The Massachusetts State Senate took action to protect the motoring public by establishing a licensing mechanism for voluntary towing.

The bill, filed by Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) who serves as Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, requires all companies, whether voluntary or involuntary, that perform towing services to hold a certificate from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU). Presently in Massachusetts, anyone can purchase a tow truck and hold themselves out to be a tow company.

As it currently stands, only those companies that perform involuntary towing services, such as police-ordered tows after an accident or law enforcement related incidents where there is no one to drive the car, are required to have a DPU certificate, which mandates proper safeguards and insurance. In addition, companies that provide involuntary towing services for the Massachusetts State Police are required to have a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) background and minimum insurance standards.

By requiring DPU to establish minimum insurance requirements and CORI standards for all tow trucks, the motoring public will know that there are safety standards in place when a tow company arrives to tow their vehicle. In addition, by requiring tow companies to obtain a certificate, the Commonwealth will ensure tow companies are maintaining workers’ compensation insurance and other legally required documentation.

“This bill is about public safety and consumer protection,” stated Senator Moore. “By requiring the safeguard included in this legislation, we will ensure that when drivers are vulnerable and stranded on the side of the road, they can feel confident that their safety is the primary concern of the towing industry.”

“The Massachusetts Senate is dedicated to ensuring consumer protections for residents of the Commonwealth,” said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). “This legislation safeguards the well-being of drivers and their vehicles. I am very pleased that the Senate passed this bill.”

“I thank the Massachusetts Senate for passing this important legislation that will ensure the safety of the motoring public,” stated William Johnson, President of the Statewide Towing Association of Massachusetts. “This legislation will bring a uniform standard of accountability to the towing industry thus increasing public safety.”

The legislation, which passed the Senate unanimously, has now been referred to the House of Representatives for consideration. To continue tracking the bill, S.2354, please visit the Legislature’s website, www.malegislature.gov.