Towtrucks 'block emergency workers'

2012-07-10 11:05

Johannesburg - Towtruck drivers are making it impossible for paramedics and other emergency services to perform their duties, Beeld reported on Tuesday.

"I was at a community meeting last week where the fire brigade pertinently stated that towtrucks are clogging accident scenes. At some point it's going to cost someone their life," said Xander Loubser, industry manager of Best Care ambulance services.

He and his team were at an accident scene over the weekend where a car had left the Mabopane highway and crashed into a ditch.

"My ambulance had to stop quite a distance from the scene because towtruck drivers had blocked access," Loubser said.

A few minutes after Best Care left the scene, they were called back, because a second car had crashed into the ditch after the driver collided with one of Accident Assist's towtrucks.

Accident Assist spokesperson Vincent Tierney said their vehicle's orange roof lights were on and cones had been placed on the road to cordon off the scene.

Frikkie Gouws, Life Med marketing manager, alleged that private ambulance services paid towtrucks to barricade accident scenes until their ambulances arrived.

- Have you had a similar experience, or are towtruck drivers just doing their job? Send us your thoughts.

  • npretorius2 - 2012-07-10 11:08

    Lowlife scum! its all about money and not about saving lives! Scavengers

      Matthew - 2012-07-10 11:11

      Vultrues of the road

      Squeegee - 2012-07-10 11:15

      Gangsters. The worst criminals. There is almost nothing moral in anything they do.

      clinton.badenhorst - 2012-07-10 11:16

      I wonder sometimes if they do not sabotage the roads near their standing point to get tows!

      tuco.angeleyes - 2012-07-10 11:38

      These oil spilling vultures need to have their feathers plucked. Somebody is going to die soon because of the chaos they create.

      eric.west.984 - 2012-07-10 11:52

      Bardy, I personally know of cases where they purposely swivelled traffic lights by 90 degrees, so as to cause accidents! Filthy scumbags!

      imraan.chothia.7 - 2012-07-10 12:17

      Netcare ER24 and other pvt Ambulances charge road accident fund around R3,000 to R6,000 to transport patients to Gov hospitals, and obviously the tax payer foots the bill. Pvt ambulances are also in business just like the tow truckers, dont think they doing us a service. Fix the rate to R1,000 , next time u at a scene ask what they charging before they move the patients.

      jason.children - 2012-07-10 12:18

      There is a very easy way to do it! Tow trucks need to be called for by the police officer on the scene! The arriving Tow Truck needs to have a code given to them by the control room who called them and that needs to be given to the police officer. This is the only way to control these guys.

      martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-10 12:25

      on a lighter note, a fiends brother grew up wanting to become a tow truck driver more than anything, most little boys wanna be firemen, or police, or game rangers or doctors, but this oke wanted to be a tow truck driver since he was like 5, today he is a tow truck driver, he wears those tan coloured sketchers that copied the old buffalo boots, and a vest, good going mate i believe you may be the only person whos dream was insane enough to come true hahahah

      sarah.bouttell - 2012-07-10 12:42

      I am having a decent chuckle at Martin's comment. I have a picture in my head of this lad wearing his boots and khakis, parking off in his "ride", and saying to himself", "living the dream, baby!!" ag shame man.

      gungets.tuft - 2012-07-10 12:49

      In Durban they are guilty of : 1. Interfering with traffic lights by turnign lights through 90 degrees to give green to both directions 2. Pouring oil onto the road in the wet (Arglye/NMR, Argyle/M4 are their preferred targets) to cause accidents Scum, finish and klaar.

      philip.allebone - 2012-07-10 12:55

      To Bardy - Acutually i have conclusive proof of arrests made of tow truck drivers in KZN who damaged traffic lights on a dangerous iintersection in order to make more money.

      ettienne.pel - 2012-07-11 09:24

      It is obviously a very contentious issue towing, and we at UTASA sympathize with the road user. UTASA has been pushing government for a number of years now, to regulate our industry, due to unscrupulous operators out there. In Gauteng we have drafted a Tow Truck policy together with the Gauteng Dept of Roads and Transport, and it is 95% complete. UTASA, United Towing Association of South Africa, will definitely assist any motorist with a complaint he or she may have against a member of our organization, and if the tow operator is not a member to our organization, we will give advice to the consumer as to what their rights are when involved in and accident and or incident. People can contact me directly as I am the national chair person of UTASA. My e-mail is We are really trying our utmost best to change the nasty perception of the industry, and know it will still take years, but we also want the consumer to know, that there are in fact MANY honest and ethical business tow operators, who mostly belong to UTASA. We have a 24 hour National Number for assistance at 0861188272. One final point. NEVER sign ANY document unless you have read the terms and conditions clearly. Keep in mind that a tow operator does NOT have the right to tell you that your insurer will pay, as the tow operator has no legal mandate from any insurer to decide what the insurer may or may not pay.

