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Tag Towing & Collision to pay $10,000 in restitution for overcharging consumers and breaking local vehicle codes.
Delicate lift and placement of a very large fiberglass tank in a tight space.
t’s the cumulative effect of many details that make for this 69’ classic a rare breed.
Absorbs the impact of a high (or low) speed crash, decrease damage made to the vehicle, and save workers’ lives.
Working on assignment, a repossession agent was shot and killed in Oakland, Ca.
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San Antonio, TX.
Aug. 5-7, 2021
Las Vegas, NV.
Sept. 15-17, 2021
Cleveland, OH.
Oct. 14-16, 2021
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Nov. 11-14, 2021
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing June 23 - June 29, 2021

Still Spreading the Word

1 9c9e4
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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Florida Co’s Merge into Towing Behemoth 

The merger of Guardian Fleet Services with A Superior Towing, through Guardian' Fleets ESOP Trust, gives both companies greater access to municipal, state, and commercial customers throughout the state of Fla. and the southeastern United States. The combined companies perform towing, recovery, and specialized transportation services over 600 times per day.  

The merger with A Superior Towing brings a respected service provider in the Broward County market, for over 33 years, into Guardian Fleet's organization, filling a void between the Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties in the South Florida region. With the addition of A Superior Towing's fleet and its 40 experienced employees, Guardian Fleet and its subsidiaries now employ over 300 personnel dedicated to meeting customers' expectations while operating over 200 light-, medium-, heavy-duty recovery vehicles and specialized tractors, along with 100 trailers. 

Sean Loscalzo, A Superior Towing's founder and president, will continue as president of A Superior Towing, while assuming additional responsibilities as vice president of the South Florida market reporting to Guardian Fleet Services CEO Geoff Russell and Chief Operating Officer Scotty Crockett. "This next step allows our legacy to continue to grow and become not only a leader in Broward County, but also the leader in the towing and recovery, and the specialized transportation industry throughout the Southeast United States and beyond," said Loscalzo of A Superior Towing.  

Stated Russell: "The merger adds additional strengths and ownership that involve all of Guardian Fleet's management and employees through their participation in the Guardian ESOP Trust. I couldn't be more excited about this merger and the opportunity to work with the A Superior Towing team." 

Source: Guardian Fleet Services 



Sean Loscalzo, A Superior Towing's founder and president

Vehicle Marking Standards for Towing: Is It Time? 

istockphoto 91209572 612x612 b7872
By Brian J Riker 

I recently returned from a cross country road trip, something I do often. However, this time, something occurred to me that I have not often spoken about - uniform vehicle markings designed to make certain types of vehicles easily identifiable as emergency equipment or potential hazards to traffic flow. 

I have long called for uniform lighting standards across North America. It can be very confusing to travelers when a law enforcement vehicle has only blue lights in some parts of the country when the traveler is accustomed to that color being reserved for volunteer firefighters. It can also be argued that the misuse or overuse of amber warning lights on various types of vehicles is equally as confusing and extremely dangerous. This is especially true in the states that still require the use of rotating or flashing beacon lights while towing with wheels on the ground, or worse yet in Ct., where beacons are required even for a vehicle on a carrier deck!  

The same can be said about vehicle identification. Thanks in part to Federal guidelines for funding subsidies and National Fire Protection Association standards most ambulances and fire apparatus are readily identifiable as emergency vehicles from great distances, even the privately operated units. This is due to their fairly uniform lighting design, color and placement of retroreflective decals, markings and other intentional design features. To some extent law enforcement vehicles share some of this recognition although they are not quite as easy to identify from agency to agency as fire and Ems units. 

Other highway service vehicles are not nearly as easy to recognize from a distance. Road construction, DOT, tow trucks and road service vehicles come in many different shapes, sizes, colors and seem to have no uniformity with regards to warning lighting systems, placement of reflective materials or other design elements. Uniformity is the key to recognition, which is why we have uniform standards for tail-lights, turn signals and other equipment on motor vehicles. 

Why is earlier recognition of some vehicle types important? Simpy put: time equals safety. The average driver’s perception time for a hazard is ¾ of a second and their reaction time (time from recognition until they begin to take action) is another ¾ of a second. This means at 60 MPH their vehicle will have travelled 132 feet before they even begin to slow down or take any evasive action. So, if in a state of confusion about the need to slow down or otherwise react to a vehicle ahead the driver takes another ¾ of a second or more to recognize the situation they may just plow right through your work area before they even understand what is happening. 

In my opinion, our industry may have even gone backwards in this area. I clearly remember tow trucks from the 70’s and 80’s having warning chevrons painted across their broad tailboards, a feature not often seen on modern tow trucks. While it is true that tow vehicle design has changed significantly since then there is still plenty of opportunity to include design features such as warning chevrons and other retroreflective features on the modern tow truck and car carrier. 

