Digital Edition
The Week's Features
Tesla Roadside Demonstration to showcase towing a cybertruck with ERSCA"s Shane Coleman hosting.
January Rains in Calif bring a challenging jack-knife recovery under a bridge.
Calling them "Keyboard Warriors," Randall Resch takes aim at those who propound wrong towing advice and demonstrations on online forums.
Company sheds paint and wakes up to the world of wraps.
After repo, tower found shot with 10 mm bullets.
Events
Las Vegas, NV.
April 30-May 2, 2024
Fort Worth, TX.
June 20-22, 2024
Fort Worth, TX.
June 20-22, 2024
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 21-23, 2024
Premiere of "Home of the Brave" with lyrics • Click here to play
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing April 24 - April 30, 2024

All-American Runs Deep

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By George L. Nitti

“In America you have the ability to have a dream, to chase that dream and to realize it. And there is nothing that stops you from doing that.” Mike Phillips, All-American Towing & Recovery


Blessed with freedoms and opportunities, tow companies across America share deep patriotic feelings. 

Mike Phillips, owner of All-American Towing and Recovery, which is located in Justin, Rhome and Denton, Texas, credits his ability to have built his business because of these liberties.

He said, “I don’t believe that there are too many countries in the world to give you the opportunity to do what we’ve done.”

Phillips established All-American in 2013 with one heavy duty tow truck and has broadened his business to include servicing law enforcement, light duty, hazmat and storage.

He said, “The first few years for us were hard. Nothing was given to us, but because of the country we live in and the freedoms that we have, through hard work and dedication, we have exceeded to a point that were happy with.”

The pride Phillips has in America stems from being part of a large family, many of whom have served in our military.  He said, “We have always had an extreme amount of patriotism. It runs deep.”

All of that has cascaded into All-American’s branding, with 19 units in their fleet, all patriotic themed, including their 2021 Kenworth 900 with a 9055XL Century.

On the wrecker’s side, the All-American logo stands strong in red against a white background. The lettering, written large, has a retro/mechanical feel that Phillips says was inspired by a dilapidated tow truck across the street from a Rock City tourist attraction.

With his wife’s creative flair, they designed a waving tattered flag, which flows along the front side of the unit and includes a host of stars.

“No matter what breaks this country down, that flag will still wave regardless of the condition,” Phillips said.

On the side, a slogan states, “Reinventing the Standard,” which taps into the company ethic of ensuring their drivers are trained, formally.

“We want our operators to treat this as a career,” he said. “We want to break the stigma of a tower as a ‘tow truck guy.’ We want to maintain the same professional standard of police officers or fire department employees. We hire and strive to have professionalism at all times.”

With blue and red lights and plenty of chrome to add to the mix, it's no wonder this unit gets so many heads turning.

Phillips said, “We get compliment after compliment on our trucks. I didn’t want our graphics to be so busy that it took away from the trucks or the company name. I think they have just enough flash, just enough chrome to make them recognizable, memorable and easily read.”
........................... 

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! 



American Towman Today - April 24, 2024
American Towman Today - April 24, 2024
Click here to read more

Colorado Tow Bill to Disincentivize Tow Companies  

Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2024

The Colorado legislature is moving forward on legislation that would significantly reduce residential nonconsensual tows in the state by first requiring the authorization of property owners, thereby disincentivizing tow companies from quickly clearing illegally parked cars from residential premises. 

“Leveling the playing field amongst towing companies and everyday Coloradans is essential, and that begins with dismantling financial incentives for towing companies,” said Rep. Andrew Boesenecker, D-Fort Collins. “While the Towing Bill of Rights laid a strong foundation to protect vehicle owners, we’re doing more to improve transparency within the towing industry and prohibiting predatory towing companies from patrolling parking lots to look for vehicles to profit on. Today, we’re putting consumers first by requiring property owners to authorize residential non-consensual tows, outlining more guardrails for towing carries and making sure vehicles towed illegally are returned to the owner within 48 hours at no cost. ”  

Rep. Tisha Mauro, D-Pueblo said, “Our legislation works to break down financial incentives for predatory towing practices, specifically patrolling parking lots, and drastically improves consumer protections. 

The new bill, HB24-1051, would direct the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to promulgate new rules for towing carriers, including requiring carriers to disclose additional information necessary for effective oversight and meaningful reporting. It would also end the practice of towing carriers patrolling, monitoring or policing properties to enforce parking restrictions on behalf of property owners.  

In an effort to improve long-term transparency in the towing industry, HB24-1051 would allow the PUC to suspend or revoke a towing carrier permit in certain circumstances and the bill would address conflicts of interest for members of the Towing Task Force

Source: www.cohousedems.com/



The Colorado legislature is moving forward to pass a bill that would curtail tow companies from implementing standard tow practices around residential facilities.

Are Ya’ Dancin’ With the Devil

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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By Randall C. Resch             

The industry is full of “Keyboard Warriors,” those who frequent tow forums. Many are towers who’ve not attended formal training, nor do they “think” they’re beyond safety techniques and practices considered proper. If you’re one of em’, this narrative is for you.

I have quiet disdain for towers who brag “I’ve done it a million times and I’ve never lost one yet."  As a firm believer that unintended incidents lay-in-wait out there in the universe, that’s a risky declaration to make. It’s either not happened yet, or the tower wasn’t caught in a miscalculation or blooper.

Take the experienced operator who was being interviewed during drive time news regarding Slow-Down Move-Over. Looking the camera straight away, the tower grinned and said, “Yeah, I’ve been hit in the shoulder a couple of times on the highway.” The way I see it, that tower was given a “love tap” as a clear-cut sign they should change their on-scene practices to avoid becoming another industry statistic.

Towers post action shots depicting questionable techniques that they’ve developed. They’ve discovered a short cut way to hook up, tow or recover, something that’s far from the norm of what little industry standards should be. While what they’re showing might seem feasible, reality suggests they’re taking huge risks.  

Consider the tower transporting a Brink’s truck atop a light-duty carrier. In one unbelievable post, a tower proudly mentioned how he charged the customer double the normal rate, saying, “When the other companies don’t want the job, I tow these all the time without problems.”

Most towers would rightly question the safety and legality of transporting vehicles far too heavy for the truck’s capacity. Ironically, a week later, a news article shared a similar sized carrier that was plowed into a dirt embankment, injuring its driver as its heavy load ejected over the carrier’s rails. Why? Was it overloaded? Was it too much testosterone, too much conceit, complacency on the tower’s part, or was it a combination of all?

Internet Learning is Problematic

When considering improper safety and Hollywood techniques, posting internet videos plagues what’s considered “proper” by tow and recovery standards. Many of the industry’s internet sensations, personalities, and influencers, send improper messages of safety to newbie towers looking to learn. They’re on-line “Look at me, look at me, antics” demonstrate unsafe practices while seeking “likes” and “subscribers,” all the while taking huge risk.

