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Positioning is important in transporting forklifts
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing April 08 - April 14, 2020

No One Left Behind

NEW b27e7By Randall C. Resch

The news is alive with recurring incidents where vehicles get towed to a tow facility only to discover an injured victim or a deceased body hours later or the next day.

This has the potential of happening anywhere.

It’s Pretty Common

As an accident investigator, EMT and tow operator, I've worked these crashes and seen that small-ish victims tend to get thrown to a vehicle’s floor upon impact. Wreckage and other factors like weather and darkness may hide the victim’s presence.

Modern vehicles are equipped with as many as 12 airbags. When smaller victims are tossed to the floorboards, between the seats or under dashboards, they may be obscured by compartment debris. There's always a possibility that someone isn’t found because they were hidden under draped air bags.

>Where’d They Go?

Individuals sometimes aren’t discovered at the initial crash scene and ultimately get listed as “missing persons” with the local police. This was the case in December 2007 when a Tarzana, California, mom and son were in a vehicle that careened into a building. The Los Angeles Times reported that the son was transported by paramedics and the vehicle was towed in the usual manner. Initially, the family didn’t know mom and son were in a crash nor were they aware the son was transported to the hospital.

In the case of the lost son and mom, investigators traced dispatch logs, call center recordings and hospital records subsequently locating the son as a crash victim; but mom wasn’t found. Accordingly, the LAPD went to the Canoga Park tow yard where mom’s body was discovered inside the vehicle.

Unless an individual works in environments where death, rescue and body extrication are their vocation, the public doesn’t understand that once rescue is complete, there are additional steps that must be taken. In most cases, even if the individual was determined deceased, rescue and extrication typically comes first; the dead have to wait. The deceased ultimately requires a response from the Sheriff’s/Coroner’s Office to come to a scene, identify, record and transport the deceased.

Then, notification of the next of kin occurs.

Outside Looking In

Most first responders require a systematic check and vehicle walkaround that includes marking the vehicle's exterior to indicate the specific space was searched. Some procedures require that someone is tasked with making a final walkaround and inspection before a tow company loads or tows the casualties away.

Although tow trucks typically are last to handle on-scene clean up, it's important that tow operators take a quick look in interior spaces before loading flatbed carriers or dollies to ensure no one is left behind. Prior to departing, and with a gloved hand, push those deployed air bags out of the way to make a cursory look while being ready for the visual shock that an injured or deceased individual might still be in the car. 

Because there are many players in first response, finding all victims is a critical part and responsibility of recovery. The same holds true at accident scenes where vehicles roll over and victims not wearing seatbelts were thrown from their vehicles. Motorcycle accidents oftentimes result in riders being ejected into roadside ditches, brush and trees.

In all scenarios like these, liability is questioned when someone is found in a towed vehicle after the fact. Not that it’s just the towman’s responsibility, but it‘s something we towers can do if nothing less than for our own peace of mind.

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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Google Unveils a $340M Program for Small Businesses

Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced in a blog post that the company has created an $800 million program that includes both direct financial assistance, as well as grants.

For small businesses, that means $340 million in credits for Google Ads that the company says can be used throughout 2020 across any of Google's advertising platforms. According to the company, the goal is "to alleviate some of the cost of staying in touch with their customers." 

There's no signup or application process. Instead, credits will automatically be added to active Google Ads accounts.

In addition, Google says it is providing $250 million in ad credits to the World Health Organization, as well as other government health agencies that provide information about slowing the spread of Covid-19. An additional $200 million will be provided to both non-governmental organizations and financial institutions "to help provide small businesses with access to capital."

Lastly, Google is providing $20 million in Google Cloud services to researchers who are studying vaccines and treatment for COVID-19.

Source: inc.com.
Google has announced an $800 million program that earmarks $340 million in credits for Google Ads for small businesses.
Manufacturers Spotlight: The Making of History: Century 100 Ton Rotator
Don't Miss It!
See and experience how top1% companies would quickly tackle your Driver Dilemma. No matter if your company is barely hanging on, or is knocking it out of the yard! Join Jim Weaver and Sam Lombardo for their “Driver Recruitment and Retention” presentation during the Towman Games, taking place August 19-22, 2020 at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio. towmangames.com

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Twisted & Shifted: Load on the Road

0 d04f2By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Known as “Senior,” Derek Didone Sr. and Debbie Didone started County Towing Inc. in 1978 to provide service to the community of Harrow, Ontario, and is now running the business with their three sons Derek Jr., Dennis and Daren.

“My dad built County Towing and has owned it for 41 years,” said Dennis. “Two years ago we bought Coxons Towing. ‘Junior,’ my brother Derek Jr., runs the office and is usually the safety officer on scene at recoveries.”

On Feb. 16, 2019, Senior came across a shifted load, held by stubborn straps, after clearing another tow. This dangerously twisted load was stuck in the middle of a roundabout in Windsor.

Senior was in his 1993 Peterbilt with 10-ton NRC Quickswap and 25-ton winch when he was flagged down by the driver. With traffic quickly backing up, he immediately put his plan in place. He called for veteran operator Eric Godard of Coxon’s Towing who arrived in a 2003 Kenworth T800 with 50-ton NRC rotator. Junior responded in their 1993 International 4600 emergency response unit and Myron Roelens and Dennis responded in a 2004 International 9400 hooked to a 50-ton Elgin Landoll.

