The Week's Features
Approximately 100 tow trucks parade in honor of tower Joe Meyer.
A recovery of a fire truck that hits a bridge and damages its boom.
Are you inspired to learn? Editor Brian Riker extols the virtues of continuing education.
Move-Over signage and a tribute to a fallen tower serve to send a message.
Users can access and manage both their vehicles and their in-vehicle cameras from a single interface.
San Antonio, TX.
Aug. 5-7, 2021
Las Vegas, NV.
Sept. 15-17, 2021
Cleveland, OH.
Oct. 14-16, 2021
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 11-14, 2021
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing May 03 - May 10, 2021

Is It A Crane Or A Tow Truck?

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By Brian J. Riker

Since rotators were first introduced to the towing industry, there has been an ongoing debate about what they are and what you can do with them. Better awareness of Occupational Safety and Health Administration compliance and operator certification in the towing industry has come just in time as OSHA has the towing industry in its sights.

A rotator is not a crane; never has been and never will be. They are not built to comply with the strict standards set forth by OSHA. If they were, their lifting capacity would be reduced so much that they would be all but useless as a recovery vehicle. When used in response to a wrecked or disabled motor vehicle, tow trucks and rotators are exempted from the regulations and operator certification requirements of cranes.

That said, many towers still use rotators on construction sites as a substitute for a traditional crane. This is attractive to the construction company since rotators can usually operate in more confined spaces and usually come at a much lower price point than a traditional crane with the same lift capacity. The usage of rotators as cranes has drawn the attention of the crane industry as well as OSHA.

On Nov. 8, 2018, with an enforcement date of Feb. 7, 2019, OSHA published a final rule regarding updated crane operator standards. This revised standard continues to require the use of trained crane operators, as well as adding a requirement that employers evaluate their competency.

Just like having a drivers license may not mean you are skilled enough to operate all vehicles, having a crane certification does not mean you actually know what you are doing.

OSHA has issued guidance on enforcing this new standard, calling for compliance assistance education by its inspectors during the first 60 days, but only to employers that have shown good faith efforts to properly and timely evaluate all their crane operators.

"But, you said a rotator is not a crane; so why do I have to comply?"

The short answer is that no one is looking at the design specifications of rotators, yet; but they are looking for operator cards and documentation of employer evaluation. Any time you use any of your tow trucks or rotators to lift anything other than a disabled or wrecked motor vehicle or spillage from an accident, you are performing a crane service lift and the operator must be qualified.

I know it is a Catch-22 situation for many. Towing is a tight margin industry with the average towing company only making a 5 percent to 8 percent annual return on investment. We need to continually look for alternate sources of revenue, especially sources that will pay for perhaps the most expensive piece of equipment in the fleet. Combine this with more and more agencies mandating the availability of rotators to be included on police rotations and I see why crane work appeals to owners.

As a compliance specialist all I can do is inform you of the changing regulations and urge you to comply. For some that will mean obtaining the proper training and performing the required evaluations. Others will stop doing non-automotive lifts with their equipment. That decision is yours alone to make.

A few key notes about crane operator training and certification. If your state requires a specific license this updated standard does not affect that program. Additionally, operators in states without a specific licensing standard are still required to be trained and certified by an accredited organization or qualified employer program. As always, this certification or licensure must be provided to employees at no cost.

Certification or licensure alone is no longer compliant. The employer still must provide an evaluation of the operator's actual skills, including their ability to read and understand the written operating instructions for their specific equipment. This evaluation must be documented and performed by an individual that is competent and experienced in the operation of the specific type of crane being operated.

In addition to training, certification and evaluation of newly hired crane operators, all operators must be reevaluated anytime retraining is deemed necessary, usually after an incident or near miss event.

These evaluations are not portable; they don't follow an experienced operator when they change jobs. In addition, one operator employed by multiple companies cannot be deemed qualified if only one employer has evaluated their skills. The good news is that employers do not have to reevaluate any crane operator that was in their employ on or before Dec. 10, 2018, if they had previously evaluated their skills. All operators hired after this date must be evaluated prior to being permitted to operate any crane unsupervised.

The full requirements can be found in OSHA Standard 1926.1427.

Brian J. Riker is a third generation towman and President of Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC. 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

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Dangers with Irate Motorists Persist

Towers continue to be a target of violence. In Queens, NY, Tow truck driver Frank Tedesco needed 10 stiches last week after dodging a bullet to the head on a street in the borough. He was preparing to boot the parked car of a scofflaw owner who owed fines, cops said. He was fired upon 3 times, the 2nd shot grazing his head. Police are still searching for the shooter.

Tedesco, with two decades on the job, said he and an accompanying city marshal were spared only by a moment of hesitation by their would-be assassin.  “He gave me enough seconds where me and the marshal ducked,” he recounted while recovering at his Long Island home. “He didn’t say a word — just started shooting and walked away like it never happened.”

Tedesco acknowledged he was worried about returning to the job. “It makes me nervous to go back to work,” he said. “But we have to make a living, so there’s nothing you can do.”

Tower Frank Tedesco of Queens, NY received10 stitches after a bullet grazed his head.

A Bridge Too Low

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by Jim “Buck’ Sorrenti

On March 4, 2021 Greg’s Towing received a call from the Akron Police Department for an accident on Newton St., East of Case Ave. involving a fire truck hitting a 10'3" railroad overhead bridge.