All I am asking is for tow owners to take the ability for the average motorist to see, recognize and react to the tow truck into consideration when picking colors, lettering, decals and other design features for their fleet. Perhaps as an industry we should form a task force to study the effects of vehicle graphics on tow operator safety and develop a voluntary design standard to help make tow and road service vehicles more uniformly recognizable across North America by average drivers. 

What are your thoughts on this concept? I welcome feedback on this and any other ideas that can lead to greater roadside safety for all. 

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:
seldom
maybe 30% of the breakdowns
half of the time
most of the time
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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
June 23 - June 29, 2021
Acquired from Royal Truck & Equipment, the ERTMA is specifically engineered to be a protective barrier for roadway workers while also absorbing the impact from the driver to reduce the likelihood of injuries during a crash.

Pa. Tow Company Invests in a TMA 


As a means to protect their crew from roadside dangers, Allentown Pa. tow company Yokum Towing & Recovery added an emergency response vehicle that includes a truck-mounted attenuator (crash cushion), generator, arrow and message boards, storage compartments for recovery equipment and connected technology that transmits a signal via GPS to give advanced warning to approaching drivers of activity in the area. 

As lights and signs become less effective in gaining the attention of approaching drivers, the need for protective equipment has become increasingly more vital to ensuring emergency responder safety. "Being out on the roadway, I've seen multiple secondary accidents happen", says Evan Yocum. " 

Rob Roy, President of Royal Truck & Equipment, said, "Our mission has always been to help workers get home to their families at the end of their shift. First responders deserve the same protection as construction workers given the dangers of working out on the roadway." 

https://royaltruckandequipment.com/towing-and-recovery/ 

On The Hook 10: New Stuff
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June 23 - June 29, 2021
Tag Towing and Collision will pay restitution for charging too much and breaking codes and rules.

Pa. Tow Company to Pay Restitution 

Tag Towing & Collision, located in Pittsburgh, Pa., will pay $10,000 in restitution to settle allegations by the state’s attorney general that it overcharged consumers and broke state and local vehicle codes. 

According to the Attorney General’s complaint, Tag Towing towed vehicles from private property without giving consumers proper public notice of the parking restrictions,  towed vehicles without getting written consent from the property owner or agent as required under Pittsburgh’s vehicle code, charged consumers more than a “reasonable expense” for towing services, and charged more than the $135 maximum “drop fee” to have their vehicle disconnected from the tow truck within the City of Pittsburgh. 

Under Pittsburgh’s vehicle code, if the owner or operator of a vehicle arrives in the parking area before the vehicle has been towed, the vehicle must be disconnected upon payment of a drop fee. In addition, Tag Towing demanded payment in cash when the code requires acceptance of credit cards, the complaint said. 

Under the settlement, the company agreed to abide by consumer protection and vehicle codes going forward. 

https://www.post-gazette.com/business/

DUI-Manslaughter Conviction Against Va. Driver 

A man who struck a tower last year in Fredricksburg, Va. was convicted of DUI-manslaughter and will be sentenced on Sept. 9. 

Tower Louis J. Rich was outside his tow truck on June 11 on a ramp connecting one major highway to another when Minor’s 2020 Chevrolet Impala crossed the white fog line and struck Rich. Rich was pronounced dead upon arrival to the hospital. 

At the time, Minor had several controlled substances in his system when blood was drawn from his system hours after the crash.  

Defense attorney Anna Lindemann argued that Minor was not intoxicated at the time of the crash and said the amounts of drugs in his system were minimal and that he passed field sobriety tests. She said Minor didn’t see Rich and that Rich’s death was simply a tragic accident. 

https://fredericksburg.com/

Busted for Stolen Tow Truck 

2 men were arrested after they allegedly stole a tow truck from Ayers Towing Service, leading a police officer on a short pursuit through the city of Wilkes Barre, Pa. The suspects, not named by police on scene, were handcuffed and taken into custody on Sunday, 6/20.  

No injuries were reported, and no damage to any vehicles or other personal property was reported to police. The truck was recovered and driven from the scene by an employee from Ayers. 

https://www.timesleader.com/

Tow Truck Driver Shot and Killed in Ore. 

In Hillsboro, Ore., on 6/16, 51-year-old tower Patrick Ralph Sanford was shot and killed during a dispute in an apartment complex parking lot. 

Authorities said two tow trucks were moving vehicles from the parking lot to the street a short distance away as crews were preparing to restripe and reseal the parking lot of the complex. A disagreement ensued between a tenant and one of the tow truck drivers, which led to yelling followed by gunfire. 

“There were disagreements with the tow truck, words were exchanged, there was arguing and yelling and then the shooter did shoot the tow truck driver,” Hillsboro Police Sgt. Clint Chrz said. 

Officers arrested 42-year-old Matthew Alexander McAdoo. He was booked into the Washington County Jail for 2nd-degree murder. 

https://www.koin.com/

Vancouver Towers Remind Drivers to “Slow Down/Move Over” 

Vancouver’s tow truck drivers have been particularly hit hard over the last six months from tow truck casualties, including a death in April involving tower Arthur Anderson who lost his life working roadside and tower David Rios, who lost a leg. Tower Chris Amedio had a near miss when a passing car struck the side of his truck and he jumped at the last moment.  

