When Assembly Member Mike Gatto (D-Glendale) introduced his “Parking Bill of Rights” with AB 2586 last month, it included an unreasonable provision that would have had a devastating financial impact on towers in California. The bill would have required towers to provide free towing and storage to vehicle owners when their vehicle was towed for illegal parking if the illegal parking was the result of the vehicle being stolen or other third party criminal activity. CTTA’s Towing Regulatory Oversight Council (T-ROC) reacted swiftly and directed CTTA’s lobbying team to vigorously oppose the bill. In the weeks leading up to the bill’s upcoming hearing date before the Assembly Transportation Committee on April 4th, CTTA, along with the United Coalition for Motor Club Safety (UCMCS) and the Los Angeles Official Police Garages (OPGs), worked tirelessly together at the Capitol to convince the Legislature and committee staff that passing this painful financial burden onto the towing industry – when the underlying criminal activity was no fault of their own – was irrational and unfair.
We are pleased to report that Assembly Member Gatto has just agreed to remove this offensive towing provision from his bill. We applaud him for recognizing the unjustified negative impact this provision would have had on the small businesses in our industry.
Thank you for your ongoing support of CTTA as it continues to fight these battles at the Capitol on your behalf.
CTTA’s T-ROC Urges the CHP to Reject Third-Party Vendor for Rotation Tow Program
October 22, 2014
This fall, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) reached out to CTTA’s Towing Regulatory Oversight Council (CTTA/T-ROC) seeking input on the CHP’s possible use of a third-party, for-profit vendor (in this case, AutoReturn) for its Rotation Tow Program. While CTTA/T-ROC was not made aware of any specific proposal from AutoReturn or other third-party vendor, it conducted an extensive investigation of the topic, including interviews and consultations with those in the towing industry who have personal experience with third-party vendors like AutoReturn, as well as reviews of AutoReturn’s business practices in various jurisdictions throughout California and across the country. As a result, CTTA/T-ROC submitted a letter to the CHP that strongly urged the rejection of such a proposal and stated that “…utilizing a third-party vendor for the CHP’s Rotation Tow Program will result in a system that is not as safe, efficient, or fair and equitable.”
CTTA/T-ROC came to this position for a number of reasons. First, in CTTA/T-ROC’s opinion the CHP’s Rotation Tow Program is likely the most successful and respected tow program in the country. It facilitates a first-party relationship between the CHP and the towing community that is mutually beneficial for the public, the tow industry, and the CHP as demanded by Vehicle Code section 2424. As such, CTTA/T-ROC was understandably confused that the CHP would even consider reforming its Tow Program. No wholesale problems had been brought up to the Tow Service Agreement Advisory Committee (the entity designed to meet the CHP’s statutory obligation to work with the towing industry on issues with the Program) or CTTA/T-ROC (which has a lengthy history of working cooperatively with the CHP on difficult issues). Our letter raised the crucial question to the CHP, “Before we listen to a third-party vendor pitch ‘solutions’ shouldn’t we use our existing processes that have proven successful in the past, collectively identify any problems, and strategically engineer any necessary corrective measures?”
Aside from these procedural concerns, CTTA/T-ROC raised a number of additional serious, substantive issues. These issues include the fact that through the use of a third-party intermediary the CHP would lose control over ensuring that all subcontracted towers would meet its high standards for operation, thus jeopardizing the safety of California’s motorists. Our letter additionally raised a number of specific concerns that a number of towing companies have directly experienced when working with AutoReturn, including the lack of a fair and equitable rotation system. Moreover, we noted that alternative, comparable dispatch services are available that would maintain the first-party relationship between the CHP and towers. Finally, it was critical to state that not only do third-party vendors oftentimes sever the strong relationship between the towers and officers actually working on the roadways, but it is the practical reality that third-party vendors will siphon off already scarce resources for their profit, which leaves decreased revenue for the hardworking tow companies already struggling to provide a high level of service with razor-thin profit margins. These margins have already been pushed to the breaking point with the ever-increasing costs of fuel and insurance, as well as CARB regulations that are currently requiring the expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars – all of which place towing companies in an impossible position.
CTTA Advocates for Changes to the "Low-Use Vehicle" Exemption in the CARB Truck & Bus Rule
November 15, 2013
CTTA’s Towing Regulatory Oversight Council (“the T-ROC”) adopted a formal position to advocate to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that the “low-use vehicle” exemption of the CARB Truck and Bus Rule should be expanded to include vehicles driving 5000 or less miles per year and operating 500 or less hours per year. Currently the low-use vehicle exemption is only available for vehicles driving 1000 or less miles per year and 100 or less hours per year for trucks that are designed to perform work while stationary.
The T-ROC has been delegated the exclusive authority to take positions on behalf of the CTTA Board on all regulatory issues that may impact the California Tow Truck Association and the industry it serves and to communicate those positions to the various agencies and branches of government, such as the CHP, CalTrans, CARB, DMV, the California Legislature, Governor, and local governments.
