With the support of the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) has expanded the service area of the Gulf Coast Regional Tow and Go™ Program, which provides no-cost towing for vehicles that break down from mechanical failure. The service area now includes all camera-monitored freeways in Harris County, Bellaire, Jersey Village, La Porte, and Humble.
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The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has been an instrumental partner since the program's launch, working hand-in-hand with approved Tow and Go operators and maintaining the integrity of the program.
"We respond to several accidents with stranded motorists on the freeways or on the side of the road a year that put both the motorists and our first responders at risk," said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. "The expansion of this quick clearance program is another step toward reducing secondary incidents, keeping traffic moving, and most importantly, saving lives."
Under the Tow and Go program, vehicles that break down due to mechanical failure (e.g., out of gas, overheating, flat tire, etc.) while traveling in the program’s service area will be cleared, at no cost, to a safe location within one mile of the nearest exit. Law enforcement officers authorize every Tow and Go clearance either from their location in the Houston TranStar traffic center, where freeway-monitoring cameras allow them to view incidents in real time, or while officers are on the freeway.
"As the population continues to grow in the Gulf Coast region, programs like Tow and Go become more essential towards relieving congestion, addressing costs, and improving safety on our freeways," said H-GAC Regional Incident Management Program Manager David Fink. "We’re very pleased to be expanding this service so that it can help even more motorists in their time of need."
All Tow and Go operators contracted to perform the quick clearance service have met strict selection standards and completed roadway safety and traffic incident management training. Motorcycles are included in the program, and trailers can be towed when possible. Flooded vehicles are not eligible for no-cost tows through the Tow and Go program. Standard towing rates regulated by local jurisdictions will apply.
If a motorist calls for their own towing service, such as AAA, it must arrive before law enforcement monitoring the freeway have deployed authorized Tow and Go operators, or the service must meet the motorist at the safe location where they have been cleared from the freeway.
Vehicles that are abandoned, involved in a crash, or in a law enforcement incident are not eligible for the no-cost service, and the vehicle’s owner must pay established local jurisdiction towing rates.
H-GAC manages the Tow and Go program through funding provided by the Federal Highway Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation. For more information about Tow and Go, visit TowandGo.com.
Houston-Galveston Area Council
H-GAC is a voluntary association of local governments and local elected officials from the 13-county Gulf Coast planning region, which includes an area of 12,500 square miles and more than 7 million people. H-GAC works to promote efficient and accountable use of local, state, and federal tax dollars; serves as a problem-solving and information forum for local governments; and helps analyze trends and conditions affecting the region. For more information, visit h-gac.com.
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