Former tow truck driver David Rios, who worked at Chappelle’s Towing, lost his leg in January after a car hit him while he was working on the Interstate 5 helping a family in their 2016 Escalade change a flat tire just before a passing vehicle plowed into him and pinned him between two cars. Now he is learning to walk on a new prosthetic leg and handling post-traumatic stress, such as loud noises. He wants drivers to slow down and pay attention when they pass a tow truck. 

“You get some people that are just in a hurry, texting and driving, not paying attention. Putting make-up on,” said driver Dan Carroll, who also works for Chappelle’s Towing in Vancouver. 

On a recent ride-along , Carroll observed how less than half the drivers moved over during 20 minutes at the side of the road. Carroll thinks that’s because drivers just don’t regard him as an emergency worker. 

According to Kelly Just, with AAA Washington, “Towing fatalities are at the top of the list followed by firefighters, police officers and EMTs.” She’s working with the Washington State Patrol and the Washington Department of Transportation on a new educational campaign called “Slow Down, Move Over.” 

https://www.opb.org/

Bumper Stickers/Posters to Remind Drivers in Jersey to “Slow Down, Move Over”

New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) along with a coalition of transportation agencies that comprise the NJ Traffic Incident Management (NJTIM) task force, launched a bumper sticker and poster campaign to raise public awareness of the Slow Down, Move Over Law. 

“The Slow Down, Move Over campaign is not just a catch phrase. For the emergency responders and others who serve the motoring public, the highway is their office,” NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “We want everyone to get home safe, every night. The goal is to remind drivers approaching stopped emergency or work vehicles to please slow down and if it is safe to do so, move over. That simple act could save a life.”  

The eye-catching, florescent, pink stickers, which match the emergency incident sign color used at roadway incident scenes across the United States, will be placed on the bumpers of NJDOT and participating emergency response vehicles across the state.  

In addition to seeing these bumper stickers on state vehicles, Quick Chek, is partnering with the NJTIM coalition, and will be displaying the Slow Down, Move Over posters in the windows of 72 of their New Jersey stores and at 67 gas stations. 

There have been 22 emergency responders and highway workers struck and killed throughout the United States in 2021 as reported by the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, www.ResponderSafety.com. This number does not include injuries. 

“Our law boils down to simple courtesy and the care and caution we should all inherently be showing the folks that are working on and around our roadways,” said Eric Heitmann, Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “These folks already have a dangerous job – and we can all do something to make it safer for them – simple courtesy.” 

https://www.southjerseyobserver.com/2021/06/06/nj-traffic-incident-management-task-force-reminds-motorists-to-slow-down-move-over/ 

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American Towman Exposition Gallery
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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.
June 23 - June 29, 2021

Low-Clearance Tank Lift 

By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti 

Besides recovery work, rotators are used for moving and loading heavy equipment, landscape design, setting and removing generators, air conditioning units and many other uses. Such was the case when Advanced Towing & Recovery was called to handle the delicate lift and placement of a very large fiberglass tank in a tight space. 

Company owner Kenneth Tom and his crew were called to handle this fiberglass tank. Kenny explained, “We performed this lift at the Honolulu Airport. We were called out by the general contractor Watts Constructors. We've done multiple lifts for them and other contractors on this project.” 

Kenny responded with Da HIM, his 2008 Kenworth T800 with a 2012 NRC 60/80SR Heavy Incident Manager (HIM) rotator. This mammoth unit with an 80-ton capacity is oversize version of NRC’s Slider System, with a gigantic V-shaped boom and 60,000-pound planetary winches. This beast has a boom reach of 485-inches. Also rigging and assisting on this job were Operations Manager Al Pico  and Neil Crabtree. 

Kenny informed, “It was a fiberglass tank with a water separator system built in. Before seeing what we could do and what we had to offer they had no idea how they were going to get this tank into the ground due to the low clearances, the size of the excavation required, and the size and weight of the tank. It was a 30,000-gallon tank that measured 53-feet long,  11-feet in diameter, and weighed 19,700-pounds.” 

The tank had been brought in on a trailer. Kenny had back Da HIM rotator in behind the tank. After surveying the situation, Kenny boomed out over the center point of the tank and the Advanced team climbed up a ladder to rig the tank for lifting off of the trailer with the Samson K-100 synthetic rope, which is made from a combination of high-performance fibers. 

With it’s reach and lifting capabilities, Da HIM was able the lift the tank and place it in the tight space that the construction crew had thought was impossible. Kenny stated, “The HIM making them believers after offloading and setting this separator tank at 35-feet off the side under the airport overpass. Mahalo!!!” 
________________ 

Advanced Towing & Recovery, based in Honolulu, Hawaii, was founded in 2002. The Advanced crew specialize in major traffic incidents such as tractor/trailer rollovers, hazardous material trucking accidents, fatalities, and all other types of recovery situations. Advanced operators have work with the Honolulu Fire Department and the Honolulu Police Department in many major recoveries/accidents. 

