Using tow straps is still permitted in the Haines Borough, but Alaska State Troopers are cracking down on their use for longer trips.

Trooper Drew Neason has warned a handful of motorists in recent months that using a tow strap to move a vehicle more than several hundred feet is illegal and potentially dangerous.

Tow straps and chains can be used to pull a vehicle out of a ditch or off the road, but motorists shouldn’t be using the devices to pull their cars much farther than that.

“If you’re going to pull a vehicle from your house to a garage in town, you either need to use a tow bar or a dolly or a trailer,” Neason said.

Tow straps don’t allow the towing vehicle enough control over the inoperative vehicle being towed, which can lead to accidents, Neason said.

“If it’s an emergency situation or it’s something reasonable – somebody breaks down and they are several hundred feet or a quarter-mile down the road from their house – I’m not going to have too much heartache as long as they are being responsible and intelligent about how they do it,” he said.

One of the motorists Neason recently stopped, though, was towing a vehicle from town out the Haines Highway. “That’s not an appropriate distance.”

Neason hasn’t cited anyone yet. “We’re in a phase where I would prefer to be educational and let them know the law is there,” he said.