WASHINGTON — The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has released a new 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.
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.
A comprehensive 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).
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.
“Predatory towing is a costly issue for motor carriers as well as compliant towing companies, and it has been overlooked for too long,” said Shawn R. Brown, Cargo Transporters’ vice president of safety. “With reliable data analysis and a thorough regulatory review, ATRI’s report sheds light on the sources of the problem and paths forward for addressing it by both regulators and trucking fleets.”
A copy of this report is available on ATRI’s website here.
Born and raised in Little Rock, AR, Erica N. Guy decided to stay in her hometown to begin her professional career in journalism. Since obtaining her bachelor’s degree from UAPB, Erica has professionally written for several publications about several topics ranging from lifestyle, tech, culture, and entertainment, just to name a few. Continuing her love for her hometown, she joined our team in June 2023, where she is currently a staff writer. Her career goals include continuing storytelling through her writing by being the best professional writer she can be. In her spare time, Erica enjoys trying new foods, cozying up with a good book, spending time with family and friends, and establishing herself as a future businesswoman.