“Myron and myself arrived shortly after to find a traffic plan in place and large traffic backups,” Dennis stated. “The rotator, the Peterbilt and our response unit were already in place. We pulled the Landoll on the opposite side of the rotator.

“The truck itself,” Dennis said, “entered the roundabout too fast, and when he hit his brakes his load shifted and a single pipe wedged into the cab rendering the truck useless. The bottom half of the load was still secure, so it really was just the top half causing issues.”

The crew first cut the straps holding the top load.

“We had access to two pipes right away and were able to quickly remove them,” said Dennis.

With Eric operating the NRC rotator and Myron securing the load being transferred to the Landoll, Dennis and Derek Jr. were tasked with climbing the load and rigging.

Using recovery loops, they rigged the pipe impaling the cab with the rotator lifting. Senior hooked to the rear, pulling the pipe back. They were able to free it and transfer it to the Landoll.

“Our third lift would be the rest of the broken bundle and the other shifted bundle,” said Dennis. “We looped them all together and loaded them onto our Landoll. With all of the shifted load cleared the truck was able to drive away under his own power.

“In our Landoll, we followed him to his yard only minutes away where it was offloaded and reloaded onto another truck and trailer. This roundabout is just minutes from the Ambassador Bridge and is Canada’s busiest roundabout.”

The crew clearing this dangerous wreck stuck in the middle of the round was featured on Heavy Rescue 401 on “Discovery Canada.”

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!

Industry Steps Up in Trying Time

Some companies in the towing and recovery industry are making the most of this current situation, staying out in front of their communities with some creative ideas.

There have been webinars hosted by Agero, the Arizona Professional Towing & Recovery Association and the National Towing Foundation providing information to towmen on the CARES Act and various programs recently made available through the Small Business Administration.

Alber Towing in Freeport, Illinois, organized a traveling parade for children in their area celebrating a birthday. The same was done by Dan’s Towing in Grand Junction, Colorado, and Accurate Towing & Recovery in Sycamore, Illinois.

Tim Moody of J-Hook Towing in Little Rock, Arkansas, organized a prayer event for healthcare staff and patients outside Baptist Health Medical Center.

Scott Wheeler, owner of Metro Towing in Joplin, Missouri, is offering free roadside assistance to folks who are stuck in parking lots trying to get home.

All that to say, as usual, the towman is there when times are down. Always willing to help, always willing to go the extra mile to make the best out of a less-than-desirable situation.

It’s called stepping up.

--Charles Duke

Matheny Motors

MathenyMotors b188aMatheny's commercial division represents Hino, Isuzu, GMC, Miller Industries and Thomas Built Bus. They know that you have high expectations, and as a family owned and operated dealership, they enjoy the challenge of meeting and exceeding those standards. Come see what Matheny Motors has to offer at the Towman Games, taking place August 19-22, 2020 at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

mathenymotors.com
By Don Lomax
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CORONAVIRUS BLUES
Approximately how much has your business fallen off during the COVID-19 pandemic?
20%
40%
60%
80%
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Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
Media Director: William Burwell
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203,
William Burwell x208, Peggy Calabrese x202
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
ATTV Technical Production: OMG National
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
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April 08 - April 14, 2020
Abdullah Taimori with AJ’s Towing in Sacramento, California, said people in distress are told in advance: you must social distance. Image - sacramento.cbslocal.com.

Towmen Ask Customers for [b]Social Distance

Towmen are out on the roads helping others, but they must take new steps to protect themselves due to coronavirus. “It is very different because before we would get out of our trucks, handshake, you know, ‘What’s wrong with the vehicle?’ ‘Can we do anything to fix it?,’ ” said Abdullah Taimori with AJ’s Towing in Sacramento, California. Taimori is a tower and said people in distress are told in advance: you must social distance. Taimori is not allowed to give people rides in his truck for protection. He’s had to explain that to frustrated customers, who eventually understand. “I have family at home, so I don’t want to bring something to them while everybody’s doing their part and staying home,” he said. Source: sacramento.cbslocal.com.

Fire at Rain or Schine Towing Under investigation

A Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal, Foster Township Fire Department and Rew Fire Department investigated the origin and cause of a fire on April 3 that destroyed the commercial garage of Rain or Schine Towing. In the police report, the victim is listed as Bradford resident Brian Schine. According to police, multiple vehicles, motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles were destroyed in the fire, in addition to the building. Damage is estimated at more than $400,000. There were no injuries, according to police. The company’s tow trucks were not inside the garage at the time of the fire and they have continued to operate. Source: bradfordera.com.

