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TonyM

Tow Trucks Added to "Move Over/Slow Down"

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I've got no problem with this law, what I do have a problem with is nobody cracking down on tow truck drivers acting like vigilantes as they race to beat the other wreckers to an accident so they can get their towing fee. It's absurd to see how some of these clowns drive, speeding, weaving, hopping medians, driving on sidewalks/grass/roadsides/etc. As a midtown resident who walks a lot I can't tell you how many times I personally have nearly been hit by one of these idiots (whilst walking or driving) driving his tow truck like it's an F1 car.

I know tow trucks serve a purpose and we need to get the road cleared as quickly as possible, but driving in a manner that nearly causes other accidents doesn't do anyone any good. In addition, why does the simplest fender bender require 6+ tow trucks waiting to see if they'll be the ones to get the tow? He geniuses, one wrecker per car is all that's needed.

http://www.chron.com...for-3642925.php

Highway patrol in Texas will be on special watch this week for motorists who don't move over or reduce their speed while passing stopped tow trucks with flashing emergency lights.

Since a police officer in North Texas was killed on the roadside while pulling someone over, the 9-year-old Move Over/Slow Down law required motorists in the state to change lanes or drive 20 miles below the speed limit when passing the flashing lights of police, fire or EMS vehicles stopped on the side of the road.

Less than a year ago, tow trucks were added to that list.

"This was long overdue," said Michael Scully, owner of Apple Towing in Houston. "The tow truck industry has never been recognized as a first responder, and it's about time."

No, Mr. Sully, it's about time your industry recognize traffic law and drive like moderately sane individuals in their quest for their towing fees.

Edited by TonyM

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I do have a problem with this law. Police, fire, and EMS are government agencies whose mission is to protect the public. They have certifications and commissions and badges. There's nothing wrong with giving them special treatment from a traffic perspective, that's after all why their vehicles have lights and sirens. And rapidity of response for them is a life and death matter.

Tow trucks are commercial enterprises who have a license from the city. Their public safety role, in spite of what the tow company owner says, is marginal. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that any time a tow is required for real safety reasons, that police, fire, and EMS is there already anyway.

For that matter, I think calling a traffic stop a "roadside emergency" is stretching it a little, but if it saves cops' lives I don't object.

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I just posted this on the Chron site, but thought I'd share it here too:

I agree with most of the comments here, which point to tow truck drivers (generically) as menaces on the roads.

My question is this: With mobile/GPS technology the way it is, why not simply devise a system in the tow truck which directly allows the driver to remotely respond to an accident. The first - say - three tow truck drivers who respond via the system would then be candidates for towing the vehicle. This would allow the drivers to compete among themselves for the privilege of the tow AND then allow them to more cautiously move to the site of the tow without endangering the lives of others.

Gentlemen, we can do this. We have the technology.

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I do have a problem with this law. Police, fire, and EMS are government agencies whose mission is to protect the public. They have certifications and commissions and badges. There's nothing wrong with giving them special treatment from a traffic perspective, that's after all why their vehicles have lights and sirens. And rapidity of response for them is a life and death matter.

Tow trucks are commercial enterprises who have a license from the city. Their public safety role, in spite of what the tow company owner says, is marginal. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that any time a tow is required for real safety reasons, that police, fire, and EMS is there already anyway.

For that matter, I think calling a traffic stop a "roadside emergency" is stretching it a little, but if it saves cops' lives I don't object.

I certainly agree that it is a major stretch to rope tow trucks in with first response.

However, I agree in principle that drivers need to give space and yield to ANYONE stopped on the side of the road. Personally, whenever I see a stopped car, be it someone changing a tire or just pulled over on the shoulder, I'll move a long over or slow down because I think it's the right thing to do.

I vehemently disagree with a law to "protect tow truck drivers" though because there seems to be a lack of any common sense with respect to tow truck drivers watching out for everyone else. They're reckless at best, menaces really.

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However, I agree in principle that drivers need to give space and yield to ANYONE stopped on the side of the road. Personally, whenever I see a stopped car, be it someone changing a tire or just pulled over on the shoulder, I'll move a long over or slow down because I think it's the right thing to do.

Totally agree. It's just common courtesy but that's something lacking these days with way to many drivers. Guess that's why they are creating these laws.