Greg’s owner Greg Prunty responded with his 2017 KW with a Century 5030 30-ton, heavy operator Steve Labay Jr responded in a 2018 Pete with a 50-ton Jerr-Dan and operator Keith Riley went out in a Dodge with a Jerr-Dan MPL40. Tyler Bishop from Bower's Towing was an extra helper.

Upon arrival and the initial walk around, Greg’s crew found the fire truck, a retired unit used for parades, that belonged to a private individual. Steve informed, “The unit had been traveling east and hit the bridge with such force that it had broken the boom mount off the frame and bent the boom down and spun it over the side. The basket had excessive damage and the body was twisted.”

When the unit came to a stop it had struck a telephone pole and wires were down, strewn across the road. “After the Electric Company had secured the pole and the power, we were able to put our recovery plan into action,” said Steve. “The unit was still running and we backed it off the sidewalk and crossways into the street, so we could position the Jerr-Dan 50-ton in front of the unit and the Century 5030 30-ton on the side.

First they winched and lifted the boom clockwise towards the front of the truck with the 5030. Then they extended the boom on the 50-ton to lift the boom over the undamaged cab and a/c unit. The MPL40 was used to winch the basket back around and in place. “We used the 5030 to hold the boom and the Jerr-Dan 50-ton to lift the boom over the cab and back into place,” explained Steve.

The crew strapped the boom down and towed the fire truck from the scene to Greg’s lot. The next day the owner came and was able to drive the unit home.
Greg Prunty owns Greg’s Towing, based in Akron, Ohio. The company, established in 1983, serves northeastern Ohio. Their services include towing and recovery from light to heavy-duty, lockouts and jump starts.

Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!
4 Towman Expos in 2021, Mark your calendars for The Comeback Tour!!!

By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge

I work the non-traffic side of the wrecker/carrier:
maybe 30% of the breakdowns
half of the time
most of the time
Managing Editor: Steve Calitri
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203, Peggy Calabrese x202
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
May 03 - May 10, 2021

Jerr-Dan Parent Company, Oshkosh Corporation, Earns Top Honors

Oshkosh Corporation, the parent company of Jerr-Dan, has recently received several prestigious industry awards for the company’s ongoing ethical business practices, sustainability efforts and use of emerging and advancing digital technologies.

Oshkosh was named one of Barron’s “100 Most Sustainable Companies” and has been included in the S&P Global Sustainability Yearbook 2021, both for the fourth consecutive year. Steadfast in sustainability initiatives, Oshkosh Corporation has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption and continues to make investments in technology including the development of battery-powered products.

The company was also a recipient of the IDG CIO 100 Award for information technology excellence. Oshkosh Corporation’s Digital Technology team is powered by team members around the world, all focused on solving business challenges. This is the third consecutive year that Oshkosh Corporation has received this award. The company also received the IDG FutureEdge 50 Award for its innovative use of emerging technology. This is the first time that Oshkosh Corporation has received this global award.

In addition to these awards, Oshkosh Corporation has also been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere, one of FORTUNE’s World’s Most Admired Companies, one of America’s Most Responsible Companies by Newsweek, as well as one of America’s Top 250 Best-Managed Companies by the Wall Street Journal.

“Earning top honors from so many different organizations is testimony to the collective drive towards excellence by all Oshkosh Corporation global team members who remain focused on sustainable operations, empowering others and developing innovative solutions that drive the business forward,” said Frank Nerenhausen, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president of the company’s Access Segment.

To keep up-to-date on Oshkosh Corporation news, please visit:

For more information about Jerr-Dan, visit

On the Hook with John Borowski - 9
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May 03 - May 10, 2021
Tower Joe Meyer

Parade Honors {b}Kansas Towman

Approximately 100 tow trucks participated in a remembrance parade on May 7 to honor 69 year old tower Joe Meyer, who died on April 29 when he was reportedly crushed by a vehicle that fell off a tow truck.

The long line of tow trucks, led by a tractor-trailer and tow trucks carrying several antique John Deere tractors, started in Olathe and ended in Overland Park at Overland Tow’s shop, which he owned and operated with his wife, Lori.

“Joe was a race car builder and drag racing enthusiast. He enjoyed racing the cars he built, and passed his love of the sport along to their children by building cars for each of them to race,” is obituary reads. 

Buyer Beware as Tower is Duped by Truck Purchase

A tower, who spent 19,000 to purchase his first tow truck in order to start a business, claimed he was duped on Copart, a massive online auto auction company, as the truck turned out to be a lemon.

“Everybody says, you know, ‘If it’s too good to be true, don’t do it.’ But it is an auction, and it goes by pretty fast. So you really have moments to think about it; to go with your heart,” said Garcia.

When Garcia arrived to pickup the truck in Louisville, Ky., he found the truck was not in a condition to put on the road, calling another tow truck to haul his away to avoid storage fees. It appears that the undercarriage of the truck rotted through.

Garcia acknowledged that he did not do his due diligence and assumed the ad that led to the purchase was enough to go on.

Garcia’s calls for a refund didn’t go well. “They put me on hold, and then after 20-30 minutes, they just click,” Garcia said. When Garcia got the local media involved, however, Copart agreed to give Garcia a refund.

Oklahoma Tow Company in Limelight

A Muskogee tow truck company is getting national attention after being featured on the show "Hustle and Tow" that airs on A&E.

Tow truck operator Nik Morgan is the owner of Morgan Towing & Recovery and was called up by the show's producers last year.

"Actually, I thought it was a joke!" Morgan admitted, "I got the phone call for a reason and maybe the good Lord‘s got me on there on a reason to give a message."

