Digital Edition
Click Here
The Week's Features
Rescuing a Snowcat that fell into a ditch
It has taken carrier operations to a higher level of capability
New multi-car carrier allows for fourth car with optional underlift
Timothy J. Williams fatally struck in Springfield, Missouri, Feb. 7
Agent was going back to dealership when someone opened fire
Events
Las Vegas, NV.
May 14-15, 2020
Cleveland, OH.
June 17-20, 2020
San Antonio, TX.
August 14-15, 2020
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 19-22, 2020
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing February 12 - February 18, 2020


Click here to read more

FMCSA Completes Rule for 2020 UCR Fees

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has completed the final rule making for the 2020 Unified Carrier Registration fees. Once published in the Federal Register motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders will have 90 days to file for 2020 or face enforcement penalties.

The final fees reflect a 14.45-percent reduction over the 2018 fees and will remain in force for 2021 and beyond unless another adjustment becomes necessary due to overcollection of revenue.

Carriers are advised to be wary of offers from service companies offering to file on your behalf, often for inflated service fees. Carriers also need to be alert for official-looking notices from unscrupulous companies threatening fines and out of service conditions for failure to pay UCR fees. The UCR Board does not send these demand notices.

UCR registration can be completed online without a service agency at ucr.gov.

Source: Fleet Compliance Solutions.
The final fees reflect a 14.45-percent reduction over the 2018 fees.
Caravan of Heartfelt Tow Operators Show Up for Texas Girl in Need
Don't Miss It!
In his seminar, “Roadside Safety,” tow industry veteran Bobby Tuttle of CIRT will discuss responder struck-bys from drunk drivers, Slow Down/Move Over laws, emergency lighting and the need for roadway safety tactics. He’ll also touch upon proper parking of the truck, customer safety and avoiding the traffic side of the truck. Join Tuttle for his session during Tow Industry Week at the Westgate Paradise & Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 14-15, 2020. atshowplace.com

atshowplace.com

Let Freedom Swing

0 a51d1By George L. Nitti

Although Rod Pimmerman, owner of Liberty Towing in Madison, Wisconsin, was never in the military, he has respect and high regard for the people that serve. He embraced the idea of bringing on a military-themed rotator to his 10-year-old company.

“The military is very strong in Madison, as there is a military base here,” Pimmerman said. “We needed a heavy-duty truck and were looking for (a) rotator.”

After a couple of years of searching, Pimmerman saw pictures of a military-themed unit: a 1997 Kenworth T880 with a 2006 Century 1060 rotator, which was purchased from Express Wrecker.

“The pictures I saw didn’t give it justice,” he said, “but when I saw it in person I was immediately struck by the design.”

The design tells stories and consists of panels of military images honoring the bravery of our servicemen.

“With a name like Liberty, having this truck was a good fit,” he said.

The wrap is a feast for the eyes: tanks, flags, fighter jets, the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, huge navy ships and heroic military figures working together to project American military might—a little something for everyone. On the hood, an exquisitely rendered American Eagle with wings spread out is enveloped by an American flag.

Another panel gives tribute to its former owner’s father, who is wearing a sailor’s hat; behind him is an American soldier firing a machine gun.

Several modern military images come into focus in the background, while a general resembling Patton stands at attention.

“People are always taking pictures of it,” Pimmerman said. “We enter it in all of the shows and parades in our area.”

The Liberty name stands out in huge lettering on the boom. When fully extended, it states, “Boom Baby.”

“We picked up that catchy phrase from some kids who were saying it,” Pimmerman said.

But when the rotator is swinging round, the words “Let Freedom Swing” are found.

Brag @ TIW!
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

A Matter of Ethics

In this month’s Tow Boss Poll, Tow Industry Week asks, “What is the biggest issue facing the towing industry politically?”

Perhaps under the umbrella of the first option of towman unity as an issue would be the matter of ethics.

As one can see with the necessity of forming statewide governing boards and legislation intending to stop predatory towing, ethics still comes up as a thorn in the towing industry’s side.

Currently, lawmakers in Oregon are considering a bill to crack down on predatory towing by creating a new board with the power to investigate complaints and impose other penalties and punishments. (See News Page.)

At a recent public hearing on that issue, Gary McClellan, VP of Ray’s Towing in Eugene, Oregon, said that he’s seen many tow companies come and go over the last 40-plus years.

“I’ve seen many towing companies come and go, and many standards change along the way," McClellan said. "I’m disappointed and embarrassed to hear and see the lack of ethics and values that are practiced in our industry today.”

“For years we’ve had the luxury of policing ourselves and operating under our own discretion. In today’s world, however, we are continually seeing a shortage of discretion applied,” he said.

McClelland and the Oregon Tow Truck Association supports the bill currently before its state senate. Their support speaks to the current trend of towmen nationwide looking to step up the industry’s professionalism and political power.

