Officials, wrecker owners meet over wrecker ordinance

(WMC-TV) - Memphis city officials spent part of Wednesday night working out a wrecker ordinance that would protect the rights of drivers.

It is part of an ongoing battle to satisfy both tow truck companies and drivers.

Wrecker owners came to the table with city leaders and law enforcement to get one step closer towards a new wrecker ordinance all parties can live with.

They went word-by-word through the ordinance, making sure everyone was clear with the meaning.  In the end, Memphis City Council member Harold Collins, who led the meeting, felt confident drivers will be better protected.

"They will have a place they can file a legitimate complaint against a tow company if they feel they have been wronged," said Collins.  "And the tow companies will now have to come into compliance with all other industries in our city."

One of the more outspoken representatives of the towing industry was Heather Guess of Superior Automotive, who said her remaining concern is with the requirement that tow truck drivers call police with a VIN number for the vehicle they are towing. Police will then give the driver another number allowing them to continue with the tow.

Guess said this step puts drivers in danger.

"I have no problems getting to another location off that property," said Guess.  "I'm off that property in less than a minute."

Collins said he understands Guess' concerns over safety, but he is more concerned for the drivers of Memphis.

"I'm more concerned when a tow company sees a car and they pick it up and take it somewhere without any kind of authorization," he said.

This is one of the complaints that has led leaders to pursue these changes.

A final version of the ordinance is expected to be drafted next month.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.