From rescuing stranded drivers to picking up overturned semi's, Morgan says he's seen it all. The series highlights the "day-in-the-life" of a tow truck operator. "Being on the national stage is pretty surreal to me; I always thought I was just a tow truck driver, just like anybody else and they want to walk around filming me doing my stuff doing what I do every day. To me, it’s just a job but to them they think I’m a hero that helps save people's lives and keep people from dying on the white line." Morgan admitted.

The show began airing a few weeks ago, and Morgan hopes he proves tow truck operators are front-line heroes -- keeping drivers safe and America moving. "People think tow truckers are just the old fat guy. But, we run a professional business --- we run a very successful business and it shows through the screen --- it shows through the lens and I’m really proud of that," Morgan added.

There are new episodes of Hustle and Tow every Tuesday at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. central.

Slow Down Move Over Awareness in Utah

Local agencies in Washington City, Utah are reminding residents of the Slow Down, Move Over Law on May 15 as the Police Department is hosting a special ride along event in hopes to educate locals on the importance of driver’s safety.

According to officials, the event is aimed towards informing the public on how to take action when it comes to the Slow Down, Move Over Law,  Utah Code 41-6a-904. The law states drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles, highway maintenance vehicles, or towing vehicles displaying flashing red, red and white, red and blue, or amber lights need to slow down and provide as much space as practical. It also states for drives to move over a lane if it’s clear and safe to do so.

For more information on the event, click here.

Recovery Mishap Takes Life of Tower

In El Paso, Texas, tower Carlos “Flaco” Olague of AD Towing & Recovery, was killed while trying to assist a semi-truck stuck on a sidewalk.

The tragedy happened late Sunday morning when the driver of a big rig, Joel Ramirez, failed to lift the trailer’s support wheels before exiting. The wheels got stuck on the sidewalk.

Olague attempted to remove the trailer but due to a miscommunication, Ramirez rolled the big-rig forward while Olague was between the rear axles that he was helping to move out of traffic.

Olague's right leg was run over by the rear tires of the trailer; he was taken to the hospital where police said he later died.

Denver Couple Puts Heat on Tow Company

A Denver couple is seeking reimbursement from Colorado tow company Wyatt’s Towing, claiming their car was towed from a private lot despite having a valid permit.

The couple found the car listed on Wyatt’s website. Although they finally got their car back for free, they claim the incident cost them work wages.

“My partner had to miss work because all of her work gear was in the car. The lost wages hurt us because now we may not be able to get some groceries when we need them,” said Sarah Sersch. “We also had to pay for an Uber to go get the car.”

Sersch filed a complaint with Wyatt’s, asking for reimbursement of day’s wages and the Uber fare. The company told her she would receive a response within 48 hours. It’s been over a week since their vehicle was towed, and they haven’t heard back from Wyatt’s.

“I feel like they just tow vehicles, hoping people pay and walk away. I was reading the Google reviews, and there’s tons of people who seem to be in similar situations,” said Sersch. “Their Better Business Bureau grade is an F.”

Sersch also filed a complaint with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. The Transportation Section of the PUC is responsible for overseeing towing carriers that operate on a for-hire basis in Colorado.
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May 03 - May 10, 2021

A Bridge Too Low

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by Jim “Buck’ Sorrenti

On March 4, 2021 Greg’s Towing received a call from the Akron Police Department for an accident on Newton St., East of Case Ave. involving a fire truck hitting a 10'3" railroad overhead bridge.

Greg’s owner Greg Prunty responded with his 2017 KW with a Century 5030 30-ton, heavy operator Steve Labay Jr responded in a 2018 Pete with a 50-ton Jerr-Dan and operator Keith Riley went out in a Dodge with a Jerr-Dan MPL40. Tyler Bishop from Bower's Towing was an extra helper.

Upon arrival and the initial walk around, Greg’s crew found the fire truck, a retired unit used for parades, that belonged to a private individual. Steve informed, “The unit had been traveling east and hit the bridge with such force that it had broken the boom mount off the frame and bent the boom down and spun it over the side. The basket had excessive damage and the body was twisted.”

When the unit came to a stop it had struck a telephone pole and wires were down, strewn across the road. “After the Electric Company had secured the pole and the power, we were able to put our recovery plan into action,” said Steve. “The unit was still running and we backed it off the sidewalk and crossways into the street, so we could position the Jerr-Dan 50-ton in front of the unit and the Century 5030 30-ton on the side.

First they winched and lifted the boom clockwise towards the front of the truck with the 5030. Then they extended the boom on the 50-ton to lift the boom over the undamaged cab and a/c unit. The MPL40 was used to winch the basket back around and in place. “We used the 5030 to hold the boom and the Jerr-Dan 50-ton to lift the boom over the cab and back into place,” explained Steve.

The crew strapped the boom down and towed the fire truck from the scene to Greg’s lot. The next day the owner came and was able to drive the unit home.
Greg Prunty owns Greg’s Towing, based in Akron, Ohio. The company, established in 1983, serves northeastern Ohio. Their services include towing and recovery from light to heavy-duty, lockouts and jump starts.

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

A Mean Lean

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by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

On March 27, 2020 B & F Towing Co. was called by the owner of a dump truck for a winch out in Salem, N.J.
B&F heavy recovery specialist Chuck Bonadio was dispatched. He informed, “We were contacted by the owner of the truck to recover it. I responded solo in my 2019 Peterbilt with an NRC 40 CS four winch.” The unit has dual 40,000-pound, two-speed planetary winches and two 15,000-pound auxiliary planetary winches.

