Detroit City Council Votes Unanimously to Reform Towing Practices

Photo: Andrew Woodley / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

DETROIT, October 13, 2021 ~ Tuesday, Detroit City Council unanimously voted to change how towing companies handle public relations and towing practices after years of citizen complaints.

The complaints stemmed from high towing fees that were only payable in cash, and towing drivers who refused to release a vehicle if the owner returned before the vehicle was towed. The changes targeted what were described as “predatory” towing practices, and passed without debate by a 6-0 vote. Councilwoman Janeé Ayers was not in attendance.

Listen, it’s been a scam for a long time, they have been working with certain police officers, people have been making a lot of money,” said AM 910 Radio Host Adolph Mongo to 760 WJR’s Kevin Dietz. “It’s overdue. It’s long overdue, and I guess it took a federal investigation, and city council members to make it happen.”

October 13, 2021 ~ Adolph Mongo talks about the Detroit City Council‘s vote to reform the towing system with Kevin Dietz.

The towing problems in the city have been linked to multiple federal criminal cases involving companies, members of the Detroit Police Department, and more recently, at least three City Council Members. In September, former Detroit Councilman Andre Spivey plead guilty to taking $35,900 in bribes in exchange for his help with towing regulations.

The changes include: credit card payment acceptance as well as cash for police-authorized towing companies, disconnection from tow truck and return of vehicle if the owner arrives before the vehicle is towed away and pays a service fee, and vehicles towed from private property must be approved by the Detroit Police Department before towing.

There are typically three reasons for towing a vehicle: removal of non-working vehicles by request or permission of the owner, non-consensual towing of vehicles on private property, and government-authorized towing such as impounds for evidence. Not all towing scenarios will be  affected by each change passed by the Tuesday vote.

The approval of this new ordinance is an important step in reforming the city’s troubled towing process and I appreciate the efforts of Council President Jones and Chief White to get it passed,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “We will now move onto the next steps to assure  accountability and transparency in the towing procurement process.”