One so-called “internet influencer” who, while driving a three-axle carrier, loaded a four-axle dump truck onto the carrier’s wheel-lift with no load on the carrier’s deck. It’s his mention that “I do it all the time” contradicts manufacturer warnings where it’s written: “Danger: Understand the basics of hauling a vehicle.” The manual’s pages further recommend, “A load must be on the carrier before you use the wheel lift for towing another vehicle.” In another overload video, a carrier’s front wheels dangerously float as it’s driven down the road.

Disregarding Safety?

Is it smart to flagrantly disregard safety recommendations? Although manufacturers point out specific dangers, some influencers defy disclaimers written by manufacturers. Just because a tower might have success (working an improper technique) doesn’t mean or negate any possibility that something could go wrong.

I hate to wish peril onto anyone and hope every tower’s career path is full of learning and safety. But I believe tempting fate floats one’s conceit with self-affirmation. However, most towers are in tune with knowing that an unplanned or unintended incident is the product of the unknown. I used the word “incident” to describe an unintended accident because “Accidents are preventable!”

The statement “I’ve done it this way a million times” may be true at the moment, but should something go horrifically wrong, it’s this kind of brazen mentality that results in extensive property damage, or towers getting injured or killed.

For towers who fly by the seat of their pants and disregard what the industry recommends proper, you are “Dancin’ with the Devil.” For newbie towers, it’s my recommendation you don’t follow “influencers” for the simple fact you’re likely to do what they’re doing wrong.

My best safety advice: don’t learn it from YouTube, TikTok or another questionable means. Doing it proper isn’t a new concept. From the nearly 200-industrial fatalities that have occurred industry wide over the years, many towers and “experienced” business owners met an early demise because they initiated improper techniques.  

As I regard “fate” being determined by some supernatural authority, you won’t hear me braggin’ “how successful” I’ve been all the while doing it wrong. Because on-scene safety and longevity go hand-in-hand. “Dancin’ with the Devil” is something towers shouldn’t challenge.  

Operations Editor Randall C. Resch is a retired, veteran, California police officer, former tow business owner and industry advocate. As consultant and trainer, he authored and teaches tow truck operator safety courses approved by the California Highway Patrol. For 51-years, he has been involved in the towing and recovery industry. In 27-years, he has contributed more than 700-safety focused articles for American Towman Magazine, TowIndustryWeek.com and is a frequent seminar presenter and beauty pageant judge at tow shows. In 2014, he was inducted to the International Towing and Recovery Industry Hall of Fame, was the 3rd recipient of the industry's "Dave Jones Leadership Award," and is a member of American Towman’s Safety Committee.

Email Randy at rreschran@gmail.com.

2 Weeks Until Vegas! ATShowPlace back at South Point Hotel Convention Center April 30-May 2, 2024
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


Do you support "blue lights" legislation allowing rear facing blue lights on tow trucks?
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60 Seconds – On Point, With Mr. Industry
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Managing Editor: George Nitti
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
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Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
Safety Editor: Jimmy Santos
April 24 - April 30, 2024
Industry representatives convened in Washington to speak to Congressional representatives to advocate for issues concerning the towing industry, including their stance against rulemaking on predatory towing fees.

TRAA Makes Case Against Rulemaking Proposal 

Published: Monday, April 22, 2024

On Hill Day, where approximately 100 tow industry lobbyists convened in Washington, TRAA strongly advocated against the FMCSA’s rulemaking proposal to include “predatory towing fees” as part of the rulemaking on Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices.  

During their meetings, TRAA articulated why regulation of the towing industry and/or fees are outside the FTC’s jurisdiction. Their rationale included the following reasons: 

“Congress has already delegated regulation of towing practices and pricing – and it is not to the FTC. Under PL 113-159, Congress set all non-consent towing regulation to state and localities, and consensual towing [the vast majority of Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) towing] to the FMCSA. 

“The FTC’s junk fee rule is aimed at protecting consumers, not the commercial trucking industry, and the FTC does not have the authority to regulate transportation policy. An FTC rulemaking under 15 U.S.C. § 57 that includes fees for towing, consensual or non-consensual, would subvert the will of Congress, which has already delegated to the states and FMCSA. 

"The FMCSA’s suggestion to include all fees upfront is unrealistic given how a tow works. Requiring multiple towing operators to respond to the scene and provide competing quotes goes directly against Quick Clearance by significantly increasing the amount of time and number of responders on-scene. The unintended consequence would be a significant risk to public safety and to the lives of the responders required to stand on the side of the road while quotes are negotiated.

TRAA indicated that Congressional offices were in agree with these points and "agreed that direct dialogue between the towing industry and FMCSA is the best approach to addressing the concerns of FMCSA over transparency in towing fees. Accordingly, TRAA has asked Congress to include the below language in the FY25 appropriations bill, which the House and Senate will begin drafting later this month. 

The Committee is aware of the Federal Trade Commission’s Proposed Rule on Unfair and Deceptive Fees. The Committee is also aware of recent efforts to include certain towing fees for commercial motor vehicles in this rule. Given the lack of evidence obtained by the Agency prior to publishing its draft Rule and the focus of the Rule on the individual consumer rather than commercial consumers, the Committee is concerned that the inclusion of towing fees in the Rule on Unfair and Deceptive Fees would be outside the scope of the Rule as submitted to Congress for review. The Committee instead supports the creation of a Department of Transportation-led task force to address transparency in towing fees as the agency with legislatively mandated authority to address the issue and industry expertise. 

Source: TRAA Newsletter

Detroit Mayor Vows Clean-up of Abandoned Cars 

Published: Friday, April 19, 2024

As the blight of abandoned cars has becomes pervasive in Detroit, its mayor, Mike Duggan indicated in the State of the City address an enforcement plan that goes into effect on April 18. 

“You can’t store your cars on lawns like this,” Duggan said. “You can’t store your commercial vehicles in our neighborhood.” 

 The city police Captain Jason Adams concurred.

“This is part of our day-to-day operations as far as abandoned vehicles and combating blight,” he said. 

Although the police department impounded a little under 14,000 abandoned vehicles in 2023 and is on track to impound as many in 2024, the mayor serves to rev up efforts for more car removals causing an eyesore throughout the city.  

Many of these vehicles are improperly stored on lawns, including commercial vehicles. 

“It’s to combat blight,” Adams said. “The old vehicles and inoperable vehicles on the road, they contribute to the blight and it’s really a quality of life issue that we want to address.” 

“It makes me happy that we’re serving the citizens the way they want to be served,” said Johnny Thomas. “We’re giving them their neighborhoods back and I think that’s our primary responsibility.” 

After being confiscated, the seized vehicles will either be sold or scrapped if the owner takes no further action. 

Source: clickondetroit.com

Cybertruck Demonstration Key Feature at AT ShowPlace

Published: Monday, April 15, 2024

ERSCA and American Towman Magazine are excited to announce a unique product safety demonstration featuring the Tesla Cybertruck will take place during the American Towman ShowPlace – Las Vegas Tuesday, April 30 at the South Point Hotel & Casino Arena. 

