Trucking's best defense against predatory towing: A step-by-step guide

Screen Shot 2021 06 28 At 3 39 52 Pm Headshot
Updated Jan 23, 2024
towing and recovery
Some unscrupulous towing companies will try to charge for services they never even provided, so it's important to document as best you can what exactly happens during the recovery.
Rob Swystun via Creative Commons

$200,000 for recovery of a single-vehicle crash. $6,000 to move a tractor and trailer 16 miles. A 33-hour standoff with a wrecker holding a driver in their truck hostage. These are the predatory towing horror stories regularly making headlines, and the pace has only increased. 

For big fleets, the threat mirrors that of nuclear verdicts. Legal and safety departments brace for an impact that could literally happen any time a driver gets behind the wheel. 

For owner-operators, though, a $100,000 towing and recovery bill can spell out a death sentence for their career in trucking, maybe even ruin life at home, too. 

A recent report from the American Transportation Research Institute lays bare the shocking statistics. In 2021, 82.7% of carriers reported being overcharged by towing companies. Another 82% said they’d been hit with ridiculous accessorial fees to jack up the price. While these numbers are grim, the carriers in the latter case were lucky to even be presented an itemized bill, given a number of states don't require it.  

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