Towing Ordinance Creates Added Costs For Operators

Beginning Thursday in Nacogdoches, if your car or truck needed towing after a traffic accident or a breakdown only three tow truck companies would be allowed to take your vehicle off the road.   A new tow truck ordinance is being enforced. So far only three operators are meeting the guidelines. The majority are scrambling, and most aren't too happy about it. USA Auto Center Paint and Body owner, Gene Lyles shared, " I'm going to wind up spending probably $70,000 when everything is said and done."

That's how much it's costing Lyles to come into compliance. He's paying for his drivers to be tested. No argument there, but what irks him are the equipment standards.   To regain a spot on the police rotation list operators are forced to purchase high priced conventional wreckers capable of towing more weight. Lyles is purchasing two. The rollback wrecker that's served him for 8 years is just short of meeting the ordinance's weight requirements. Lyles said, " I've never not been able to not load anything I went after. I don't understand all of a sudden that it's not capable of doing it now." The intention is to assure the services are reputable, the provider capable and the equipment is reliable.

Lyles is also paying for handicap accessibility changes to his business, even though he says the city approved years ago the ones he already had in place.

The ordinance requirements have snowballed desire to regulate the fees charged for both police initiated and private property tow always. The charges were getting out of hand. Nacogdoches Police Department Assistant Police Chief Vince Griffin said, " Close to $250 for being towed off of a private property lot." Now it's $85. The rotation list of certified tow truck operators will also eliminate allegations of favoritism. Griffin said, " They would insinuate that officers were making recommendations on what tow service to use."

The ordinance reflects some changes for the customer. You can call any wrecker service that is not on the list, but your vehicle must be off the road. That means if you're in a wreck you must push it to the side. Lyles isn't happy about that either, but like all regulations knows he must comply. So he's waiting on a second conventional truck and certification of a driver. He hopes to be added to the list within a couple of weeks.

Towing services that are no longer on the rotation list for the Nacogdoches Police Department remain on the list used by the Nacogdoches County Sheriff' Department. The ordinance only applies within the Nacogdoches city limits.