 It's all part of the A.T. ShowPlace’s festivities as the show celebrates its 10th anniversary of serving the towing and emergency roadside industry.

 Shane Coleman, Director of Training at ERSCA, will host the demonstration on how to tow this unique truck with its triangular shape and flat sheet metal panels made of stainless steel.

"The controversial Tesla Cybertruck is a sight to see and the Cybertruck Demonstration will be a major event during the Cactus Feast activities," said Henri “Doc” Calitri, president of A.T. Expo Corp., the show producer. “Knowing how to tow this all-electric vehicle can present challenges for a tow operator and Shane will point out what they should know if they are dispatched to service this truck on the roadway."

Tesla Roadside will also have an engineer and sales staff at the ERSCA Booth during exhibit hall hours (May 1 – 2, 12 – 5 p.m.) where the Cybertruck will be on display. Please stop by to meet the team and learn more about the Cybertruck in a hands-on setting at Booth A1. To learn more about ERSCA and the training they offer, click here.

Towers Honor Legacy of West Virginia’s Kincaid ‘Linc’ Lincoln 

Published: Friday, April 12, 2024

Towers communed with the friends and family of Kincaid ‘Linc’ Lincoln, co-owner of Dragon Recovery in Rustburg, West Virginia, honoring his life with a tow procession.  

Lincoln died in a towing accident attempting to tow a vehicle when the car lost traction and pinned him underneath. 

Those closest to him led a procession of tow trucks from Dragon Recovery to Whitten Timberlake Chapel in his honor. Drivers in the procession said it was an act of brotherhood between tow truck drivers. 

Travis Johnson, a tow truck driver, said, “It's a tough thing that he's gone, but you know, with everybody gathered here today, it just shows that the legacy will still go on and we'll still carry his name for as long as a tow truck is able to move around the highway.” 

Dozens of drivers participated in the procession, many echoing the same message. 

Please move over when you see them on the side of the road," Susan Hall, the co-owner of Dragon Recovery, said. "They want to go home to their families too. 

Drivers said Linc would do anything for anyone and is leaving behind a legacy of kindness. 

He always had a smile on his face, he always loved what he did... he always loved that truck," Johnson said. "We all have a legacy we want to leave behind, but you know, this isn't the way we want to do it. 

Hall said the goal of their business was to put respect in what could be someone's worst day, getting towed or repossessed, and she thinks Linc did just that. 

"Linc made a difference in people's lives, because when he would repo something, he showed respect and honor to them, because everybody goes through something," Hall said. 

They said he'll be deeply missed at Dragon Recovery and throughout the community. 

Source: www.wset.com/

Legislator Sponsoring Bill Promoting Tow Truck Visibility

Published: Thursday, April 11, 2024

Republican State Representative Amy Elik is sponsoring House Bill 4255, which is designed to provide visibility and awareness of tow trucks on the side of the road. The initiative came as a result of the death of a tow operator killed last year in Illinois. Should the bill pass out of House Committee at the Illinois State Capitol, it will be up for full House debate. 

Specifically, Elik says it would provide that vehicles designed and used for towing or hoisting vehicles, may use white, green, or white and green oscillating, rotating, or flashing lights in combination with amber oscillating, rotating, or flashing lights. 

Elik says the current amber lighting used on tow trucks can be very difficult to see during bright sunlight and believes the white and green will make a big difference. 

Source:www.advantagenews.com

Columbus, Ohio Cracks Down on Abandoned Cars 

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Columbus, Ohio has finally had enough of the glut of abandoned cars strewn on their roadways and had 150 of them towed. 

The city's mayor called them a "blight," and cited concerns of criminal activity. 

The initiative was precipitated by citizens expressing their concerns of abandoned vehicles piling up on city streets. 

To remove as many abandoned vehicles from the city's streets as possible, the mayor of Columbus, Ohio, Andrew Ginther, ordered 150 cars to be relocated. 

He told CBC affiliate WNBS the decision was made after several complaints to his office from residents. 

"Neighborhoods throughout the city are saying we are tired of these junk cars, cars that have been abandoned on our streets," he said. 

He said removing the abandoned vehicles was not only to improve the curb appeal for residents and visitors but also to detour unwanted attention. 

"They can be placed where illegal or criminal activity is taking place. And certainly they are an eye sore," he continued. 

Tim Myers, the city's police deputy chief, cited data that proved the abandoned cars can show those with bad intentions that criminal activity is tolerated, prompting the swift removal. 

They could, however, be a sign of financial hardship. 

"Sometimes they don’t have the money to keep up the vehicle, sometimes it breaks down and they don’t have the money or opportunity to fix it," Myers said. 

"We want to take steps to correct that if we can."'They're stacked on top of each other,' says driver after finding 50 abandoned cars in 15 minutes on US city streets 

A notice was given two days before a tow truck was called to allow vehicle owners to avoid losing their property. 

Myers said that nearly half of the vehicles received a notice were towed, while the remaining half were moved. 

Mayor Ginther said his goal is to support the residential neighborhoods of Columbus. 

"Our top three priorities are neighborhoods, neighborhoods, neighborhoods. We have to be committed to continuous improvement, listening to the community, and being responsive to the neighborhoods," he said. 

Source: www.the-sun.com

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April 24 - April 30, 2024

No Easy Task 

Published: Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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By George L. Nitti 

The January rains in California make for slick road way conditions, causing driver casualties and giving plenty of work for tow ops responding in every which direction.

In San Diego County, around the city of Escondido, a particularly bad rainy season during 2023 caused a car carrier semi-truck trailer traveling Highway 15 during those torrential rains to lose control, hitting a slick of standing water and hydroplaning up an embankment, causing the trailer with seven-cars to JACK-KNIFE.  

TIW's Operation's Editor Randall Resch, who mentored both of the owners and lead operators mentioned in this story, reported, “The semi skidded and rolled onto its side and up ended under a giant overpass where the tractor hit the underside of the bridge and became stuck."

Subsequently, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) dispatched Roadway Towing of Escondido, who in-turn called Cortes Towing of San Diego to bring their 1140 Century Rotator to scene. Roadway brought 7 tow operators, their Century 70/35 on a 2020 389 Peterbuilt, a medium duty 16 ton on a 2020 Peterbuilt and seven flatbeds. 

Upon arriving, owner and lead operator Frank Khati of Roadway Towing contemplated the situation and decided that it was best not to do this complicated recovery from underneath the bridge. Instead, his decision was to reposition the carrier and pull it back 100 hundred feet. 

“I wasn’t going to take a chance that it would hit the top of the bridge.” 

Working closely with Cortes tow owner Johnny Cortes, who gave invaluable input on the job, the team centered the tractor trailer in front of the block lanes and brought it away from the walls, using lines from all three recovery trucks to pull it back and employ some nifty metal bracket-plates to help with the slide. 

