Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > General Discussions > Other Talk
Reload this Page >

Soon, changing a tire will be illegal

Other Talk "Otterville" plus Religion/Politics

Soon, changing a tire will be illegal

Old 12-28-04, 01:31 PM
  #1  
Moderator
Thread Starter
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di Salò
Posts: 32,956
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Soon, changing a tire will be illegal

Stranded on freeway? Tow truck's coming
Motorists won't be allowed to call for own tow, change their own tires

By LUCAS WALL
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

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.

White contends the policy will reduce traffic congestion created by stalls and crashes as well as reduce the potential for secondary wrecks.

"Studies have shown that our freeways are much safer if we can get stalled and wrecked vehicles towed out of the way faster," White said last week at a news conference about the program. "We think this will be a model for the country."

Workers are installing 72 signs at the city limits and other locations warning: "Disabled Vehicles Will Be Towed — It's the Law."

Traffic management

Councilman Michael Berry, the chairman of the transportation committee, who helped White push the ordinance through in May, said motorists will notice an improvement in commute times.

"The public told us they did not want to be stranded on a freeway that became a parking lot because one car ran out of gas or blew a tire," Berry said. "What a difference this is going to make in the day-to-day lives of our residents."

Other city officials also are pledging the towing program will ease traffic congestion. Under current rules, a stalled vehicle may not be towed until a police officer arrives on the scene and requests a wrecker. Because dealing with broken-down vehicles had not been a police priority, cars often sat for hours before being moved.

"You will see a tremendous difference in the flow of traffic starting in January," said Joe Breshears, director of the Mayor's Office of Mobility.

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.

"We are going to attempt to move those vehicles immediately, even if it's just off the freeway to a safe location," said Ken Ulmer, president of A-1 Towing, which holds the towing contracts for parts of the Katy Freeway. "For that towing fee of $75, we would change the tire for the consumer."

Tow trucks participating in the freeway towing program, dubbed "Safe Clear," will be required to accept credit cards and checks. Typically wreckers only accept cash and impound vehicles if motorists don't have it.

Motorists still face temporary seizure of their vehicle if they lack any form of payment. They will have to pick up their cars from storage lots, paying a storage fee in addition to the standard towing rate. Or a car can be sent to a mechanic, who will add the towing charge to the invoice for repairs needed.

Berry said the Katy Freeway pilot project, which has towed an average of 140 cars per month outside Loop 610, has been a success.

"These individuals who were stranded on the freeway have said they didn't know how they were going to get their cars moved out of the way," he said. "Most were thankful we were there."

Training drivers

Some motorists, however, have been irate when told about the mandatory tow. Participating wrecker drivers are being trained in how to handle conflicts, and to request that a police officer respond to deal with any unruly person.

David Saperstein, the mayor's mobility chairman, said public safety and traffic flow overrules the interests of individual drivers who are stranded.

"They need to know to check their gas before they get on the freeway and make sure their car is freeway-ready," Saperstein said. "If they have a problem, they are not going to be able to call a friend and wait to get it fixed. They are going to be towed."

Members of auto clubs offering roadside assistance will no longer be allowed to wait for that service to show up. They will be towed by the city contractor, which has exclusive towing rights in its zone, and can seek reimbursement later.

Anne O'Ryan, public and government affairs manager for AAA Texas, said her association will reimburse its members for any police-ordered tow including one under the Safe Clear program. AAA is talking with the city and its contract wreckers about setting up direct billing so the member won't have to foot the bill on the scene, she said, but that issue won't be resolved by Saturday.

Jeanette Rash, owner of Fast Tow, which will patrol some Inner Loop freeway zones, said she hopes drivers understand and appreciate the program.

"It's imperative for the public to know that we are just trying to put them in a safe place," Rash said. "We are doing this at the minimal cost we possibly can."

The $75 base tow fee is a reduction from the Houston Police Department's current $115 authorized charge.