Tip Results in Two Arrests, Recovery of Stolen Vehicles

Hopkins County (Texas) Sheriff’s deputies reported receiving a tip indicating where they might find a lime green tow truck that had been reported stolen on April 6 to Greenville Police Department, according to arrest reports. The stolen wrecker, valued at more than $40,000, was located by sheriff’s investigators and recovered from Commerce Sand & Gravel, according to Hopkins County Sheriff’s Investigator Wade Sheets. Dalton Eugene Tucker of Quinlan, who was reportedly in possession of the stolen truck, was arrested April 7 for theft of property. Investigators also spoke with 19-year-old Daniel Allen Saulters of Terrell in connection with the wrecker. Saulters allegedly confessed to being in the green wrecker, which had been confirmed as stolen out of Greenville Police Department. Both Tucker and Salters remained in Hopkins County jail at press time. Source: ksstradio.com.
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April 08 - April 14, 2020
Tim Moody of J-Hook Towing in Little Rock, Arkansas, organized a prayer event for healthcare staff and patients outside Baptist Health Medical Center. Image - nwahomepage.com.

Towmen, Law Enforcement [b]Pray for Medical Staff

Towers and law enforcement in Little Rock, Arkansas, got together to pray for healthcare staff and patients on April 3.

Thirty-five wreckers and law enforcement cars parked outside Baptist Health Medical Center to show support. The parking lot was completely lit up, and all the trucks had their flashers on.

“We want them to be recognized OK, we appreciate what these guys are doing. We know their job is difficult and we want them to know we care,” said event organizer Tim Moody of J-Hook Towing. “We want to express our concerns and our thank you to these doctors and nurses that work night and day to take care of these patients. Not only the COVID-19 but there are other sick people in this hospital, and we want them to be recognized.”

Moody said a lot of people appreciate everything the medical staff is doing and this is just one small way to show they are supported.

Source: nwahomepage.com.

Tow Company Offering Free [b]Service During Pandemic

The coronavirus isn’t stopping a Joplin, Missouri, tow truck company that’s helping residents who are down on their luck during a tough time.

Scott Wheeler, owner of Metro Towing, says he’s happy to offer free roadside assistance to folks who are stuck trying to get home. That includes towing, jump-starts, tire changes and people who have locked their keys in their car.

Scott says if people are stuck on the side of the road or in a parking lot during the pandemic, he wants to get them home safe without worrying about the cost.

“Made a couple of people mad, just because they called and wanted (their cars) towed from their house to a repair shop, and we had to explain to them that we’re just doing this for roadside emergencies. Made them irritated because they’re needing help too, but we have to keep our daily operations going as well,” said Wheeler.

Scott says he plans on playing things by ear and offering the free roadside assistance until he feels the pandemic has died down. He also says more than 200 people have taken advantage of his offer since he started helping out folks free of charge on March 23rd.

Source: koamnewsnow.com.

Zip’s AW Direct Adds [b]Landoll Trailers

Zip’s AW Direct recently became a fully authorized Landoll dealer, authorized to sell all types of Landoll trailers and replacement parts. This latest addition of heavy-duty industrial trailers complements Zip’s inventory of tow trucks, industrial carriers, rollbacks and service vehicles.

“We are excited about this new opportunity for our company and look forward to sharing Landoll’s extensive lineup of heavy-duty trailers with our existing and future customer base,” said Zip’s President Paul Rottinghaus.

Source: Zip’s AW Direct.

eImpound.com Paying Towers for Data

eImpound.com announced that the company is paying $1 per towed VIN if the VIN has a match in their internal lien holder database and 10 cents per VIN if there is no match. In return, the company will send tow and storage companies lien holder and registered owner information from all 50 states the next day at no cost.

eImpound stated that with shutdowns occurring due to the coronavirus pandemic, should the mail system stop working or government agencies stop responding, a remote, urgent, and all-electronic process would allow for no interruption in processing impounds and identifying and notifying lien holders. Lien holders are still notified electronically.

The company stated that towing and storage companies have a better chance of getting paid, whether the mail system is working or not.

For payment, companies can contact eimpound to send their PayPal information including an email with their company name and email address.

Source: eimpound.com.

TowTrax Appoints [b]New CEO, COO

TowTrax recently announced it has named Staley Cash as its new CEO and Wes Foster as COO.

Cash recently served as president of Driven Solutions and has more than 20 years’ executive experience in the roadside assistance industry. He will work closely with TowTrax founder Dan Messina to implement its platform nationwide. Foster will be responsible for day to day operations.

“Staley brings a wealth of roadside assistance industry knowledge to our team, and we are very fortunate to have someone of his stature and experience as our CEO,” said Messina. “Wes also brings a huge depth of industry knowledge to our team and we are very excited to have both Wes and Staley on board.”

Source: towtrax.net.

ASE Extending Certification [b]Expiration Date for Technicians

Truck technicians whose ASE certification is set to expire this spring will get a reprieve through the end of the year.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence announced it has automatically extended to Dec. 31 all ASE certifications set to expire June 30.

ASE certification credentials are valid for five years and have an expiration date of either June 30 or Dec. 31, depending on when the certification was earned.

ASE president/CEO Tim Zilke said the organization didn’t want service professionals “to worry about expiring ASE certifications.” Technicians unsure of when their certifications expire can visit myASE.com.

Source: ccjdigital.com.
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April 08 - April 14, 2020

Twisted & Shifted: Load on the Road

0 d04f2By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Known as “Senior,” Derek Didone Sr. and Debbie Didone started County Towing Inc. in 1978 to provide service to the community of Harrow, Ontario, and is now running the business with their three sons Derek Jr., Dennis and Daren.

