Why Do Tower’s Take Chances?
By RANDALL C. RESCH - AT Operations Editor
When towers intentionally take chances, why do they insist on undertaking careless tow and transport procedures when they know they're illegal?
The photo is a great example of what not to do when it comes to safe loading and transport techniques. If I'm the motor cop following this salvage hauler or if I'm the scales officer watching the tower cross my scales, do you think this tower's gonna get the red light?
Every U.S. state has regulations regarding safe towing and transport that parallel federal regulations. Taking chances is the end result of three simple factors: One, the tower thinks they're getting away with something; two, they've never been trained in proper load-and-go techniques; three, they're lazy.
I can't think why someone would load a vehicle as the photograph depicts. When I asked the driver if his loading process was legal, he flippantly said, "It's my last load of the day and I don't wanna come back tomorrow."
Does that appear to be sound and justifiable reasoning to transport a vehicle that's less than 50-percent contained on the carrier's deck?
Obviously, I have issues with his loading process. One vehicle hangs in mid-air with only the front tires touching the deck's surface, and is smashed into the car in front.
Additionally, look at the sagging chains under the car's rear tires. Do they look as though they're properly secured as part of a multi-point tie-down? I think not.
What about remaining salvage rights?
Is the white car in front the appropriate manner of securing the red car? Suppose someone else saw the unsafe manner this vehicle is being transported: Could it prompt a call of concern to a local highway patrol office or 911 telling of impending danger?
For any driver who honestly tells me this car is loaded in an OK manner, try telling that to a motor cop or scales officer who's poised to write you a fat ticket. This photograph challenges common DOT laws that suggest towed or transported vehicles shall be loaded and secured in every manner to prevent potential movement or release.
When I see towers loping down the highway with an unsafe load like this, I have to think that this driver's mindset is one that's not monitored by his company's manager or owner. Safety starts at the top, where company management and supervision are tasked with seeing that this kind of dereliction to duty doesn't happen.
Drivers, when you take chances as in the photo, you put yourself, the motoring public and your company's reputation and liability at huge risk. I know, drivers tell me they've done it like this hundreds of times before and nothing's happened.
But, what happens the next time when some misfortune grabs you?
Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operation's 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. Randall is a 2014 inductee into the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame.