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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingSeptember 19 - September 25, 2018

It's OK to Decline Inebriated Transports

ForTB O fc5c6By Randall C. Resch

When the question comes up about transporting the drunken buddy, how are you prepared to answer the officer's request?

Often it's a situation after a DUI arrest that becomes a safety issue for towers when the arresting officer asks, "Will you take the passenger's buddy with you?" (Keep in mind the officer may not let you know that the buddy is a candidate for detox.) Because you wish to serve the police, you agree to transport Mr. Companion once you're loaded and ready to go.

All is well until the officer leaves. Then, the passenger starts to get a little froggy and attempts to liberate his friend's impounded vehicle.

Being placed directly in harm's way is typically not part of any law enforcement contract. Regarding the transport of injured, intoxicated or belligerent people, what's your company's policy and procedure?

While I realize that the police department has plenty to do, asking you to take control of an intoxicated or belligerent person is putting a tower directly in harm's way. Sure, the party may seem all friendly and nice; but once the cops depart, a drunk with a purpose comes alive and may come after you.

Police officers should be in charge of and responsible for transporting passengers off the highway for the safety of the tow operator. If it's an arrest in an area where public transportation is available, taxis or a rideshare program can transport them. If the passenger is intoxicated, a better decision would be to deliver that individual to detox and not release an intoxicated person into a public place.

In one incident, a tow operator agreed to transport a pair of intoxicated males off the highway after their buddy was arrested for DUI. With the impounded vehicle on his carrier, the tower drove the buzzed buddies to a residence; while he was letting them out, the two became aggressive, pulled the towman from the cab of his tow truck, and beat him severely. His injuries included a black eye, bloody nose and bruised ribs.

Although the tower did nothing wrong, the tower chose not to press charges as he did not want to cause problems for his tow company.

If your company tows for law enforcement, I recommend that management contact your law enforcement agencies to determine if (by contract) you're required to transport intoxicated or belligerent persons? My guess is ... that's police work.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, and is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame.
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