Tow Truck Ordinance Stirring up Controversy

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BRYAN, Texas New tow truck regulations in Bryan have many drivers and owners upset.

Bryan city council passed the new regulations for tow truck operators in February.

Bryan works on a tow truck rotation list. When there's an accident, the officer on scene will call the tow truck company next on that list.

In the ordinance, the chief of police now has authorization to establish rules and regulations regarding the list.

Sandy Portzer owns Roadrunners Towing. She said that authorization gives the police chief too much power.

"It's totally a dictatorship. Everything is at his discretion," said Portzer.

Portzer said small businesses like hers get about 50 percent or more of their income from the jobs they get from Bryan's rotation list.

"He can throw you off, he can keep you on. He can lower the limits or standards if he wants, as far as I can tell," said Portzer.

Under the new regulations, a company can be removed from the list if it takes them longer than 30 minutes to get to a scene more than twice in a year.

Roy Koit with Garcia Towing said it's punishment enough to miss a towing job without threat of being removed from the list.

"How many people are late three times a year? And they have 24 hours, they know when they're supposed to be there," said Koit. "We get called any time day or night, and we're required to be there in 30 minutes."

Koit said some drivers will do whatever it takes to make it to the scene, even if that means breaking a few traffic laws and putting other drivers at risk.

"I've been at a traffic light when it turns green. Two seconds go by and zoom, a tow truck driver goes right through the red," said Koit. "And he's not even on a call. So what's going to happen when he is on a call?"

Bryan Police Chief Eric Buske said the time limit is something the city has required for a while now, and it's necessary when it comes to clearing a scene.

"What we're trying to do is clear an intersection when there's been an accident. Something like this, we have to have a time requirement. And 30 minutes has been the standard for a long time."

Koit said he doesn't mind the time limit, just the penalty.

Buske said the list reflects the department, and they want the highest standards for their drivers.

"The rotation list is essentially an endorsement from the Bryan Police Department," said Buske.

Buske said he won't play favorites when it comes to picking companies for the list. All they have to do is meet the minimum requirements.

To read the complete ordinance, click on the link added to this story.