This submit is a part of a collection sponsored by IAT Insurance coverage Group.
Firms that have interaction in disreputable towing — typically 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 transferring and storage trucking.
Working example: A driver not too long ago incurred vital harm when making an attempt to drive their tractor trailer underneath 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 motive force accepted towing companies and not using a quote. Quickly after, the transferring and storage firm acquired a invoice for the $75,000 towing, a service that ought to have price round $2,500.
Whereas predatory towing scams like this and others are occurring across the nation and elevating considerations amongst fleets, they’ve been significantly outstanding in Chicago. A lot in order that Chicago’s Metropolis Council’s Committee on License and Client Safety handed an ordinance calling on town to ascertain a license for tow truck operators to corral rogue tow truck drivers who rush to accident scenes, snare broken autos and maintain them hostage till rattled truckers pay exorbitant charges.
7 Finest practices for fleet carriers
Fleets and truckers should shield themselves in opposition to tow truck firms that run unlawful or unethical operations. The next finest practices provide key steerage to your fleet.
- 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 will even incorporate breaks and assist decide the perfect 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.
- Be suspicious. Towing firms standing by on the scene when an incident happens will not be 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 might not be 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.
- Name the police. Summon them to the scene and request an accident report. If this does occur to you or considered one of your drivers, ask native police on the scene for steerage on deciding on respected, native towing firm.
- Get it in writing. Ensure 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 price pricing is important to defending the fleet from being scammed. Ask for the towing firm’s enterprise license and, if attainable, affirm the knowledge earlier than accepting any help.
- 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.
- Think about partnering with towing firms. Establishing agreements with nationwide or native towing firms the place your fleet frequents will help 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.
- Report back to native officers. In case your driver or fleet falls prey to a shady towing incident, attain out to native officers for help. Reporting all of those incidents will assist native jurisdictions take regulatory motion to forestall this from occurring once more, as they did in Chicago.
Even with all these precautions in place, towing is dear. Elements like the load and dimension of the truck and the space to be towed legitimately impression the value. Consequently, fleets also needs to not assume they’re coping with a nefarious towing firm if they’re 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 impression of predatory towing. Discover the hyperlink to the brief survey right here.
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By Chris Parker
 Costhack “How A lot Does It Value To Tow A Semi-Truck?”
 American Trucking Associations “The American Trucking Affiliation, American Property Casualty Insurance coverage Affiliation, & the Coalition In opposition to Insurance coverage Fraud be a part of forces to sort out towing fraud throughout America,” April 5, 2021.
 Chicago Solar-Instances “Aldermen endorse effort to corral ‘Wild West’ of rogue tow truck drivers,” Could 19, 2021.
 FreightWaves “Route planning instrument helps drivers overcome day by day frustrations,” April 27, 2022.
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