It’s something that’s going to have to catch on if towing wants to up its influence with insurance companies and other outside entities that routinely imposes its will on the industry at-large.

--Charles Duke

--Charles Duke

NRC's CSR50

NRCcopy b9366NRC's CSR50 and its sliding-rotator technology is designed to take tow and recovery professionals to a whole new level of performance. More storage space, stiffer subframe, bold composite body and quick-release hydraulic attachments are only a few of the features that make the CSR50 a versatile recovery truck that can also tow it’s fair share. See all that NRC has to offer at the American Towman Show Place taking place at the Westgate Paradise & Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 14-15, 2020.

http://nrc-industries.com
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


What is the biggest issue facing the towing industry politically?
Lack of unity amongst towmen
Need of an industry lobbyist
Governmental regulations
Ineffective elected State and Federal officials
homediv
Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
Media Director: William Burwell
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203,
William Burwell x208, Peggy Calabrese x202
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
ATTV Technical Production: OMG National
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
logotype
February 12 - February 18, 2020
Omadi, Inc. has named Nathan Mortensen Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.

Omadi Names Mortensen as CEO

Omadi, Inc. has appointed Nathan Mortensen as Chief Executive Officer. He will assume day-to-day leadership of the company, beginning immediately. “(Mortensen’s) impact at Omadi in the last year and in previous roles makes him the ideal person to take Omadi to new heights said Scott Petersen, Omadi’s founder and chairman of the Board. “The entire board has great confidence he is the right leader to take Omadi into the future.” Nathan has been involved with Omadi since 2015 and joined the company full-time last year as the Chief Operating Officer. During the past year, he has led Omadi to record high revenue and was responsible for overseeing internal operations, customer support, and marketing functions. Source: omani.com.

Commissioner Calls For Severed Ties with Tow Company

Portland, Oregon, City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly has directed the Portland Bureau of Transportation to sever its contract with A&B Towing after learning one of its employees was allegedly the victim of racially-motivated harassment, surveillance, and arrest. That employee, Michael Fesser, sued the West Linn Police department, former Chief of Police Terry Timeus, and two former detectives, claiming they fabricated a case against him in collusion with his employer, A&B Towing, and arrested him for a crime he didn’t commit. “I was sickened by the story of Portland resident, Michael Fesser, who was the victim of racially motivated harassment, surveillance, and arrest by former West Linn Police Chief, in collusion with Mr. Fesser’s employer—A&B Towing in SE Portland—after Mr. Fesser raised concerns about racial harassment in his workplace. Fesser received $600,000 in a settlement for the suit, which alleged Timeus worked with two detectives to secure statements that would help frame him for stealing from the towing company.  Source: katu.com.

SelecTrucks, Daimler Introduce New Program

SelecTrucks and Daimler Truck Financial recently announced the introduction of a pre-owned Freightliner Cascadia program offering customers the ability to purchase a late-model Cascadia truck for as little as $1,250 per month, with a 60-day deferral for the first payment. A Freightliner-backed Select Warranty protects each truck in the program for up to three years. The warranty includes the Select After-Treatment System Warranty for up to two years. Source: daimler.com


homediv
logotype
February 12 - February 18, 2020
Hospitalized five-year-old Addaline Dolson received quite a surprise Feb. 5 when a caravan of tow trucks drove past her window at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas, to show their support for an upcoming operation. Image - kxxv.com.

Girl Gets Surprise Tow [b]Truck Caravan

Addaline Dolson is a spunky little 5-year-old, but she's not living the typical life of a child. She's currently in the hospital with the rare disease genetic aplastic anemia.

On Feb. 6, Addaline was scheduled to have her second bone marrow transplant in less than a year. The night before, the 5-year-old, who loves tow trucks—her father and grandfather both drive them—received a bright surprise. A caravan of tow trucks drove past her window at Texas Childrens Hospital in Houston, Texas, to show their support for her on Wednesday night.

"Some of those people literally look at my daughter like she is their own," said Addaline's mom, Chelsea Clampitt. "They would give the shirt off their back for her."

Source: kxxv.com.

Towman Williams Struck, [b]Killed on U.S. 65

Timothy J. Williams, 55, an employee with Affordable Towing in Springfield, Missouri, was fatally struck by a driver Feb. 7.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol says the crash happened a few miles north of Springfield around 9 p.m. According to the Highway Patrol, a driver, identified as 27-year-old Christopher Rice, traveled off the roadway and reportedly struck Williams while he was standing next to another vehicle.

A candlelight vigil was held the next night in honor of Williams at the Broadway Freedom City Church in Springfield.

Source: kspr.com.

Hawaii Legislation Takes [b]Aim at Scammers

The Hawaii Senate Transportation Committee recently passed towing legislation that will add some measure of protection for residents against predatory towing companies.

