Who Cleans Up After A Car Crash?

You might be one of those poor saps who rubbernecks at car wrecks on the side of the road. You've likely wondered how the whole crash site gets cleaned up, even all the little debris?

This came up when we heard that a person claims to have pieces of the wreckage of Ryan Dunn's Porsche 911 in which he died. Reader dbpc1 wondered why there was debris to pick up at all.

Why didn't the police pick them up?

Reader boddagettaflyer explained why the cops don't do this job.

Police aren't sanitation crews. They get the bulk of the wreckage moved and any detritus out of the road, but anything in the grass/gore/shoulder is left behind. Take a look around next time you're stopped at a stoplight—there are broken bits of car parts everywhere.

I'd be surprised if half of what this guy picked up (assuming it's a legit ad) belonged on Dunn's vehicle.


Well if it's not the cops, who does pick up all the mess? Reader mountainman_ gave us the rundown.

where I am employed (career firefighter here.....) the tow driver is responsible for the mess left in the road......its part of the tow charge, whether it gets passed on to the car's owner or on to the municipality if its an impound tow.


Finally, reader tobythesandwich gave us the confirmation we were looking for.

It's entirely the job of the tow driver to clean that up. Unless it's a chemical spill or anything along those lines. Oil/Gas/Coolant are all responsibility of the tow company and have some quik-dry (cat litter basically) to soak up fluids and sweep up off the road surface. Small parts (busted plastic from lenses, glass, etc) are also the same responsibility. However that only pertains to being in the road.

Dunn's car had gone off the road and it was no doubt small pieces scattered throughout the surrounding area (lots of trees there). So that becomes a grey area because many tow companies will just pick up the bulk of items and leave anything smaller.


Maybe that's why our last towing bill was so damn expensive.

Photo Credit: Chris Yarzab


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