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Can a Car Be Towed With Someone in It?

Can a Car Be Towed With Someone in It?

In most cases, no. It is illegal for a tow truck to tow a vehicle with someone inside. Tow truck drivers are required to ensure a vehicle is unoccupied before towing it away.

There are a few reasons why towing a car with a person inside is prohibited:

1. Safety Concerns

  • Towing a vehicle with someone inside poses significant safety risks. The occupant could be injured if the car shifts or moves unexpectedly during the tow.
  • Most vehicles are not designed to protect passengers when being towed. Airbags and seatbelts may not function properly in a towed vehicle.
  • If an accident occurs while towing an occupied vehicle, the liability and legal consequences could be severe.
  • In many jurisdictions, towing an occupied vehicle is illegal and can result in fines or penalties for the tow truck driver and company.
  • If the vehicle owner is present and willing to move the car, the tow truck driver must allow them to do so rather than proceeding with the tow.

3. Practical Considerations

  • Tow truck drivers are not equipped or trained to transport passengers safely. Their trucks lack proper seating and restraints.
  • Towing a vehicle with someone inside complicates the process and increases the risk of confrontation between the tower and vehicle owner.
  • Most towing contracts and insurance policies prohibit transporting passengers for liability reasons.

What To Do if You’re Inside a Vehicle Being Towed

What To Do if You're Inside a Vehicle Being Towed

So what should you do if your car is about to be towed and you’re inside? The best course of action is to exit the vehicle and speak with the tow truck driver.

If you’re able to move your car immediately, they will likely allow you to do so. If the tow truck is already in the process of hooking up your vehicle, you may need to pay a drop fee to release it.

In the rare event that you find yourself inside a vehicle that is being towed, make your presence known to the driver immediately. Explain calmly that you are inside and ask them to stop the tow. If they refuse, call 911 to report the situation and get assistance from law enforcement.

The Bottom Line

Vehicles should only be towed when unoccupied. Tow truck drivers are obligated to confirm a vehicle is empty before transporting it. If you find your car in the process of being towed, exit the vehicle and deal with the situation from outside rather than risking your safety by remaining inside.

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Picture of Steve Momot - Author

Steve Momot - Author

Steve, a seasoned expert in the automotive industry, formerly held a car dealer license in Florida. With extensive experience spanning across car trading and mechanical work, he founded Autohitch. His mission? To guide both buyers and sellers through the intricate maze of car purchasing, ensuring a seamless and informed experience. Outside of the automotive world, Steve has a passion for fishing and capturing the beauty of nature through photography.


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