7 Methods to Keep away from Predatory Towing Corporations

This put up is a part of a collection sponsored by IAT Insurance coverage Group.

Corporations that interact in disreputable towing — generally known as predatory towing — practices are preying on vehicles in areas identified to have an elevated frequency of crashes. They might even use nefarious means to contribute to chance of an accident. That is the most recent rip-off affecting lengthy haul and shifting and storage trucking.

Living proof: A driver lately incurred vital injury when making an attempt to drive their tractor trailer below a Chicago bridge, whose “low bridge” signal had been suspiciously eliminated. As quickly because the accident occurred, an unsolicited tow truck appeared. Within the driver’s misery and haste to rectify the state of affairs as shortly as attainable, the driving force accepted towing companies with no quote. Quickly after, the shifting and storage firm obtained a invoice for the $75,000 towing, a service that ought to have value round $2,500.[1]

Whereas predatory towing scams like this and others are occurring across the nation and elevating considerations amongst fleets,[2] they’ve been notably distinguished in Chicago. A lot in order that Chicago’s Metropolis Council’s Committee on License and Shopper Safety handed an ordinance calling on town to determine a license for tow truck operators to corral rogue tow truck drivers who rush to accident scenes, snare broken automobiles and maintain them hostage till rattled truckers pay exorbitant charges.[3]

7 Greatest practices for fleet carriers

Fleets and truckers should defend themselves in opposition to tow truck corporations that run unlawful or unethical operations. The next greatest practices supply key steering on your fleet.

  1. Plan your routes. Don’t let your truckers wing it when they’re selecting up items or hauling a load. Correct route planning is not going to solely guarantee security and enhance driving effectivity by avoiding each identified and unknown hazards however may also incorporate breaks and assist decide one of the best route relying on what time of day a trucker is on the highway. Digital route planning instruments can be found to assist with this as properly.[4]
  2. Be suspicious. Towing corporations standing by on the scene when an incident happens just isn’t the norm. Prepare your drivers to be looking out for scamming tow vehicles ready within the wings. Put together your drivers earlier than an accident takes place to alleviate pointless stress; inform them that they is probably not answerable for the underpass they only clipped if the low bridge signal was illegally eliminated, for instance. That info ought to assist them assume extra clearly in these conditions.
  3. Name the police. Summon them to the scene and request an accident report. If this does occur to you or one among your drivers, ask native police on the scene for steering on choosing respected, native towing firm.
  4. Get it in writing. Ensure that the price of a tow is in writing — not open-ended — with all expenses clearly itemized. Keep away from verbal agreements in any respect prices. Signed paperwork with clear value pricing is important to defending the fleet from being scammed. Ask for the towing firm’s enterprise license and, if attainable, affirm the data earlier than accepting any help.
  5. Have protocols in place for coping with accidents. This contains contacting managers and dispatchers straight away, calling the police and stopping drivers from signing or authorizing a tow with out administration approval. Offering drivers clear protocols beforehand considerably reduces the chance of creating a mistake when a tow is required.
  6. Think about partnering with towing corporations. Establishing agreements with nationwide or native towing corporations the place your fleet frequents may help your group sidestep dishonest tow vehicles. With such agreements already in place, truckers can instantly contact these corporations, avoiding the necessity to supply one on the spot.
  7. Report back to native officers. In case your driver or fleet falls prey to a shady towing incident, attain out to native officers for assist. Reporting all of those incidents will assist native jurisdictions take regulatory motion to forestall this from occurring once more, as they did in Chicago.

Towing prices

Even with all these precautions in place, towing is dear. Components like the burden and measurement of the truck and the gap to be towed legitimately impression the value. Consequently, fleets must also not assume they’re coping with a nefarious towing firm if they’re an costly quote.

As a result of rise in these eventualities, the American Transportation Analysis Institute is asking motor carriers and drivers to take part in knowledge assortment on the impression of predatory towing. Discover the hyperlink to the brief survey here.


Have a query on the right way to mitigate threat? E-mail [email protected] for an opportunity to see your query answered in a future weblog.

By Chris Parker

[1] Costhack “How Much Does It Cost To Tow A Semi-Truck?”

[2] American Trucking Associations “The American Trucking Association, American Property Casualty Insurance Association, & the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud join forces to tackle towing fraud across America,” April 5, 2021.

[3] Chicago Solar-Occasions “Aldermen endorse effort to corral ‘Wild West’ of rogue tow truck drivers,” Could 19, 2021.

[4] FreightWaves “Route planning tool helps drivers overcome daily frustrations,” April 27, 2022.

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