When Chuck arrived he saw a 2020 Freightliner dump truck on the shoulder with its passenger side wheels more than rim deep in mud.

“It was at a mean lean,” he stated. “I rigged a doubled line from the tailboard of the tow truck to a tail wrap on the rear of the dump truck. I used a 16 endless loop for the wrap. Rigged a line to lift the low side to take the lean out of it and finish the recovery because I knew I was gonna run out of line on the tail wrap before it was all the way back to the road and I used my auxiliaries married together to the low side tow pin on the front to bring the front to the road.”

Once it was back on the road it was driven from the scene with zero damage.

Robert “Bob” D. Fenimore is the owner of B & F Towing Co., in business since 1967. Based in Wilmington, Del., they operate from two locations and provide a variety of towing services, including light-, medium-,heavy-duty and long distance towing, long distance hauling and transportation, equipment hauling and recovery, emergency and air cushion recovery, stuck equipment recovery, emergency response, load shifts and transfers, trailer stacking, used auto parts and salvage. 

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; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

Big Boom Recovery in Jersey

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by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

On December 18, 2019, at approximately 1:15 p.m., Panek’s Service Center received an urgent call from the Essex Fells Police Department requesting a rapid response to a call of an overturned boom truck with a worker trapped under one of the outriggers.

Panek’s responded with a 2006 Peterbilt equipped with a 35-ton Jerr-Dan, and a 2001 GMC 3500 HD 4X4 Chevron twin line wrecker. While responding, the police captain on scene called and requested an expedited response, as time was a factor for the trapped worker.

Ted Panek called Livingston Collision and requested that they respond with their 2011 Kenworth with a Century 1140 RXP 40-ton rotator, Service Truck and Scene Support Trailer.

Once on scene, while setting up to free the worker, the Essex Fells Fire Department, First Aid Squad and the USA1 Urban Search and Rescue Team dug under the overturned boom truck to free the worker.

With the worker safely rescued and transported from the scene, Panek’s and Livingston Collision formulated an extensive plan to recover the casualty while waiting for the power company to cut the power to surrounding service lines, and for the OSHA officials to arrive and conduct their investigation along with the Essex Fells Police Department.

On scene were Essex Fells Fire Engines 1 & 2, Roseland Rescue, Verona Rescue, Engine 14, Utility, Montclair Truck 1, Rescue 1, Newark USAR Rescue 2, Rope Truck, BC4, Special Operations, Millburn Shoring Unit, West Essex First Aid 771, Rescue 773, Atlantic Medics, and Essex Fells PD.

On scene from Panek’s were Owner/Operator Ted Panek and T.R.A.A. Certified, G.S.T.A and Miller Industries Certified Heavy Towing and Recovery Operator Thomas “Tom” Daniello.

On scene from Livingston Collision were WreckMaster 2/3 rotator operator Clint Richards, Operator J.R Crawford, Scene Support/Photographer Bradley Crawford, Service Technician Dan Keenan and Service Technician Supervisor Ryan Condit.

Once the all-clear was given by the officials on the scene, Livingston Collision pumped off the hydraulic tank. Panek’s and Livingston Collision worked together to separate the boom from the turret by unpinning the boom, which was kinked in a number of places, making it impossible to draw it in. The left outrigger had to be cut off because it was bent, and unable to be collapsed.

“The truck was held in place by the rotator utilizing two doubled up winch lines, and the 86” boom was held in place by the 35-ton Jerr-Dan,” said Daniello. “During this point in the recovery, severe snow squalls had come through the area, along with 10 to 15-degree temperatures, which didn’t make for the best working conditions.”

With the boom unpinned, the truck was lifted and brought down to the roadway for the upright. The truck was uprighted by the 35-ton Jerr-Dan, and the rotator was used to catch the load. The truck was winched around to the back of the 35-ton and moved out of the immediate scene and transported to Panek's the same night.

Daniello informed, “It was now 2:00 a.m. After 13 hours on the scene, and due to the ice conditions, a decision was made by both tow companies to cut the boom in half and bring it down to the roadway where it would be left until dawn.”

The following day, Livingston Collision went back to the scene with their rotator and Eagle Auto & Truck Services of Parsippany, NJ with their Landoll trailer.

The boom was loaded onto Eagle's Landoll, transported to Panek's yard and unloaded by Livingston Collision.

Panek's Service Center in Livingston, NJ was established in 1931. Ted Panek is the owner/operator of the family business started by his grandfather John and continues to operate in its original location on South Livingston Avenue in Livingston Center.

Livingston Collision is a family-owned and operated auto body repair facility and towing service also based in Livingston, NJ. They’ve been in business since 1961.

Eagle Auto & Truck Services, based in Parsippany, NJ, is a full-service company that has provided towing, transportation, and auto body repair services for over 30 years with locations in Parsippany and Whippany.

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; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

MIDWESTERN – Nacogdoches, TX
(pop. 34,047)

SOUTHERN – Lake City, FL
(pop. 12,099)

EASTERN - King George, VA
(pop. 4,457)

WESTERN - Brentwood, CA
(pop. 53,673)

Heavy-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
May 03 - May 10, 2021

Continuing Education

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Brian J Riker

With the weather changing, COVID restrictions being lifted and the tow show season returning to normal I can feel the excitement building. Excitement to see old friends, make new friends and indulge in some of the finest hospitality anywhere. Personally though, I am more excited about the learning opportunities available to the industry.