Here's what I know about tow truck drivers and I'm not trying to defend them. Many times they do beat police and fire to accidents. The good tow drivers will turn on their emergency lights to divert traffic and protect the accident scene. They will stay and help block traffic for police and fire which is greatly appreciated by the emergency responders because there is rarely enough police vehicles at an accident scene. The police will eventually determine how many vehicles will need to be towed. It does not come down to who got their first because the police have no idea. It's basically a lottery system from then on. Cops don't hassle tow truck drivers because they do assist them. That does not give them the right to drive dangerously but it is a cut throat business and unfortunately nice guys finish last.

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Tow truck drivers are the bottom of the barrel. They should be regulated so that they don't drive like maniax. Perhaps some kind of psychological exam or random or daily drug tests.

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No, Mr. Sully, it's about time your industry recognize traffic law and drive like moderately sane individuals in their quest for their towing fees.

One problem with calling out Mr. Sully; His company does "housecalls" only. Apple doesn't run wrecks, 10 minute calls, first wrecker on scene type stuff.

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One problem with calling out Mr. Sully; His company does "housecalls" only. Apple doesn't run wrecks, 10 minute calls, first wrecker on scene type stuff.

Then I guess he was a pretty poor choice for the Chronicle to interview. I've certainly used my fair share of flatbed wreckers (having a temperamental 15+ year old sports car will do that to you), I've always found the type who respond to a phone call to be nice a respectable.

It's the vultures who roll through my neighborhood and two my fiancees car from our own house that get me, and they're in the same boat with the drivers who race recklessly to the scene of an accident.

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However, I agree in principle that drivers need to give space and yield to ANYONE stopped on the side of the road. Personally, whenever I see a stopped car, be it someone changing a tire or just pulled over on the shoulder, I'll move a long over or slow down because I think it's the right thing to do.

Sure. No reasonable person would disagree. It's also already illegal to run into stopped vehicles or people on the side of the road. And Fringe has a good point that tow trucks are often the first to an accident scene and serve a public safety function with their lights. For an accident. Where there might be an unexpected and difficult to see obstacle in the road. (Anyone who's driven 288 late at night probably knows what I'm talking about. You come over an overpass and "Holy @#$%^&!")

My big issue with it is that the original article said there was going to be a major enforcement push. I have a problem with creating a bunch of new revenue producing judgement calls for police. I don't want to get a ticket if traffic conditions don't permit slowing down that much or moving over just because AAA is changing someone's tire on the shoulder. An accident, especially with blocked lanes, is probably going to bring traffic to a near standstill anyway.

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What about the tow trucks that sit on 610 (with or without their lights on) WAITING for the accidents to happen around Uptown? Do you have to move over / slow down for those asses sitting on the on ramps blocking your view while you're trying to merge with traffic. I can't believe they let them sit out there.

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Highway patrol in Texas will be on special watch this week for motorists who don't move over or reduce their speed while passing stopped tow trucks with flashing emergency lights.

I'm OK with a law to slow or change lanes to protect people on the side of the road, whether it be cops, motorists, courtesy patrols, or scummy tow truck drivers. However, if Mr. Scully expects me to respect tow truck drivers as 'first responders', he'll wait a long time. I know WAY too much about them to ever give them that kind of respect. Next, he'll want us to call them 'heroes'.

Edited by RedScare
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Then I guess he was a pretty poor choice for the Chronicle to interview. I've certainly used my fair share of flatbed wreckers (having a temperamental 15+ year old sports car will do that to you), I've always found the type who respond to a phone call to be nice a respectable.

It's the vultures who roll through my neighborhood and two my fiancees car from our own house that get me, and they're in the same boat with the drivers who race recklessly to the scene of an accident.

Why did they tow her car?

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What about the tow trucks that sit on 610 (with or without their lights on) WAITING for the accidents to happen around Uptown? Do you have to move over / slow down for those asses sitting on the on ramps blocking your view while you're trying to merge with traffic. I can't believe they let them sit out there.

Someone needs to put a stop to this.

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I honestly do not respect tow truck drivers at all. They are scammers and disrespectful. I have seen tow trucks drive into on coming traffic like they were ambulances just to get past traffic, such audacity! Honestly, if it has yellow flashing lights I don't consider it an emergency vehicle and most certainly not a first responder.