“My dad built County Towing and has owned it for 41 years,” said Dennis. “Two years ago we bought Coxons Towing. ‘Junior,’ my brother Derek Jr., runs the office and is usually the safety officer on scene at recoveries.”

On Feb. 16, 2019, Senior came across a shifted load, held by stubborn straps, after clearing another tow. This dangerously twisted load was stuck in the middle of a roundabout in Windsor.

Senior was in his 1993 Peterbilt with 10-ton NRC Quickswap and 25-ton winch when he was flagged down by the driver. With traffic quickly backing up, he immediately put his plan in place. He called for veteran operator Eric Godard of Coxon’s Towing who arrived in a 2003 Kenworth T800 with 50-ton NRC rotator. Junior responded in their 1993 International 4600 emergency response unit and Myron Roelens and Dennis responded in a 2004 International 9400 hooked to a 50-ton Elgin Landoll.

“Myron and myself arrived shortly after to find a traffic plan in place and large traffic backups,” Dennis stated. “The rotator, the Peterbilt and our response unit were already in place. We pulled the Landoll on the opposite side of the rotator.

“The truck itself,” Dennis said, “entered the roundabout too fast, and when he hit his brakes his load shifted and a single pipe wedged into the cab rendering the truck useless. The bottom half of the load was still secure, so it really was just the top half causing issues.”

The crew first cut the straps holding the top load.

“We had access to two pipes right away and were able to quickly remove them,” said Dennis.

With Eric operating the NRC rotator and Myron securing the load being transferred to the Landoll, Dennis and Derek Jr. were tasked with climbing the load and rigging.

Using recovery loops, they rigged the pipe impaling the cab with the rotator lifting. Senior hooked to the rear, pulling the pipe back. They were able to free it and transfer it to the Landoll.

“Our third lift would be the rest of the broken bundle and the other shifted bundle,” said Dennis. “We looped them all together and loaded them onto our Landoll. With all of the shifted load cleared the truck was able to drive away under his own power.

“In our Landoll, we followed him to his yard only minutes away where it was offloaded and reloaded onto another truck and trailer. This roundabout is just minutes from the Ambassador Bridge and is Canada’s busiest roundabout.”

The crew clearing this dangerous wreck stuck in the middle of the round was featured on Heavy Rescue 401 on “Discovery Canada.”

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!

A Mean Lean

0 7f995By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Robert “Bob” D. Fenimore is the owner of B&F Towing Co. in Wilmington, Delaware. This American veteran-owned and operated company has been in business since 1967, serving Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.

On March 27, 2020, the owner of a dump truck called B&F for a winch out in Salem, New Jersey. Heavy recovery specialist Chuck Bonadio was dispatched.

“I responded solo in my 2019 Peterbilt with an NRC 40 CS four-winch,” Bonadio said. “We were contacted by the owner of the truck to recover it.”

When Bonadio arrived, he found a 2020 Freightliner dump truck with its passenger-side wheels more than rim deep in mud.

“It was at a mean lean,” he said. “I rigged a doubled line from the tailboard of the tow truck to a tail wrap on the rear of the dump truck; I used a 16 endless loop for the wrap.

“I rigged a line to lift the low side to take the lean out of it and finish the recovery because I knew I was gonna run out of line on the tail wrap before it was all the way back to the road. I used my auxiliaries married together to the low-side tow pin on the front to bring the front to the road.”

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

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!

Road ‘Clothesed’

0 fa1ccBy Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Bill’s Towing & Auto Service of St. Clairsville, Ohio, has provided road service, auto repairs, towing and recovery services in Belmont County and the Wheeling, West Virginia, metro area since 1981. Company founder and owner William “Bill” Coulson has added employees and equipment over the years including his sons Chad and Ty. Both have grown up in the family business they now co-own with their dad.

On March 20, 2020, Bill’s Towing was called by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and a customer to respond to a rollover on I-70 westbound in Belmont County. The rolled semi was loaded with 7,000 lbs. of clothing.

Ty responded with an awesome 60-ton five-axle they call “A Little Side Action,” a 2018 Peterbilt 389 tandem-steer with a 2018 Jerr-Dan 50/60 rotator. Chad responded with a 2019 Kenworth W990/60-ton Jerr-Dan rotator. Tony Albright responded with a 2017 International Lonestar/35-ton Jerr-Dan integrated. Daniel Ward responded with a 2019 Peterbilt 389 pulling their response trailer stocked with spill supplies and John Frank responded in a 2019 Peterbilt 389 to pull the casualty trailer from scene.

“Once we assessed the scene and saw the load had stayed in the trailer,” Ty said, “we decided to slide the whole unit back onto the roadway before uprighting it. First, we pumped the fuel tanks off before doing the recovery using one of our FlowStop vac pumps.”

A crew member cut the guardrail away from the unit so they would be able to slide it up onto the roadway. The two rotators were hooked onto the trailer portion around the dolly legs and rear axles of the trailer with 1/2” recovery chains. With the 35-ton hooked to the cab portion, they evenly slid the unit up the embankment and back onto the road.

