Researchers seek information on predatory towing in the trucking industry

Updated Dec 2, 2022
Tow truck with tractor

A national industry research organization wants to hear from drivers and carriers who may have been victimized by unscrupulous towing practices. 

The American Transportation Research Institute today issued a call for motor carriers and drivers to participate in a new data collection effort on the impact of predatory towing in the trucking industry.

ATRI said predatory towing is "any incident in which a tow truck operator egregiously overcharges, illegally seizes, damages by use of improper equipment, or withholds release of a truck and/or cargo." Recognizing its persistent negative impact on the industry, ATRI’s Research Advisory Committee identified the need to better understand this problem as a top research priority earlier this year.

According to a statement from ATRI, the short survey asks fleets to share which types of predatory towing they deal with most frequently, what fees or delays they consider predatory, and in which states they have encountered predatory tows. It also said it seeks participants for a second round of more detailed data collection that will allow ATRI to quantify the frequency and operational impact of each type of predatory event. All data collected will be kept completely confidential, ATRI said.

“We all know that predatory towing is an issue, yet until now there has been no robust analysis on how, when, and where it happens or the impact of legislation designed to regulate these predatory practices,” said Shawn R. Brown, Cargo Transporters vice president of Safety. “By participating in ATRI’s data-driven research, carriers will be helping to answer these questions and outline solutions.”

Motor carriers and drivers can complete the survey by clicking here.