Pa. Man Alleges Violation of Standard

Glenn Sylvester of Economy, Pa., has alleged, in the form of a complaint through the Pennsylvania attorney general's office, that Economy police violated the Towing and Towing Storage Facility Standards Act by requiring him to use a specific towing company without giving him the option to call on his own.

After an October accident in which his truck needed to be towed, Sylvester said he was told by police he had to use the company the police contacted instead of his preference.

Sylvester said he was charged more for the tow and storage by the contacted company than he would have been with the company of his choosing. But in many ways, he said, the cost is irrelevant.

"(The contacted company) can charge a million a tow, but (the police) can't make me use this," he said.

The Towing and Towing Storage Facility Standard Act, a state law passed in 2012, gives the owner of the vehicle power over the police to choose a towing company—in most circumstances.

According to the law, "the owner or operator of the vehicle being towed shall summon to the scene the tow truck operator of the owner's or operator's choice in consultation with law enforcement."

That provision does not apply if the operator is incapacitated for any reason, in which case the police will contact a towing company to move the vehicle. The police also can supersede the operator's decision if his or her choice of company cannot respond in a timely fashion, according to the law.

The driver of the vehicle also can defer the decision to law enforcement.

While it is not illegal for municipalities to have a go-to towing company, the Towing and Towing Storage Facility Standard Act supersedes all local and municipal ordinances when it comes to removing vehicles after accidents.

Sylvester has asked the borough to refund him the difference between what he paid compared with what he believes he would have been charged by his choice of towing company