“It was a slow, tedious process,” said Khati. “It took about an hour and a half to two hours to get it out from the bridge.” 

The rotator, along with the other two heavy duties, were then positioned to help with the up righting of the tractor trailer, no easy maneuver considering the massive weight of the cargo.  

Once the tractor trailer was carefully overturned and the scissored tractor straightened out, however, the job would become more labor-intensive. 

“Then we got our asses kicked,” said Khati. “We had to cage the brakes, cutting all of the hydraulic lines and capping them. We had to fix the air lines. And the fifth wheel on the tractor didn’t want to come out. It was a NIGHTMARE!” 

Meanwhile all seven cars on the carrier were on their sides, with chains stuck and wrapped around the vehicles. Using a saw cutter, Khati said, “I had to deal with one chain at a time. I lost a lot of weight on this job.” 

Then each car had to be dragged away from the trailer, up righted and put on the flatbeds for transport back to Roadway’s facility, five miles away.  

Khati noted that at the request of CHP, the crew was also kept busy cleaning up diesel fuel with 50 bags of kitty litter, in what he described as an act of futility, the rain washing away whatever absorbent that was put down on the ground. “It was like a river coming through,” he said. “I don’t think the litter did much good.” 

Eventually the team pulled the carrier to the side of the road, so that traffic could flow. 

“All of the cars were totaled,” said Khati. “The driver demolished the cargo and truck. He is lucky to be alive.” 

Although a gargantuan job, the recovery was a success for all concerned, including the motorists. 

Show Yours @ TIW

Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor George L. Nitti at georgenitti@gmail.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman Magazine!

Cliff Hanging Modular Home Recovery

Published: Wednesday, April 03, 2024


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By George L. Nitti

Just before Thanksgiving holiday, Mountain Recovery was called to help with recovering a modular home that had gone over a cliffside in Breckenridge, Colorado. The company had come out earlier in the evening to assist two tractor trailers struggling to carry modular homes up a steep road. 

Owner Charlie Stubblefield said, “For some reason, the homeowner/builder had a burning desire to get these homes to the building site after the sun had set. It wasn’t a good idea, especially on icy, steep roadways with switchbacks. The modular homes are 16 wide, 14 feet tall and 60 feet long.” 

The first tractor made it to the top, with their help, but the second, upon the driver’s insistence to go it alone, did not fare so well. 

“It missed a gear, slid back and the home slid off the edge and there it rested,” said Stubblefield.  

The following morning, Stubblefield and his team returned, contemplating recovery options, briefly considering a crane. 

“A 120-ton crane around switchbacks was a scary proposition. I didn’t think the road would support the outriggers,” said Stubblefield, “I realized a crane wasn’t going to work, and so we hatched a plan to use our 1150 Rotators.” 

Bringing out their rotators on a pair of 2023 Kenworths, the team set up in a position that would best facilitate the recovery. The crew then worked fastidiously to secure their rigging to the casualty from both rotators, using multiple winch lines.  

“I knew the modular home would want to work itself off the trailer that it was resting on,” said Stubblefield. “So we used 36 foot recovery flat straps a foot wide to secure the home better.” 

He continued, “We went from underneath on the trailer frame and wrapped around the I-beam with chains. Around the mobile home around the bottom and top side, we basketed the unit, forcing it together so it wouldn’t separate.” 

The process was slow-going and time-consuming, a recovery totaling nine hours. 

Stubblefield said, “We were at 11,000 feet elevation. So you have 35% less oxygen, which makes it hard to move around. You are on an incline with 8% grade. Walking up the road is very tiring. On top of that you are on snow and ice. And the mobile home that we rigged is 40 feet down this embankment, which is on a 45-degree angle, if not better.” 

Stubblefield estimated that the straps that they needed to carry down to secure the modular home weighed 150 pounds. 

“We were trying to lodge the straps over the mobile home and wrap it around the trailer frame with chains that weighed another 150 pounds.” 

The temperature was 18 degrees. Thank goodness for sheepskin, as Stubblefield was bundled in Atlas gloves and big muff boots as he noted there was a foot of snow on the hillside. 

He said, “I like sheep wool lined rubber gauntlet gloves. It has insulation and is completely one-piece rubber that keeps you dry.” 

Cell phone coverage was poor, making communication harder. 

From the onset of the job, there was a big question mark whether they would be able to recover the home without splitting it into pieces. Stubblefield was up front with the customer, saying “All bets are off.” He wasn’t making any guarantees that he was going to be able to get it up in one piece.  

“We are going to get the road open. We might have to get a bunch of dumpsters out here or have a big old bonfire.” 

From the time they started winching, it took an hour and a half to get the home back up to the road. And luckily, or skillfully, it came back up in one piece. 

“We were constantly accessing and rearranging our rigging. What are our straps digging into. Where else do we need a flat strap. Had to put another rigging point on that,” said Stubblefield. 

When it was up on the road, they disconnected the tractor and moved the home up to a safe location, 250 yards up the road, where they parked it for the night.  

The next day, Thanksgiving morning, they hooked their 25 ton wrecker up to the trailer bed after cutting the trailer and modifying it.  

“The we hooked our wheel lift to it and took it all the way up the hill to the job site and placed it in the staging area.” 

Big Sky for a Big, Long Distance, Recovery 

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2024

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By George L. Nitti


While having dinner at Chuck E. Cheese in Midland-Odessa, Texas, Travis Turner, lead operator of family-owned and operated Big Sky Towing, was called by crane company TNT to assist in a recovery 200 miles away. 

Travis recounted: “The crane company called and said, ‘We rolled one of our cranes about six hours ago. There’s a tow company working on it. Once they get it uprighted, can you tow it in?’” 

Big Sky is used to traveling long distances for big recoveries. Travis responded in the affirmative, hoping to grab the crane the following morning. However, it was not to be. The crane company was beginning to have doubts that the company working the recovery would get it successfully overturned. 

After previewing pictures sent to him, Travis feared for the worst.  

He said, “I’ve messed with these cranes and know what it takes to get them over. The tow company had been out there six to seven hours and they still couldn’t get it flipped over.  Their booms didn’t reach far enough, their rigging didn’t look right, and their trucks were too small for the job: Two 35-ton wreckers and a 25 ton.” 

Getting ready to leave Chuck E. Cheese, Travis informed that the crane company called back, reporting the tow company “just broke some winch lines and they were packing up and leaving.”  

Travis called the Del Rio police department to notify them that they were on their way and asked B & B Wrecker Service of Pecos to assist in the recovery with their 1050 Rotator. Pulling out of their tow yard around 9 p.m., Big Sky brought their two 50-ton wreckers, a V103 Vulcan and their Century 9055.

Around 3 a.m. in the morning, Big Sky rolled into town, arriving after a long night’s travel through the open Texas landscape. Nearing Del Rio, Travis said, “It’s a little two-lane road. It’s curvy and it cuts in and out through the hills and valleys. I wouldn’t call it mountains but there are rock faces on either side.” 