That charge will remain for vehicles towed at the direction of police officers off the freeway network, where any city-licensed wrecker stays eligible for the work.

Rash said she expects to encounter some hostile motorists but knows the program is important.

"People do get hit and killed on the side of the road while changing a tire or working on their car," she said. "What is the cost of a tow versus a life?"
Old 12-28-04, 01:37 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk God
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Directionally Challenged (for DirecTV)
Posts: 123,190
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Why do I have a feeling that towing companies were the major force behind this ordinance.

Owning towing companies and parking lots - if I had it all over to do again, I would get into these businesses. Little maintainence so nothing but profit profit profit.
Old 12-28-04, 01:40 PM
  #3  
Moderator
Thread Starter
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di Salò
Posts: 32,956
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Originally Posted by Red Dog
Why do I have a feeling that towing companies were the major force behind this ordinance.
Have I ever told you my theory that government behaves almost exactly like an organized crime syndicate? People or businesses pay them 'protection' money, and then the government looks out for their interests. The tobacco settlement was an excellent example of this model.
Old 12-28-04, 01:50 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Triangle, NC, USA
Posts: 8,810
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If one car stalls, runs out of gas, or has a flat, the entire roadway is not stopped. It's only when the DUMBASSES WHO RUBBERNECK at wrecks, stalled cars, trees, nothing, that the traffic stops. Fine them for doing that, I think we'll see a lot calmer roadways.

I see the point of this, but I find a lot of inconsistencies and strongly disagree with it. Apart from the fact that I can change my own tire, in less time and for cheaper than a tow truck, what about people with AAA? They call a tow truck on their own. A lot easier than dealing with 'reimbursements' for services you're already getting.

A police officer will arrive on scene, and call a tow truck, to have the disabled car removed, and they're going to focus on that now, since "dealing with broken-down vehicles had not been a police priority"? I guess there are no more murders, rapes, kidnappings, burglaries, pursesnatchings in Houston, since now the police can place a 'priority' on flat tires.

So I pay taxes, for the cops, and the government [which I pay taxes to run], gets contracts with towing agencies, who I then *have to pay* 75 bucks to, to tow my car even though I know how to change my flat?

Now, this, is a load of crap: "Motorists still face temporary seizure of their vehicle if they lack any form of payment. They will have to pick up their cars from storage lots, paying a storage fee in addition to the standard towing rate. Or a car can be sent to a mechanic, who will add the towing charge to the invoice for repairs needed.' Ofteh times I don't have a checkbook, and I don't use credit cards anymore, and I usually don't care 75 bucks in cash. So because i can't pay you right then, you are going to sieze my car and charge me EVEN MORE for this service I didn't want that duplicates a service I already have [AAA] or can do myself.
Old 12-28-04, 01:51 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk God
 
Deftones's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Arizona
Posts: 74,989
Likes: 0
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
So lets say that your tire blows on the freeway and you pull off to the side. You jump out and begin changing the tire as a towtruck pulls up. What are they going to do? Force you to give up control of your car so that it may be towed?
Old 12-28-04, 01:52 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Somewhere between Heaven and Hell
Posts: 30,643
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
Someone's getting some kickbacks...
Old 12-28-04, 01:59 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: in Bush territory!
Posts: 11,613
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by devilshalo
Someone's getting some kickbacks...
You think? This one is a no brainer. He should just spell it out on his forehead. "I TAKE KICKBACKS!"
Old 12-28-04, 02:01 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In a State of Panic
Posts: 722
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Someone's going to try to take the worng person's car and wind up getting shot. This is an awful scam. If they want to tow the cars off the freeway that's fine. They could then offer towing to the nearest garage/gas station/ whatever for a charge. But to forcibly tow cars and charges an outrageous fee for the "service" is wrong wrong wrong.
Old 12-28-04, 02:04 PM
  #9  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Democratik People's Republik of Kalifornia
Posts: 22,995
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
gold diggers.
Old 12-28-04, 02:04 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New Jersey, where the state motto should be Leave No Tree Standing
Posts: 2,073
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow, it takes what we have in NJ and takes it even further. On the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway (both toll roads), you can't call your own towing service. Various towing companies have exclusive licenses on stretches of the roads and they are the only tow trucks allowed to operate on them. If you would prefer your own tow truck to pick you up, you have to let the licensed tow truck take you off the toll road and then your tow can pick you up there. However, we have not made it illegal to change your own tire. Yet.

