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Chattanooga Wrecker Board in the news again.


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Seems like not a week goes by that there is not a story about the towing companies in Chattanooga.

 

Wrecker Board Trying To Work Out Better Process For Owners Of Towed Vehicles To Find Their Cars

 

Discussion at the last Wrecker Board meeting brought owners of several wrecker companies to a meeting Thursday morning. The city is attempting to streamline the process  and make it easier for people trying to find their vehicles and retrieve them after they have been towed.

 

Currently the city has about 30 towing business participating in the city’s rotation list3. Each of them has their own storage lots. When a car is towed, it is often daunting for an owner to track down his or her car and get it back.

 

And about 25 percent of the buildings and lots are in locations or in a condition that warrants being classified as worrisome, said Board Chairman Bill Glascock, who is heading the study. The wrecker board’s goal is to make the process better, not to take money away from the wrecker companies, he said.  

All major cities in Tennessee have fewer storage lots or just one, said Officer John Collins. 

Owners of the towing businesses at the meeting cited their large costs to operate, including the high costs of the tow trucks, equipment and insurance. And 20-30 percent of their business comes from storage, the board was told. They also make money from  second tows, such as moving a vehicle from their lot to a body shop. If those sources of revenue are taken away, smaller companies will leave their districts and operate strictly in Hamilton County, the board was told. 

Tow truck owners want to be part of the conversation for making it easier for people to get their cars. The owners were urged to participate and will be contacted by Mr. Glascock. A compromise will be sought that can  make it better for all, he said. 

 

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Hey Ron ... Without having to go to third party administrators, I think the process is pretty simple. The city's contract, City Municipal Code and state's vehicle code should be revised to require tow companies to report towed vehicles within one-hour of arrival to the tow yard. If a tow company is a police tower, it shouldn't be an issue. The same holds true for tow companies who tow cars from private properties. In California, law was enacted to eliminate the "Lost Vehicle Syndrome" as it regards predatory towing. California enacted Vehicle Code Section 22658(m)(1) and (m)(2), where it requires, "(1) A towing company that removes a vehicle from private property under this section shall notify the local law enforcement agency of that tow after the vehicle is removed from the private property and is in transit.

(2) A towing company is guilty of a misdemeanor if the towing company fails to provide the notification required under paragraph (1) within 60 minutes after the vehicle is removed from the private property and is in transit or 15 minutes after arriving at the storage facility, whichever time is less.     Here's the link for reference: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=VEH&sectionNum=22658

Randall C. Resch

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Randall, I know there are at least a couple of simple solutions. The part that gets me, it seems 30 Tow Companies on rotation is extreme overkill. I'd like to know if any of them are get more than one tow a day. I would think you would only need an impound lot that holds 30 vehicles max if that is the case. I am assuming each company has it's own impound lot and do not share lots. I know in some areas in the past one company has run multiple names to get more rotation calls. I would not think that was the case anymore.

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I know Ron ... but, these days, every tow company wants to be a police tower. In some locations on the west coast, there are as many as 30-companies on CHP rotation serving the same CHP area, especially in big city. That's got to be a tow boss'es logistical nightmare to maintain relationships and records for all companies. None the less, there's no reason that a reporting process can't be required to report towing and stored vehicles one they hit the storage facility. Hey Ron ... does Louisville still have that problem with the huge number of abandoned cars? So, how do they get reported?    R.

Randall C. Resch

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