Tow Truck Driver Calling For Towing Regulation Changes


10TV is learning more about alleged predatory tow truck practices that have happened in Columbus. Now, some are calling for change.

A former tow truck operator tells 10TV that cars are being needlessly towed and supports more regulation of the towing industry.

"A commission driver has that incentive to be the bird dog, to be their johnny-on-the-spot, to get there as soon as you make the mistake of parking in the wrong spot," said former operator Bob Bridges.

Bridges was a tow truck driver for 15 years with two different companies in Columbus. He says he's seen the highs and lows of the tow truck business.

"Being a tower, I can recognize what's an easy hook," said Bridges.

He says the most disturbing incidents were late at night around the Ohio State University campus. "It was dog eat dog down in the alleys and drivers are territorial," said Bridges.

One night, he says he spotted a co-worker making a tow. "He jumped in his truck, backed up, hooked an easy hook, and I was like hey, right on, he got one," said Bridges.

That's when Bridges says he watched the tow truck operator jimmy the car door open and do the unthinkable. "I watched him grab the tag off the mirror and throw it, and I was just baffled."

That wasn't the only time. Bridges says he saw another operator already inside a car near campus, making a questionable tow. "Looked like he was scraping something off the window. That was a parking permit and then towed that car."

In fact, the owner of Shamrock Towing tells 10TV he has heard of incidents like that before, but he says that if he catches any of his drivers in the act, he'll fire them on the spot.

Shamrock Towing is one of the main tow truck companies students say they see around the OSU campus.

"So I've paid almost $600 this year to tow trucks," said OSU senior Brooke Mangiarelli.

Now, some are now saying it's an industry in Ohio that needs change.

House Bill 382 is currently being discussed in the Statehouse. The bill's sponsor says its goal is to tackle bogus towing fees, require towing companies to document their actions with pictures, and clarify signage.

Bridges says not all tow truck companies are bad, but it's the ones that are that state lawmakers hope to regulate.

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