I came across an article discussing a new report put out by the American Transport Research Institute ATRI.
The report is titled “Causes and Countermeasures of Predatory Towing.”
The goal of the report is to “Improve the relationship between the towing and trucking industries.”
But I don’t think that’s really what they had in mind.
If your goal is to mend fences, why would you come out the gate accusing towing company owners of preying on trucking companies?
Anyway, in the report, you’ll find this;
“…The most common types of predatory towing were excessive rates and unwarranted extra service charges…and that 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.”
Unwarranted and excessive to who?
Have they seen the cost of insurance, labor, fuel, and trucks lately?
Regarding delays, truck seizure, and cargo release issues, if they paid promptly these wouldn’t exist.
Unfortunately, due to the less-than-honorable practices some of these trucking companies engage in, holding collateral is all the towing company has to ensure it’s paid.
But here’s what I found really interesting.
When you take a look at ATRI’s leadership, their Board of Directors (the group of folks who commissioned this report)…it becomes crystal clear that they’re not trying to mend any fences.
With Werner Enterprises’s CEO, Derek Leathers, as ATRI’s Board Chairman and a whole host of trucking magnates right along his side.
You’ve got the heads of CRST, Boyle Trucking, Ruan Transportation, and the who’s who of the trucking industry rounding up the remainder of the Board.
With this cast of characters and more, you know it’s going to be one-sided.
And, look at this…it gave me quite a chuckle.
In the report, one complaint was that…
“Trucking companies are rarely able to choose which towing company to utilize during police-initiated, post-crash tows…”
“…We are often unable to compare rates, investigate crash sites, or approve the equipment and techniques deployed in a recovery.”
There’s so much to unpack here.
So they’re saying that when one of their truck drivers makes a mistake…and rolls a loaded tractor-trailer full of thousands of gallons of Canola Oil, upside-down, blocking four lanes of traffic…
…The cops are supposed to just wait for Derek Leathers to come down off of his throne and investigate the scene?
For what, to determine if the accident merits a response from a towing company?
And, no, you aren’t going to approve our equipment or critique how we do our job.
Hey, National Trucking Companies, I got an idea…
With the number of times we’ve rescued your “truck drivers” from situations where trained drivers would never dare stray, you might want to take a look in the mirror on this one.
I got some advice for these motor carriers.
Want to reduce towing and recovery fees?
Train your truck drivers better. Have higher standards. Treat them better so they stay around longer.
Rather than spending money on this feeble report, which was obviously crafted to coerce state governments into cracking down on towing rates, use that money to incentivize your drivers to remain accident-free.
Towing companies aren’t your problem, you numbskulls. We’re solving problems you refuse to adequately address.
Allowing truck drivers access to mobile devices while driving.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says 71% of tractor-trailer accidents stem from driving while distracted, and the most common culprit is cell phone use.
If the trucking industry really cared about their bottom lines and the lives of motorists who must share the roads with their drivers, they’d make their drivers lock their phones away in a Faraday box when the truck’s in gear.
Technology’s been around for quite a while now.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone in the towing industry is a saint.
Heck, all you gotta do is look at the mess that’s unfolding in Memphis with A-1. Which may explain the timeliness of this report and the rushed nature in which it appears to be put together.
They’re just jumping on the bandwagon.
I’ll be the first to admit that, Yeah, we got problems.
But what I’m suggesting is that these national carriers might want to take a look at what their drivers are doing before they go pointing their finger at us.