When Tow Truck Drivers Attack!

Boing Boing mentioned a New York Times story (use BugMeNot for a login and password) about bad tow truck drivers around here. The local news channels have covered the subject before as dependable ratings fodder, but it’s interesting to see it being written about from out-of-town:

In one case here, a church’s pickup was towed from its own parking lot; in another, a 4-year-old boy was towed away in his mother’s car after she went inside her apartment for a few minutes to drop off groceries and a younger child.

And a man who ran alongside a tow truck, pleading to get his vehicle back after it was towed from a fire lane, died when he slipped and was run over by the truck and then his own Chevrolet Suburban.

Spurred by cases like these, the authorities in Southern California are trying to rein in so-called predatory towing by truck drivers who are said to lurk around parking lots, snatching up cars in an instant on the slightest violation – or sometimes when there is no violation at all.

Similar complaints have reached state, local and federal officials across the country. And as part of the new federal highway bill, Congress approved legislation that allows states to enact certain restrictions on towing and orders a federal study of towing practices.

2 Replies to “When Tow Truck Drivers Attack!”

  1. Why do I get the feeling that this is done only in certain neighborhoods? Perhaps only low-income neighborhoods? Total crap. My van was once stickered as an abandoned vehicle (72 hrs or more without moving) when it had been parked in the same spot (legally on a public non-metered street) for less than 12 hours, and not even 12 consecutive hours! I think it would have been towed if it wasn’t 12ft tall & weighed 3 tons. (1960 ford “ice-cream truck”) Still, it took me a trip downtown and most of a day to clear it up.

    Come to think of it, that’s probably the same reason I was never towed for expired tags for the year and a half I neglected to pay them. (don’t ask) (strangely, I recieved no tickets during that period, despite driving past a police station 3 or 4 times a day.)

    I’m much better now, thanks for asking.

  2. It’s not just in poor areas. This happens often in the fairfax area (specifically in the Whole Foods lot across from the Farmer’s Market).

    Really low income areas are not good choices for predatory towing – if your car’s only worth $300, then it’s not worth it to pay $400 to get it out of impound, now is it?

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