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! 

Container Job Nightmare 

container11 508a4

By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti 

On March 25, 2021, in Long Beach, CA., City Tow Service received a call from one of their Long Beach accounts to recover a forklift that had gone over hauling containers. City Tow driver Matthew responded with their 1994 Peterbilt with a Century 1060 60-ton 2-stage rotator. 

Once on scene, City Tow called Pepe’s Towing Service, a fellow tow company, to help them on the job. Pepe’s Joshua “Josh” Acosta responded with Hulk, his 2020 Peterbilt 389 with a Century 1150 50-ton rotator. 

The forklift was trying to stack a loaded container when it fell forward, knocking over multiple containers. One landed on a Toyota Corolla parked outside the chain-link fence, crushing its windshield and hood. 

Josh exclaimed, “This job was a nightmare! The containers were loaded, weighing about 17,000-pounds. They were loaded with some type of gas. My plan was to tackle the containers one by one. I assisted City Tow in lifting the containers that had gone on the street first, including the one that crushed the Toyota. Using one rotator on each end, Matthew and I set them on a trailer chassis to take them away.” 

The hardest part for Josh was tackling the forklift that had its mast all the way up and was still attached to a container. He had to first secure the container to the mast to make sure it would not fall off. 

“I decided my best course of action was to pull the forklift towards me, while City Tow assisted by providing a catch line so the forklift did not slam back down,” Josh stated. “Once I had the forklift back on the ground, I released tension on my boom lines while the forklift operator simultaneously brought down the mast to lower the forklift. I did all of the rigging with my custom ‘Pepe’s Slings’ I had made by Bailey’s Towing Accessories. This made it so much easier to rig as opposed to having to carry and use heavy chain.” 

Working in tandem, using the two Century rotator, all containers were either placed on a trailer chassis to be moved or stacked back where they belonged in the yard. The nightmare was over and the customer was happy. 

_____________________________________ 

City Tow Service is a top-notch towing, recovery and emergency road service company that has been servicing greater Long Beach, CA and the surrounding communities since 1961. All of their employees are trained and certified through WreckMaster and CTTA. Their fleet consists of state-of-the-art equipment including everything from one-ton conventional wheel lifts, flatbed carriers and heavy-duty wreckers to 60-ton (4 axle) rotators.  

Pepe’s Towing Service was established in 1978 by Jose and Delfina Acosta. As the business grew, Jose Jr. and brother Manuel “Manny” followed in their father’s footsteps and became full-time employees in March 1987. In 1989, Lorenzo Navarro joined the Acosta brothers and became an integral part of the company. 
More than 40 years later, Pepe's is still family owned and operated. They have over 90 employees, a fleet of over 80 trucks, including everything from light to super heavy-duty and specialized equipment. Their specialty and primary focus is medium- and heavy-duty towing and recovery. 

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! 

Double Dog Dare Recovery

Double Dog Dare Recovery TIW 9 ab70d

By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti 

In Upper Macungie Township, PA, on a road that has a double dog leg turn (two - 90 degree turns), the driver, hauling approximately 42,000 pounds of a name brand soda, took the turn too fast, causing the semi-truck and trailer to roll over.  

After another tower had been on the job for more than 7 hours and was unable to upright the casualty, Hauser’s Truck Service was contacted by the Upper Macungie Police Department. 

Hauser’s dispatched their 1990 Peterbilt with Nomar HD wrecker, 1987 Mack 35-ton Challenger HD wrecker and a 1988 Ford LTL 45-ton Challenger HD wrecker. They also brought out their recovery trailer with the USA air cushion recovery system they wanted to use on this job. Owner Tim Hauser, along with operators Jake Schrawder, Tim Moser, Bill Hillenbrant, Brad Hauser, and Kevin Krase responded to the scene.  

Tim informed, “We determined the best way to approach this recovery would be to bag the trailer from the roof side and rig the trailer from the floor side to pull it up with the Mack and Ford heavy-duty wreckers. The Peterbilt heavy-duty wrecker was used to stabilize the tractor as the casualty was coming up to keep everything in line.” 

Jake rigged the job, in part using extra wide 18-inch recovery straps to lend additional support as the casualty came up. The side of the trailer had been compromised and they felt it best to bag it, utilizing seven air bags to cover the square footage of the 53-foot trailer. Tim explained, “We find seven works great so there's no chance that the rib line of the trailer walls open up or "unzip.” 

“After the truck was recovered, we allowed the original tower on the scene to tow the tractor away and they also transported the trailer,” stated Tim. “We came in to do a job and we weren't looking to ‘poke the other guy in the eye.’ We felt it was the neighborly thing to do to allow the original tower called out to take the casualty from the point we had recovered it.” 

The recovery was completed from beginning to end in approximately 90 minutes. It was a great example of how know-how and years of experience, paired with quality equipment, gets the job done. 