“Once on the road, we separated the cab portion and uprighted it (and) separated it from the 35-ton and hooked it for tow back to our yard.”

The rotators then set up to roll the trailer.

“Using two 12”x16’ recovery straps on the pick lines and 1/2” chains to the landing gear and rear axle on the catch lines,” Ty said, “we rolled the trailer between the trucks and used catch lines to control the load.”

They righted the trailer loaded and it was then taken back to Bill’s shop for a load transfer.

Chad jested, “Nice easy job for a Friday!”

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!
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NORTHERN - Hanover, MA
$90
(pop. 13,879)

SOUTHERN - Lake City, FL
$120
(pop. 12,046)

MIDWEST Yankton, SD
$80
(pop. 14,454)

WESTERN - Centralia, WA
$178
(pop. 16,336)

Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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April 08 - April 14, 2020

Stabbed in the Back

picture 1da6aBy Randall C. Resch

If your company’s best tow operator drives a customer’s forklift from a loading dock to the tow truck’s location, it’s reasonable to ask if that operator attended OSHA’s approved safety course for forklift operations.

While towers may have tons of experience in product, load and vehicle transportation, the simple act of driving a forklift to the tow truck’s location requires certification training. OSHA mandates all workers operating forklifts receive training and certification to protect their safety on the job. In the performance of loading and transporting forklifts, even if it’s going across town, the tow operator must have forklift certification even if they’re only driving it to the carrier’s location.

Are You Certified?

Forklift trucks are totally and completely different than that of typical motor vehicles. Accordingly, OSHA strictly requires that persons operating forklift trucks must have first received an OSHA-approved forklift operator’s safety course.

To be compliant under the section, an individual with 15 years of tow and transport experience, who, in preparation of a load-to-transport scenario, must have proof of training on their person. This is true even if only driving the forklift to the transport trailer or flatbed carrier. It’s one of those hidden stipulations that tow operators (and tow company owners) may not be aware.

Who’s to Say?

OK, that being said, what’s wrong with the opening picture? In carrier operations, there’s a debate regarding loading and transporting forklift trucks that has to do with positioning. There’s a mindset with some tow operators who’ll argue that forklifts should be loaded “mast forward” for better weight distribution on a flatbed carrier’s deck.

So, I’ll pose this question based on the transport capabilities of most carriers and designs of forklift trucks: Is the positioning of a forklift truck, (forks forward) important as to the driver’s safety, the overall load or better weight disbursement?

Proper load and positioning are necessary safety factors to consider, with forks pointed forward (toward the carrier’s cab). If a panic stop or collision occurs, the forks most likely would be forced through and past the headache rack and through the rearward wall of the truck’s cab. As weight and momentum are difficult to control in any loose vehicle scenario, a breakaway forklift with fork’s forward could assuredly result in a potentially deadly situation.

“Forks forward” is an easy way for the truck’s driver to be fatally stabbed should the forklift break-free from restraint and violently roll forward into the tow truck’s cab. Although carriers are outfitted with headache racks, their thin, tensile strength isn’t sufficient to stop forklift tines from puncturing the rack and entering the truck’s cab.

More is Better

Forklifts have a low center-of-gravity making transport problematic. Positioning a forklift isn’t a difficult process: the lift’s weight and fork positioning are your first considerations. I believe in the “more is better” mentality when it comes to securing anything on a carrier’s deck, including forklifts.

As in any vehicle load where four-point tie-down is the norm, there’s nothing wrong with employing any combination of ratchet straps, come-alongs, and rated chain (beyond four) to gain a solid transport platform. When attaching any of the aforementioned equipment, be sure to remain clear of all pinch-spots, electrical wires, fuel lines and locations where hydraulic lines may be routed.

Also don’t forget the total height of the lifting mast to ensure there’s sufficient clearance to make it under bridges and low-hanging anythings. For taller masts, once the forklift is winched onto the deck and in position to distribute its weight to the carrier’s front-axle, apply its emergency brake, then tilt the mast forward. As far as other ideal load considerations, it’s recommended that fuel gets shut off and the machine’s battery is disconnected.

Because every commercial transport has to cross open DOT scales, you’re ultimately at the mercy of some scale officer who has eagle-like eyes, a sharpened pencil and a penchant for enforcement. As you creep forward towards the scale house window, you’ll have that lump in your throat hoping the officer doesn’t see anything to catch his eyes.

It seems like time stands still while you silently recite a “Trucker’s Prayer,” and then … the light miraculously goes green. With a deep sigh you think, “Yes … there is a God,” as you slowly tug the seat’s upholstery cover from between your butt cheeks.

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.







Tips for Diversification

diversification.strategy.126 f833dBy Brian J. Riker

Towmen are a resourceful bunch, and as such I expect most of my readers to survive this temporary crisis. One way to do so is to diversify your service offerings to make up for the shortfall of routine retail towing.

Our flatbeds, tractors and lowboy trailers can be used to haul a wide variety of in-demand products; however, we must be sure to do so in compliance with the law. Just because a product will fit and can be secured to your truck or trailer doesn’t mean it is OK to haul it without special considerations.