  • jackal666.daniel - 2012-07-10 11:13

    Get rid of these vultures!

      art5SA - 2012-07-10 12:57

      These "VULTURES" are paid by the PANEL BEATER / SHOPS..... most of their PICK UP CVANS are OWNED BY THE PANEL BEATER / SHOPS!!

  • bradley.kecskes - 2012-07-10 11:14

    Vultures that is what they are! at every accident scene you have like 5 of their trucks standing around...why? Carte blanche this past Sunday any one?

      Arvin - 2012-07-10 11:30

      It is part of the responsibility of the Police. i have had many arguements with the Police and nearly get arrested for that. It is the polices' duty to ensure that emergency services are given free & easy access to the scene of an accident. But NO - they will watch while these vultures will be doing their on thing and parking wherever they please. on one incident they hitched up my vehicle with the police's permission even when the car was off the road. I forcefully got them to unhitch it and asked my insurance to send a "bona fide" towing company. What a FARCE (the COPS).

      martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-10 11:34

      limpopo is like our very own red neck state besides the benoni boksburg tow truck warriors ahahahaha

      gungets.tuft - 2012-07-10 12:52

      Arvin - most often the police are on their payroll. The going price for a cop recommending a tow is R500.00. Very often the drivers themselves are off-duty cops. Radio Control then takes requests from Van cops to call a tow and calls only the "right" companies.

  • David - 2012-07-10 11:26

    Tow trucks are more of a problem than anything. The way they speed to accident scenes and once there blockade the place. There shiould be a law against them and they should be prosecuted accordingly.

      martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-10 12:00

      people that drive should by law have insurance right? so each insurance co. should have their very own dedicated private towing co they use, these free for all tow truck drivers should be banned, its simple, then the laws about how they can operate can be regulated. kick illigitimate towing companies to the curb, either they fall in line or they get shut down,

  • Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-07-10 11:27

    Sometimes I think they are responsible for causing the accidents.

      raath - 2012-07-10 11:31

      I won't put it past them. I've heard of cases where they pour diesel on the road where there's a dangerous bend, and wait just down the road. All hear-say, but plausible.

      David - 2012-07-10 12:01

      My big thing now, is am noticing that traffic lights are purposely skewed the wrong direction so you could be tricked into believing that it is your turn to go, when the robot it green on the other must be a mission to turn them and there is only a few people who would benefit from an accident.

      gungets.tuft - 2012-07-10 12:53

      Raath, David - see my comments up above, written before I saw your comments. In Durban these crimilas do both. Check the stats for accidents on Argyle road and judge for yourselves.

      kenneth.roselt - 2012-07-10 13:01

      @ raath - i have hit diesel on the road, and a pedestrian told me that a tow truck poured it onto the road - strangley enough, he was at the scene in 2 minutes, before a call was even made - luckily i missed everything, and only got a flat...

      raath - 2012-07-10 13:22

      We should really do something about this... People may have, and probably have already, been killed by this.

  • martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-10 11:33

    i tell the first two to fack off, i had a bumper bash a year back when i lady skipped a stop in front of me, and no word of lie, a tow truck driver pulled in with in 3 minutes, we were not on a main road, noone saw it happen besides maybe a resident calling a mate from inside their home, bout to take a kick back for the business, so i tell the first two to p1ss off, il phone my own thanks.

  • allie.may.142 - 2012-07-10 11:35

    I have witnessed a near-accident and almost been party to one in the Fourways area involving tow-truck drivers jumping red lights and driving on the wrong side of the road this last month alone. Not acceptable.

      martin.britchford.5 - 2012-07-10 13:15

      seen that as well

  • clive.wannenburg - 2012-07-10 11:38

    They are a needed service but should have some guide lines to adhere to. at the moment anything goes and it is about money which the main bosses make not the drivers themselves, only trying to make a living. By regulating it and makeing them accountable many fly by night operators will close and we can then get to sort out a needed industry, or who will move the cars once damaged of the roads.

      sarah.bouttell - 2012-07-10 11:41

      SATRA are supposed to do this. They don't.