I am always on a quest to learn and better myself. Nearly three decades into this industry and I learn something new every day. Technology, regulations, best practices all change over time and we can either learn, grow, adapt or fade like the paint on my dad’s old Ortiz wrecker.

Continuing education is not just self-improvement. It is survival. With the constant pressure to cut rates or add extra value to our services we must constantly strive to learn new, perhaps more efficient, ways of performing our jobs. Our financial future depends upon it as does our personal safety.

We expect our shop technicians to stay current on the latest models of vehicles. After all they can’t be effective servicing them if they don’t fully understand them. So why don’t we apply that same thought process to our towing and recovery operators? Or maybe business management education?

There are many awesome sources for training available to our industry. Most of it is hands-on in a classroom setting, although some is self-paced online training. There is no bad training. The more sources you have for information the more tools in your toolbox.

My current favorite method of learning is by listening to podcasts. There are thousands of great podcasts available for free, including a few that are towing focused and even one that I host aimed towards motor carrier compliance in the car haul industry. I listen to them while on long trips or in an airplane, you could listen while driving on a call.

Think about it, you could find some nuggets of wisdom and then recommend them to your team, and they can learn while simply sitting and waiting for their next dispatch. It doesn’t get more efficient than that! Same concept with short form video training. It is content that can be viewed on mobile devices during otherwise idle or non-productive periods of time.

I never look at the cost of training as an expense, rather it is an investment. An investment in future earnings, in your people and most importantly an investment in professionalism. Perhaps Zig Ziglar put is best, “What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? Not training them and keeping them.” Over 250 years ago Ben Franklin said “An investment in education always pays the highest returns.”

Without education we cannot grow; and without growth we die. By the time I was old enough to legally drive my dad had already switched industries, leaving his garage and towing business behind. I took a job driving a light duty wrecker for a local guy, a one chain wonder, someone that wouldn’t know safety or industry standards if they bit him. I knew his practices were wrong, even dangerous, so I took it upon myself to seek out better training.

Ultimately that is what led me to Baltimore back in 1992, the chance to learn from others. I was seeking out something better for myself. In my other job at the time, driver trainer for a school bus fleet, we had very good training resources and a dedication to excellence. Both were missing from my towing career until I began networking with other towers. I firmly believe without attending trade shows I would have never become as passionate about education as I am today.

Friends First or Driver’s Only: Reaching the Middle Ground

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By Randall C. Resch

A notorious tow owner was known for rage and outbursts. When there were issues, this owner became a madman’s personality. Dispatchers and drivers were too afraid to approach him because they dreaded being belittled. Employee morale was at its lowest.

The owner was mean and nasty. As a norm, he displayed inexplicable behavior where people, including me, didn’t like doing business with him. His maniacal nature created huge turn-over where new employees quit after a few weeks.

I too personally distanced my business relationship with him believing no-person deserves to be verbally attacked by an owner who lacks common decency, compassion and understanding.

I had lunch with this tower and we talked about work and family. He mentioned one driver, his long-time personal friend, who caused three damages in a reporting period. Two damages were suspension damages and the other damage happened when the driver backed into another car during a live-auction.

The suspension costs weren’t something to send to his insurance provider and were paid in-house. The owner asked me for advice because he struggled with having to dismiss his friend.

That’s a hard choice. When experienced operators, have back-to-back damages in a reporting period, perhaps there’s something going-on beyond the work environment, home-life, or life in-general?

I recommended the owner go to lunch or have an informal talk with the driver beginning conversation with something like, “You’ve worked for me for a long-time and you’ve done a great job. I’m concerned about what’s happened recently. Can we discuss the damages?” Although it seemed like a risky segue in having a discussion, it was necessary.

I suggested conversation start with something like, “I’m here for you and I want to help.” In this case, they talked openly and determined there were relationship issues beyond the workplace, but the relationship issues were resolved.

Choking back tears, by the time everything was said, the emotional tower apologized saying he’d work on doing a better job. The driver was said to be, “Back-on-track” where a little communication was all that was needed. All that was required was the boss offering to lend an ear.

There’s a personality trait that tow owners should identify early in their business careers. How do you handle employee issues? Do you take issues personally? Do you think about what occurred and why? Is it about costs? Or, do you go high-order, explode and then fire the employee?

Firing without emotion is a difficult task, but for the bigger picture, ask what may be driving those problems and issues. I believe it’s important for owners to consider the employee’s relationship with the company.

Finding committed employees is a difficult process and costly reality. In this case, both boss and driver handled these issues respectfully and openly without emotion and argument. But, if damages were to continue without improvement, continued employment would have to be re-approached.

I was pleased that owner and driver were able to talk, ultimately coming to an understanding that easily could have resulted in dismissal.

From my conversations with the owner that lead to his breaking point, I recommended to him that all of the company’s carriers be outfitted with eight-point straps and ratchet’s to help quell future suspension damages.

The owner took my advice, purchased strap systems and initiated company-wide training for carrier operators using eight-point straps and no J-Hooks. As for the backing incident, I recommend that spotters be employed when backing actions are necessary. Everything worked-out for the better.

Job Hazard Analysis

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Brian J Riker

OSHA is not exactly everyone’s favorite federal agency and still the subject of many debates over their jurisdiction regarding towing operations. Like it or not, OSHA is here to stay and does apply to most of what we do as towers daily either directly or through a state managed plan.

Perhaps the most often overlooked compliance requirement I see when auditing towers is the lack of a job hazard analysis (JHA). A JHA is a prerequisite to determine what standards, if any, apply to a specific task and how best to safely accomplish that task.