One of the most common violations I see is operating authority. Many towers have U.S. DOT numbers; but not as many have for-hire motor carrier authority, commonly known as an MC number. This is because disabled or wrecked motor vehicles typically do not require motor carrier authority for emergency or first-moves.

If you are hauling anything other than wrecked or disabled motor vehicles in interstate commerce, you must have active motor carrier authority. If not, you can be fined thousands of dollars. You must also update your MCS-150 (U.S. DOT number report) to reflect the additional freight types you intend to haul.

If you do not currently have MC authority, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is making available emergency applications for temporary operating authority. This authority will be granted in as little 48 hours and be effective for 90 days, or until the end of the declared emergency. This temporary authority can be converted into permanent authority, if so desired.

Keep in mind this temporary authority is intended for trucking companies that will be hauling supplies directly related to COVID-19 relief efforts. Temporary emergency authority will not be granted to those not intending to move relief supplies.

All of the traditional requirements of permanent authority still apply, such as drug testing programs, process agent (BOC-3), insurance filings (BMC-90) and completed driver qualification files (including drug and alcohol clearinghouse query for CDL drivers).

I must also caution towers looking to diversify to contact their insurance agent to verify they have the appropriate insurance coverage for the type and value of the new work. Most towers do not have coverage that will protect them when hauling anything not a motor vehicle. Common things currently transported like toolboxes, machinery and sheds all require special riders or declarations on your insurance policy, as does general freight.

The spot market for dry van and refrigerated goods is looking really tempting at the moment; however, be sure you have the proper equipment, insurance and training required to haul these loads. There is special training for food safety and security that is applicable to hauling many grocery loads.

We all have to do what we can to weather this storm, including some things outside our comfort zone. Just make sure you are doing them safely and legally to avoid causing your business more harm while trying to protect it.

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: yourdotguy.com.

No One Left Behind

NEW b27e7By Randall C. Resch

The news is alive with recurring incidents where vehicles get towed to a tow facility only to discover an injured victim or a deceased body hours later or the next day.

This has the potential of happening anywhere.

It’s Pretty Common

As an accident investigator, EMT and tow operator, I've worked these crashes and seen that small-ish victims tend to get thrown to a vehicle’s floor upon impact. Wreckage and other factors like weather and darkness may hide the victim’s presence.

Modern vehicles are equipped with as many as 12 airbags. When smaller victims are tossed to the floorboards, between the seats or under dashboards, they may be obscured by compartment debris. There's always a possibility that someone isn’t found because they were hidden under draped air bags.

>Where’d They Go?

Individuals sometimes aren’t discovered at the initial crash scene and ultimately get listed as “missing persons” with the local police. This was the case in December 2007 when a Tarzana, California, mom and son were in a vehicle that careened into a building. The Los Angeles Times reported that the son was transported by paramedics and the vehicle was towed in the usual manner. Initially, the family didn’t know mom and son were in a crash nor were they aware the son was transported to the hospital.

In the case of the lost son and mom, investigators traced dispatch logs, call center recordings and hospital records subsequently locating the son as a crash victim; but mom wasn’t found. Accordingly, the LAPD went to the Canoga Park tow yard where mom’s body was discovered inside the vehicle.

Unless an individual works in environments where death, rescue and body extrication are their vocation, the public doesn’t understand that once rescue is complete, there are additional steps that must be taken. In most cases, even if the individual was determined deceased, rescue and extrication typically comes first; the dead have to wait. The deceased ultimately requires a response from the Sheriff’s/Coroner’s Office to come to a scene, identify, record and transport the deceased.

Then, notification of the next of kin occurs.

Outside Looking In

Most first responders require a systematic check and vehicle walkaround that includes marking the vehicle's exterior to indicate the specific space was searched. Some procedures require that someone is tasked with making a final walkaround and inspection before a tow company loads or tows the casualties away.

Although tow trucks typically are last to handle on-scene clean up, it's important that tow operators take a quick look in interior spaces before loading flatbed carriers or dollies to ensure no one is left behind. Prior to departing, and with a gloved hand, push those deployed air bags out of the way to make a cursory look while being ready for the visual shock that an injured or deceased individual might still be in the car. 

Because there are many players in first response, finding all victims is a critical part and responsibility of recovery. The same holds true at accident scenes where vehicles roll over and victims not wearing seatbelts were thrown from their vehicles. Motorcycle accidents oftentimes result in riders being ejected into roadside ditches, brush and trees.

In all scenarios like these, liability is questioned when someone is found in a towed vehicle after the fact. Not that it’s just the towman’s responsibility, but it‘s something we towers can do if nothing less than for our own peace of mind.

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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April 08 - April 14, 2020

Going the Extra Mile

0 e85beBy George L. Nitti

For the last five years, Transtech Auto of Broadway, Virginia, has transformed its fleet of heavy-duty wreckers into something brighter and fresher.

According to Transtech’s general manager Heather Stroop, “We were looking for something that just stood out and that was a real eye-catcher.”

The company turned to Razor Graphics of Fredericksburg and drew on the artistry of Mark Long. Long is well-known throughout the state for his distinguishable wraps.