The crane lay toppled over on the two-lane highway, leaving little room on both sides of the road for the tow operators to maneuver their units.

Travis informed, “On both sides of the road, there were dangerous 4-foot drop offs mountainside and unleveled ground. It took us 40 minutes to position our trucks and another couple of hours before we were able to get it up.” 

Ideally it would have been best if the units were T-boned against the crane, informed Travis. He said, “We were set up in a kind of sling shot. We were trying to do a reverse roll on the crane, but you really need to be in a T-bone position for that.” 

As they lifted the crane, Travis said their booms were pushed to the limits and that the rotator started to float. He said, “My boom was being forced to the left and his was booming out to the right. It was causing the rotator to float and if you are past your limitation and you keep going, you could flip."

Making the recovery more difficult was that the crane would not come over as the dollies were holding it down. But thankfully, the tow operators finally got it up.

After cleaning the scene, Travis informed that he was hooked to the crane at 11 a.m and ready to head back to Midland-Odessa. On their way, they would treat themselves to a Dairy Queen and joke when they saw another TNT crane going back to Del Rio. "I guess they are going to try it again."

Show Yours @ TIW

Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor George L. Nitti at georgenitti@gmail.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman Magazine!

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April 24 - April 30, 2024

Are Ya’ Dancin’ With the Devil

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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By Randall C. Resch             

The industry is full of “Keyboard Warriors,” those who frequent tow forums. Many are towers who’ve not attended formal training, nor do they “think” they’re beyond safety techniques and practices considered proper. If you’re one of em’, this narrative is for you.

I have quiet disdain for towers who brag “I’ve done it a million times and I’ve never lost one yet."  As a firm believer that unintended incidents lay-in-wait out there in the universe, that’s a risky declaration to make. It’s either not happened yet, or the tower wasn’t caught in a miscalculation or blooper.

Take the experienced operator who was being interviewed during drive time news regarding Slow-Down Move-Over. Looking the camera straight away, the tower grinned and said, “Yeah, I’ve been hit in the shoulder a couple of times on the highway.” The way I see it, that tower was given a “love tap” as a clear-cut sign they should change their on-scene practices to avoid becoming another industry statistic.

Towers post action shots depicting questionable techniques that they’ve developed. They’ve discovered a short cut way to hook up, tow or recover, something that’s far from the norm of what little industry standards should be. While what they’re showing might seem feasible, reality suggests they’re taking huge risks.  

Consider the tower transporting a Brink’s truck atop a light-duty carrier. In one unbelievable post, a tower proudly mentioned how he charged the customer double the normal rate, saying, “When the other companies don’t want the job, I tow these all the time without problems.”

Most towers would rightly question the safety and legality of transporting vehicles far too heavy for the truck’s capacity. Ironically, a week later, a news article shared a similar sized carrier that was plowed into a dirt embankment, injuring its driver as its heavy load ejected over the carrier’s rails. Why? Was it overloaded? Was it too much testosterone, too much conceit, complacency on the tower’s part, or was it a combination of all?

Internet Learning is Problematic

When considering improper safety and Hollywood techniques, posting internet videos plagues what’s considered “proper” by tow and recovery standards. Many of the industry’s internet sensations, personalities, and influencers, send improper messages of safety to newbie towers looking to learn. They’re on-line “Look at me, look at me, antics” demonstrate unsafe practices while seeking “likes” and “subscribers,” all the while taking huge risk.

One so-called “internet influencer” who, while driving a three-axle carrier, loaded a four-axle dump truck onto the carrier’s wheel-lift with no load on the carrier’s deck. It’s his mention that “I do it all the time” contradicts manufacturer warnings where it’s written: “Danger: Understand the basics of hauling a vehicle.” The manual’s pages further recommend, “A load must be on the carrier before you use the wheel lift for towing another vehicle.” In another overload video, a carrier’s front wheels dangerously float as it’s driven down the road.

Disregarding Safety?

Is it smart to flagrantly disregard safety recommendations? Although manufacturers point out specific dangers, some influencers defy disclaimers written by manufacturers. Just because a tower might have success (working an improper technique) doesn’t mean or negate any possibility that something could go wrong.

I hate to wish peril onto anyone and hope every tower’s career path is full of learning and safety. But I believe tempting fate floats one’s conceit with self-affirmation. However, most towers are in tune with knowing that an unplanned or unintended incident is the product of the unknown. I used the word “incident” to describe an unintended accident because “Accidents are preventable!”

The statement “I’ve done it this way a million times” may be true at the moment, but should something go horrifically wrong, it’s this kind of brazen mentality that results in extensive property damage, or towers getting injured or killed.

For towers who fly by the seat of their pants and disregard what the industry recommends proper, you are “Dancin’ with the Devil.” For newbie towers, it’s my recommendation you don’t follow “influencers” for the simple fact you’re likely to do what they’re doing wrong.

My best safety advice: don’t learn it from YouTube, TikTok or another questionable means. Doing it proper isn’t a new concept. From the nearly 200-industrial fatalities that have occurred industry wide over the years, many towers and “experienced” business owners met an early demise because they initiated improper techniques.  

As I regard “fate” being determined by some supernatural authority, you won’t hear me braggin’ “how successful” I’ve been all the while doing it wrong. Because on-scene safety and longevity go hand-in-hand. “Dancin’ with the Devil” is something towers shouldn’t challenge.  

Operations Editor Randall C. Resch is a retired, veteran, California police officer, former tow business owner and industry advocate. As consultant and trainer, he authored and teaches tow truck operator safety courses approved by the California Highway Patrol. For 51-years, he has been involved in the towing and recovery industry. In 27-years, he has contributed more than 700-safety focused articles for American Towman Magazine, TowIndustryWeek.com and is a frequent seminar presenter and beauty pageant judge at tow shows. In 2014, he was inducted to the International Towing and Recovery Industry Hall of Fame, was the 3rd recipient of the industry's "Dave Jones Leadership Award," and is a member of American Towman’s Safety Committee.

Email Randy at rreschran@gmail.com.

Employee or Contractor Revisited

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2024

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By Brian J. Riker

Employee or contractor? This topic is often hotly debated in the trucking industry, among others, and with the recent U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California decisions upholding California’s AB5 rules, which are a direct attack on freelancers and independent contractors, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s recent reversal of key policies related to the independent contractor test, it warrants another look as towing is not immune to worker misclassification issues either.

Please note, the author is not an attorney, and nothing contained within is to be construed as legal advice. This article is for informational purposes only and you should seek competent professional help before taking any actions based on the information within.

Currently 18 states and the District of Columbia follow a “Common Law” worker classification process as does the Internal Revenue Service, where no one factor outweighs the others but there must be a significant number of factors that point to true independence before a worker can be classified as a contractor and their payments reported on Form 1099.