  • sarah.bouttell - 2012-07-10 11:39

    Unfortunately, their "industry" is regulated by a toothless bunch called SATRA, who enforce nothing, do nothing, and can barely work up the energy to answer their phones when someone tries to lay a complaint. At no point is ANY towing "service" or "company" penalised for bad behaviour. I would like to give a big shout out to Main Reef Towing AKA A1 assist. It might be 10 years since you ripped me off, but I still stop at accident scenes where I see your vehicles, and advise the persons involved in the accident of their rights regarding the towing of their vehicle, and allow them to use my cell phone to call their insurers so as to get a proper tow service.

      chris.cunning.14 - 2012-07-10 12:56

      Thanks for the tip Sarah.

      marc.roos.56 - 2012-07-10 13:17

      Good for you.One way of getting your own back.

      ettienne.pel - 2012-07-11 09:15

      Hi Sarah. It is obviously a very contentious issue towing, and we at UTASA sympathize with the road user. UTASA has been pushing government for a number of years now, to regulate our industry, due to unscrupulous operators out there. UTASA, United Towing Association of South Africa, will definitely assist any motorist with a complaint he or she may have against a member of our organization, and if the tow operator is not a member to our organization, we will give advice to the consumer as to what their rights are when involved in and accident and or incident. People can contact me directly as I am the national chair person of UTASA. My e-mail is We are really trying our utmost best to change the nasty perception of the industry, and know it will still take years, but we also want the consumer to know, that there are in fact MANY honest and ethical business tow operators, who mostly belong to UTASA. Please note that we cannot comment on satra as we are not them and would like to believe that we are there to work together with the consumer by being honest and ethical at all times. We also have a 24 hour National Number for assistance at 0861188272.

  • neville.fouche - 2012-07-10 11:39

    South African emergency services are experiencing bad behavior from the Towing industry on road traffic accidents for many years. Some cities in the past were able to regulate the response but having Traffic officers, Police officers, emergency services dispatchers and even private ambulance services on the payroll of the tow truck companies what did you expect. It is all about making money. They get the vehicle and with a little help from the insurance assessor, the vehicle end up standing another 4 to 6 weeks where storage becomes just another source of income at a small fee to the assessor and there you have it. They all make a few bucks and the consumer pay the price. If this was only corruption, one could have said, what the hell, this is the way we do it in South Africa but people die unnecessary. You will be surprised to see if you do an assessment on the tow truck drivers that they all worked in one of the uniformed services on the accident scene at some stage in their life. Why do you think they got the job in the first place?

      eddiebant - 2012-07-10 12:18

      You are so right.I also knew a few who worked after hours for a breakdown service for extra money(with their contacts).

      gungets.tuft - 2012-07-10 12:54

      Many are still cops, earnig extra cash while off duty

  • jerolan.gengiah - 2012-07-10 11:45

    These are the among lowest forms of scum in the country. I rate them on the same level as Taxi Drivers - sometimes even lower. Cause more accidents than anything else. They are the first to arrive in masses at any accident scene. Often before you even have the opportunity to even realise what happened

  • JamesBothaThisBookWillChangeYourLife - 2012-07-10 11:47

    Read the whole story; don’t blame only the tow trucks?? They will not block it for free?? Some hospitals pay these guys, so it is also hospitals management that needs to be investigate, what do they give as a kickback I Quote “Frikkie Gouws, Life Med marketing manager, alleged that private ambulance services paid tow trucks to barricade accident scenes until their ambulances arrived.” Since when do tow truck owners own Private ambulances??

      tsietsi.matubako - 2012-07-10 12:28

      No they don't own Private ambulances, they get their share from the stake.

      chris.cunning.14 - 2012-07-10 12:58

      References James?

