When Michael McGovern and I started this website in 2016, we wanted to create a place where tow companies (as opposed to tow drivers) could safely and quickly obtain accurate legal information from attorney’s knowledgeable in the towing industry. In doing so, we recognize that, maybe more now than ever, there is a big difference between tow company owners and tow drivers as much of the risk tow companies now face comes from claims made by drivers against their employers. We are careful not to publicize this information in other publications for fear that it may be read by tow companies and drivers alike. However, we feel comfortable publishing it here because our subscribers are owners or high level employees.
When a tow company is being sued for minimum or overtime wage violations, one of the first issues both parties must confront is how many hours the tow driver actually worked. Because of the unusual nature of the tow business where drivers are on shift for long periods of time but not actually performing tows, it is not uncommon for the tow company to say “I have no idea how many hours claimant worked.”
When a tow company takes possession of a vehicle, a variety of legal obligations are impacted. One of these is the creation of a bailment. A bailment describes a legal relationship where physical possession of property is transferred from one person to another person. In the tow business, a bailment is established once a motor vehicle belonging to someone else comes into the possession of the tow company. The owner of the vehicle is “bailor” and the tow company is the “bailee.” But what do these fancy legal words mean?
In my neck of the woods, it is commonplace for tow companies to monitor the police radio waves with an electronic scanner. This has become even more frequent with the advent of the cell phone and download of a police scanner app. But is the use of a police scanner itself an illegal act?