Under the General Duty clause all employers have a duty to provide a safe workplace that is free of recognized hazards. This is a catch-all that is used when a specific standard does not apply to a known risk in a specific industry.

A good example of where the General Duty clause applies in towing is when using a wrecker as a lifting device to remove a wrecked or disabled vehicle. In general industry, which is what towing is classified as, when using a truck mounted crane both the crane equipment and operator must fully comply with OSHA standard 1910.180. However, there is a clear exception for wrecked or disabled vehicles found in 1910.180(b)(1).

Just because a truck mounted crane is exempted from this standard when using it for a wrecked or disabled vehicle does not mean OSHA does not apply. You still have a duty to provide as safe of a workplace as possible for your employees. This is an excellent example of where a job hazard analysis comes into play.

As an owner of a tow service you are experts in your chosen profession and should know the hazards of towing or recovery. It is your duty to control these risks with effective communication to your workers as well as implementing worksite safety protocols. The first step is by analyzing the known risks and attempting to determine both the predictable as well as unforeseen outcomes.

A JHA for accident recovery should cover the basics of scene safety such as traffic awareness, hazardous material awareness, hazardous energy awareness, lifting and rigging safety. Effective communication among all responding personnel - even across different disciplines such as fire, EMS and police - is also paramount to workplace safety.

In this JHA you would address the known risks of each category such as struck by accidents or fire risks and how to reduce or eliminate these risks. Perhaps your company will determine that a scene safety supervisor or that headset radios are required for incidents of a certain size. Maybe identify the need for in-house traffic incident management equipment rather than relying on already over-burdened public resources. I can’t speak for your particular operating environment as each area is unique.

A good job hazard analysis results in a safer work environment only when it is used as a basis for company policy and procedure documents and then enforced. Simply having a JHA will not make your team any safer if you ignore the recommendations or don’t train your team on how best to deal with the hazards. In the event of an incident, OSHA will look for these documents, the associated training and documentation of when you have caught employees not following company policy.

Self-discovery of violations that are documented and acted upon are your best defense against liability. No one is perfect but if you can prove you are actively taking steps to mitigate and manage risk, you will reduce the potential for fines and judgements, as well as help keep your employees safer.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility; however it ultimately rests on your shoulders as the company owner. It is your responsibility to set a culture of safety and not allow the task at hand to override basic safety protocols. No job is worth risking injury or death. Even when dealing with life-safety critical events, we can take the lead from the fire and rescue service. They maintain a protocol where their personal safety is the most important task at hand. An injured rescuer does no good and adds undue burden to the incident at hand.
May 03 - May 10, 2021

Western Modern

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In describing the killer logo found on his 2018 Kenworth T880 with a 1075 S Century Rotator, owner Nik Morgan, who has received acclaim in the new reality TV show “Hustle and Tow,” says it projects the image of grit, iron, toughness, and bad to the bone.

Morgan, who owns Morgan’s Towing & Recovery, the largest tow company in Oklahoma with as many as 70 trucks, projects a similar image on the show, as he is seen doing extreme recoveries with his 75 ton rotator. So it is only fitting that the company brand rise to some of the owner’s unique qualities.

The logo puts the Morgan name front and center, in a western styled font. Morgan said, “Afterall, we are in Oklahoma and we tow in the plains and the valleys through the countryside.” Contrasting the western flavor, however, is a modern scripted font, giving contrast between country and modern sensibilities.

Behind the white lettering of each of the fonts that are accentuated by shadows of red and black, is a diamond shaped design in a washed out black and white graphic with several stars and stripes. That shape is contained partially in a diamond plated frame as the crisp lettering extends over the diamond and onto the red background of the truck where modern black and white stripes give it further identification.

Morgan said, “I wanted to do something modern and contemporary with 80’s styled pinstriping. Something smooth.”

Those modern stripes can also be found on the side of the unit, extending across its large rotator real estate, with the Morgan logo and brand clearly standing out.

Morgan said, “I didn’t want a busy truck. Or a loud one. I wanted something calm to contrast with our name, so that would stand out.”

The red, white and black rotator, with a Western Modern flavor, is also enhanced by the yellow outriggers that stand out against those colors.

“Oklahoma’s Largest” pops in white lettering on the front sides of the truck. When asked about how he keeps up with such a large business, Morgan said, “It has a sleeper for a reason. It’s a dog house.”


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

Still Spreading the Word

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George L. Nitti

Owners Terry and Julie Young of Northern Lights Auto and Towing Service of Mattydale, NY, located outside of Syracuse near the NY Thruway, recently had their 2017 International with a Jerr-Dan 21ft steel deck wrapped, with imagery and language that spreads the Move Over message while giving tribute to their beloved brother, Todd S. Young, who lost his life roadside in 2011.

Todd took over the business from his father and ran the company since 1992, putting his heart and soul into it to build a great foundation. Looking to expand further, he offered his brother and his sister-in-law a role in the company in 2011, the year he was tragically killed.

Julie said, “He had gotten taken out by a tandem tractor trailer. We’ve been hit another 4 times since then. Fortunately nobody got hurt. So I’ve been wanting to do this wrap for a long time. I wish I could have done it earlier.”

The wrap is truly remarkable, clearly highlighting move-over awareness, beginning with the words “Slow Down, Move Over, Save a Life,” written on 3 lines in large red, white and yellow lettering.

