The Week's Features
Cross-disciplinary training attended by N.Y. first responders
Negotiating power, phone lines and more, dump is recovered
Remote-controlled lift has rated lifting capacity of 14,000 lbs.
MotoLease managing partner/COO selected for honor by CARS
Dodge/Jerr-Dan unit dedicated to fallen towman
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Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 17-19, 2017
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May 9-11, 2018
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August 16-18, 2018
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Custom-painting a wrecker is a many-layered process; and this seminar will cover the differences in custom-painting versus wrapping, the costs involved and the different values of both processes. It’s led by Cecil Burrowes of Cecil Customs, whose tow truck artwork has garnered many wrecker pageant awards nationwide. Don’t miss his “Custom Painting vs. Wrap” seminar next Sunday during the American Towman Exposition, November 17-19, at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.

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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingNovember 22 - November 28, 2017

City, State
RATES
Pelham, NH
$125
(Pop. 10,914)
Pell City, AL
$295
(Pop. 12,695)
Plymouth, IN
$140
(Pop. 10,033)
Centralia, WA
$178
(Pop. 16,336)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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Gate Runners and Crashers

auto 13981By Randall C. Resch

According to police reports, a mid-afternoon incident happened when a female walked into an open tow yard, got into a car and started to drive away. A lot employee tried to stop her, but was struck as she sped past him. Soon after, fellow employees located him nearby disoriented and dazed.

Police and EMS responded and the employee was taken to the hospital. Police quickly obtained a warrant charging the female with failing to stop after a crash resulting in injury.

This problem's been around forever. Vehicle owners or their caretakers don't like having their vehicle's impounded. When their car is towed by the police or during private-property impound, their right to free movement is taken away. For some people, once their vehicle gets towed away, they start thinking about how can they get their vehicle back without paying.

As a tow company employee, you know that when a car leaves the yard unauthorized, heads are gonna roll. In addition, agencies generally become upset that the tow yard's security was less than acceptable when the car was initially impounded for law enforcement actions.

Companies should have solid, written employee guidelines for scenarios like these to prevent them being injured or killed.

Here is my written policy: "By contract, we are a secured facility. Employees will NOT allow unauthorized persons to enter the Company's facility at any time. When approved customers enter any Company storage facility to conduct vehicle releases or obtain personal property, an employee will escort them to the yard and then back out.

"When Tow Operators return to a Company storage yard to drop-off impounded or towed vehicles, the main gate WILL immediately be closed and locked behind them to prevent potential robbery, un-authrorized removal of impounded vehicles, or physical harm to the Operator. Do not stand in-front of an escaping vehicle or attempt to stop them."

It's also good practice to not leave keys in the ignitions of stored vehicles. However, when a vehicle's owner or caretaker is bent on liberating their vehicles, they may have spare keys with them. For those individuals who lurk in the darkness and then decide to crash through a tow yard's gate or cut the fence with bolt cutters, there's really not too much you can do to stop it.

As mentioned above, companies should have solid policy and procedure that if someone wants to emancipate their car from the tow yard ... let 'em go. By letting them go, vehicle owners will eventually have to defend their ignorant actions down the line. Why get killed over someone trying to drive their car out from the tow yard?

Facilities that have questionable care, custody and control issues may face subsequent disciplinary action that may include removal from a contract. Security begins before things happen. Take a look at your employee guidelines and be sure everyone knows what to do to limit these kinds of unfortunate incidents.

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

Tanker Truck Rollover.JPG xx8dGjb t1200 copy a6dd7By Randall C. Resch

A commercial-type truck accident on your record is somewhat of a death knell for CDL applicants looking to find work at towing and recovery companies. There's an old saying: "When you roll over, most good companies play dead." I believe this to be a true statement for affected drivers trying to land work as a tow truck, big rig or trailer-type operator.

Recently, a tow company owner called me about an applicant who previously worked as an over-the-road trucker for a large carrier. The applicant successfully attained his CDL and had 17 months of long-haul experience. He passed his DOT physical and pre-hire drug screen and was said to be a model employee ... until the accident happened.

Two years ago in Oklahoma, his truck experienced a front-tire blowout while traveling 50 mph in moderate to heavy wind. As a result of the tire coming apart and the wind gusts, the truck jerked violently to the right and overturned onto prairie land. No other vehicles were involved and no one was injured. The driver was not cited and the highway patrol accident investigation was completed.

Because the driver lost control of his rig and overturned, he was fired from the trucking company he worked for citing gross negligence.

I don't know who decided his accident was gross negligence, but based on his accident and firing: Would you consider hiring this individual for your towing company as a tow truck operator? Although the investigating officer made notes stating the crash was due to mechanical failure, how would your insurance company view hiring him based on this single crash?

Risk and Liability

Most state insurance carriers look upon these types of accidents and incidents as a risky venture for insurance liability. Most insurance companies view risk assessment as those drivers who have a preventable accident or moving citations.

So, when a driver applies to your company whose MVR shows a single motor vehicle accident, does one single accident disqualify the driver from employment with your company?

What ultimately comes to mind is whether the driver can first be insured, and then if he or she is not prone to accidents or considered an outward risk.

In regards to the above applicant, I don't believe his single accident should justify his disqualification. It's not like this driver has a criminal background. Based on what I was told about this applicant, I would consider hiring him.

Do Your Diligence

When tow owners gamble in hiring applicants with questionable driving or background histories, they roll the dice should a future catastrophic incident occur. Why? Because the details of someone's past always will be revealed in a wrongful death injury or suit.

I believe in second chances and feel the applicant's background doesn't disqualify his potential hiring. If their MVR shows minimal activity, their hiring could be the match you've been looking for. With detailed training and supervision, he could be a great asset to your company.

The question struck me as a great topic for consideration if ever a former commercial driver were to apply for work at your company. There seems to be plenty of drivers who can't hire on as commercial haulers for various reasons other than driving or background disqualifiers. I believe in second chances. What do you think?

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