_____________________________________________ 

Timothy “Tim” Hauser is the President and owner of Hauser’s Truck Service of Allentown, PA. The company is a third-generation family business, founded by Harold & Jean Hauser in 1971 out of their home and garage. Brad Hauser is the third generation of Hausers involved in the business. 

Celebrating 50 years in business in 2021, the company has grown into one of the Lehigh Valley’s largest towing and repair facilities with 18 employees and 26 vehicles in their ever-expanding fleet. 

Show Yours @ TIW 

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



MIDWESTERN – Nacogdoches, TX
$500
(pop. 34,047)

SOUTHERN – Lake City, FL
$250
(pop. 12,099)

EASTERN - King George, VA
$145
(pop. 4,457)

WESTERN - Brentwood, CA
$276.25
(pop. 53,673)

Heavy-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
June 23 - June 29, 2021

Vehicle Marking Standards for Towing: Is It Time? 

istockphoto 91209572 612x612 b7872
By Brian J Riker 

I recently returned from a cross country road trip, something I do often. However, this time, something occurred to me that I have not often spoken about - uniform vehicle markings designed to make certain types of vehicles easily identifiable as emergency equipment or potential hazards to traffic flow. 

I have long called for uniform lighting standards across North America. It can be very confusing to travelers when a law enforcement vehicle has only blue lights in some parts of the country when the traveler is accustomed to that color being reserved for volunteer firefighters. It can also be argued that the misuse or overuse of amber warning lights on various types of vehicles is equally as confusing and extremely dangerous. This is especially true in the states that still require the use of rotating or flashing beacon lights while towing with wheels on the ground, or worse yet in Ct., where beacons are required even for a vehicle on a carrier deck!  

The same can be said about vehicle identification. Thanks in part to Federal guidelines for funding subsidies and National Fire Protection Association standards most ambulances and fire apparatus are readily identifiable as emergency vehicles from great distances, even the privately operated units. This is due to their fairly uniform lighting design, color and placement of retroreflective decals, markings and other intentional design features. To some extent law enforcement vehicles share some of this recognition although they are not quite as easy to identify from agency to agency as fire and Ems units. 

Other highway service vehicles are not nearly as easy to recognize from a distance. Road construction, DOT, tow trucks and road service vehicles come in many different shapes, sizes, colors and seem to have no uniformity with regards to warning lighting systems, placement of reflective materials or other design elements. Uniformity is the key to recognition, which is why we have uniform standards for tail-lights, turn signals and other equipment on motor vehicles. 

Why is earlier recognition of some vehicle types important? Simpy put: time equals safety. The average driver’s perception time for a hazard is ¾ of a second and their reaction time (time from recognition until they begin to take action) is another ¾ of a second. This means at 60 MPH their vehicle will have travelled 132 feet before they even begin to slow down or take any evasive action. So, if in a state of confusion about the need to slow down or otherwise react to a vehicle ahead the driver takes another ¾ of a second or more to recognize the situation they may just plow right through your work area before they even understand what is happening. 

In my opinion, our industry may have even gone backwards in this area. I clearly remember tow trucks from the 70’s and 80’s having warning chevrons painted across their broad tailboards, a feature not often seen on modern tow trucks. While it is true that tow vehicle design has changed significantly since then there is still plenty of opportunity to include design features such as warning chevrons and other retroreflective features on the modern tow truck and car carrier. 

All I am asking is for tow owners to take the ability for the average motorist to see, recognize and react to the tow truck into consideration when picking colors, lettering, decals and other design features for their fleet. Perhaps as an industry we should form a task force to study the effects of vehicle graphics on tow operator safety and develop a voluntary design standard to help make tow and road service vehicles more uniformly recognizable across North America by average drivers. 

What are your thoughts on this concept? I welcome feedback on this and any other ideas that can lead to greater roadside safety for all. 

No Driving Atop a Carrier’s Deck

By Randall C. Resch  

If carriers are manufactured and sold with removable side-rails, does removing them take away operator protection? Does this violate OSHA safety? This is a reasonable question based on total operator safety.

Depending on what business niche tow companies serve, some company’s remove side-rails for purpose and ease when loading equipment items and wide-track vehicles, especially dually trucks. However, when doing so, nothing prevents stopping something from edging over-the-side and off the carrier’s deck. 

So is it prudent to risk safety over convenience? Here are two fatality scenarios of operators killed because rails were removed: 

Scenario 1: A North Carolina operator allegedly drove a forklift atop a carrier’s “leveled-deck.” As the forklift rolled over the carrier’s edge, it fell off the deck. Its driver reacted by jumping from the lift and was crushed under its weight. The resulting investigation reported the operator was driving atop the carrier’s deck when it backed off the side of the truck. This carrier had side-rails removed.

Scenario 2: A Nevada operator drove a forklift up the carrier’s tilted bed, not utilizing the winch. The operator connected the winch-cable to the forklift, then returned the deck to its level position. The unsecured forklift began rolling towards the carrier’s cab steering to the passenger-side edge of the carrier’s deck. 

