FMSCA, FTC Take Aim at Scam Towing Companies, Safety for Women Truckers

February 19, 2024

FMSCA, FTC Take Aim at Scam Towing Companies, Safety for Women Truckers


Continental Logistics

There may be no more helpless feeling for a trucker or trucking company than seeing your vehicle being towed away because of a breakdown or because law enforcement requests it moved for being parked illegally or other violations.

There goes the money maker, and here comes the excess or hidden fees

No more.

The Federal Trade Commission is taking aim at towing companies and predatory fees such as hidden charges and junk fees that can add up to thousands of dollars and keep truckers off the road.

From the U.S. Department of Transportation to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the support for enforcing harsh penalties on predatory towing companies is meeting with favor.

The FTC isn’t meeting the same unified response when it comes to a recent study on increasing safety for female and minority truckers, however, but 2024 is shaping up to be a year of change

Keep an eye on diesel prices that have risen in back-to-back weeks, but also know that the trucking industry got a huge boost recently in its effort to go green and reduce emissions when a five-year extension to retrofit MirrorEye Camera Systems was granted.

All in all, the changes and updates are helping to make the future of the food supply industry more stable and sustainable. Let’s look closer at some of the latest headlines.

FMSCA weighs in on ‘Predatory Towing Practices’  

Scam towing practices caught the attention of the FTC in 2023 when the organization proposed a rule to seek civil penalties against companies that overcharge truck drivers, charge for services not needed, and add other junk fees.

On Feb. 7, 2024, FreightWaves reported that FMCSA joined the fray, saying predatory towing negatively impacts consumers, commercial drivers, and trucking companies and is detrimental to the overall health of the trucking industry. The FMCSA has asked that each illegal junk fee be charged as a separate violation.

The American Transportation Research Institute published a study in November, showing excessive rates and unwarranted additional service charges were the two most common forms of predatory towing, experienced by 82.7% and 81.8% of surveyed motor carriers, respectively.

Women of Trucking Raise Concerns Over Sexual Assault Study

While there is no debate about the need to increase safety for female and minority truckers, FMCSA’s Women of Trucking Advisory Board members said a recent study hasn’t delved nearly deep enough into the subject.

The WOTAB wants more research before federal regulators finalize plans to act on the study.

WOTAB member Anne Balay, an author and union organizer who has worked as a commercial truck driver, raised concerns about the study’s finding that “touched inappropriately” was the most serious offense reported among survey responders.

“Rape is incredibly common, and calling rape as being ‘touched inappropriately’ is extremely offensive,” she told FreightWaves in early February. “I interviewed many (women) truckers who reported that rape is considered a part of the job. It’s very important that this group acknowledges that.”

Flatbed, Reefer Trucking, Remain on Road to Recovery

Compared to refrigerated and dry van trucking, flatbed has been struggling to rebound since the freight market collapsed during the pandemic in 2022. Most of the struggles are because flatbed trucking is associated with energy, manufacturing, and construction industries.

Last year, the average tender rejection rate for flatbeds was 10%, compared to about 6% for reefers and about 3.3% for dry vans. With low freights and high expenses, transportation companies are expected to face tough financial challenges again in 2024.

Exemption for MirrorEye Camera System Extended 5 Years

More than 40 fleets across North America have been retro-fitted with Stoneridge’s MirrorEye Camera Monitor System since the company’s original exemption in 2019.

On Feb. 6, the company received a five-year extension to continue to replace truck mirrors with cameras and digital displays. The system provides enhanced, real-time visibility from nearly every angle of a commercial truck, and that can reduce accidents and their severity. It comes in particularly handy on turns.

In addition, MirrorEye-equipped trucks have been shown to achieve a 2–3% increase in fuel savings when traditional mirrors are removed.

New Revoy EV Quickly Turns Diesel Tractor Into Hybrid

In the continued push for green and sustainable trucking, the new Revoy EV slashes emissions up to 90% and improves fuel economy to 20 to 35 mpg or greater. The company says it can instantly convert a diesel tractor into a hybrid without alterations to the truck or trailer. The same can be said for changing the battery, which takes about five minutes. Revoy EV units can be swapped out in minutes when their energy is depleted.

Diesel Prices On The Rise Again

For the first time in 2024, the national average diesel price has increased in back-to-back weeks. Energy Information Administration data for the week of Feb. 5 showed an increase of 3.2 cents, nationally, up to $3.899 a gallon. The week prior, it rose 2.9 cents for a total increase of 6.1 cents per gallon. It remains 63 cents cheaper than a year ago at the same time. Read more.

Goal: A Resilient Food Supply Chain for 2024 and Beyond

As much as the COVID pandemic hurt the shipping and transportation industry in 2022, today’s food supply chain companies are starting to reap the benefits of lessons learned. The White House has established a Council on Supply Chain Resilience. It comes with the realization that a reliable food supply chain is vital to lowering inflation.

A Federal Bank of New York report shows that global supply chain pressures have hit their lowest point in decades. How else do companies “future-proof” the supply chain? Automation, sustainability, data improvement, and reshoring. Read more.

Count on Continental Logistics to Stay Ahead of the Game

Where others see complex transportation and logistics problems, Continental Logistics sees solutions. We have more than 40 years of experience in dealing with all aspects and all types of shipping. From Full Truckload to LTL, Intermodal, and Drayage, as well as compliance issues and regulations, real-time tracking, and keeping up to date on all current issues and trends. Contact us to learn more and get started.

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