Archive May 2024

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Legislative Update: TRAA MEETS WITH FTC

As you’ll already been aware, TRAA has been working tirelessly on a multifaceted advocacy effort since FMCSA Administrator Lawless submitted her comment on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) proposed “Junk Fees” Rule in February suggesting that “predatory towing practices” be added to the final rule. Last Friday, we provided an update on our efforts to engage the Department of Transportation (DOT) and FMCSA on the subject, including the soon-to-be-announced Tow Services Transparency Task Force.

It remains TRAA’s position that Congress already gave statutory authority to DOT and the states to regulate towing, not the FTC. We continue to deliver this message to various audiences involved in the FTC’s rulemaking, as well as the FTC itself.

To that end, we are also pleased to inform our members that yesterday, Bill Johnson, TRAA President, and Cynthia Martineau, TRAA Executive Director, with members of our lobbying team and legal counsel, held the first of multiple meetings directly with the FTC. During the meeting, TRAA reiterated the policy concerns noted in our February letter to Administrator Lawless and the legal concerns outlined in the memo by outside counsel.

We have also been continually engaging a bipartisan group of Members of Congress on the issue. Towing is a bipartisan issue, and with a Democratic Administration drafting the rule, the optimal way to ensure the best possible outcome for the industry is engaging Members of both parties.

TRAA has long been the industry’s voice in Washington, and we will continue to engage the legislative and executive branches of government on this issue, and other issues that impact the industry.

Thank you for your continued support.

David J. Garriepy
Vice President, Government Affairs
Tremont Strategies Group (TSG)

Legislative Update: FMCSA Public Meeting in June

Thank you to everyone who joined TRAA during the Florida Tow Show last month to discuss the policy challenges that are facing our industry and our efforts on your behalf. TRAA remains committed to both being the industry’s unified voice in Washington, and to keep you apprised of advocacy. As we noted on May 2, we expected the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to announce a public meeting at the end of June. This is expected to be an initial step followed by a more formal task force. This is a direct result of TRAA’s advocacy, including our letter to Acting Deputy Administrator Lawless in February.

We are pleased that in the coming days FMCSA will formally announce the date and details of a public hearing/public roundtable on the subject. Bill Johnson, TRAA’s new President, and a member of TRAA's lobbying team will represent us at the event.

While this is a public affirmation of our actions, we continue to educate and engage members of Congress behind the scenes. These meetings would not be possible without the engagement of individual TRAA members who went to Washington as part of our Hill Days in March. In the days and weeks ahead, we will expand those efforts and work tirelessly to defeat the inclusion of towing fees in the FTC’s final rule.

Thank you to everyone who has engaged in this effort, without a collective and unified voice this would not be possible. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions and we will continue to provide updates as they arise.

David J. Garriepy
Vice President, Government Affairs
Tremont Strategies Group (TSG)

Research Results: Roadside Assistance Providers Fatally Struck by Vehicles at the Roadside

Roadside assistance providers risk their own safety to help stranded motorists. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently conducted and published a project titled “Roadside Assistance Providers Fatally Struck by Vehicles at the Roadside: Incidence and Characteristics” to examine crashes in which roadside assistance providers were struck and killed by vehicles and inform efforts to protect them. 

Researchers identified 123 roadside assistance providers who were struck and killed by vehicles while working in the United States in years 2015 – 2021. This represented nearly four times as many as were identified using national crash data alone and slightly more than reported in a federal database of occupational fatalities.

Key Findings
  • 89% occurred at locations with speed limits of 55 miles per hour or higher, almost all of which were on Interstates or other limited-access highways.
  • 84% occurred in crashes with no indication of precipitation nor slippery road conditions.
  • 63% occurred during darkness, of which nearly two-thirds were at locations without lighting.
  • 63% occurred in crashes in which the striking vehicle left the road before striking the roadside assistance provider, the provider’s vehicle, or the disabled vehicle.
  • The annual number of roadside assistance providers struck and killed by vehicles appears to be increasing significantly faster than the concurrent increasing trend in total traffic fatalities. Trends should be interpreted with caution, however, as it is possible that recent records of roadside assistance provider deaths may be more complete than records from earlier in the study period.
The report issues the following recommendations based on the research findings:
  • There is a need to reinforce public awareness of and increase compliance with Slow Down, Move Over laws, which require motorists to move over one lane or slow down when approaching an incident where tow operators, police, firefighters or emergency medical service providers are working at the roadside. There is also a need for research on the most effective approaches to increase compliance.
  • Countermeasures are needed to protect roadside assistance providers and first responders from out-of-control vehicles that depart the roadway; research is needed to determine what countermeasures are most effective and practical.
  • Training for roadside assistance providers should emphasize avoiding working on the traffic-facing side of the incident scene to the greatest extent possible and should provide strategies for how to do so.
  • In cases where countermeasures are inherently site-specific or where deployment must be prioritized, deployment should prioritize protecting roadside assistance providers working on high-speed limited-access highways.
  • State police crash report forms should include data fields designed to report whether a crash victim was an incident responder and type of responder when applicable, as called for in the current edition of the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria. States should also consider collecting additional information on crashes in which roadside assistance providers and other emergency response personnel are struck by vehicles, at least in those that result in the injury or death of a responder.

TRAA appreciates the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety for conducting this valuable research. We look forward to seeing the results of their next study. For more information visit:

Tefft, B.C., Wei, A. & Steinbach, R. (2024). Roadside Assistance Providers Fatally Struck by Vehicles at the Roadside: Incidence and Characteristics (Technical Report). Washington, D.C.: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Legislative Update: FTC Informal Hearing

On Wednesday (4/24), FTC held an informal hearing on its proposed “Junk Fees” Rule. While many industries were explicitly named during the hearing, towing was not among them. This is a positive sign, but it does not mean our work is done. TRAA continues to engage both the Administration and Congress in our work to defeat this effort including following-up with Members we met with during Hill Day about public and private engagement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

As we’re already reported, TRAA is actively working with FMCSA to establish a task force to discuss towing fees as an alternative course of action. To establish such a task force, the FMCSA must take legal steps in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), including seeking approval of the charter from the Secretary and General Service Administration.

Recognizing the urgency of the issue, and the time it will likely take to formally seat the task force, TRAA has worked with the FMCSA to begin open and transparent dialogue with all interested parties and to gather information to help inform policy decisions. We expect the first of those steps to come in June and will provide more details to TRAA members as they become public. 

Thank you to all the Hill Days participants who followed-up to thank the Congressional staff who met with us last month. These emails are extremely helpful in building and maintaining strategic relationships in Washington. As a direct result of these meetings and emails, additional Members of Congress have co-sponsored our House Move Over Law Resolution (H.Res.152)!

We will continue to leave no stone unturned in our advocacy efforts. If you have any questions about TRAA’s efforts, please do not hesitate to reach out. 



Who We Are

TRAA is the national association representing the U.S. towing and recovery industry. We act as the "voice of America's towing industry" by offering representation, education, and leadership at the federal level. Much of our focus is on representing the interests of the towing and recovery industry on Capitol Hill including promoting positive legislation and opposing potentially negative legislation. TRAA is the industry's watchdog on Capitol Hill!