  • tamsin.francey - 2012-07-10 11:49

    Anyone notice how many of the traffic lights in and around Jo'burg have been turned so that the light faces the opposite side of the oncoming traffic that it's supposed to, just waiting for an accident to happen. And sitting nearby is a tow-truck driver. The one on the Corner of Malibongwe and Northumberland is one of the worst.

      sarah.bouttell - 2012-07-10 12:02

      There are also rumours which will not abate, about several tow companies allowing their drivers to have cellular blocking equipment in their vehicles, so that people involved in accidents are unable to call their insurers,families, proper tow companies etc. Bear in mind, that if the tow has NOT been okayed with your insurers, the insurer will not pay for the tow fee/parking/holding charges which build up per day - the full value will be for your personal bill.

      David - 2012-07-10 12:05

      Ditto. In Midrand it is really bad..and the sad thing is you see when it is been turned and when you return to that intersection you will see the remains of the accident.... Poor

      tamsin.francey - 2012-07-10 12:33

      Glad I'm not the only one who's noticed then

  • martin.ferguson.7311 - 2012-07-10 11:50

    All the school drop outs !!!!!!!!

  • cj.venter - 2012-07-10 11:54

    they should put transponders in ambulances and other emergency vehicles that disable spikes in the emergency lane. all other cars driving there will get their wheels spiked!!

  • Melinda - 2012-07-10 11:58

    ok I know what I'm saying now will upset some poeple, but it really did happen and No I'm not a tow truck driver, a few year ago I witnessed a boy begin knock off he's bike by a taxi, the driver made a run for it,At the same time,I stop the towtruck next to me also stop he made the call over the radio, which the other drivers responde. they pushed the taxi off the road until it come to a stand still. the driver was drunk as hell and did not have a lic he did not even know he run over a child,, back at the accident. the boy that was knocked over was unconsciou and did not breath, the tow truck driver on the other hand had a CPR course behind he's name, and got the boy to breath again until the ambulance have arrived. Recently my car had a break down on the N3, and a towtruck pulled up behind me offered help, as I told him the my insurance has sent someone out, he offered to wait until help arrives.. not all of them are bad people , and I also do not agree with them to block emergency lane

      bongani.gwexe - 2012-07-10 12:12

      Good story. I just like the sound of their engines; they always have these big pipes. Not everyone is bad, just like some politicians are good and some taxi drivers are good and some news24 bloggers are good.

      chris.cunning.14 - 2012-07-10 12:58

      There are always exceptions, this is one of them.

  • Jandl Reevo Reeves - 2012-07-10 12:00

    They absolute dirt bags.part of the dirt of society actually and rubbish to the bone.full of drugs and alcohol and a danger to others on the road in their quested to reach a accident scene before their opposition. they race each other to accident scene's and almost force their services onto unsuspecting accident victims.they end up arguing who's going to take what car etc etc etc.the insurance companies should refuse to pay tow truck companies unless approved on their panel of service providers.if not they need approval to tow before they tow.

  • gavin.lott.9 - 2012-07-10 12:05

    You have to be trailer trash to even qualify to become a tow truck driver!!

      Jandl Reevo Reeves - 2012-07-10 12:12

      With no teeth

      Joubs1957 - 2012-07-10 12:19

      And a Blue Bull supporter!! Ha Ha

  • Mzamo - 2012-07-10 12:12

    Yesterday two BMW's collided on the road where I stay, within three minutes...... two tow trucks had already arrived at the scene!!! In ten minutes there were already about four or five of them waiting to tow two cars!!!! Fortunately there was no one severely injured in the cars that collided!

  • Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-07-10 12:13

    The Durban ones are the scummiest of the lot.

  • eddiebant - 2012-07-10 12:13

    For many years we had problems with this towing agencies.At accident scenes many a time there were fights between different companies.They block each other and race to accident scenes.They bribe emergency workers to notify them first.The majority are bad and of low class.Never ever will a tow company put their hands on my verhicle.I know of many more worst stories where injured and even corpses were involved.

  • Joubs1957 - 2012-07-10 12:15

    Banana republic - total lawlesness on the roads (except of course speedfines - easy pickings)

  • aijaman.pirlo - 2012-07-10 12:17

    U just dnt know what more can u expect from this South Africa....It's Zooma!!!

      poloyatonkim - 2012-07-10 12:24

      You are a moron, what does Msholozi have to do with anything.

      raath - 2012-07-10 13:25

      That's just the point - he doesn't do anything. More interested in lining his own pockets and feeding his 285 wives and 1 249 children.

