Deregulation of the Towing Industry

“The Proliferation of Bandit Tow Truck Operators”

In 1995, vast deregulation of the towing industry occurred as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Act. The lion’s share of the act focused on the airlines industry but certain sections dramatically affected both interstate trucking and the towing industry. Since then, federal laws seeking to deregulate the trucking industry have been interpreted by the courts to mean that the states’ authority to regulate tow truck companies is relatively limited.

Today, state consumer protection laws are more difficult to enforce against tow truck companies in the face of federal preemption by the Motor Carrier Safety Act (“MCSA”). As a consequence, local law enforcement in California cannot regulate so-called “bandit tow truck operators.” Most complaints against bandit tow truck operators are now a civil matter.

Only Official Police Garages (OPGs) are regulated in Los Angeles.