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Oklahoma Corporation Commission increases nonconsensual tow rates by 33%

Jonathan Reynaga

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has increased the rates for nonconsensual tows by 33%.

The three-member governing board decided to increase the rates after the Corporation Commission’s transportation division, AAAA Wrecker Service, Inc. and the Attorney General’s Office agreed hikes were needed because of inflation, said Matt Skinner, a spokesman for the agency.

The transportation division and AAAA Wrecker suggested using the Consumer Price Index — a measurement of how prices change over time — when deciding to recommend a 33% increase. It argued the increase was “reasonable and in the public interest” to maintain towing services, according to hearing documents.

Under the increase, it will cost consumers $4.99 per mile for 25 miles or less and $4.16 per mile for over 25 miles. The hikes took effect June 1.

Nonconsensual tows occur when the person in charge of the vehicle does not consent to or have knowledge of the tow.

“This is only for when you’re in an accident and the trooper says, ‘Hey, I’m calling a wrecker to get you out of here.’ That’s a nonconsensual tow,” Skinner said. “You got to take what’s given [to] you.”

Nonconsensual tows also include removing abandoned or illegally parked vehicles.

It marks the first Commission-approved increase since 2012 when lawmakers handed oversight responsibility of the industry to commissioners.

It was previously the responsibility of the towing industry to gather and present data to support the need for rate increases.

The Corporation Commission’s transportation division and AAAA Wrecker argued the industry has had difficulty gathering the data to demonstrate the need for rate changes and suggested using the Consumer Price Index instead.

The Attorney General’s Office, which represented consumers, did not oppose the rate increases because of the time span since the last increase, Skinner said.

However, it did not support using the Consumer Price Index as the only gauge.

It recommended the industry begin to gather resources so it could collect data instead of relying on the Index.

The Commission received 75 towing complaints in 2022, 87 in 2023 and 35 so far this year.

Oklahoma Voice is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oklahoma Voice maintains editorial independence.

Kennedy Thomason reports for Oklahoma Voice. She is a multimedia journalism student at Oklahoma State University, and has worked for The O'Colly, OSU's student newspaper, during her college career, where she now serves as Editor-in-Chief.
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