Mayor: drivers have no right to change a flat

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The Chronicle has a story that includes state Sen. Whitmire’s questions (noted in the post below) about the $AFEclear forced-towing program, and this from Mayor Bill White:

Mayor 'Boss Hogg' White

White also responded to complaints — voiced repeatedly on radio talk shows and in e-mails — that Safe Clear rules do not give motorists time to change a flat tire, instead forcing them to pay a $75 towing fee for a problem they could fix.

“Folks don’t have the right to change tires on the freeway in the middle of rush hour,” he said. “It’s dangerous and it backs up traffic.”

I didn’t know that people don’t have a right to change a flat tire on a freeway during rush hour. Learn something new everyday, I guess.

And then there’s this observation from a dissatisfied towing customer:

“(The insurer) could have had someone out there within 20 minutes, but instead I waited for 90 minutes on a dangerously narrow side of the freeway,” he said. “This sounds more and more like a sneaky legal way to make money to me.”

Noooo. Surely not. This is all about safety.

UPDATE 1: In the forum, Kevin wonders, after reading Mayor White’s quote, if the $AFEclear forced-towing program is only in effect during rush hour.

UPDATE 2: Mayor White is flying into action:

Mayor Bill White plans to ride along with a wrecker driver to get a firsthand look at his administration’s new ordinance, Houston’s SAFEclear program, which has been under fire since its inauguration.


Despite the controversy, White is still defending the program.

“The new system will reduce congestion, will reduce deaths, get the vehicles out so that the traffic can move,” White said.

We are still awaiting all those stats the city must have from the Katy Freeway experiment to show how this is going to reduce congestion, reduce deaths and get traffic moving.

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.