The other states use an “ABC Test” similar to California’s AB5 rule which makes qualifying as an independent contractor very difficult. Fortunately, not all these states use all three prongs of the ABC Test, with several choosing to use only A&B or A&C, or they give differing weights to each prong.

Let’s be clear though, there is no such thing as a “1099 employee.” The worker is either an employee, with wages reported using a W2 or an independent contractor with earnings reported using a 1099.

It is worth noting that just because a worker may be an independent contractor for wage and tax purposes does not always make them an independent contractor for other labor law protections. New York is a perfect example of this as they have specific rules that apply directly to transportation workers, including independent contractors, related to mandatory workers compensation insurance coverages.

Looking at the most common independence test, the “Common Law” test, if a worker is free from direct control and has made significant investments into their job performance where they have the opportunity to make a profit or loss (economic reality test) they can likely be classified as an independent contractor.

Specifically in California, an individual providing labor or services for compensation is considered an employee and not an independent contractor, unless the hiring entity demonstrates that all three conditions of the ABC test are satisfied:

  1. The individual is free from the control and direction of the hiring organization in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact.
  2. The individual performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business.
  3. The individual is routinely doing work in an independently established trade, occupation, or business that is of the same type as the work being performed.

As you can see, this is a huge problem for truck drivers, including owner operators with their own trucks, as they would be engaged in the same ordinary course of business as the entity they contract with, including tow truck owner operators. Forget about lease purchase operations, they are almost impossible to operate in compliance with the ABC Test.

Regardless of which method is used to determine status, where towing has issue with complying with the current test is the fully independent portion. To be effective and efficient, tow drivers must be controlled by a dispatch center and usually do not know what their day or week will look like in advance, meaning they can’t effectively plan their own work free of supervision.

Unfortunately, the US Department of Labor, led by yet unconfirmed Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, is attempting to follow in AB5’s footsteps on a national level. If this happens it will spell disaster for hundreds, if not thousands, of professions where freelance labor is relied heavily upon, myself included as I am a contract writer for American Towman Media among other publications.

Don’t panic just yet! The Department of Labor has restored a prior version of the rule which allows for greater flexibility in determining independence. It is not perfect, but it is workable, for now.

The guidance provided by the final rule aligns with longstanding judicial precedent on which employers have previously relied to determine a worker’s status as either an employee or independent contractor.

The new “independent contractor” rule, which rescinds a rule change made in 2021, restores the multifactor analysis used by courts for decades, ensuring that all relevant factors are analyzed to determine whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor.

The rule, which went into effect on March 11, 2024, addresses six factors that guide the analysis of a worker’s relationship with an employer, including any opportunity for profit or loss a worker might have, the financial stake and nature of any resources a worker has invested in the work, the degree of permanence of the work relationship, the degree of control an employer has over the person’s work, whether the work the person does is essential to the employer’s business, and a factor regarding the worker’s skill and initiative.

Now is a great time to review your current worker classifications and make any adjustments as needed to ensure compliance with both tax and labor laws and regulations.

Protecting Roadside Customers 

Published: Wednesday, April 03, 2024

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By Randall C. Resch 

On January 31, 2008, a motorist requested roadside assistance for a driver’s side rear tire from his motor club provider. Citing that the vehicle was parked in a location too dangerous to perform service, the tower decided to transport the motorist’s car to the next exit and change the tire in a safer location. The tower provided initial instructions to the motorist to be seated within the truck’s cab. According to the tower, the motorist allegedly complied.  

As the tower positioned the car on his carrier, the motorist, on his choosing and not seen by the tower, exited the carrier only to be struck by an approaching vehicle. The tower subsequently was blamed for not monitoring the motorist’s whereabouts. The motorist suffered long-term, debilitating injuries requiring 24–hour skilled nursing care for life. A subsequent lawsuit resulted, and he was awarded a high-dollar settlement.     

In July 2020, an Ohio tow operator (and roadside motorist) were struck and killed while both loading jet-skis onto a flatbed carrier. Again in September 2017, a Pennsylvania tower and his AAA customer were killed when an intoxicated driver struck and killed them both.  

Providing Safety Admonishments 

When lawsuits are initiated, it’s commonly asked, “What actions did you, Mr./Ms. Tow Operator take to protect the safety of your roadside customer?” And, when customers or motorists are injured or killed, tow operators must justify whether they provided the customer with specific safety instructions, including where they should be situated or placed. What would your answer be?  

Although it’s a difficult process for tow operators to be one hundred percent focused on their work and babysit the motorist too, operator safety becomes increasingly more difficult when motorists accompany their disabled vehicle.  

So is there a responsibility to protect roadside customers? “Yes!” 

Upon arrival and before service or tow attachment begins, towers are tasked with securing roadside customers or motorists by directing them to a safe location that keeps them out of harm’s way. Choosing a safety location to protect their well-being must be decisive and immediate. Allowing them to wander is never the proper option. 

Babysitting 101 

In most situations, the motoring public is clueless when it comes to the dangers that exist when their disabled vehicle is parked on the highway’s shoulder. 

As stated in California’s Freeway Service Patrol SOP Manual, Chapter 8, Special Relationships, Subsection 1C: “FSP operators shall not place motorists, passengers, or pedestrians in a position of foreseeable danger from either traffic or other potentially hazardous factors after contact has been made.”  

 
The CHP recommends the safest location for roadside customers or motorists is seated in the tow truck’s cab with their seatbelts on. Another recommended process is, if a service is being conducted, the motorist may remain within their vehicle (seatbelts on) while the service is performed. Asking an individual to exit their vehicle, especially on the dangerous traffic side is extremely risky.  

For safety’s sake, it’s recommended that customers and motorists are directed to places of safety that include: 

-- Never allowing motorists to wander 

-- Remaining inside their vehicle with seatbelt’s on 

-- Seated in the tow truck’s cab; seatbelts on 

-- Up the embankment 

--Behind the guardrail if physically capable to do so 

-- Forward of the parked tow truck 

For additional safety measures:  

-- Never stand between vehicles 

-- Don’t stand behind vehicles being winched onto a carrier’s deck 

-- Never allow motorists to assist in traffic side service 

-- Provide appropriate safety instructions 

-- Keep a mindful watch of their locations 

Consider No Riders 

When the Covid pandemic began, tow companies were not allowed to mingle or transport customers and motorists in tow and transport scenarios. Due to protecting the safety of the tow operator, customers and motorists were advised to find their mode of transportation and were not allowed to “ride along.” At the time, there were few exceptions based on a “situational basis” where no customer or motorist was left behind on high-speed highways.     

When towers take on riders, the risk of injury is elevated should the tow truck be involved in a driver caused crash, the customer has a slip and fall incident entering or exiting the tow truck, the customer has a medical injury while being transported, or the customer can’t pay and they’re left behind. 