Underpinning the words is a dazzling graphic, which according to Julie is nothing more that a busy freeway with fast moving cars that are shining lights, from their front and back ends, representing blinding speeds.

Also found on the side of the unit is a memorial to Todd, whose picture is visible along with his birth and death dates.

Julie said, “The night he was killed it affected our lives. It affected everyone who saw what happened that night. It affected the driver who hit him. It was very gruesome. There was no real closure for the family. He wasn’t supposed to be on that night.”

In addition to giving tribute to Todd, Julie, who spearheaded the design with the help of Wayne Design Signs, also wanted to give tribute honoring all towers who died roadside.

To do that, she used the imagery of the Wall of the Fallen on the unit’s hood which is found at the Towing International Museum in Chattanooga, Tn. On the toolboxes is the black, white and yellow flag honoring the Fallen Tower.

She said, “Let’s do a PSA with this truck. I call it ‘My PSA.’ I couldn’t get everyone’s name on it, but there are many names ghost written on it which I found on the Internet. Todd’s name is highlighted in blue. I really just wanted it to tell a story.”

On Facebook, one person commented:“Whoever owns this truck, thank you for all the people you may save.”

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Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at You might even be selected to go in

Hooked on “Pink Hookers”

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The new reality tv show “Hustle and Tow” spotlights eight tow companies across the nation, including Pink Hookers Towing of New Castle, DE., an all-woman tow enterprise. Their one-year old business has quickly gained prominence with their new found recognition on A&E television.

Company owners, Myesha and Areesah, along with their lady drivers, who are all clad in matching pink uniforms, are shown making rounds to private parking lots, towing illegally parked cars with their Dodge 4500 with a Jerr Dan bed.

According to Myesha, company branding was a big part of being discovered by Hollywood producers looking to make a reality show about the lives of towers. She said, “We just put ourselves out there with our brand and stayed relevant on social media and they reached out to us.”

Ladies who wear pink who are in the towing business are a rare breed and command attention, as does a company name that offers other suggestive and salacious possibilities. “We get phone calls all the time because of our name,” said Myesha. “Somebody recently called and said, ‘Is that all you are doing is hooking up cars.’”

Indeed the company name is an attention grabber, easily hooking you in. The graphics, designed by Routh Signs of Greensboro NC, state “Pink Hookers Towing” and is creatively rendered, containing unusual font flair. If things are not clear, the tow chain, just under their name, helps spell things out.

Also on both sides of the truck is the slogan girlpower#, which encourages and celebrates women's empowerment, independence, confidence and strength. Myesha said, “My take on it is that this a male dominated field. Girls can do it too.”

No doubt the ladies at Pink Hookers have got it, particularly when they are up against hostile and irate people who don’t like to see their cars towed under the circumstances. Beware, these tough girls are brave road warriors, not afraid to carry licensed guns in an open carry state in the thick of mayhem that sometimes ensues doing a tower’s duty. Myesha said, “I know. A lot of danger comes with the territory.”

Finally, pink connotes breast cancer awareness, which these two gals can relate to, Myesha losing her mother from cancer at only 45 years of age and Aretha, fortunately, seeing her mother survive from a bout of cancer herself. They are “Towing for a Cure,” which is also stated on their trucks.

Show business has boosted their brand, bringing these two fresh faces and their company to the light of day. The phone is ringing a little more, and their brand, which includes coffee cups, water bottles, tee-shirts and more are flying off the shelves.

But it’s the love for what they do, the fact that towing is always something different every day, that keeps them hooked and on the road.

Brag @ TIW! Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
May 03 - May 10, 2021


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Webfleet Solutions launched WEBFLEET Video into the market. With the industry leading technology of Webfleet Solutions and Lytx, a leading global provider of video telematics solutions for fleets, integrated on one platform, users can access and manage both their vehicles and their in-vehicle cameras from a single interface. 

Road facing and optional cabin facing HD dashcam event footage is displayed alongside driving data to give users the full context of road incidents. Users can request video from a specific time and position of a previous trip or instantly livestream from the road, to take action immediately when an incident occurs. 

Accompanying WEBFLEET Video is the CAM 50 dashcam. This hardware uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to automatically identify risky behaviour such as distracted driving and mobile phone usage. When it does so, it notifies the driver with a visual and audio alert, helping them avoid dangerous situations. 

“For the fleets we serve, safeguarding drivers is crucial,” says Matt Gunzenhauser, Director of US Sales, Webfleet Solutions. “And the more accurate a picture you have of what’s occurring on the road, the more protection you can give them. This is what WEBFLEET Video delivers. With footage from the road, drivers get both clear examples of how they can drive safer. It further provides evidence to protect them
For more information please visit: 

Lifting and Recovery Sling

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RimSling presents a synthetic lifting and recovery sling that is lightweight, strong, flexible and compact. It’s high-quality synthetic fibers ensure strength and durability. A special braided guard at the center of the sling and an external cordura sleeve add extra layers of protection when used as a basket. Featuring a high working load limit and slim design, the RimSling is suited for many lifting, rigging and recovery scenarios. It is also ideal for weaving through any small attaching point. With its soft, pliable material, the RimSling can be used in applications with delicate attaching points for reduced damage potential when compared to chain or wire rope. For example, the RimSling can be used with aluminum wheels and won’t leave damage like chains. With proper care, the RimSling lifting and recovery sling can provide years of successful, safe and reliable performance.

Matjack Landing Bags

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Since 2005, MatJack Landing Bags have provided users the ability to do recovery uprights on tractor trailers, heavy tracked equipment, box trucks, overturned mobile homes, etc… without the use of a “catch” vehicle.

