police-initiated tows.
- A tower must release a trucking company’s equipment with payment of a 20% deposit of the amount billed. The payment does not absolve the motor carrier of responsibility for the remaining balance.