Governor signs Zorn bill cutting interstate tow truck fees

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday signed Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation to reduce registration fees for certain trucks involved in interstate towing operations.

“After a state reinterpretation of a federal law in 2018, some towing operators were being charged an additional $100 in Michigan on each of their trucks,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “This reform will now give some relief to local small business owners who are paying duplicative state and federal registration fees. With this relief, we’ve reduced those costs and enabled these towers to continue to service our communities and keep our roads clear and safe.”

In 2005, the federal government enacted the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) system, allowing certain commercial vehicles engaged in interstate (or international) trucking to register through the UCR and pay a single fee as a way of eliminating the need to register with each state that the business may travel through.

At the time, the Michigan Public Service Commission had oversight of the registrations and determined that UCR-registered vehicles did not need to also register and pay an additional fee to the state.

Oversight was transferred to the Michigan State Police in 2011, and the new Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division informed businesses in 2018 that the MPSC had been interpreting the UCR law incorrectly. This year, the division began requiring UCR-registered trucks to also be registered with the state and pay the additional fee.

After being signed on Friday, Senate Bill 309 reduced the annual registration fee paid by trucks engaged in interstate nonconsensual towing operations from $100 to $50 per vehicle.