Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Texas driver's licenses include a toll-free number stranded motorists can call to receive free towing service.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2001]
Origins: Apparently nothing can be stated so simply but that someone won't attempt to turn it into a free lunch.
Yes, Texas driver's licenses include a toll-free number that stranded motorists can call to receive roadside assistance. However, towing service is not provided for free, nor is it paid for by taxes. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will dispatch tow trucks to motorists who call a toll-free number printed on state driver's licenses, but towing service is provided by contractors at the motorists' expense, not as a free service underwritten by state tax monies.
Some states operate "courtesy patrols" (either state-funded or run by private companies) which monitor highways and try to render prompt assistance to distressed motorists, and local law enforcement agencies in Texas (and other states) might also dispatch one of these courtesy units in response to a call. However, although the services most often provided by courtesy patrols are generally offered free of charge, these services are usually limited in scope (e.g., offering a few gallons of gasoline to drivers whose tanks are empty, refilling overheated radiators, changing flat tires) and more extensive roadside repairs and towing are again provided by contractors who charge motorists for their services.
Last updated: 30 October 2007
This material may not be reproduced without permission.
snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.