The new law will require towing companies to provide information on the storage lot, fees, the name of the tow truck operator and other critical information to accident victims before their vehicle is towed.

Under SB 2384, if the “vehicle owner or operator is present and conscious at the time of the tow, the tow operator shall provide the motor vehicle owner or operator a written and itemized disclosure, signed and dated by the tow operator present at the location of the disabled vehicle, which shall disclose all costs for services that are to be performed prior to the motor vehicle being attached to the tow truck.”

Source: propertycasualty360.com.

Board May Be Created for Complaints

Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill to crack down on predatory towing by creating a new board with the power to investigate complaints, impose civil penalties and deny, suspend or revoke a tower's authority to do business in the state.

Senate Bill 1569 would create a nine-member, governor-appointed Towing Board within the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The board would have rule-making authority, and authority to issue civil penalties of up to $25,000 per violation, to remove a tower from a rotation maintained by the Oregon State Police, and to file suit against a tower in Oregon’s circuit courts.

The bill is supported by the Oregon Tow Truck Association and many tow company owners.

“As the number of tows have grown over the years, the association has found itself repeatedly coming before the legislature to fix growing concerns with consumer issues,” said Al Elkins, executive director of the Oregon Tow Truck Association. “We have come up with what I think is a good solution.”

The committee passed SB 1569 with an amendment that authorizes collection of fees, makes ODOT a pass-through entity for funds and provides for contested case hearings.

The bill will go to the Joint Ways and Means Committee before heading to the Senate floor for a vote.

Source: statesmanjournal.com.

Tow Company Has to [b]Return Money and Cars

The city of Wilmington, Delaware, has issued a cease-and-desist order against a local towing company for illegally towing cars in the city, and ordered it to refund money to anyone whose car it towed. The company also has to release any vehicles still in its possession.

Robert Goff, city solicitor, informed National Auto Movers LLC that only law enforcement officers and city officials have the legal authority to remove vehicles from city streets.

Wilmington started investigating the company in January after a car owner reported their car was towed outside of the Queen Theater. The city also informed the Queen Theater and Residence Inn that businesses in the city cannot hire towing companies to tow vehicles off public property.

Source: delawareonline.com.

Tulsa Winch Group Appoints [b]Mirdha as President 

Tulsa Winch Group, a Dover company, announced the appointment of Arjun Mirdha as president. He will report to Dover's president/CEO, Richard J. Tobin.

Arjun will focus on expanding TWG's portfolio globally. Arjun has more than 24 years of global commercial and P&L leadership experience in construction equipment and industrial markets.

Most recently he was chief commercial officer for the Genie brand, Terex Corp.

Arjun stated, "I am looking forward to working with our talented and dedicated team to help TWG continue to grow globally and deepen brand value for our customers."

Source: prnewswire.com.
homediv
American Towman Exposition Gallery
homediv
homediv
Rate how they handled this recovery
Great job on a challenging recovery.
Hit all the basics on this one. Thumbs up.
Creative approach on this recovery. Good job.
I would approach this recovery differently.
Vehicle(s) could be rigged more efficiently.
More trucks were needed.
logotype
February 12 - February 18, 2020

Cool Cat Rescue

0 ea6d8By Jim “Buck’ Sorrenti

Every now and then you get one right down the road. That might not be so unusual if you tow in a metro or suburban area; but if you’re towing in the wide-open spaces of Wyoming, down the road can be many hours away and in extreme locations.

Such was a recent call for Norberg’s Towing in Green River, Wyoming.

On Feb. 4, 2020, Norberg’s Towing received a call from the owner of a Snowcat tracked vehicle that was in a ditch only minutes away from their yard. (Snowcats are used for snow grooming of ski and snowmobile trails.)

Shawn Sheridan, who manages and operates Norberg’s Towing with his brother Dale Jr., explained:

“The Snowcat owner called us to recover the ’cat from a ditch in Horsethief Canyon not that far from our yard,” he said. “The incident had actually happened the night before. A pickup, pulling a trailer that was hauling the ’cat, lost control and went into the ditch. Another tow company pulled out the pickup and trailer. The owner called us to get the ’cat.”

Shawn and Brian Davis headed out in the Eagle, a 1998 Freightliner FL112 with a Don Hines bed and a Zacklift. It has a factory double frame and is powered by a C12 engine mated to an 8LL trans and has 46,000-lbs. rear ends with full lockers on a walking beam suspension and an 18,000-lbs. steer axle.

When Shawn and Brian arrived on scene, they found the Snowcat stuck off the road down in a ditch of snow.

“When we arrived the ’cat owner was on scene along with a telephone company worker,” said Shawn. “The ’cat was about 80-feet down in the ditch, still on its tracks, but at a 45-degree angle.”

Shawn positioned the Eagle with its business end lined up to where the Snowcat was. He and Brian then hauled the chains down the snowy slope to rig it.

