Predatory Towing: Avoiding Becoming Victims

In a recent webisode, CCJ discussed a common problem in the trucking industry—unfair towing practices—and the challenges motor carriers face. The hosts share information from a recent study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI). The research aims to help us understand the issue of unfair towing better, the rules that exist, and how often it happens. The study shows that the costs for towing and recovery are getting higher. Alex Leslie, who works on the research, says about one-third of towing after accidents involves unfair charges. This information is based on towing bills from 2021 to 2023.

Leslie also talks about how important towing and recovery companies are for keeping the trucking industry working well. But these companies face problems, like the high cost of their special equipment, not knowing when they’ll be needed, and the rush to clear the roads quickly after accidents. The research outlines different problems with unfair towing practices, like charging too much per hour or per pound. In 2021, almost 83% of carriers had this issue. Other problems include extra charges, high fees for storing vehicles, delays in releasing vehicles and cargo, and damage because of using the wrong towing equipment. The study found that almost 30% of towing bills had unfair charges. These charges often include extra fees for small items, equipment rates, and administrative costs.
Insurance companies are involved too, contesting over half of the unfair bills. But talking it out takes time and money. The study also says that motor carriers without good insurance might have delays in paying their bills and getting their vehicles back.

The research also looks at the rules in different states. Right now, 14 states have rules about how much towing companies can charge after a crash. But ATRI says these rules need to be clearer and stronger.
The report gives advice to trucking companies and drivers to avoid being treated unfairly. They suggest taking pictures or videos at the crash site, not signing anything on the road, and carefully checking towing bills.
In short, the 1044 webisode shows that unfair towing practices are a big problem. It says we need to know more about it, make better rules, and be proactive to stop these practices from affecting motor carriers too much.

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