Towing Fines May Increase, Wreckers to get Background Checks

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BRYAN The issue of Bryan's tow truck regulations has re-surfaced a year after it was tabled indefinitely by city council. Bryan police use a rotation system to determine which wrecker service will be called to tow vehicles involved in accidents. Last year it was proposed to change the system and use just one wrecker service. Local towing companies said they'd lose business if the switch was made.

The Bryan City Council will vote in a couple of weeks on proposed changes to towing ordinance, including one that would fix a big loop hole

“It was unintentional, but uner the old ordinance, one person could own three or four tow trucks and call each one at a different company and get another place in the rotation and so there was some lacking as far as holding tow truck drivers accountable, so we wanted to correct that,” said Bryan Police Chief Eric Buske.

If passed, tow truck drivers will also be required to pass a background check, just like taxi cab drivers.

"We thought it was important because our families will be riding with that wrecker if they've been in an accident and so we felt that a background check was appropriate,” said Chief Buske. “Ultimately the rotation means we are endorsing the companies on list and we want to make sure the companies are professional and I'm confident this ordinance will help make that happen.”

The rotation service that is currently in place will stay the same, however wreckers will be required to offer 24-hour service, maintain a tow truck license and respond to calls within 30 minutes. Towing companies can be suspended or removed from the rotation if they fail to respond to a call more than once a month or two times in a calendar year, damage a vehicle, have a driver who is intoxicated, or fail to maintain the required insurance. The proposed changes also mean you would pay more for a tow.

“The fees haven't gone up since 2003 and we know fuel and things have gone up so it's only fair to propose an resolution that will pass at the same time as the ordinance so that the fees will go up,” Buske said.

A tow would cost $150 - instead of the $100 fee that's currently in effect. A second and unanimous vote is needed during the next city council meeting for those changes to go into effect. That meeting will be held January 28th.