  • pretoriuscl - 2012-07-10 12:23

    Its amazing, how the "scum" can get to the accident scene before the Fire brigade, ambulances and very, very last the metro. Concentrate on that problem first. A few of my friends have been in a couple of accidents where the "scum" was the only people that showed up and was able and willing to help, one actually called an ambulance out and was luckily trained in CPR so he could help where the "law abiding" citizens just drove past. It is more the "law abiding" citizens who do not give way to emergency vehicles that clog up the system. Also the problem is the "law abiding" citizen who caused the accident should have tried to avoid the accident, by not drinking and driving, traveling 100km over speed limit, have an un-roadworthy car, have kept a safe following distance and not to try be the DK between his friends. People getting ripped off should read their insurance T&C's after they took out insurance and always contact the insurance before THEIR vehicle is removed from the scene. You pay hundreds of Rands for insurance and don't read the T&C's and are angry when you have to pay for towing that is not covered by your insurance due to ignorance. Are we turning into USA where you sue McDonalds for making you fat?

  • leslie.rabie - 2012-07-10 12:27


  • danie.frederick - 2012-07-10 12:30

    Please, please leave accident scenes clear for emergency services to assist the injured. If you want me to bribe you to do this, let's talk.....

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-07-10 12:33

    They are like a bunch of spineless pirhanas on a feeding frenzy, With a law of there own. With no remorse for the victims.

  • bleskido - 2012-07-10 12:37

    is tru this tow companies even create accidents by poaring car oil on the road during rainy seasons so that accidents can occur while their busines blosom. every 1km ul find a towcar waiting for accidents to hapen.anyway ke part of job creation wat can i say

  • kenneth.roselt - 2012-07-10 12:58

    what about metro cops who let their ego's get the better of them and arrest paramedics - this could also cost a life, all because the injured are not taken to a hospital of the cops choice (this happened on the r24, at barbara road) . i have had experiences with tow truck drivers and they are mostly arrogant idiots.

  • liam.costello.50746 - 2012-07-10 13:15

    I'm just going to re-iterate the first statement as it is describes my sentiment completely: Lowlife scum! Bloody scavengers!

  • jaecqueline - 2012-07-10 13:19

    not only at accident scenes do they cause havoc I dont go to my closest Engen petrol station at a busy robot anymore because they park in such a way that you cant see the oncomming traffic when you leave the station...making more work for themselves i suppose!

  • paulrnewton - 2012-07-10 14:06

    In my experience they do a lot worse than what you have suggested. Many a time whilst responding to patients involved in vehicle collisions I have actually been cut off by tow truck operators as they race ahead of emergency vehicles to get to the scene first. They are ruthless and dangerous.

  • dave.j.colquhoun - 2012-07-10 15:08

    Can anyone tell me where the Metro Cops were when this happened? Surely it is their responsibility to ensure that the emergency vehicles have access to an accident scene. BTW, tow trucks are not recognised as "Emergency Vehicles" so the Metro has the authority to instruct them to move out of the way to make access to an emergency vehicle easier. Uneducated fools and cowboys

  • damadmedic - 2012-07-10 17:49

    I have a similiar situation in Franschhoek where the towtruck drivers from Paarl are on scene at mva's in Franschoek before we get there, and we based in the village...what happens is certain cops call the towtrucks and wait 10minutes before phoning the EMS ensuring their R750 tip off fee is guarrenteed. Sad but true, but I can assure you that it won't be happening for much longer...

  • UNITY - 2012-07-11 09:56

    Emergency workers are most annoying.. Has anyone ever noticed an emergency vehicle,be it paramedics,ambulance or police, will have the emergency lane fully accessible..but will force motorists to make way in a normal road lane, and I observed the time wasted trying to use this method, which leaves one to wonder , are they really trying to save lives????I mean the emergency lane is fully available!!!!duh!!!

  • glenn.marais.7 - 2012-07-18 00:17

    I worked in the fire service for 27,5 years and responded to many accidents. While working the Blaauwberg area I got to know the recovery drivers from Dals. These okes did a good job. They would phone us immediatly for accidents and give us a full run down. I gave some of the okes first aid lessons and believe me it helped us a lot. Yes they do sit on corners waiting for accidents. But it is a job the they do. They dont murder, rape or steal. They earn a living and have familys to look after. Dals you okes did and are still doing a good job out there. You bunch are a far better image than some of the other outfits and are much more pleasant.

  • pages:
  • 1