Anyone else expect to see a lawsuit over this?
Old 12-28-04, 02:31 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Heat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 16,701
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you are anywhere near an exit, it would be worth it to just go on the shoulder at a slow speed, change the tire once you get off the interstate, and buy a new rim. I just picked up a new rim for my Honda, it was ~ $40 or $50 from the dealer.

But honestly, have you ever had a blown tire, anywhere? I've had maybe one, and that was in the mid 80s. As long as you have decent tread on your tires, I really don't see this as being an issue. Of course, I strongly disagree with the notion that it is illegal to change your own tire now, and that you must pay $75 or have your car impounded (for additional storage fees, of course).
Old 12-28-04, 02:32 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk God
 
kvrdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 86,201
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't like this at all, but I hate big city traffic, and if this can work, it sounds like a decent way to alleviate traffic jams. Seattle has some of the worst traffic around because they can't expand the roads any more. I think that most people would agree to this type of thing (because it rarely happens to them) to not have to be in a traffic jam every day (which frequently happens to them).

But, we'll have to wait and see if it actually works.
Old 12-28-04, 02:33 PM
  #13  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Aostin, TX, USA
Posts: 19,876
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What's next? A place where I can't even pump my own gas???

<wave @ el scorcho and the other Oregonians>
Old 12-28-04, 02:33 PM
  #14  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 6,635
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
this would be good if it were free for the first mile or so, so they could get you off the freeway where you could change the tire., but that one happen.
Old 12-28-04, 02:36 PM
  #15  
DVD Talk God
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Directionally Challenged (for DirecTV)
Posts: 123,190
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Originally Posted by kvrdave
I don't like this at all, but I hate big city traffic, and if this can work, it sounds like a decent way to alleviate traffic jams. Seattle has some of the worst traffic around because they can't expand the roads any more. I think that most people would agree to this type of thing (because it rarely happens to them) to not have to be in a traffic jam every day (which frequently happens to them).

But, we'll have to wait and see if it actually works.

I don't see much difference in the amount of rubbernecking/traffic backups btwn allowing a person to change a tire and having that person wait for a $75 city-contracted tow truck to hook their vehicle up and tow them away. I can see an ordinance saying that if you are broken down in the lanes of traffic, a tow is required. However, if you are safely on the shoulder, I don't see any reason for this.
Old 12-28-04, 02:36 PM
  #16  
DVD Talk God
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Directionally Challenged (for DirecTV)
Posts: 123,190
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Originally Posted by Y2K Falcon
What's next? A place where I can't even pump my own gas???

<wave @ el scorcho and the other Oregonians>

That's New Jersey.
Old 12-28-04, 02:37 PM
  #17  
Moderator
Thread Starter
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di Salò
Posts: 32,956
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Originally Posted by kvrdave
I don't like this at all, but I hate big city traffic, and if this can work, it sounds like a decent way to alleviate traffic jams. Seattle has some of the worst traffic around because they can't expand the roads any more. I think that most people would agree to this type of thing (because it rarely happens to them) to not have to be in a traffic jam every day (which frequently happens to them).

But, we'll have to wait and see if it actually works.
You dirty commie pinko hippie Democrat.