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I honestly do not respect tow truck drivers at all. They are scammers and disrespectful. I have seen tow trucks drive into on coming traffic like they were ambulances just to get past traffic, such audacity! Honestly, if it has yellow flashing lights I don't consider it an emergency vehicle and most certainly not a first responder.

I've seen cyclists do that too, but apparently just for the fun or convenience of it. And they usually don't even have flashing lights. They're very disrespectful. Whether government wants it or not should definitely not slow down for them, either.

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I honestly do not respect tow truck drivers at all. They are scammers and disrespectful. I have seen tow trucks drive into on coming traffic like they were ambulances just to get past traffic, such audacity! Honestly, if it has yellow flashing lights I don't consider it an emergency vehicle and most certainly not a first responder.

I've seen cyclists do that too, but apparently just for the fun or convenience of it. And they usually don't even have flashing lights. They're very disrespectful. Whether government wants it or not should definitely not slow down for them, either.

Then it seems more drastic measures are warranted.

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I've seen cyclists do that too, but apparently just for the fun or convenience of it. And they usually don't even have flashing lights. They're very disrespectful. Whether government wants it or not should definitely not slow down for them, either.

Well if they're going to do that on a bike, they sure have some cajones, but I guess you get what might be coming to you.

Edited by Talbot

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I've seen cyclists do that too, but apparently just for the fun or convenience of it. And they usually don't even have flashing lights. They're very disrespectful. Whether government wants it or not should definitely not slow down for them, either.

Well if they're going to do that on a bike, they sure have some cajones, but I guess you get what might be coming to you.

I agree with Talbot. I don't believe laws should be enacted to protect individuals from themselves (the exception being children and others who can't help themselves); if you're too carefree to wear a seatbelt or decide to drive into oncoming motorist traffic on your bicycle, then you generally affect no one but yourself. But, a 3-ton tow truck is a different matter; that'll hurt others by a large margin.

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It seems as though I was incorrect about Apple. I spoke briefly with one of thier drivers, and it seems as if they do have a Safe-Clear zone contract.

See, as a kid, I was raised in the wrecker business here in Houston, As a kid, and into my teenage years, Apple was a housecall and AAA only type company. Of course, since they weren't running the "real" stuff, (i.e., 10 minute calls, wrecks, first wrecker on the scene, etc.) they got ribbed quite a bit.

And for those of y'all that continue to lump ALL wrecker drivers into the same barrel, calling them all scum, etc. That's like saying ALL priests are pedos, all cops and mexicans are raging alcoholic wife beaters, all blacks are thugs, or all muslims are terrorists. It just doesn't work that way people, so give it a break.

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Tow truck drivers are like lawyers. Everyone loves to hate them until you're in a jam and then they're your best friends.

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And for those of y'all that continue to lump ALL wrecker drivers into the same barrel, calling them all scum, etc. That's like saying ALL priests are pedos, all cops and mexicans are raging alcoholic wife beaters, all blacks are thugs, or all muslims are terrorists. It just doesn't work that way people, so give it a break.

Correct you are. Just stating my opinion (and maybe a little venting) that tow truck drivers should earn their right to be called first responders. I've seen them be pretty reckless, that's all.

Tow truck drivers are like lawyers. Everyone loves to hate them until you're in a jam and then they're your best friends.

Haha, too true.

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And for those of y'all that continue to lump ALL wrecker drivers into the same barrel, calling them all scum, etc. That's like saying ALL priests are pedos, all cops and mexicans are raging alcoholic wife beaters, all blacks are thugs, or all muslims are terrorists. It just doesn't work that way people, so give it a break.

It may not work that way... but they are still the bottom of the barrel. Sorry.

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I'm fine with move-over/slow-down laws. I'm NOT fine with law enforcement conducting sting operations with this law: it does nothing but back traffic up at best and cause needless lane changes that lead to wrecks at worst. Half the close calls and accidents I've witnessed over the past 5 years of driving have been when someone in the right lane feels the need to move over and cuts another driver off in the adjacent lane because they forget to look since their attention is focused on the flashing blue lights.

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