As the operator was standing near the driver-side controls, he stopped the deck’s motion and hurriedly ran to the carrier’s passenger-side. At the same moment, the forklift rolled over the edge and onto the operator. The operator was fatally crushed. Like scenario one, this carrier didn’t have side-rails.

Tow owners accept odd-jobs where forklifts get transported to job sites and used to raise items to upstairs balconies or upper floors hoping to gain 48-inches and make “high-reach” possible. While I understand the thought process … it’s simply too dangerous. 

Odd jobs like these pay decent money, but they take-on incredible risk and peril. In doing so, driving atop a carrier’s deck is a dangerous practice especially when rails aren’t installed to stop movement beyond the edges.   

In both examples OSHA and CDC investigators alleged the forklift’s operator may have been driving atop carrier decks. When a forklift was about to fall, the tower reportedly jumped from the machine and was crushed. None-the-less, without having safety rails in-place, nothing prevented the forklift’s fall.

It’s obvious that side-rails are removable allowing a carrier’s deck to be converted into a “stake-like” bed with detachable sides. Some towers say that eliminating side-rails means there’s a less strenuous reach from the deck’s sides to the deck’s center. Some comment that pallet loads are easier accessed by forklifts.

But, if side-rails are intended and designed for containing product or load on carrier’s decks, is it sensible to remove side-rails and flirt with danger? 

Cyber Attacks: Are You Prepared?

cyberattack 08f9bBy Brian J. Riker

Cyber attacks are on the increase and small businesses are not immune. In fact, small businesses are more likely to be attacked than large corporations because defenses are usually much lower … even nonexistent.

According to a recent report by Germany-based Allianz Risk, cyber-attacks have now taken the lead as the top corporate concern globally, displacing business interruption which had held the top spot for the past seven years.

Cyber attack risks come not only from external hackers, but also from internal sources. It is important to make sure you have the proper security protocols in place to protect your data from both accidental and malicious loss.

Imagine how hard it would be to operate your impound yard if all of the vehicle records just disappeared one day? How about if your dispatch software crashed?

The modern tower has embraced technology, as it is a must to survive in today’s industry. With that technology comes risks that also must be managed. We routinely collect sensitive personal information about customers as well as employees that must be protected. Do you have adequate password protection and limited access for this information?

Gone are the days of keeping everything sensitive locked up in a file drawer tucked away in the back corner of the office. Now we have computer terminals at almost every workstation, all connected with a local network and then connected to the world via the Internet.

Most tow bosses can even access all their data remotely from their smartphone or laptop computer. Convenient, but very risky.

Now is the time to perform a cyber-risk assessment. Begin by making a list of who currently has access to what software and data, then determine if they really need that access and make changes as needed.

Next check for physical security issues. Are there computers that are not locked or password protected with access to sensitive info that employees or even the public can get access to?
Make sure any public Wi-Fi at your office is a completely separate network from your business computers. The No. 1 way hackers gain access to sensitive information is through unprotected public access points. Make sure your business Wi-Fi network is password-protected with a unique network key—not the standard one that came with your router.

Develop a security protocol that requires routine updates to all network passwords. Do not allow your team to write them down and leave them in their workstation or use autofill functions on their web browser. This defeats the purpose of having passwords!

Consider setting up a virtual private network for all your remote access needs. Cellphone and mobile data networks are ripe with security flaws that a VPN can protect against.

Many towers are now using virtual phone networks in place of traditional landline telephones. While these are great for flexibility and mobility, it pays to have at least one backup physical landline telephone when the system crashes. Don’t have all your communication dependent upon the Internet or other virtual systems. Always have a second, and even third, method for critical customers and team members to communicate.

These measures seem complicated and may require retaining a computer network specialist. What is the alternative if your data is held for ransom or destroyed? How hard and expensive would it be to recreate years of records? What about lost income because of the loss of supporting data such as pictures or purchase orders?

Lastly, check with your business insurance agent about the cost and availability of cyber attack insurance. It is an excellent supplement to business interruption insurance, which you should already have to protect against losses from fire, flooding and even loss of phone or electricity.

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
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June 23 - June 29, 2021

A Rare Breed

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By George L. Nitti

It’s been said that the difference between something good and something great is attention to detail. Compelling tow trucks are no exception, including the stellar fleet of 13 trucks owned by F&S Automotive in Mantua, Ohio.

It’s the cumulative effect of many details that make for a rare breed and great visual showcase, which is exemplified on their now-retired 1969 Peterbilt/Hubbard Wrecker 30-ton, a classic truck that’s won many awards over the years.

“It was originally bought brand new as a road tractor,” said owner Dean Stebbins Sr., who founded the company in 1967. “It hauled sand for a couple of years and then was parked. I was told that, ‘You ought to build a wrecker out of it.’ After buying it, I sent it to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and had a 750 Holmes put on it. Then I sent it to Farmland, Indiana, where they custom-built wreckers and added a custom-built boom and underlift.”

