Cleaner, safer roads is the goal of new legislation that would increase the fines levied on negligent Philadelphia tow truck drivers.
The bill, unanimously approved Monday by City Council’s streets and services committee, triples the penalty faced by tow companies that don’t clean up after an accident. The legislation will now move to the full legislative body for a final vote.
“You want to resolve the one accident but you don’t want to cause another accident because of your ineptitude on cleaning up,” said City Councilman Al Taubenberger the bill’s sponsor.
Taubenberger’s bill increases the fine to $300 from $100.
The larger fine is intended to help the city recoup the cost of cleaning up after tow trucks leave the scene of an accident, said City Councilman Mark Squilla, a member of the streets committee.
Philadelphia Police Department sergeant Matt White spoke in support of the fine hike. He recalled stepping in after tow trucks left to clean up accident debris while working as a patrol officer. The work took time from more important aspects of the job, he said.
“Debris from auto accidents affects the safety of citizens and creates a significant risk of unnecessary property damage,” White said during his testimony. No one spoke against the bill.
Taubenberger said that the bill could be voted into law as early as Dec. 13.
“I would say take a look around there’s a lot of debris on the street from previous accidents, particularly glass,” he said. “What would it take to take a broom, shovel it up, and put it in a container and take it away?”
Whenever the police respond to an accident, the city dispatches tow trucks through their rotational tow program. Tow companies in the program are prohibited from charging for anything more than towing and storage.
Joe Camiolo, owner of Joey C’s Towing and Collision in Port Richmond, is not a fan of the proposed legislation.
“All around it’s a losing situation for the businessman,” he said.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed a quote to City Councilman Mark Squilla.