The design on Transtech’s 2019 Kenworth T880/Century 5130 integrated 25-ton wrecker features characteristics of his other signature designs. Sharp, jagged lines that zigzag across the truck, eye-catching color schematics and large, modern fonts spelling out the company name are all there.

The red and lime green color scheme stands out. The red serves as the background while the lime green zigzags across.

“We wanted brighter contrasting colors,” Stroop said, “because our other trucks were all the same color.”

The Transtech name is written in a large silver, modern font, spread across the body of the Century wrecker.

“The company started out building transmissions, 34 years ago,” said Stroop. “Transtech stands for transmission technicians. But over time the company got into the towing business.”

The key distinguishing feature that makes this particular wrap different from some of the other designs done by Long is the gargantuan racing checkerboard that takes up the lower half of the wrecker’s body.

Stroop said, “My boss has always been a gearhead. He’s always liked racing.”

Despite a recent slowdown in calls, the company keeps on trucking and living their slogan of going the extra mile.

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

Tribal-ing Times

0 priced5 copy 5a5c6By George L. Nitti

Today in the age of the novel coronavirus, you might say we are all part of the same tribe, feeling its effects together. This includes tow truck companies that are seeing a slowdown in business with fears of a spreading virus.

Priced Rite Auto Repair and Towing, one of the larger tow companies at the New Jersey shore, with locations in Tom’s River and Manahawkin, is no exception.

“We’re not as busy,” said manager Jason Mills. “There is not as much traffic on the roads and department stores, like Kohl’s, restaurants and bars and other retail businesses are closed.”

Mills has been with the company for four years; he drives their colorful 2019 Peterbilt 389 Vulcan V-100 with a 50-ton body.

“We upgraded from a 1993 Mack,” said Mills. “The difference between the two is night and day. It’s newer, with more up-to-date, sophisticated technology.”

Helping to highlight this wrecker are its purple, aqua and gray tribal patterns that span the entire unit from front to back.

Mills said, “Those patterns were hand-painted by Harry’s Sign Works of Monroe, New Jersey. He has done all of our trucks for 25 years. He takes a truck and does his thing. Unfortunately, he passed away this year.”

Not all of the wrecker is hand-painted, however.

“The front and back purple fenders are wrapped and the company name is done in vinyl,” Mills said.

The company name, arced in pink-ish/purpl-ish colors, melds nicely with the tribal patterns. Their phone number is written in large letters just below it.

On the cabin, hand-painted purple pinstriping adds a special touch that pulls together the wrecker’s blend of colors.

“We get comments on it all of the time,” Mills said. “People pull over and take pictures.”

Let's all stay safe in these “tribal-ing” times.

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

A Pride for Motorcycles

0 34a85
By George L. Nitti

Speak to most towers and they will tell you they have a passion for what they do. Many would not trade their job for any other in the world. However, there is an even rarer breed of tower: one who strictly tows motorcycles because it’s their passion rather than cars or trucks.

Clyde Benefield, owner of Cycle Worthy Towing of Newnan, Georgia, has been in business for 11 years. He tows an average of 8-10 motorcycles a day within a 75-mile radius around Atlanta, Georgia.

His passion is partly revealed on a slogan on his 2013 3500 HD Chevrolet with an AmeriDeck bed. It states, “We Take Pride in your Ride.”

“The whole reason I got into the business,” Benefield said, “is because I worked in the motorcycle industry. That’s when I saw motorcycles on tow trucks and observed that [many] towers didn’t take good enough care of the bikes that were being transported on their flatbeds.”

It wasn’t until he was in a motorcycle accident that he became hooked on the idea of starting his own business.

He said, “When I saw my motorcycle on a wrecker and the way it was being handled, it bothered me. I found out that no one was doing motorcycle towing anywhere.”

Benefield acknowledged that for the first few years it was a struggle, as many of his new customers assumed he was going to show up with a flatbed in a business that is 65 percent to 70 percent referrals. But over time, he gained credibility as they realized he had a safer means of transporting their motorcycles on a specialized bed.

The name of the company is written large on the side of the unit in an imperfectly curved shape with the letter “C” elongated under the other letters.

“I battled with the name of the company for some time,” Benefield said. “Cycle Worthy was popping in my brain. I realized it’s worthy for your motorcycle to be taken care (of).”

Under the lettering, green and black flames fill out the background.

“It was originally orange, but people assumed Harley Davidson and I didn’t want to be suspected of bias,” he said. “So I decided to go with lime green, which stands out, especially at night with the reflective lettering.”

On the hood the number 13 stands out.

“The number 13 has a lot of meaning for me. I was born on the 13th. Thirteen is my lucky number. 2013 was the year I claimed my business. And the 13th letter of the alphabet is an M, for Motorcycle.”

When asked if he would consider towing cars, Benefield said, “No. My heart’s not in it. When I go to pick up a motorcycle, I can see the pleasure people have knowing that I’m taking care of their bike. That’s where my pride comes in.”