It's important for tow owners to consider what risks they’re likely faced with and decide to transport or require customers and motorists to arrange their own transportation. And, to that point, never request a taxi respond on the highway to pick up your roadside motorist as taxi companies aren’t trained in on-highway response. Don’t accept liability in making a taxi company your “agent.”   

Having considered what lessons learned become your company’s best practices, be sure your company is sufficiently insured to best cover an unfortunate incident where a customer or motorist is injured or killed. Because of the responsibilities involved in protecting roadside customers, this is an important topic to be covered in monthly safety meetings.      

Operations Editor Randall C. Resch is a retired, veteran, California police officer, former tow business owner and industry advocate. As consultant and trainer, he authored and teaches tow truck operator safety courses approved by the California Highway Patrol. For 51-years, he has been involved in the towing and recovery industry. In 27-years, he has contributed more than 700-safety focused articles for American Towman Magazine, TowIndustryWeek.com and is a frequent seminar presenter and beauty pageant judge at tow shows. He was inducted to the International Towing and Recovery Industry Hall of Fame, was the 3rd recipient of the industry's "Dave Jones Leadership Award," and is a member of American Towman’s Safety Committee.  

Email Randy at rreschran@gmail.com

April 24 - April 30, 2024

Plotting a Modern Design

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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By George L. Nitti

Time for a change?

Chris DiNino, general manager of Town Plot Automotive Inc. of Waterbury, Connecticut, thought so, explaining why the company, over the last few years, has made changes to their tow truck graphics, which were once all painted.

“We used to do everything in house. Those paint jobs were time consuming because each color was applied and taped separately. We had to clear over everything,” he said. “It would tie up our paint booth for seven days. It was a lot of labor and a lot of time.”

He added, “Wraps are more efficient and cost effective.”

To date, the company has redone three of the members of their fleet in a snazzy wrap that bursts with a spectrum of lines, slightly tribal, consisting of subtle variations of green, even aqua, rather than the old-style two-toned colors of green and white.

“Working with graphics company 32 Signs, I said to them, ‘Let’s try out a wrap. I want something new with tribal striping but more modern looking.’ We went back and forth. I would say there’s a little tribal in there. We worked it until it fit.”

Their 2017 Kenworth Tractor W900 with a 2021 50 ft. Landoll 440B is a perfect specimen of the new style they’ve cultivated.

“I use it for bigger accidents,” he said. “We had a void in our business and were outsourcing those jobs and so I said, ‘Let’s get a nice tractor and a low boy and open another door.’ We got it at the end of 2020.”

On the side of the truck, at the foot of the doors, the subdued “Town Plot” name stands out in white lettering against an all black background. DiNino said, “Because the design is busy, I didn’t want to put many words on it.”

Although an unusual name for a tow company, Town Plot has been around since 1968, and does a lot of local work, including all of the automotive repair for the state police. “We have a good reputation.” he said. “Everybody knows us here.”

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!

Lights, Color, Craziness Taken to New Heights 

Published: Thursday, March 28, 2024

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By George L. Nitti 

Some maintain that packaging is everything, not just for a McDonald’s burger, but a dressed up tow truck. 

Kevin Winchester, owner of Denali’s Towing of Nicholasville, Kentucky, is building his tow company’s reputation on it, seeking to create a fleet of colorfully wrapped light duty rollbacks that have an element of craziness. 

"I was going for crazy,” he said. “Not like a Tow Mater.”  

Part of Winchester’s thinking about color harkened back to the days of covid, when tow trucks were harder to come by and you had to take what you could get, in terms of the color of a chassis. Not letting that variable bog down his need for tow trucks, he opted to create flamboyant wraps, thereby leaving some of the original colors on the chassis exposed, like the fender or cab, to create a mix of colors that cohered despite their color disparity. 

He said, “The truck can be any color chassis, any type and it will blend right in. The goal is to throw a bunch of lights on it with a wrap displaying a parade of colors.” 

With a head-turning design, Winchester knew the result would be more business, more phone calls. 

“Would you stop for a colorful spaceship or just another one of those white tow trucks that come to pick you up?” he asked. “Some people said, ‘why do it, you ain’t going to make an extra dollar on it,’ and I knew they were wrong.  

On top of it, Winchester discovered people not only pay attention to colorful tow trucks, but they also move over for them. “I got a black truck and when I sit on the side of the road with it, and cut the lights on, no one cares.” 

Gaining respect of customers is another consideration.  

He said, “It helps when you pull up to customers or dealerships with your trucks. They know that you take care of your equipment. And so it makes people feel more secure.” 

Setting his fleet off from the “crazy competition” out there, Winchester continues to push his design options, noting that his next one is going to be even crazier with a little bit extra lighting out of the normal. 

The company logo features the Denali Mountain, formerly Mt. McKinley. 

“It’s the best thing you will ever see. Those mountains are a tattoo I got off of Pinterest. I took it, edited it, and to be honest with you, I ran with it.” 

That was just after selling his wife’s car and quitting his job at FedEx to start his tow business. 

“Did you know that Mt. Denali is the tallest mountain in the world, taller than Everest, if you include the distance that it starts below sea level?” he said. “We are not the biggest yet, but we are coming for you.” 

Tribal Flamed Stars and Stripes 

Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2024

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By George L. Nitti 

Fine Artist Cecil Burrowes is no stranger to the towing community. He is sought after for his airbrush talents, producing eclectic designs on a multitude of tow trucks. He has won awards at tow shows for the trucks that he has painted. He was also the designer of the Spirit Ride casket that crisscrossed America several times to bring attention to tower fatalities and move over laws.  

One of his latest designs is a patriotic themed tribal flame with candy-colored stars and stripes, with hues of vibrant blue and red. He was commissioned by County Wide Auto Collision of Maspeth Queens in October for their 23’ Hino on a 15 ton Century flatbed.  

“I did previous trucks for County Wide,” said Burrowes. “The graphics on this truck were more involved, more detailed.”  

In working, Cecil first lays out his intricate design by drawing it.  

“I love to draw,” he said.  

At the front of the unit, on the hood of the truck, are perfectly shaped white stars that sit on top of blue candy colored paint.  

Cecil added, “The stars were cut from the computer, placed and then removed after both silver and blue paint was applied to the area. Then when everything was dry, I peeled the stars off. 

Tribal flames consume the unit, from top to bottom, front to back, and is the hallmark of this unique design; although there are flourishes of other design elements, such as the finely rendered NYC landscape that lays under the County Wide name on the side doors, and on the back of the truck. Also pinstriping and elegant shadowed lettering, including the phone number, pop.

One spokesman at County Wide said, “Cecil makes those designs out of his head. Everybody looks at this truck and waves at it.” 

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! 

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April 24 - April 30, 2024

I-Tow App

Published: Monday, March 25, 2024 itowapp 95b03

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TowMate Unveils Groundbreaking Safety Lighting

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2024

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TowMate, a U.S. manufacturer of automotive lighting located in Rogers, Arkansas, launched two safety lighting products incorporating the patented HINVII technology: the SS470UVA and the TM-LS-UVA.

