Monday, March 9, 2009

TDLR Licensed Wrecker Drivers Continue to Violate State Law

I am not surprised to see that certain wrecker drivers, who were tested and issued an wrecker operator license by the Texas Department of Licensing & Regulations, are knowingly towing vehicles from private parking facilities or public roadways, in violation of State Law. The issue of illegal towing is rampant across our state, at a time with people losing their jobs, having to make a difficult choice, rather to pay an untimely fee, or put food on the table for their family.

To add salt to the wound of the many victims of illegal towing, is that a growing number of law enforcement agencies, have taken the stance, they are not willing to allow a crime victim to file an offense report against a towing company, wrecker driver, vehicle storage facility employee or parking facility, when a clear violation of State Law has occurred. In the most recent incident, a towing company (wrecker drivers) committed more than a hundred felony offenses while the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction looks the other way, i.e. business as usual. It's these events that give the towing industry a black eye.

In an illegal towing incident in Wills Point, Texas, a towing company, Fuller's Towing and Recovery Service, towed a vehicle from the parking lot of Lone Star Grill that the Grill manager called wanted removed. The wrecker driver, who arrived at this parking lot, should have recognized there were none of the required red and white towing signs (Occupation Code 2308.301) that would have allowed the towing of a vehicle parked in a marked parking space without the owner or operator's consent. But, as in the majority of nonconsent tows, the wrecker driver, sacrificed their integrity for the sake of financial gain, instead of telling the person who called, their parking lot was not in compliance with State Law.

The motoring public is under attack by these types of wrecker drivers, licensed or unlicensed, who refuse to obey the very State Law they were trained and tested for to be allowed to operate (drive) a tow truck in the State of Texas.

It's not like these towing company owners don't know what is happening, a large number of towing companies who tow from private parking lots (PPI, Impounds, Tow Aways) without the vehicle owner or operator's consent, have a criminal background, that are skilled in how to train their drivers, sales people and spotters how to deceive the public. Because of this cut throat business climate, towing companies who comply with State Law are losing clients because of financial benefits their competitors are giving to property managers and parking facility owners, while law enforcement ignores the facts.

We can only hope the Texas Legislature gives some relief to the many victims of illegal towing, in addition to increased funding to TDLR to hire additional investigators.