Color is one critical detail that can’t be overlooked. No color stands out like red, particularly when coordinated with gold.

“At one time, all of our trucks were yellow,” Stebbins said. “Then we went to red. I liked red better.”

Both doors of the unit display Old English lettering with decorative pinstriping within an encased white plaque that spells out the company name and location. A medallion on the front passenger side instills company trust with the words “F&S Incorporated. Since 1967.”

The unit includes a tribute to Stebbins’ mother, Hazel, who passed in 1990.

“She was a driving force for me to excel in whatever I wanted to do,” Stebbins said. “I grew up on a farm and was surrounded by machinery. She encouraged me to always follow my dreams. I thought I wanted to be a farmer, but when I got around tow trucks, I was fascinated with them.”

Above the front grill is a bug shield that says “Drag-n-Wagon.”

Stebbins said, “At one time, it was called ‘The Dragon’ because it was the monster in northeast Ohio. When you tow something you’ve got to drag it so I said, ‘Let’s call it drag-n-wagon.’ ”

The lady figure found on the front of the truck is a symbol of Stebbins close relationship he has with it.

He said, “You might say the truck is my love. It’s my girl.”

One longstanding practice the company adheres to is keeping their trucks meticulously clean, washing them upon every return.

“They call me ‘Mr. Meticulous,’ ” Stebbins said. “Even our shops you can eat off the floor. Cleanliness is the best way to go. I want people to feel good about where they work and what they are driving.”

All little details adding up to make a great difference.

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!

Interior Bliss 

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By George L. Nitti 

Paddack’s Wrecker and Heavy Transport, located in Indianapolis, Ind., has a tow truck that will take you to the moon, in luxury, with their latest acquisition, a 2020 Kenworth W900 with a Century 1075 Rotator. 

It’s interior includes plush red leather seats with red and orange painted aluminum floors, a ceiling that is lined with patterned leather black buttons, a dash camera with GPS, a custom radio with 13 speakers, and a host of other bells and whistles that would “wow” any star voyager.  

For Paddack’s it signifies a journey long in the making. 

Fleet manager Jacob Ripley, son of owner Jeff Ripley, said, “As a kid I always wanted a custom truck and so I finally built a show truck. It’s my home away from home.” 

Of all their red trucks in a fleet of 50, this one really stands out, due to several marked differences, including a unique blue heartbeat found in two places on the unit’s side. 

Jacob explained, “Back in the 90’s, my father bought the company from Norm Paddack. They built a truck together with the same scheme: A heartbeat. Norm passed away 4 years ago and as a memorial type thing I went with the old-style lettering for my Dad and Norm.” 

Striped decals along the rotator’s side give the unit distinction as the colors of yellow, orange, royal blue and burgundy contrast nicely with its bold, red background. And a little white pin-striping on the royal navy adds just the right touch, giving it a subtle, decorative note. 

With all reflective lettering, pertinent information about the company is made clear, during night and day. On the side, it’s stated “Wrecks and Recover Specialists.” On the boom, and its backside, the Paddack name pops out in a unique, white lettering while on the grill, the company name stands out with class. 

Of course, at night, it shines too, enveloped in 3 inch maxxima lights. 

What better way to travel than this rotator that travels with a heartbeat? 

Brag @ TIW!  

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

From Snowblowin’ to Towin’

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By George L. Nitti 

Although former auto repair shop owner and tower Mike Lagomarsino has been out of the business since 2001, when he had a couple of shops for 25 years in Fairview and North Bergen, NJ, he continues to stay connected to the industry with his love of classic vehicles, one of which is a dandy 1942 Ford 29T 1 ½ ton with a Holmes 460. 

The truck’s origins date back to 1942, purchased during the 2nd World War, as part of the Lend Lease Program that enabled the purchase of specialized vehicles to be used by the military. In this case, the 42’ Ford was used as a snowblower, leased to England to clear airports of snow.  

Lagomarsino merged the 42’ Ford 29T with a Holmes 460 he found on a 52’ Ford. 30 years since he built the truck, it is having a rebirth of a sort, showing up at a recent car show in Greenwood Lake, NJ, with plans for more. “I use it sparingly, but everytime I use it, it is like new again.” he said. 

Several key elements help to define this classic, one of which is its vibrant color.  

After its peak performance during the 2nd World War, leading us to victory over the Axis Powers of Germany and Japan, this unit went on to a more modest life in a local community where it was used to clear snow off roads. Lagomarsino said, “All town trucks used Omaha Orange.”  

As part of the restoration, Lagomarsino balanced the Omaha Orange with a fusion of white in key places: down the center of the hood, the front grill, the back rear fenders, behind the cabin, the vehicle hubs,  and the safety striping on the backside. 

The lettering, which was done by ID Signs, also stands out to highlight several textual features, one of which is the circular, classic ribbon themed logo found on the side of the unit accenting the owner’s name, his place of residence (Ringwood, NJ) and an established date (1927). 