Landing bags work due to a constant airflow and require it to stay inflated. Landing bags are placed under a load with the intention of not allowing the load to gain speed during uprighting operations and descent of the load past fulcrum point. Landing bags lift, support and control vehicles as they come over while allowing the air to escape through 3 ported openings in each cushion increasing control of the vehicle and rate of descent.

Matjack Landing Bags are typically used under wheels of vehicles to control descent but have also been used under frame sections to catch box trucks and mobile homes and even track drives on cranes.

Single lane uprights are now accomplished in a much easier fashion with less set up and quicker dismantle time for those “quick clear incident” situations. Any upright recovery is now quicker, safer and more professionally done when using Matjack’s Landing Bags!

Landing Bags come in complete sets or individually. Everything is included in each set to get you up and working within a matter of minutes.

Landing Bags are made of a special material designed to resist tearing but allow quick repair if damaged in the field. The large Camlock fittings provide for quick assembly and disassembly of the system.

All Matjack Landing Bag systems will provide you with years of trouble free use and come with the same outstanding warranty, service, training and care you have come to expect from Matjack.
May 03 - May 10, 2021
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May 03 - May 10, 2021

Auto Finance Boom Reported

According to the Brookhaven Courier, a newspaper run by students at Dallas College, the auto finance industry has seen a boom since the emergence of Covid-19, particularly the used car market. Part of this spike has to do with stimulus check and unemployment benefits.

Inske Zandvliet, economics professor at Dallas College Brookhaven Campus, said the demand for used cars is higher due to COVID-19. “People want to avoid traveling on public transport, so they are purchasing cars,” she said. “This leads to the second reason – a new car is a larger purchase. Since economic times are now uncertain, in terms of employment, many people choose to purchase a used car since it is not as expensive.”

Due to the sudden demand for used cars, auto finance companies such as Vehicle Solutions Corp profited, according to CNBC Evolve. 

David Ricci, the company’s repossession manager, said his workload remained steady. “I was expecting to have to repo a lot more cars in the beginning,” Ricci said. “But as it went on, the collections teams ended up keeping the customers current or making payment arrangements, so they didn’t get repossessed.”

Because used cars were selling better, there was a demand for them. “The subprime market was pretty strong, so the cars we did repo sold for a good amount,” Ricci said. The proceeds of the sales helped to offset the losses from cutting back on funding.

Repo Leads to Arrest in Firearms and Explosives

A repossession of a Mercedes in San Francisco led to the discovery of cache of firearms and explosives in late February. The perpetrator, who had a criminal history, was eventually arrested.

The sequence of events started when 31-year-old Cameron Ybarra shot at a repossessor, missing him and putting a bullet in the driver’s side of his car. After he retrieved items out of the car, he went into his residence, where he retrieved an assault rifle and pointed it at the repo man.

The driver “disconnected the vehicle, fled the area and called 911.”

Police followed up, impounding the Mercedes but were unable to find the shooter until they converged on his residence.

According to a police report, “SFPD investigators from the Crime Gun Investigations Center (CGIC) and Gang Task Force (GTF), along with special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) responded to the suspect’s residence to arrest the suspect and serve a search warrant.”

After officers arrested him, they found inside the house an assault rifle, ammunition, bosy armor, a silencer, bomb making materials and other things.

Ybarra was booked for carrying a concealed weapon, possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, negligent discharge of a firearm, possession of a silencer, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of an explosive device and resisting arrest.

Repo Job Turns into Bizarre Arrest

75 year old John Beasly of Tenn., whose white Kia was repo’ed and then reported stolen, was arrested when pulled over driving his own car.

Though the car was registered as stolen, police confirmed Beasley was the registered owner of the car.

“It turns out the vehicle is his. He reported it stolen. It had been repossessed. He did not tell the police that it was not stolen and he got it back, so it could be removed from the system. So, it was still in the system,” said Belle Meade, Tenn. Police Sgt. Jon Carter.

It was then that police learned that Beasley had two warrants for his arrest, one for misdemeanor trespassing and the other for felony vandalism.

Sgt. Carter said, “Basically he called the cops on himself. He completely forgot he reported it stolen. Even when I told him it is still showing as stolen, he said, it is not, it is my car. And then it finally clicked that he reported it when it was repo’ed.”

Anticipated Turn-Around [b]in Repo Business

Although many consumers have been shielded by the federal government’s Covid relief act for delinquency of their mortgage, student loans and rent payments, the same may not be said about auto loans, which are not covered by the act. While the pace of auto repossessions has been slow since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, that may soon change.

“It really depends on how the next several months go,” said Matthew Bavaro, a partner at The Loan Lawyers law firm in Fort Lauderdale. “It’s depending on what kind of relief package Washington is able to pass. We definitely expect to see lenders get more aggressive as the months progress,” he said.

Robert Murphy, a Fort Lauderdale consumer lawyer and a University of Florida law school faculty member, fears tighter credit and more repos may be in store over the long term.

“People are becoming really desperate,” he said. “Longer term I am really concerned — depending on stimulus, this could get a lot worse. I think there is a likelihood we are going to see higher repossessions and a tightening in credit available which has real implications for consumers,” he added.

For those who are in the repossession business, that may be good news, as the industry has taken a hit, operating at 50 to 60% capacity.

“There’s no one in today’s business environment that’s operating at 100%,” said Les McCook, executive director of the of American Recovery Association, which is based in Texas and has members in Florida.

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