According to a TowMate press release: “These products are a game-changer in enhancing the visibility and safety of roadside workers without compromising their field of vision.”

The SS470UVA UV light head is designed to dramatically increase the visibility of roadside workers' vests. This product employs the patented HINVII technology, emitting a non-visible light that causes workers' vests to glow intensely, ensuring they are unmistakably visible to passing motorists. While the vests appear brilliantly lit to drivers, the light itself is non-distracting and non-visible to the workers, allowing them to focus on their tasks without any impairment to their field of vision. The light head also features amber LED’s that can be set to alternate with the HINVII LED’s for greater visibility in varying conditions.

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Complementing the SS470UVA, the TM-LS-UVA is a rechargeable, traffic-cone mounted system. It not only features the innovative SS470UVA light head but also is reachargeable and portable, ensuring the benefits of worker visibility can be realized where they are needed and not just limited to around the truck. The HINVII light capability ensures maximum visibility in various lighting conditions and traffic scenarios, making it an indispensable tool for roadside safety.

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These products come with a lifetime warranty on electronics and LEDs.For more information about the SS470UVA and TM-LS-UVA, please visit TowMate.com or contact your local dealer.

Lite It Wireless Battery and Charger

Published: Thursday, February 15, 2024

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External 20-volt Battery and Charger for your wireless light bar.

This battery is mounted externally and there is no longer the need to change the 2 batteries from inside the case.  You simply take the discharged battery off the battery plate and replace it with a fresh battery.  Designed to accept both M18 and DeWalt style batteries.  These new wireless lightbars have the same great warranty and customer service included with every purchase.  

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You may purchase the external battery light bars without the battery and charger and use your own.

Now available in 36”, 48”, 60” wireless LED light bar.  Add flashers or strobes. 7-pin transmitter, external 20-volt battery and charger included.

For more info: 800-490-3158     WWW.CUSTERPRODUCTS.COM

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April 24 - April 30, 2024
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April 24 - April 30, 2024
The scene of the incident where a repo driver was punched and then later shot after pursuing the suspect.

Towman Murdered in Florida 

Published: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Towman Juan Garcia, 39, owner of JL Towing, was murdered late Wednesday, April 10, in what police authorities are investigating as a connected crime involving another woman who was carjacked and murdered as well.  

Garcia was killed at a house just before 10 p.m. Wednesday night. It was one day before Katherine Aguasvivas was kidnapped in a separate crime. At the house, Orange County deputies said more than 100 10 mm shell casings were found. WESH2’s Tony Atkins personally saw more than 80 markers from just outside the house and crime scene. 

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma said the green Acura seen in the kidnapping video showing was the same vehicle Garcia and his company towed from an Orange County apartment complex at some point last month. 

Lemma also said rounds both in Garcia’s murder and where Aguasvivas’ body was found in Osceola County matched one another. 

“At the scene, there are more than 100 rounds, but a good percentage of those rounds on the ground are 10 mm, the gun used in the murder of our victim that we found burnt up in the vehicle in Osceola county,” Lemma said. 

At last check, the suspect or suspects in the Taft shooting are still on the run. 

Source: wesh.com

Florida Repo Driver Shot During Repossession 

Published: Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Last Thursday, a repo driver in Port St. Lucie was allegedly shot six times after trying to repossess a vehicle. 

The agent, 28-year-old Tristan Hastings, attempted to repossess a vehicle where he encountered 59-year-old Omar Sueque. 

As can be seen on video, Sueque placed himself between his car and the tow truck yelling, “Hey, get out, this is private property,” and “I have cameras here.” Undaunted, Hastings can be seen ignoring the borrower and edging his truck further back toward the car. 

Infuriated, Sueque can be seen charging up to the truck and punching Hastings through the open truck window. Equally outraged, Hastings leapt from his truck and chased after Sueque. 

Repossessions Inc. owner Bill Kelly watched the video and said that he was surprised that the tow truck driver followed Sueque. 

“What did he get out of the car for and chase the guy? He should have just continued with what he was doing and left,” Kelly told them. “I’ve had people, a pregnant woman, lay down between the car and the tow truck. Obviously, you get out of Dodge, you don’t want to be involved in a situation like that.” 

Tre Smith of Off the Chain Towing and Recovery said that he cut his workday short Thursday after he heard about the shooting. 

“It’s a little too close to home,” Smith said. “I’m on my way to do the same thing, so can I make it back home?” 

” My heart goes out to him, and his family and we offer our condolences,” Smith said. 

Source:curepossession.com

Decatur, Alabama Considering Banning Night Time Repos

Published: Tuesday, December 19, 2023 After two men were killed involving repossessions in Alabama, city leaders in Decatur are considering banning repossessions at night.

The first deadly incident occurred in September involving Stephen Perkins, who was shot and killed by police in Decatur after his car was subject to repossession. Three officers have been fired as a result of that deadly confrontation that took place in the presence of the repo driver.

Last Wednesday, tow owner Jason Click was shot and killed in Huntsville, Alabama during a night time repossession.

Both incidents are galvanizing change.

Billy Green, executive director of the Alabama Towing and Recovery Association, indicated that their organization may need to turn to lobbyists to advocate changes that will make repossessions safer.
He said, "We may need to look at the laws on the books and what protections there are for the repossessor."

State Senator Arthur Orr has been following Decatur's situation closely saying he's committed to finding a solution to prevent further tragedies.

"I think it's important that we do look at how we are doing the repossessions and if another state or municipality has a better or safer option out there that they have put in the code to improve the safety and de-escalate the potential for violence, that's something we need to look at."

Source: www.youtube.com

Police Officers Fired Over Repo Incident in Alabama 

Published: Monday, December 11, 2023

Three Police officers were fired by the mayor of the city of Dectur after they were responding to a repossession, resulting in the shooting death of the suspect. 

Stephen Perkins, 39, was fatally shot on September 29 after officials said he “brandished a handgun” with a light “towards an officer with the Decatur Police Department,” according to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. 

Decatur police were initially called to Perkins’ home after he allegedly pulled a handgun on a tow truck driver as he was attempting to repossess a vehicle at the 39-year-old’s home. 

Officers arrived at the scene with the tow truck driver, which is when Perkins “exited the residence armed with a handgun and began to threaten the tow truck driver,” according to police. 

The officers claimed that they ordered the suspect to drop his weapon. But according to the police chief no such order was given.  

“We now know the officer identified themselves as ‘police’ and ordered Mr. Perkins to ‘get on the ground’ prior to the officer firing rather than ordering him to drop the weapon at that time as we initially reported the morning of the shooting,” said the police chief. “That means that we also erred in stating Mr. Perkins ‘refused’ to drop his firearm prior to the shooting. I apologize for the inaccurate description of the encounter in our initial statement.”  

The family of Perkins said that he did not owe money on the vehicle, having financial receipts as proof. 

Source: michiganchronicle.com

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