As we reported last week, TRAA has been actively advocating on the industry's behalf regarding the comment FMCSA submitted to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the agency's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking creating 16 CFR Part 464: Unfair or Deceptive Fees Trade Regulation (88 FR 77420).


As you are aware, the issue is complex and has many layers. Firstly, the so-called “Junk Fees” rulemaking announcement presented to Congress for approval made no mention of the towing industry, nor did the November 2023 Federal Register notice of the proposed rule. Towing was not brought into the fray as it relates to junk fees until late in the afternoon of February 7, 2024 - the very last day that the FTC accepted comment. At that point, the US DOT, via the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), submitted a letter requesting the tow industry be included as a focus of the FTC.


This letter was signed by the Acting Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the federal agency currently tasked with the (federal) oversight and regulation of the towing and recovery industry. FMCSA leadership needs to be reminded that towing is an essential contributor to the smooth functioning of our economy, providing valuable assistance to motorists in need and keeping traffic flowing on our roads and highways. Towers offer timely aid to motorists during unforeseen circumstances such as an incident or breakdown, often at great personal risk. A tower is killed every six days on average on American roads, highlighting not only the crucial role that towers fill, but also the great danger associated with the profession. We feel betrayed by how the industry was treated by FMCSA and have expressed these concerns to the agency.


Since the minute this outrageous and out-of-the-blue comment was submitted, the TRAA has been working feverishly with our lobbying and legal teams to mount a response to this action. One needs to find out the source of an issue before one can mount a response. All indications are this is a directive from the Biden Administration in coordination with the trucking industry. Our sources indicate that many individuals at FMCSA who regularly work with TRAA, were completely unaware of the initiative. This attempt to insert the towing industry under the proposed rules is fraught with issues and the mere fact our industry was never mentioned may open a door for a legal challenge. Also, Congress has ceded jurisdiction of non-consensual towing to the States. These facts are being reviewed by TRAAs legal team. As of today, TRAA, working with our lobbying and legal teams has:


  1. Secured meeting with FMCSA Acting Deputy Administrator Sue Lawless (the top FMCSA official) and Chief Legal Counsel Brian Stansbury for next week;
  2. Coordinating with Members of Congress willing to lead an effort pushing back on the idea that towing fees are included as part of junk fees;
  3. Securing legal memo identifying legal faults in FMCSA's efforts, including Congressional statute that we believe negates the intended effort from FMCSA and will serve as the basis of any future legal efforts, should they be necessary;
  4. Submitted official letter to FTC Chair Khan on behalf of the industry;
  5. Submitted request for an informal hearing with the FTC.


In addition, we have secured meetings with over 100 Congressional offices to discuss this matter during our upcoming Hill Day from March 5 – 7th.


In closing, this assault on our industry is being responded to by the TRAA. Now is the time for all to get involved with TRAA and your state association. The trucking associations and insurance industry are powerful adversaries. As the adage goes, divide and conquer. United we will prevail!



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!