As background, since 2007 CTTA has argued to CARB that tow trucks were uniquely situated and deserving of relief from the Truck and Bus Rule and these efforts resulted in significant relief for light-duty vehicles (14,001 to 26,000 GVWR) and some relief for heavy-duty vehicles (26,001 and higher GVWR). Efforts since the Rule’s enactment have been ongoing to achieve further relief for tow trucks.
At the October 24, 2013 Meeting of the Air Resources Board, CTTA testified before the full CARB Board noting the unique characteristics of heavy-duty tow trucks, raising the negative consequences of the Truck and Bus Rule, and urging CARB staff to continue to negotiate with CTTA regarding any potential changes to the low-use vehicle exemption.
On November 13, 2013 CARB released a Regulatory Advisory recognizing some relief for trucking companies that are facing compliance requirements on January 1, 2014, including non-enforcement of the Rule until July 1, 2014 for fleets that can demonstrate “good faith efforts to comply.” This includes fleets that report to CARB prior to January 31, 2014 that they have ordered a compliant filter or truck, or applied for a loan or other financing for a compliant filter or truck prior to January 1, 2014. Furthermore, the Advisory identifies a number of proposed amendments to the Truck and Bus Rule that will not be completed by the January 1, 2014 compliance deadline, but states that CARB will allow fleets to take advantage of these anticipated amendments if they report their fleet information to CARB prior to January 31, 2014. Notably, included within these potential amendments is an amendment to the low-use vehicle exemption – raising the mileage threshold to 5000 miles and the hours threshold to 200 hours. Other potential amendments include an expanded definition of NOx exempt areas and a reopened opt-in period for agricultural and construction trucks and trucks registering for the PM phase-in requirements. CTTA urges its members to read the full Advisory at:http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/mailouts/msc1328/msc1328.pdf
While CTTA is appreciative that CARB’s potential amendments to low-use vehicle exemption are consistent with the T-ROC’s mileage recommendation of 5000, CTTA will continue to advocate for a proportional increase in hours to 500 (up from the 200 currently being proposed by CARB). CARB staff will be taking these proposed amendments to the full CARB Board in April 2014, thus over the next few months CTTA will continue to meet with CARB staff arguing for greater relief.
The T-ROC Gets to Work at Successful Initial Meetings
August 21, 2013
The Towing Regulatory Oversight Council (T-ROC) held its first two meetings in downtown Sacramento in the Summer of 2013. These meetings featured productive discussion on a wide variety of tough regulatory issues, as well as establishing the foundational structure of the T-ROC including setting the T-ROC General Meeting Rules.
During their first meeting on June 13th & 14th, the T-ROC were invited to visit the California Highway Patrol Headquarters to meet with the C.H.P. Commissioner Joseph A. Farrow and his team to share their vision of the T-ROC and establish a healthy, productive working relationship with the C.H.P.
The second meeting of the T-ROC took place August 1st & 2nd and during this meeting, the Council began to tackle – in-depth – a host of issues that effect the industry now and into the future, as well as identify matters that should be wrestled with going forward. The T-ROC also welcomed special guests from the C.H.P. continue discussions on regulatory issues facing the towing industry in California.
The T-ROC will next be meeting in November 7-8 in downtown Sacramento.
The T-ROC will also be holding a Meet & Greet at the Western States Tow Show (Town & Country Resort, San Diego) on Saturday, October 12th.
T-ROC Official Press Release
August 19, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CTTA ESTABLISHES THE TOWING REGULATORY OVERSIGHT COUNCIL (“T-ROC”) TO PROVIDE THOUGHTFUL AND BALANCED LEADERSHIP ON TOWING REGULATORY MATTERS IN CALIFORNIA
CHP Commissioner Farrow Pledges to Work with the T-ROC to Improve Highway Safety
SACRAMENTO, CA – In a historic vote, the Board of Directors of the California Tow Truck Association (CTTA) unanimously agreed to form the Towing Regulatory Oversight Council, known as the “T-ROC”, in order to provide thoughtful and balanced leadership on towing-related regulatory issues by bringing together experienced industry professionals who reflect the diversity of the towing industry and who are committed to both protecting the motoring public and being fair to towing operators who provide the service. The T-ROC was delegated the exclusive authority to take positions on behalf of the Board on all regulatory issues that may impact the California Tow Truck Association and the industry it serves and to communicate those positions to the various agencies and branches of government, such as the CHP, CalTrans, ARB, DMV, the California Legislature, Governor, and local governments.
Commissioner Joseph A. Farrow of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) said, “The California Tow Truck Association has shown a long-term commitment to increasing professionalism and safety in the towing industry. The T-ROC provides an interactive forum for the CHP and CTTA to work proactively to address issues and concerns that ultimately will result in improving highway safety.”
