WEST virginia legislature
2021 regular session
Senate Bill 655
By Senator Swope
[Passed April 9, 2021; in effect 90 days from passage]
AN ACT to amend and reenact §24A-2-2b of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to rescheduling a review of Public Service Commission rules regarding recovering, hauling, and storing wrecked or disabled vehicles; and changing a sunset requirement on those rules.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 2. COMMON CARRIERS BY MOTOR VEHICLES.
§24A-2-2b. Rule-making authority; establishing rates for recovering, towing, hauling, carrying, or storing wrecked or disabled vehicles; complaint process; and required legislative audit.
(a) On or before July 1, 2016, the commission shall promulgate rules to effectuate the provisions of this article.
(b) The rules promulgated pursuant to the provisions of this section shall describe:
(1) Factors determining the fair, effective, and reasonable rates levied by a carrier for recovering, towing, hauling, carrying, or storing a wrecked or disabled vehicle. The commission shall consider, but shall not be limited to:
(A) Tow vehicles and the special equipment required to complete the recovery or tow;
(B) Total time to complete the recovery or tow;
(C) Number of regular and extra employees required to complete the recovery or tow;
(D) Location of vehicle recovered or towed;
(E) Materials or cargo involved in recovery or tow;
(F) Comparison with reasonable prices in the region;
(G) Weather conditions; and
(H) Any other relevant information having a direct effect on the pricing of the recovery, towing, and storage of a recovered or towed vehicle;
(2) The process for filing a complaint, the review and investigation process to ensure it is fair, effective, and timely: Provided, That in any formal complaint against a carrier relating to a third-party tow, the burden of proof to show that the carrier’s charges are just, fair, and reasonable is on the carrier;
(3) The process for aggrieved parties to recover the cost, from the carrier, for the charge or charges levied by a carrier for recovering, towing, hauling, carrying, or storing a wrecked or disabled vehicle where the commission determines that the charge or charges are not otherwise just, fair, or reasonable; and
(4) The process to review existing maximum statewide wrecker rates and special rates for the use of special equipment in towing and recovery work to ensure that rates are just, fair, and reasonable: Provided, That the commission shall generally disapprove hourly and flat rates for ancillary equipment.
(c) All carriers regulated under this article shall list their approved rates, fares, and charges on every invoice provided to an owner, operator, or insurer of a wrecker or disabled motor vehicle.
(d) The rules promulgated pursuant to this article shall sunset on July 1, 2023, unless reauthorized.
(e) On or before December 31, 2022, the Legislative Auditor shall review the rules promulgated by the Public Service Commission under this section. The audit shall evaluate the rate-making policy for reasonableness, the complaint process for timeliness, the penalties for effectiveness, and any other metrics the Legislative Auditor considers appropriate. The Legislative Auditor may recommend that the rule be reauthorized, reauthorized with amendment, or repealed.