“This ’cat only weighed about 6,000 pounds, but the hydro was locked up. I grabbed it by the receiver hitch and freed the planetary so it would roll free.”

Once it was up out of the ditch, Shawn hooked to the Snowcat’s back end.

“I had to tow it three miles downhill where the telephone company had their own rollback waiting to haul it away,” Shawn said.

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

Heads Up

0 2bccbBy Josh Wedel
Dewey’s Towing & Recovery; Beloit, Wisconsin

On Oct. 12, 2019, at approximately 4:45 p.m., Rock County Communications requested that we respond immediately with our heavy-duty rotator for a pick-up truck that was in the roof of a garage.

Once on scene, our recovery crew found a 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 truck resting through the top of the garage.

The driver had lost control, driven through a ditch, over a decorative berm and launched the truck under a power line to get there. The homeowner was in garage at the time of the incident watching a football game only 12 feet from where the truck landed!

The driver was uninjured, but he needed the assistance of the fire department to exit the vehicle.

Once power and gas were turned off, we were given the go-ahead to lift the truck out of the garage. The challenge was that the only access to the casualty was through the opening in the roof that the vehicle created.

A ladder was used to access the opening and a driver was sent up to do the rigging. We were not allowed to go in the garage because of stability concerns with the walls and the garage door; there was also a large amount of debris inside.

We positioned our Century 1075 75-ton rotator in the driveway and set up for a vertical lift of the Dodge 1500. We rigged two 3/8” Grade 100 chains with positive lock hooks and a control rope was placed on the truck.

Once the truck was rigged, the operator then began to lift the truck out of the jagged hole, like a giant game of “Operation.”

When the truck was successfully lifted out of the garage, we began to set up for lowering it. The truck’s front wheels were set back on the ground and two 4’ 4x6 boards were put in place to chock the tires to keep it from rolling. The rear end of the truck was then slowly lowered to the ground.

Next the police and fire departments inspected and inventoried the vehicle.

Once they were done with the investigation, the truck was loaded onto our waiting flatbed and transported to our impound lot.

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

The Value of Cross-Training

0 9f559By Jim “Buck’ Sorrenti

Gary Crawford owns Tri-State Towing and Recovery in Evansville, Indiana. Eric Crawford is the company’s general manager and Terry Hailman is the Evansville manager. They have a large fleet of trucks and equipment and also provide a 24-hour environmental incident response team equipped for hazardous materials clean-up.

On January 18, Tri-State received a call to assist in a major crash involving a tractor-trailer and a car on the northbound Bi-State Vietnam Gold Star Twin Bridges.

“At around 3:30 a.m., there was a tractor-trailer crash involving a car on the northbound Twin Bridges connecting Kentucky to Indiana,” said Lance Wayne, Tri-State heavy equipment operator. “The tractor-trailer was northbound on Highway 41 when there was a car (broken) down with no lights on.

“The tractor-trailer made contact with the car and went over it. The car got under the tractor-trailer and when it came to rest the trailer wheels were on top of the car with a lady trapped inside.”

Tri-State dispatched heavy operator Wayne in their 2018 Kenworth T800/NRC 50/65; operator Frank Hammond in a 2020 Kenworth T800/NRC 50/65; and operator Steve Bell in a 2001 Kenworth T800/NRC 50/65. Craig Keeling was in their light-duty rollback, a 2013 Ford F-650/Chevron 21’ rollback.

The Henderson (Kentucky) 911 center that received the call of the accident dispatched the Henderson Fire Department, EMS and the Police Department with mutual aid from Baskett Fire. Due to the nature of the call, battalion chief Chad Moore immediately requested Tri-State Towing for assistance while en route.

Moore contacted Wayne and gave him a scene size-up.

“They had their equipment parked where we could get to the crash,” said Wayne. He was first on scene and parked his NRC 50/65 on the side of the trailer at the rear. Hammond was next on scene and he backed up from the north end to the side of trailer at the front. Bell backed up the third rotator from the south end.

“We chained the suspension up on the trailer double’s auxiliary,” Wayne said. “The fire department assisted in rigging the wheels to be lifted with 1/2-inch Grade 100 chain. We then rigged Frank’s truck to the low side with a strap to help secure the trailer and tractor from rolling and used an auxiliary to the leg to trailer to make sure it didn’t try to turn as the rear was lifted.”

The tractor was up on the wall and the trailer was leaning and the lady in car was talking. The recovery team rigged the third rotator to the car, lifted the trailer, winched the car out and started extraction.

“Thanks to our cross-training, we all worked as a team,” Wayne said. “As soon as the patient was in the ambulance, we had placed a pool under the leaking fuel tank and plugged it with a Flow-Stop golf ball after reconstruction and pumping the fuel tanks.”

