This put up is a part of a sequence 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 newest rip-off affecting lengthy haul and transferring and storage trucking.
Working example: A driver not too long ago incurred vital harm when trying to drive their tractor trailer beneath 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 rapidly as potential, the motive force accepted towing companies with out 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 the 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.
7 Finest practices for fleet carriers
Fleets and truckers should defend themselves towards tow truck firms that run unlawful or unethical operations. The next greatest 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 improve 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.
- 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 is probably not accountable for the underpass they only clipped if the low bridge signal was illegally eliminated, for instance. That data 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. Be certain 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 price pricing is crucial to defending the fleet from being scammed. Ask for the towing firm’s enterprise license and, if potential, affirm the knowledge earlier than accepting any help.
- Have protocols in place for coping with accidents. This contains contacting managers and dispatchers instantly, calling the police and stopping drivers from signing or authorizing a tow with out administration approval. Offering drivers clear protocols beforehand considerably reduces the likelihood of creating a mistake when a tow is required.
- Contemplate 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 assist. Reporting all of those incidents will assist native jurisdictions take regulatory motion to stop this from occurring once more, as they did in Chicago.
Even with all these precautions in place, towing is pricey. Elements like the load 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 taking a look at 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 information assortment on the impression of predatory towing.