Legislation, Hearing Aims At Reining In Rogue Tow Truck Operators

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They’re called chasers — rogue tow truck operators who rush to the scenes of accidents.

As KDKA has documented in several reports, victims say their cars are towed to undisclosed locations and sometimes charged hundreds and hundreds of dollars for storage and other fees.

“Because of your reports, and because of a lot of things that are going on and my past experience, we need to regulate these towers,” said Pennsylvania Rep. Dom Costa.

On Tuesday, at hearing in Sharpsburg, witnesses testified in favor of legislation by Rep. Costa, including the insurance industry.

“We are seeing major problems involving rogue towers in Pennsylvania, most notably in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia,” said Tim Lynch, with the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Rep. Costa’s bill would require that towers be licensed and certified, and prohibits towers from rushing to accident scene. Municipalities could instead establish rotation lists, where licensed and reputable operators take turns.

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John Hableib, of Hableib Automotive, spoke for other towers in the audience who said they are reputable and provide of service to people in accidents, saying police are often too busy to respond.

“We have a very good business at our shop. This is what we do,” said Hableib. “You have a vehicle in the middle of the street for two hours, with bumpers in the other lane, stuff like that, you’re not supposed to remove that stuff?”

While Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert testified that the rules need to be clearer.

“There’s got to be a way we can come up with a solution to make it so it’s beneficial to everybody, and keeping the public safe and keeping people from being charged with excessive fees,” Chief Schubert said.

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