The third rotator came around and picked up the front of the truck. They set it off the wall and towed it to the scale house for inspection and then towed the tractor-trailer and car to Tri-State Towing’s yard.

“None of this could have been done as effectively without our cross-training with the fire department,” Lance said.

Editor’s Note: Lance’s young son Luke, a heavy recovery operator in training, is completely absorbed in all things recovery and regularly attends as many recoveries and training exercises as he is permitted. Luke also makes scale models of various recovery scenarios with the elaborate rigging he has learned from his dad and other heavy-recovery professionals. Look for Luke and his awesome models in an upcoming issue of American Towman Magazine.

Show Yours @ TIW

Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
homediv


NORTHERN - Bronx, NY
$125
(pop. 1,438,159)

SOUTHERN - Charlotte, NC
$85
(pop. 809,958)

EASTERN - Baltimore, MD
$85
(pop. 622,104)

WESTERN - San Jose, CA
$200
(pop. 1,015,785)

Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
logotype
February 12 - February 18, 2020

In Praise of the Side-Puller

Sidepuller 07defBy Randall C. Resch

Should you buy a side-puller device for your carrier, or should you just use a carrier and a snatch-block?

The question is reasonable based on what’s available in new and add-on equipment designed to increase the working capabilities of today’s flatbed carriers.

The side-puller device is a fantastic, frame-mounted accessory that has taken carrier operations to a higher level of capability. It has been tested to operational standards for wear and recovery stamina. Because the puller structure is mounted to a truck’s frame and not any part of the carrier’s deck movements, it’s solid and self-contained.

While the towing and recovery industry has changed, in some jurisdictions law enforcement hasn’t kept up. For a side-puller device to not be allowed by law enforcement suggests they’re unaware what side-pullers are capable of doing.

State towing associations need to educate the law enforcement community as to the increased value of the work modern tow trucks and carriers are capable of doing on-scene.

Although rollovers and winch-out scenarios can be worked with a carrier, can you, based on the law enforcement contract, charge for using a side-puller on a truck that shouldn't have been dispatched to a recovery scene?

Most law enforcement contracts were written long ago. As such, their wording has failed to keep-up with the technology of the towing and recovery industry. The same holds true of manufacturers and tow truck associations who fail to promote the improving products used by professional and progressive tow companies and responding operators.

With an increased effort in trying to convince the law enforcement community of the operational value of side-pullers, perhaps law enforcement would be more apt to take their head’s out of the proverbial sand. Today’s carrier capabilities are the best they’ve been since the first flatbed carrier happened on the scene decades ago.

In the hands of a competent operator, a carrier that’s outfitted with a side-puller can work a full range of recovery activities. Otherwise, working a difficult recovery with only a wrecker may sometimes require an additional carrier  to load and transport the casualty. The tow charges stack when two trucks and two drivers could have been handled the same scenario in one swoop.

Asking for a second truck means initial responders must remain on-scene which also becomes a safety consideration. Another tow vehicle must come on-scene with the added potential of an operator being struck on the highway.

Is that being good stewards of the customer’s money and in the best interests of operator safety?

To tow associations and manufacturers of side-puller products, I challenge you to actively put together a promotional side-puller video to send to highway patrol administrators. The video should demonstrate to them what the device is and how effective its use can be.

Remember, the rotator didn’t hit the fast lane until towers demonstrated its value.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week’s Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.

The Employee Handbook Revisited

EmployeeHandbook 4bed3By Brian J. Riker

Do you have an employee handbook? If so, I commend you for being in the top of your field. Many towers do not have any written policies or procedures; in other cases they have some that haven’t been organized into a single source document.

The employee handbook is a living document. It needs to be reviewed at least annually for any changes to your policy or for revisions necessary to maintain compliance with Department of Labor regulations. A written policy is no good if it is not what you are actually practicing.

I often see requests from small businesses looking for another company to share their employee handbook with them. This is a bad idea. I strongly suggest obtaining your handbook from a reputable source such as an employment attorney, labor agency of other regulatory compliance specialist. A good handbook is usually 20 or more pages covering complex legal issues such as sexual harassment, discrimination and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

The handbook is a legal document, often with the same force and effect as a contract, between you and your employees. It must reflect your policies, the regulations that apply to your size company and the state that you are operating in. Outdated or incorrect information could subject your company to thousands of dollars in fines and penalties should someone make a claim with the Department of Labor or some other state employment agency.

The basic content should include your work rules that apply to all employees like vacation and sick time, late to work, overtime and pay schedule. This is a good place for the required policies and notices such as family medical leave, harassment, workplace violence and equal opportunity policies.

Workplace safety is often addressed in employee handbooks; and while it is a good idea to have this information all in one place, some safety policies may require separate documentation to be OSHA compliant.

Safety policies, such as personal protective equipment, are a good example of policies that should be separate from your employee handbook. Since these policies require frequent updates and routine training, it is usually simpler to keep them separate. If you do include them in your handbook, please be sure to review them often to ensure the most current version is there, and your new and current employees have been given an updated copy.