Lagomarsino said, “I picked my father’s birth year.” 

To give tribute to his family, Lagomarsino added the names of his two boys, Pete and Tony, on the front side and his wife, Nancy, on the back. 

On the front black bumper, also is the lettering “Reckless.”  

He said, “Years ago I had seen it on an old truck and adopted that.” 

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

June 23 - June 29, 2021

TMA Truck - Truck Mounted Attenuator Truck

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A TMA Truck is designed to save lives in your work zone. All of our TMA trucks for sale are built to meet all work zone safety requirements, is intended to absorb the impact of a high (or low) speed crash, decrease damage made to the vehicle, and save workers’ lives.

FEATURES 

Custom built steel flatbed with heavy duty bulkhead, LED marker lights and black non-skid deck 

2 Low-profile (Amber) LED strobes on bulkhead, 2 rear mounted strobes 

Truck mounted attenuator meets NCHRP 350 at 100kph (62mph), Testing standards available upon request, Your choice of a new MASH approved unit 

15 or 25 LED lamp arrow board, fixed or hydraulically raised & lowered, solar panel charging system with battery and cab-mounted remote (Solar for arrow board only) 

To keep a modular design, blanks are added to allow for future man bucket installations. 

Equipped with rubrails and stake pockets for future racks 

2 Back-up cameras with 7” LCD monitor, audio, 3 Video inputs, Durable outdoor cameras with audio and cables (1 year warranty) 

Choice of body length: 15′, 18′, other body lengths available upon request 

(2) Side 33″ wide man buckets with steps, Heavy duty lids, Swing gates, Props and Adjustable safety hoop 

8 Additional LED work lights (6 under-the-bed, 2 on bulkhead) 

Custom fabricated 36″ high removable racks – Powder coated yellow 

Choice of body length: 15′, 18′ or custom 

For more information: https://royaltruckandequipment.com/tma-truck/

Steel Toolbox w/ Stainless Steel Door

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RC Industries Heavy Duty Steel Toolboxes provide superior security, convenience, and protection for whatever you want to store. 

Features 

  • Heavy Duty Steel Toolboxes are constructed from 14 gauge powder coated steel with a 14 ga. stainless steel door 
  • "Armor-D" protective powder coat finish 
  • Features a unique water resistant door gasket 
  • Stainless steel T-handle latch with lock & key 
  • Automotive rubber bulb seal 
  • 4-sided weather shielded door frame 
  • Unique gusseted, adjustable chain bracket Following toolboxes have double doors: 
  • SUSD72: 34" 5/16 x 16" 3/4 
  • SUSD722424: 34" 5/16 x 22" 3/4 
  • SUSD96: 46" 5/16 x 16" 3/4 
For more information about this product, go to
https://zips.com/parts-detail/rc-industries-steel-toolbox-w-stainless-susd

Hub and Disc Surface Cleaner  

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AME International, the leading supplier of tire changing tools and equipment, released a new automotive service accessory: the 37350 Hub Bro impact-rated hub and disc surface cleaner. 

The 37350 Hub Bro tool saves time with its 1⁄2” impact-rated fitting by eliminating the need to change tools. The 37350 Hub Bro instantly removes rust, corrosion, and other build-up from stud-less vehicle hub assemblies and the wheel mounting disc within seconds.  

“The Hub Bro is the much-needed answer for the other half of vehicles on the road that don’t use a stud and lug-nut combo. It is a huge time-saver with not having to change tools and reducing comebacks due to wheel balancing issues,” said Don Tinker, NA Business Development for AME Intl.   

To request additional information about the 37350 Hub Bro visit their website at www.ameintl.net.  

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June 23 - June 29, 2021
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June 23 - June 29, 2021
Tim Nielsen

Repo Agent Killed in Oakland, Ca.

 Tim Nielsen, a repossession agent for Any Capital Recovery Inc., was shot and killed in Oakland, Ca., on 6/14 while working on assignment.  

According to Nielsen’s boss and friend Lerron Payne, he was shot at an intersection writing a report in his truck. He then managed to drive away, but crashed into a building in East Oakland, a couple of blocks away.  

Payne said, “He wasn’t even hooking a car. Everything went south. It’s a rough industry, don’t get me wrong but this is pretty much the extreme.” 

Family and friends described Tim Nielsen, a father to four, as their rock and their hero. 

“This is a man that I can say gave unconditional love to everyone and all he ever wanted to do was help people. That was his dream, his purpose in life,” said Jennifer Huff-Wensmann, the victim’s girlfriend. 

Oakland police said no one has been arrested in the case. They are looking at all possibilities, from a random attack to the possibility it was related to a repo assignment. 

https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com

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.

https://brookhavencourier.com/107120/local-news/the-auto-finance-boom-during-a-pandemic/

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.

https://www.crimevoice.com/2021/03/09/firearms-explosives/

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.”

https://www.wkrn.com/
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