BRISTOL – A company in the area has been taken off the city’s rotating towing list due to inaccurate reporting.
Police Chief Brian Gould said Automotive Plus was recently taken off the list as part of an investigation.
“This is an initiative that we started several years ago,” said Gould. “We have towing companies that are on our towing list that are representative of the Bristol Police Service and we need to enforce applicable laws to ensure they comply with the laws when towing for us.”
Lt. Matthew Moskowitz said an officer launched a program of “tow truck inspections” a few years ago to keep towing companies “honest”. Towing companies are called upon to respond to police calls concerning broken down vehicles or those resulting from accidents.
“They are a direct reflection of us,” Moskowitz said.
Officers inspect towing slips which show whether mileage is accurately documented and whether additional work hours and equipment are required for towing.
“All of them are documented in the same way,” Moskowitz said. “There are two miles included in the tow. Often times, they document that they have to tow them a longer distance than the included two free miles. These mileage charges must be a certain amount and they must be accurately documented. The same goes for storage costs. If it’s a car accident and it’s been investigated for a long time, those storage costs add up pretty quickly.
Officers recently performed an inspection of Automotive Plus tow trucks and the inspection showed there was a “plethora” of violations, Moskowitz said. Towing slips were not documented, some lacked mileage and the equipment used was not documented. Fees were added to vouchers that did not state what they were for, the traffic division commander said. The investigation took place in the form of a citizen complaint.
The investigation was conducted in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles.
“We took care of the on-site inspection,” Moskowitz said. “Because of the number of infractions we have, we have fines totaling well over $ 16,000 and for removing them from the convenience store rotation because of the thinking they’ve had on the city.”
He said the state must also complete its investigation. Commissioner Paul Lemieux said he expected other issues to come to light during the Ministry of Motor Vehicles investigation.
When called, a representative for Automotive Plus said the company had made no comment.