Don’t forget to give written updated policies to your current employees and be sure to get a receipt acknowledging they have read and understand them.

An employee handbook is a good place to include rules about dress code, truck upkeep, personal use of company facilities/equipment, cellphone use and passenger policies. If these policies are not presented to your employees in writing, they are usually not enforceable. In many cases these types of policies, especially cellphone and passenger policies, must be in writing to satisfy Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

You need an employee handbook as soon as you have an employee, even one that’s part-time. There is no “magic number” that says employers of less than a certain number of people are exempt from compliance with labor or employment laws.

I often hear from employers after an OSHA or Department of Labor visit because they thought they didn’t need to comply until they had 50 or more employees. That is simply not true. True, some reporting requirements are relaxed and some states provide minimal exceptions to some labor laws; however, most of the rules apply to any size employer in our industry.

Brian J Riker is a third generation towman and President of Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC and is a contributing writer to American Towman Magazine and Tow Industry Week. He specializes in helping non-traditional fleets such as towing, repossession, and construction companies navigate the complex world of Federal and State transportation regulatory compliance. With 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator Brian truly understands the unique needs and challenges faced by towing companies today. He can be reached at brian.riker@fleetcompliancesolutions.net.

Is There a Right to Pre-Inspection?

truck or trailer without an inspection 3cbcbBy Randall C. Resch

Scenario: A tow company owner asked, “What if I don’t allow a repo agent or insurance company the opportunity to inspect a stored vehicle prior to paying fees owed?”

It’s an administrative argument tow companies have fought for years.

I’ve often pondered that scenario myself; although I have a different view than most towers which is more cooperative than aggressive.

Rather than get into a legal battle against the vehicle’s owner or agent, I suggest allowing them the opportunity to have a look at the vehicle. At whatever point they make the decision to take the vehicle or leave the vehicle, there are options for collection if the vehicle goes to lien sale.

I know that most towers stand their ground and say, "No way ... you gotta’ pay first." Not so fast. A judge might advise that those words and actions run dangerously close to the crime of extortion.

No Way Jose

In most scenarios, repo agents really don't care one iota about the battle between the tow company and a lienholder when it comes down to the vehicle’s condition. Instead, they look towards towing the vehicle so they can get paid for their work.

I feel that by standing strong and making them pay no matter what, an easy transaction can wind-up in a lengthy and costly lawsuit. Office personnel or management should make an effort to negotiate a reasonable price for services rendered, because some monies paid is better than no monies paid, right? Once you say, "No way", and stand your ground, emotions get involved from the other side and the fight is on.

The Art of Negotiation

Learn the art of negotiation rather than being staunch and steadfast. Instead of standing your solid ground, allow the inspection to occur and take an alternative route in getting paid. The inspection is simply the beginning of a process that could set the tone toward making a satisfied customer vs. getting sued.

I'm sure you don't have time or desire to waste hard-earned company monies to fight a lawsuit, frivolous or not. Just because every other tower makes their lienholders pay upfront, the court differs by saying they have the right to inspection.

Think about if you had your own vehicle in impound: shouldn’t you have right to inspection? If you're answer is “Yes,” then the proper way to approach this scenario is simply to let them inspect. Besides, this type of business transaction doesn't happen all that often. As far as law enforcement goes, they most likely will tell you that you have a civil battle on your hands … and they won't get involved.

Sometimes taking the high road to least resistance is to not stand one’s ground. When a tough attitude rears its ugly head, it creates immediate tension, initiates a complaint to the local highway patrol or police department and always winds up as a “bad press against you” segment on the five o’clock news.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week’s Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.
homediv
homediv
homediv
logotype
February 12 - February 18, 2020

Let Freedom Swing

0 a51d1By George L. Nitti

Although Rod Pimmerman, owner of Liberty Towing in Madison, Wisconsin, was never in the military, he has respect and high regard for the people that serve. He embraced the idea of bringing on a military-themed rotator to his 10-year-old company.

“The military is very strong in Madison, as there is a military base here,” Pimmerman said. “We needed a heavy-duty truck and were looking for (a) rotator.”

After a couple of years of searching, Pimmerman saw pictures of a military-themed unit: a 1997 Kenworth T880 with a 2006 Century 1060 rotator, which was purchased from Express Wrecker.

“The pictures I saw didn’t give it justice,” he said, “but when I saw it in person I was immediately struck by the design.”

The design tells stories and consists of panels of military images honoring the bravery of our servicemen.

“With a name like Liberty, having this truck was a good fit,” he said.

The wrap is a feast for the eyes: tanks, flags, fighter jets, the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, huge navy ships and heroic military figures working together to project American military might—a little something for everyone. On the hood, an exquisitely rendered American Eagle with wings spread out is enveloped by an American flag.

