This publish is a part of a sequence sponsored by IAT Insurance coverage Group.
Corporations that interact 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 probability of an accident. That is the newest rip-off affecting lengthy haul and shifting and storage trucking.
Living proof: A driver not too long ago incurred important harm when trying 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 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.
Whereas predatory towing scams like this and others are occurring across the nation and elevating considerations amongst fleets, 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 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.
7 Greatest practices for fleet carriers
Fleets and truckers should defend themselves towards tow truck corporations that run unlawful or unethical operations. The next greatest practices supply key steerage on your fleet.
- Plan your routes. Don’t let your truckers wing it when they’re choosing 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 even incorporate breaks and assist decide the very best route relying on what time of day a trucker is on the street. Digital route planning instruments can be found to assist with this as effectively.
- Be suspicious. Towing corporations standing by on the scene when an incident happens 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 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 suppose 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 choosing respected, native towing firm.
- Get it in writing. Make sure 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 knowledge earlier than accepting any help.
- 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 constructing a mistake when a tow is required.
- Think about partnering with towing corporations. Establishing agreements with nationwide or native towing corporations the place your fleet frequents will 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.
- 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.
Even with all these precautions in place, towing is dear. Elements like the burden and dimension of the truck and the space to be towed legitimately affect the worth. Consequently, fleets must also 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 knowledge assortment on the affect of predatory towing. Discover the hyperlink to the quick 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 Towards Insurance coverage Fraud be a part of forces to deal with towing fraud throughout America,” April 5, 2021.
 Chicago Solar-Occasions “Aldermen endorse effort to corral ‘Wild West’ of rogue tow truck drivers,” Could 19, 2021.
 FreightWaves “Route planning device helps drivers overcome every day frustrations,” April 27, 2022.
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