CNN interviews a former tow truck driver to get the dirt on how the business works. There’s not a lot of new info here, but it may be useful to know that just because you see some un-towed cars in a towing zone, it doesn’t mean it’s safe—usually, drivers leave some cars alone to entice fresh vehicles: “It’s kind of like fishing, you want to keep some bait out there.”
He told us that when the smart tow truck companies impound a car, they write down the VIN and the license plate number, then call the DMV and put a lien on that owner for the amount of money it costs to store the car. “Other tow truck companies might just sell the car off or just apply for the title and sell it off and get what money they can for it,” he said.
We asked him what the company he worked for did in these cases. “If someone offered them cash for the car they just kind of unloaded it off to them.” He said they didn’t get in trouble for that because, “They had a connection up at the DMV, a lady was making titles for them.”
By law, the towing companies are supposed to wait 45 days before they apply for the title at the DMV. “But you know, it varies,” Dan said.