Another panel gives tribute to its former owner’s father, who is wearing a sailor’s hat; behind him is an American soldier firing a machine gun.

Several modern military images come into focus in the background, while a general resembling Patton stands at attention.

“People are always taking pictures of it,” Pimmerman said. “We enter it in all of the shows and parades in our area.”

The Liberty name stands out in huge lettering on the boom. When fully extended, it states, “Boom Baby.”

“We picked up that catchy phrase from some kids who were saying it,” Pimmerman said.

But when the rotator is swinging round, the words “Let Freedom Swing” are found.

Brag @ TIW!
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

Eye-Smashing Logo

0 7dcc6By George L. Nitti

Attention to the finer details often makes or breaks many companies. The difference between a five-star and three-star rating is a difference that could impact both a company’s bottom line and what it’s capable of charging.

The key is to be mindful of what level you are playing at.

It holds true in graphic design where the finer details, be it on a logo or paint schematic, can make a big difference in its lasting impact on the customer.

Spending the extra dime on a dynamite design can reap its rewards, especially if the company is striving to capture seekers of finer tastes or those trying to set themselves apart from the competition.

Mr. Kitt’s Towing & Recovery of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, gets kudos for their fine logo design. It explodes with creativity, combining several effective elements into one eye-smashing logo.

Their design can be seen on the side doors of their 2017 Freightliner M2/Chevron 21’ flatbed.

First is the splashy black background behind the yellow “Mr. Kitt’s” that pops out.

Closer examination of the background reveals a hook jutting out on the right side: a subtle yet clever technique tying the logo to the industry it serves.

As for the “Mr. Kitt’s” lettering, the serif font is broken up in places which makes it more appealing.

Below the logo is the expression “23-½ hour service,” in a smaller contrasting modern serif font.

“The reason for that,” owner Anthony Kitt said, “is because we need a half hour to sleep. It’s catchy and people remember you for that.”

When I asked their office manager if their logo made an impression on the public, he said, “I hope it does. Our logo design is consistent; and after a while you get used to it, like any trademark.”

The background of the unit itself is red.

Red, yellow and black. A timeless paint scheme. Pay attention to the details. The rest will follow.

Brag @ TIW!
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

Super Sharp

0 chicks7 7df04By George L. Nitti

A 2019 Kenworth T270/NRC 23’ rollback purchased by Chicks Towing & Truck of Cinnaminson, New Jersey, turns heads by combining several outstanding graphics.

Executed by Rapid 360 in neighboring Pennsauken, this partial wrap has an American flag on its hood and front side as one compelling graphic.

“We wanted something different and something about the United States,” said C.J. Graber, son of owners Charles and Leslie Graber.

The red, white and blue flag comes busting out of the hood, through what appears to be cut-out metal or an effect that resembles flames.

Not only does this unit’s American flag arouse interest, but so does the refined logo that stands out on their side doors.

The company name is captured in large silver caps while the lettering is boldly shadowed in maroon.

“My father was nicknamed Chick. Friends and family called him that,” Graber said.

Under the company name is an upside-down triangle encasing the American flag as small tow chains dangle from both sides. Just underneath is a connection between a hook and winch cable, cleverly filling in for the ampersand character that separates the words “towing” and “truck.”

Together, these elements make up their spiffy logo.

The company, started in 1991, continues to do a graphic make-over on all of their fleet, to what is now 20 trucks.

Brag @ TIW!
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at bdooley@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
homediv
logotype
February 12 - February 18, 2020

Jerr-Dan Unveils New Carrier

MultiCarCarrier a6d8bJerr-Dan Corp. unveiled its just-launched multi-car carrier at the American Towman Exposition in December. The new carrier allows a fourth car to be towed with the optional underlift.

The revamped multi-car carrier uses an 8.5-ton frame that Jerr-Dan said makes it first in the industry to offer a low-profile three-car carrier with a fourth car option on this level of frame capacity.

Additional benefits of the larger subframe include: reducing the carrier deck off the top of the frame height by 2”; lowering the center of gravity of the load for more stability; providing an additional 1-ton structural capacity; and reducing the main deck height to allow for transport of taller loads, making navigation under bridges and through tunnels more efficient.

jerrdan.com

Landoll Adds Air Disc Brakes

2019 25a6fLandoll Corp. announced a new air-disc brakes option for its 400 Series traveling-axle and 900 Series traveling-tail trailers. The optional Landoll AIRDISC 17 brake system has been integrated with an all-new custom air-ride suspension to bring high-performance braking to commercial equipment trailers. The new brake system is designed for applications with extremely demanding brake usage, as air disc brakes provide consistent performance during extended braking cycles, such as long descending mountain grades. Reduced brake fade and fast on/off response significantly improves stopping distance vs. drum brake applications.

