Houston recently mandated the “Safe Clear” towing program. It wasn’t interesting enough to talk about at the time, but it gets more and more interesting.
The original idea was to get motorists off the road when they break down to prevent additional accidents. You must accept the tow; you must get in the tow truck; you must pay $75 for the tow.
What’s the first problem? Right – many motorists don’t have $75, and certainly don’t want to pay that kind of money for a flat tire or because they’re out of gas which are the two most common problems for stranded motorists.
Solution #1: Free towing! If you’re stranded because of a flat or because you’re out of gas, free tows to the nearest gas station! The tow trucks will bill the city of Houston, and the city will pay for it. Socialized towing has finally arrived.
The tow truck drivers are selected by the city. What happens if you’re a tow truck driver and suddenly find you’re not selected? Why, you head to the state capital to protest. (subscription link, sorry about that.)
Then the news reported a death due to the Safe Clear program. Well, ok, so Safe Clear doesn’t kill stranded motorists (yet – more on that in a minute), but the man walked to a gas station to get a gallon of gas, and tried to run back when the Safe Clear wrecker appeared. He was struck by several cars.
Since the city is mandating that motorists accept rides from these selected tow truck drivers, the city promised they would do background checks. Apparently that doesn’t mean criminals can’t be tow truck drivers, just that the city would check. “Yup, he’s a criminal. Sign him up.”
Local 2 decided to do its own background checks on all 252 drivers licensed for Safe Clear.
The Trouble Shooters found a third of them, 82, are convicted criminals. The crimes range from misdemeanor drug possession and drunken driving to aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, indecent exposure, auto theft and murder. Some spent years in prison.
Mandatory rides with criminals, paid for by the city. Sort of like a socialist murder-for-hire service. At some point during this fiasco, somebody’s going to come to the conclusion that this whole program is not a good idea. Eventually.