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
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April 08 - April 14, 2020

Western Global's Mobile Refueler

WesternGlobal TransCubeCab 2de0aWestern Global introduces the TransCube Cab mobile refueler designed for increased uptime, safety and security on jobsites. The TransCube Cab is mounted to a U.S. DOT-approved galvanized trailer and is transportable when full of fuel. The tank is double-walled and fully contained to ensure the safest and most environmental storage and transfer of fuel. It helps eliminate unnecessary downtime on jobsites that can be associated with waiting for fuel delivery. The TransCube Cab tank features a 110% fuel containment design with a weather-proof secondary containment.

western-global.com

Mack Trucks Unveils New Medium-Duty Line

MackTrucks aba08Mack Trucks recently launched its all-new MD Series of medium-duty trucks, along with a $13 million investment to establish its Roanoke Valley Operations (RVO) in Virginia for the production of the Mack MD Series. The Mack MD6, a Class 6 model, has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of 25,995 lbs., and the MD7, a Class 7 model, has a GVWR of 33,000 lbs. Both are exempt from the 12-percent Federal Excise Tax. Available in 4x2 configurations, the MD6 and MD7 models feature a sharp wheel cut for enhanced maneuverability. The MD Series cab design features 103” bumper-to-back-of-cab measurement of 103 inches. Serial production of the Mack MD Series will begin in July 2020.

macktrucks.com

10W-30 Fleet Diesel Oil

product3.25.2020 f93a7Hot Shot’s Secret recently added a 10W-30 blend to its Green Diamond Fleet Full Synthetic Group III/Group IV engine oil line. Green Diamond Fleet is specially formulated for use in diesel-powered vehicles that experience extreme temperatures, heavy loads, stop-and-go operations or high airborne particulates. As a severe-duty diesel oil, it is a replacement for any CF-4, CJ-4, CI-4 and CI-4 Plus specification oil. Green Diamond Fleet 10W-30 is available in either a 1-gal. or 5-gal. container, as well as in bulk quantities.

hotshotsecret.com
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April 08 - April 14, 2020
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April 08 - April 14, 2020
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order April 4 temporarily preventing cars, trucks and mobile homes from being repossessed. Image - nbcwashington.com.

Maryland Executive Order [b]Halts Repossessions

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan offered a variety of financial protections aimed at helping Marylanders impacted by coronavirus, including new restrictions on repossessions. The executive order temporarily prevents cars, trucks and mobile homes from being repossessed.

"We're going to continue to do everything that we possibly can to help get Marylanders through this," Hogan said on April 4.

When talking about the sacrifices many in Maryland are making, Hogan was emotional.

"We simply don't know just how bad things are going to get, or exactly how long this is going to last," Hogan said. "Winston Churchill once said, 'If you're going through hell, keep going.' And that is exactly what we are going to have to do."

Source: wusa9.com.

Sheriff: Woman Threatened [b]Repo Agent with Gun

Gregg County (Texas) sheriff's deputies arrested a 48-year-old woman after they said she fired a gun after threatening a repo agent who came to repossess her SUV April 2, according to a report.

Kristal Ann Trice of Longview was held in the Gregg County Jail on $25,000 bond on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, jail records show.

Deputies arrested Trice after responding to a call about an aggravated assault at a gravel pit area.

Source: cbs19.tv.

COVID-19 Brings Changes to Banks, Locales

The coronavirus epidemic has brought forth some changes from banks and locales that may affect the repossession business.

Boston, Massachusetts: Towing and parking tickets are no longer being issued for most infractions, Mayor Marty Walsh announced March 29.

Illinois: The state’s Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued guidance for lenders and borrowers March 30 regarding debt collection during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a part of the guidance, the department highlighted a recent executive order suspending repossession of vehicles during the duration of a disaster declaration for COVID-19.

Chicago, Illinois: First Midwest Bank is offering repossession programs that suspend new foreclosure actions associated with consumer installment loans and consumer loan auto repossessions through June 30.

Michigan: West Shore Bank has enacted a repossession halt program, where the bank has suspended initiating new repossession actions for vehicles, RVs or marine craft for the next 60 days.

Pennsylvania: State Attorney General Josh Shapiro is asking banks across the state to commit to offering certain relief to customers struggling financially during the pandemic. A 60-day moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and vehicle repossession has been proposed through the “PA CARE Package” initiative.

Sources: shorelinemedia.net; bostonherald.com; post-gazette.com; journal-republican.com; dailyherald.com.

ARA Offers Support Amidst Coronavirus Confusion

The American Recovery Association issued a message last week, acknowledging the immense problem the coronavirus pandemic is causing when it comes to collections and vehicle repossessions.

ARA has tried to get clarity from officials about how businesses involved with repossessions and recovery can function under these circumstances.

“We have made inquiries to every governor that has made a stay at home proclamation for clarification on whether or not the repossession industry is an essential or life-sustaining business and we have yet to hear back from them,” the association said in a release.

The association said that discussions with attorneys and accountants have proven to be just as confusing, as they are also unable to get clarification from the federal government on most of the new laws and regulations passed in the recently.

“We find it very difficult to believe that a judge or jury will offer our industry much relief under these guidelines when we suggest we are operating as an essential business per the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” ARA went on to say. “It may be that a client will offer us an indemnification that should one of our employees become ill or, even worse, die from an interaction with a consumer or vice versa.”

Source: autoremarketing.com.
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