September 29, 2023

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

Corporations that have interaction 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 probability of an accident. That is the newest rip-off affecting lengthy haul and shifting and storage trucking.

Working example: A driver just lately incurred important injury when trying 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 scenario as shortly as doable, the driving force accepted towing companies with out a quote. Quickly after, the shifting and storage firm acquired 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 significantly distinguished in Chicago. A lot in order that Chicago’s Metropolis Council’s Committee on License and Shopper Safety handed an ordinance calling on the town to ascertain 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 towards tow truck firms that run unlawful or unethical operations. The next greatest practices supply key steering in 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 improve driving effectivity by avoiding each identified and unknown hazards however can even incorporate breaks and assist decide the most effective 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 nicely.[4]
  2. Be suspicious. Towing firms standing by on the scene when an incident happens shouldn’t be the norm. Practice 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 accountable for the underpass they only clipped if the low bridge signal was illegally eliminated, for instance. That info ought to assist them suppose 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 deciding on respected, native towing firm.
  4. Get it in writing. Be certain that the price of a tow is in writing — not open-ended — with all prices clearly itemized. Keep away from verbal agreements in any respect prices. Signed paperwork with clear value pricing is crucial to defending the fleet from being scammed. Ask for the towing firm’s enterprise license and, if doable, verify the data earlier than accepting any help.
  5. Have protocols in place for coping with accidents. This consists of contacting managers and dispatchers immediately, 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. Take into account partnering with towing firms. Establishing agreements with nationwide or native towing firms the place your fleet frequents can assist your group sidestep dishonest tow vehicles. With such agreements already in place, truckers can instantly contact these firms, 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 stop this from taking place once more, as they did in Chicago.

Towing prices

Even with all these precautions in place, towing is pricey. Components like the burden and dimension of the truck and the space to be towed legitimately affect the value. Consequently, fleets also needs to not assume they’re coping with a nefarious towing firm if they’re taking a look at an costly quote.

Because of the rise in these situations, the American Transportation Analysis Institute is asking motor carriers and drivers to take part in information assortment on the affect of predatory towing. Discover the hyperlink to the brief survey here.


Have a query on find out how 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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