CTTA President Sherry White stated, “Because the T-ROC is composed exclusively of a preeminent panel of towing experts whose collective experience and credibility in diverse regions and lines of business are unmatched, our goal is for it to be regarded by governmental entities as the definitive and unbiased authority on towing regulatory matters.”
In order to ensure the T-ROC is fair and balanced and reflects the experience, needs, challenges and unique circumstances of a broad cross section of the towing industry, the T-ROC is comprised of an equal number of experienced towing industry professionals, with a minimum of 10-years towing experience, from the Northern and Southern parts of California from the following categories: 1) Small Fleet, 2) Large Fleet, 3) Rural, 4) Motor Club, 5) Law Enforcement, 6) Heavy Duty, 7) Private Property, 8) Education & Training, and 9) Two affiliated towing organizations: The United Coalition for Motor Club Safety (UCMCS), and the Official Police Garage Association of Los Angeles. Consistent with its adopted T-ROC Operating Principles, by a 2/3’s vote the CTTA Board of Directors elected the following respected experts for two-year terms in their respective fields, which average over 27 years of experience in the towing industry:
Co-Chair North: Terry Warford, Jr., Dollar Tow Company, Sacramento, CA Co-Chair South: Casey Horvath, Hamner Towing, Corona, CA Motor Club North: Quinn Piening, Central Towing, Fremont, CA Motor Club South: Jim Kruger, Expertow, Long Beach, CA Private Property North: Burt Dean, Rebello’s Towing Services, San Jose, CA Private Property South: Steve Hendrickson, Western Towing, San Diego, CA Law Enforcement North: Tracy Koehler, Courtesy Tow, San Francisco, CA Law Enforcement South: Jody Campbell, MetroPro Road Services, Santa Ana, CA Heavy Duty North: Dino Tomassi, Finish Line Towing, Santa Clara, CA Heavy Duty South: Greg Baker, Ross Baker Towing, Northridge, CA Large Fleet North: Steve Sgarlato, Dick’s Automotive Transport, Campbell, CA Large Fleet South: Dave McDannel, Dave’s Fleet Maintenance & Towing, Bakersfield, CA Small Fleet North: Earl Peterson, Phil’s Automotive, Corning, CA Small Fleet South: Arlan White, Patriot Towing, Colton, CA Rural Area North: Rick Stewart, Buddy’s Auto Center Towing & Recovery, Willow Creek, CA Rural Area South: John Coulter, Johnboy’s Towing, San Louis Obispo, CA Education South: Jesse Enriquez, Girard & Peterson, Burbank, CA Education North: Open United Coalition for Motor Club Safety (U.C.M.C.S.): Dan Charlebois, B&J Towing, Rancho Cordova, CA Los Angeles Official Police Garages: Jon Nissley, Kelmark Tow, Los Angeles, CA
T-ROC Co-Chair Casey Horvath said, “To make sure that the T-ROC positions fairly reflect a broad cross section of the California Tow Truck Association, the T-ROC may not take a position on any regulatory matter until at least three quarters of the Members of the T-ROC are in agreement. Additionally, to ensure there is no confusion as to the position the T-ROC may take on any particular issue, positions are required to be in writing, signed by the Co-Chairs and posted on the T-ROC website, www.TowingCouncil.com.”
The T-ROC held its first two meetings in downtown Sacramento in the summer of 2013. These meetings featured productive discussion on a wide variety of tough regulatory issues, as well as establishing the foundational structure of the T-ROC including setting the T-ROC General Meeting Rules.
The first inaugural meeting of the T-ROC on June 13th and 14th, was a tremendously successful experience in which procedural ground rules were extensively debated and finalized, and capped off with the T-ROC Members being formally introduced to CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow and his leadership team at the CHP headquarters.
T-ROC Co-Chair Terry Warford, Jr. stated, “As one of the tow industry’s most important regulatory allies and business partners, upholding a strong and trusting relationship with the CHP is a vitally important role for the T-ROC and the CHP personnel in attendance were truly impressed by the amount of towing experience and professionalism in the room, as well as the fair and reasonable structure of the T-ROC.”
The second meeting of the T-ROC took place August 1st and 2nd and during this meeting, the Council began to tackle – in-depth – a host of issues that affect the industry now and into the future, as well as identify matters that should be wrestled with going forward. The T-ROC also welcomed special guests from the CHP to continue discussions on regulatory issues facing the towing industry in California.
The T-ROC will next be meeting on November 7-8th, 2013 in downtown Sacramento.
The T-ROC will also be holding a Meet & Greet at the Western States Tow Show (Town & Country Resort, San Diego) on Saturday, October 12th, 2013. For more information visit: www.WesternStatesTowShow.com. CONTACT: To learn more about the T-ROC, visit its website at www.TowingCouncil.com or contact:
Brooks Ellison, General Counsel & Legislative Advocate
Office: (916) 448-2187
Cell: (916) 204-0984