landoll.com

Brake Releaser for Frozen Trailers

BR6x4 8b9fcMilton Industries’ new and improved Brake Releaser propels de-icing fluid into trailer brake lines, releasing frozen brakes in minutes. The tool can be used during hook-ups, at truck stops or roadside to reduce downtime. With the Brake Releaser, users can deliver air-line de-icing fluid to the trailer in minutes. The tool connects via standard glad hand couplers and works on dry vans, flatbeds, dump trucks, refrigerated trailers and more. In less than five minutes, a user can de-ice trailer brakes by attaching the Brake Releaser to the red emergency line, filling the reservoir with de-icing fluid, activating the emergency line air flow button in the cab and removing the Brake Releaser and re-attaching the red emergency line.

brakereleaser.com
homediv
homediv
logotype
February 12 - February 18, 2020
Show More
homediv homediv
logotype
February 12 - February 18, 2020
A repo agent crashed into a ditch in Spring, Texas, after being shot in the chest. Image - click2houston.com.

Repo Agent Shot in Chest

An hours-long standoff came to an end in Spring, Texas, with no arrest as the search continued for a person of interest believed to be connected to the shooting of a repossession agent who crashed into a ditch after being shot in the chest on Feb. 5.

The driver was rushed to a hospital where he was stabilized and was listed in guarded condition at press time.

“He is in good condition, he is stable but critical,” said Operations Manager of Coast to Coast Motors, Casey Allison.

Allison said the injured driver is Pozzie Cowart Jr., who works as a repo driver for Coast to Coast Motors. Cowart had repossessed a car and was on his way back to the dealership when someone opened fire, injuring Cowart, according to Allison.

According to a tweet, Harris County deputies were at an apartment in the 21600 block of Spring Plaza Drive, where a person believed to be connected to the shooting was believed to have been barricaded.

Authorities said they were able to obtain a search warrant to go into the apartment but said the apartment was empty.

The scene of the standoff was not far from a ditch where the tow truck driver was found shot.

Source: click2houston.com.

Man Tries to Drive off [b]Repo Truck

A man tried unsuccessfully to drive his car away while it was being repossessed, leading to damage on the tow truck, San Diego (California) police said.

Police were called Feb. 6 after an incident during a vehicle repossession.

A tow truck arrived to take a car away, and after the tow truck operator hooked the car up, the car’s owner jumped into his vehicle and tried take it back.

With the car still attached to the tow truck, the owner attempted to drive away but only managed to get the front wheels to spin. The car moved back and forth, causing damage to the back of the tow truck.

The tow truck driver called police, and responding officers detained the car’s owner but did not arrest him.

Source: 10news.com.

Resolvion Posts [b]Skip-Tracing Presentation

Skip-trace and repossession management services provider Resolvion has posted a presentation on skip-tracing given by MasterQueue’s Bryan Geist.

Geist’s presentation was one of several given by repossession industry experts during the 2019 Innovations in Recovery Summit hosted by Resolvion last fall in Dallas.

Geist began his presentation recollecting tactics some collections agents might have used in the past, pretending to be just about anyone but a company representative in hopes of locating a vehicle.

“Obviously, that would not fly today,” Geist said. “If your staff attempted it now, they would be gone in a heartbeat.”

Resolvion posted Geist’s presentation online to help other industry participants who might not have attended last fall’s event.

“Effective skip-tracing is still a critical part of a successful repossession strategy,” Resolvion said. “However, the challenge is much different than it used to be.

“In the old days it was all about finding a new piece of information and acting effectively on it,” the company added. “Today, the amount of data is overwhelming and the challenge is to how to interpret the data in the most effective manner.”

Source: autoremarketing.com.

Former CEO Banned from Banking, Fined $17.5M

Former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf agreed to a lifetime ban from the banking industry and a $17.5 million fine for his role in leading the bank through its massive fake accounts scandal and other sales practice misconduct.

In addition to Stumpf, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency fined seven other former Wells Fargo executives about $40 million in connection to what the OCC described as “the bank’s systemic sales practices misconduct.”

The civil charges brought by the federal agency say the executives “failed to adequately perform their duties and responsibilities, which contributed to the bank’s systemic problems with sales practices misconduct from 2002 until October 2016.”

Wells Fargo has already paid out about $4 billion in fines stemming from the wide-ranging sales schemes.

The bank has admitted its employees opened millions of fake bank and credit card accounts to meet wildly unrealistic sales goals. Wells Fargo has acknowledged that it forced borrowers to pay for auto insurance they didn’t need. Some of those auto borrowers ultimately had their vehicles repossessed. Wells Fargo has admitted to illegally repossessing the vehicles of hundreds of service members.

Wells Fargo said it accepted the government’s findings.

Source: fox40.com.
homediv
Translate Page
Contact Us
© 2020  Tow Industry Week/American Towman Media, Inc.