The Houston Chronicle reports that as of January 1, Houston’s freeways are tow-away zones. That means:
“Starting New Year’s Day, if your car breaks down on a Houston freeway, expect a tow truck to show up promptly to whisk you out of the way whether you want the service or not.”
“Houston’s new towing ordinance takes effect Saturday. It is a major piece of Mayor Bill White’s traffic-management plan that declares all freeways to be tow-away zones. The city has signed contracts with wrecker companies to patrol 29 freeway sections and immediately remove any stalled or wrecked cars, expanding a pilot project that’s been in place on the Katy Freeway since March.”
“Motorists no longer will be allowed to change a flat tire on the freeway shoulder, walk to the nearest gas station to obtain additional fuel or call their own help. The 11 companies that have the new city towing contracts are required to respond to all disabled vehicles within six minutes and promptly get them off the highway once authorized by a police officer at Houston TranStar, the region’s traffic-control center. Drivers will be able to say where their cars should be taken, within 30 miles. They’ll be charged $75 for the first five miles and $1.50 per mile thereafter.”
I am just dumbfounded. I love the idea in theory, but the problem is that both my car insurance and my car manufacturer pay for all towing. They both have free maintenance plans included so that if I run out of gas or blow a tire, they tow me away for free. According to the article, I’m going to have to pay the tow truck driver, then file for reimbursement with my insurance agency and car. Man, the likelihood of that working is not good. And plus, it’s not fair to people who can’t afford the $75 hit, and yet can change their own tire.