Old 12-28-04, 02:39 PM
  #18  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Capitol of the Empire! Center of all Commerce and Culture! Crossroads of Civilization! NEW ROME!!!...aka New York City
Posts: 10,909
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When they make changing tires illegal, only criminals will have a spare!
Old 12-28-04, 02:41 PM
  #19  
Moderator
Thread Starter
 
wendersfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Nuova Repubblica di Salò
Posts: 32,956
Received 5 Likes on 4 Posts
Originally Posted by Tommy Ceez
When they make changing tires illegal, only criminals will have a spare!
They'll take my lug wrench from me when they pry it out of my cold, dead hands!
Old 12-28-04, 02:44 PM
  #20  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,214
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
This is complete crap. I live in a high traffic area and i have never seen traffic get congested from someone changing a tire. Ironically, everytime there are cop cars or tow trucks on the side of the road traffic almost always gets congested. It must be the flashing lights or something but it seems like alot of people think their going to get pulled over if they don't do 20 miles under the speed limit.
Old 12-28-04, 02:55 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: houston, tx
Posts: 4,844
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
as a houstonian, i was outraged wheni first heard this. then i realized that yes, it WILL help traffic but only if ONE tow truck shows up (here, any stall or wreck and there is about 10 or 15 tows that show up and block half the road and leave their flashing lights on, creating a much bigger disturbance than the original problem). i say sure, allow the law but ticket the other tow truck drivers for disturbance or something retarded like that. most of the freeways in houston have exit ramps every mile or so so it wouldnt be that hard to actually limp a car off the freeway. my fear is that someone will try to push their car off the freeway in order to avoid a ticket and get hit that way. yes, they are an idiot for trying that but that is a cruel way for darwinism to go into effect. i think the 5 minute rule is a bit steep--make it like 15 or 30 and i would be fine with it.
Old 12-28-04, 02:58 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk God
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Directionally Challenged (for DirecTV)
Posts: 123,190
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Originally Posted by krkuhl
i think the 5 minute rule is a bit steep--make it like 15 or 30 and i would be fine with it.

That's what I was thinking too. Give the person a chance to change their tire. If they can't do it in a reasonable amount of time, then require the tow.
Old 12-28-04, 03:02 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: frass canyon
Posts: 16,249
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by dtcarson
If one car stalls, runs out of gas, or has a flat, the entire roadway is not stopped. It's only when the DUMBASSES WHO RUBBERNECK at wrecks, stalled cars, trees, nothing, that the traffic stops. Fine them for doing that, I think we'll see a lot calmer roadways.
sounds great, but how are you going to enforce it?
Old 12-28-04, 03:02 PM
  #24  
DVD Talk Hero
 
D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB)'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Stick out your tongue!
Posts: 39,346
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
well, removing stalled cars in traffic is a good idea. removing cars already on the shoulder, especially for a flat, is a little out of line. it really shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to change a flat. i've seen many cars stalled in the middle of traffic - averaging about 1 per day, and they really do slow down traffic, which is already a crawl in rush hour traffic. now, i'd like to see how tow trucks can get to stalled vehicles in 6 minutes in rush hour traffic though.
Old 12-28-04, 03:04 PM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 432
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by krkuhl
as a houstonian, i was outraged wheni first heard this. then i realized that yes, it WILL help traffic but only if ONE tow truck shows up (here, any stall or wreck and there is about 10 or 15 tows that show up and block half the road and leave their flashing lights on, creating a much bigger disturbance than the original problem). i say sure, allow the law but ticket the other tow truck drivers for disturbance or something retarded like that. most of the freeways in houston have exit ramps every mile or so so it wouldnt be that hard to actually limp a car off the freeway. my fear is that someone will try to push their car off the freeway in order to avoid a ticket and get hit that way. yes, they are an idiot for trying that but that is a cruel way for darwinism to go into effect. i think the 5 minute rule is a bit steep--make it like 15 or 30 and i would be fine with it.
Did you ever see the episode of A-Team where renegade towing companies fight for stranded vehicles? There is going to be machine gun fire before this is all resolved.

Hey, is Texas the state that alows motorists to have rifles on the backs of trucks?

This could get ugly...

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.