Philadelphia wants tow truck drivers to toe the line

    City Council discusses ways to improve the system of dispatching tow trucks to disabled vehicles.

    After feuding tow truck companies brought Philadelphia some unwanted attention, City Council is holding hearings on how to improve the system for dispatching tow trucks to stranded drivers.

    Many times, multiple tow trucks show up to the site of an accident in Philadelphia, even before police arrive. Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison said the dispatching system often doesn’t work.

    “The rotational towing program only applies to non-consensual tows, those situations where the vehicles are not movable and blocking the highway,” said Gillison Tuesday.

    Gillison said some tow truck drivers circumvent the system by pushing disabled cars off to the side of the highway. Once a disabled car is on the shoulder, tow truck operators are free to persuade the driver to agree to a tow. Councilwoman Maria Quionnes Sanchez said the city is is part of the problem.

    “So if there are bad guys out there, it’s partially our fault because we are not going after them,” she said.

    Councilman Jim Kenney, who read a letter from an insurance company speaking of many overcharges by tow truck operators, said te situation has gotten out of hand. Kenney said if there were a central storage facility for towed cars, it could resolve most of the problems.

    Council and the Nutter Administration vow they will fix the problem.

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