Tennessee law to crack down on notorious predatory towing companies

Updated Jun 8, 2024

Trucking news and briefs for Friday, May 31, 2024:

Previously shutdown N.J. trucker’s small fleet ordered OOS

The one-truck operation of New Jersey-based truck driver Gurpreet Singh, who was shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in April, has also been shut down by the agency.

Singh was shut down after he rear-ended another vehicle, left the scene, was later found with a bottle labeled “vodka” in his truck and ordered out of service. He then violated that out-of-service order and operated his truck later that same day. Prior to that incident, he also had a previous run-in with police where he was found to be over the legal limit for alcohol impairment.

Following that imminent hazard order, FMCSA investigated Singh’s company, 1 Noor Trucking, and found it “to be egregiously noncompliant with multiple federal safety regulations.” Those include:

  • Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing
  • Commercial Driver’s License Standards -- Requirements and Penalties, Driving of CMVs, and Hours of Service of Drivers

The investigation also revealed that on March 22, 2024, while operating his CMV on Interstate 78 in New Jersey, Singh was stopped after failing to maintain his lane. After failing a field sobriety test, Singh was arrested and a probable cause search of his CMV revealed four open vodka bottles. Singh is charged in New Jersey with use of alcohol, a prohibited controlled substance; driving while intoxicated; prohibition of an open, unsealed alcoholic beverage container in a motor vehicle; reckless driving; unsafe lane change, and following too close.

FMCSA’s Imminent Hazard Out-of-Service Order states that “1 Noor Trucking, Inc. lacks effective safety management controls to ensure its drivers operate CMVs safely. The cumulative violations of the FMCSRs significantly increase the likelihood of death or serious injury to 1 Noor Trucking, Inc.’s drivers and the motoring public and establishes an imminent hazard if not discontinued immediately.”

Failing to comply with the provisions of the Federal Imminent Hazard Out-of-Service Order may result in civil penalties of up to $33,252 for each violation. 1 Noor Trucking, Inc. may also be assessed civil penalties of at least $13,300 for providing transportation in interstate commerce without operating authority registration and up to $18,758 for operating a CMV in interstate commerce without USDOT number registration. Knowing and/or willful violations may result in criminal penalties.

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[Related: New Jersey-based driver shut down after crash, multiple DUIs]

Towing reforms become law in Tennessee

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed into law towing reforms that appear tailor-made to defend the trucking industry from predatory towing companies, as one specific outfit seems to terrorize truck stops with impunity.  

House Bill 1731, the Modernization of Towing, Immobilization and Oversight Normalization (MOTION) Act, establishes that it is an offense for a commercial parking lot owner to boot or tow a motor vehicle located on the lot owner's lot if the motor vehicle is not an abandoned, immobile, or unattended motor vehicle. Far from the state's capitol where the legislation was passed, those conditions certain describe the case of A1's Towing in Memphis, which was documented holding a driver hostage for 33 hours

[Related: Truckers carjacked, roughed-up by towing company]

The bill also prohibits unlicensed individuals from booting vehicles, keeps booting restricted to commercial lots and gives parking attendants 30 minutes to come out and immediately remove a boot upon a driver's payment, which has been capped at $75. Many other provisions of the law make up the "modernization" component, which includes reference to license plate readers and detailed pre-seizure notices. 

Under the new law, it becomes a Class B misdemeanor to boot any truck or trailer in the state with a clearly visible USDOT number or commercial license plate. 

The American Trucking Associations commended Tennessee on the bill, calling it "comprehensive reforms to crack down on predatory towers that target heavy-duty trucks."

“Predatory towing companies that hold equipment and cargo hostage with inflated, excessive, and fraudulent invoices tarnish the reputation of the entire towing sector. They have taken advantage of the trucking industry for far too long, and we refuse to continue making these ransom payments any longer,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said in a statement. “ATA’s federation of state associations is prepared to fight back against unscrupulous companies that target our industry by injecting more accountability and fairness in state and local laws pertaining to towing.”

[Related: Trucking's best defense against predatory towing: A step-by-step guide]

C.H. Robinson honors its 2024 ‘Carriers of the Year’ for service excellence

Broker C.H. Robinson this week honored the winners of its annual Carrier of the Year Awards. Selected from the company’s network of 450,000 contract carriers on its platform, these 24 carriers stood out for operational excellence, including adoption of technology to enhance efficiencies, the company said, growth in the volume of freight hauled with C.H. Robinson, and resiliency amidst a challenging market. This year’s standouts include truckload, less-than-truckload (LTL) and intermodal carriers from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

C.H. Robinson carriers of the yearAn ongoing three-day event at Robinson’s Eden Prairie, Minnesota, headquarters, May 29-31, delivered prizes and further recognized carriers reps in several appreciation initiatives, including an awards banquet.

“Over the past year and beyond, the truck driving community has been resilient in overcoming different challenges, learning to adapt and persevere in the face of adversity,” said C.H. Robinson North American Surface Transportation President Michael Castagnetto, calling it a “testament to their strength and determination. We’re excited to celebrate these outstanding carriers in person to pay tribute to how important they are to us and the economy.”

Seven award recipients for 2024 are repeat winners, including all three LTL honorees, further reinforcing their status as consistent, dedicated and high-quality carriers, the company said.    

Transco Lines’ Terry Wallace, a truckload winner in the 200-999 trucks category, noted he was honored by the recognition of his “efforts to grow and evolve my business in new and exciting ways.”

The 2024 Carrier of the Year winners:

  • ABR Transport Inc. -- Sacramento, CA
  • Acme Truck Line Inc. -- Gretna, LA
  • Barrera’s Express -- South Gate, CA
  • CRST -- Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Darrough Transportation Inc. -- Beech Grove, IN
  • Day to Day Logistics Inc. -- Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  • Estes Express -- Richmond, VA
  • Gabriela Transport Services -- Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
  • Garesp -- Phoenix, AZ
  • GL Logistics -- Apodaca, Nuevo León, México
  • McGuire Transportation Inc. -- Temple, TX
  • Old Dominion Freight Line -- Thomasville, NC
  • Pahoa Express Inc -- Clinton Township, MI
  • Paveway Express -- Greenville, SC
  • RBX Inc. -- Strafford, MO
  • Rodrial USA LLC -- Houston, TX
  • Skyline Fleet Inc. -- Stockton, CA
  • Southeastern Freight Lines -- Lexington, SC
  • Sunrise Trucking Inc. -- French Camp, CA
  • Takata Trans Inc. -- Delaware Water Gap, PA
  • Timmons Transit -- Jonesboro, AR
  • Transco Lines, Inc. -- Russellville, AR
  • Trucks for You Inc. -- Muskogee, OK
  • Zana Transportation Services Inc. -- Tucson, AZ