The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) released a recent report that examines the causes and countermeasures of predatory heavy-duty towing, with the goal of improving the relationship between the towing and trucking industries.
ATRI found that the most common types of predatory towing were excessive rates, experienced by 82.7% of motor carriers, and unwarranted extra service charges, experienced by 81.8% of carriers. A majority of carriers encountered additional issues such as truck release or access delays, cargo release delays, truck seizure without cause, and tows misreported as consensual.
ATRI analysis of crash-related towing records found that 29.8% of invoices include excessive rates or unwarranted additional charges. The leading causes contributing to this total were miscellaneous service charges (found in 8% of invoices), administrative fees (found in 6.5% of invoices), and equipment rates (found in 6.3% of invoices).
ATRI says that the patchwork of municipal, county, and state regulations that currently govern towing are often insufficient to prevent predatory activities. The report includes an online compendium of state towing regulations and describes key areas to improve the coverage and application of regulations to close existing loopholes.
Additional analyses and interviews with legal experts outline strategies that motor carriers can use to avoid, identify, or address predatory towing, such as how to review invoices for predatory billing and how to gather data to dispute towing companies’ incident accounts when necessary.