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The Week's Features
Cleveland: Aug.19-22; Las Vegas: Sept. 9-12; San Antonio: Oct. 16-18
Wheels deep in mud pose no problem for B&F Towing
Aqua and gray tribal patterns highlight this beauty
Production of Mack’s MD6 and MD7 will begin in July 2020
Epidemic has brings changes that may affect the repo business
Events
Cleveland, OH.
Aug. 19-22, 2020
Las Vegas, NV.
Sept 9-12, 2020
San Antonio, TX.
Oct. 16-18, 2020
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 19-22, 2020
Dates for Cleveland, Las Vegas, and San Antonio shows moved forward to August, September and October
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing April 08 - April 14, 2020

Landoll Adds Air Disc Brakes

2019 25a6fLandoll Corp. announced a new air-disc brakes option for its 400 Series traveling-axle and 900 Series traveling-tail trailers. The optional Landoll AIRDISC 17 brake system has been integrated with an all-new custom air-ride suspension to bring high-performance braking to commercial equipment trailers. The new brake system is designed for applications with extremely demanding brake usage, as air disc brakes provide consistent performance during extended braking cycles, such as long descending mountain grades. Reduced brake fade and fast on/off response significantly improves stopping distance vs. drum brake applications.

landoll.com


Click here to read more

Agero CARES Act Webinar

Agero will be hosting a webinar this afternoon on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), the $2 trillion economic stimulus bill signed into law March 27. The webinar will take place at 2 p.m. (EST), Agero uses Zoom for its webinars and asks those interested in participating to do so through the Zoom website (zoom.us) ahead of the webinar. For access, go to https://agero.zoom.us/j/517081519. Source: Agero.
Agero is hosting a webinar this afternoon, April 7, on the CARES Act.
American Towman Conventions Rescheduled Due to Pandemic Concerns
Don't Miss It!
Join industry trainer Bobby Tuttle of CIRT as he discusses options for how to safely recover all sizes of wrecked vehicles when entangled in the cable barrier systems. Discusses issues with releasing the tension of the cable barrier system. His seminar, “Recovery from Median Cable Barriers Systems,” will take place during Tow Industry Week at the Westgate Paradise & Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 9-12, 2020.

atshowplace.com

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.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

While businesses have slowed down due to the novel coronavirus, tow companies can use this time creatively to re-structure where re-structuring needs to take place.

Perhaps a change in approach to your marketing strategy is in order. Make plans to shift the focus of your business to do more recovery work. How about keeping in touch more with the leaders of your community who may be influential in getting you on a municipal, county or state rotation list?

Just because trucks may be sitting idle for a minute … doesn’t mean your brain has to be.

In any case, the calls may not be coming in—at the moment—however, you need to be thinking ahead for when everything does pick up again.

And it will.

Keep your eyes on the prize … and hold on.

--Charles Duke

Road America Co-Sponsors ACE Awards

Expo Spotlight copy 161e3Road America’s services are designed to enhance customer satisfaction and brand loyalty across a number of sectors. They are a co-sponsor of the American Towman ACE Awards taking place during the American Towman Show Place at the Westgate Paradise & Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada, September 9-12, 2020. Be sure to stop by their booth to see what services they have to offer your business.

road-america.com
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


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
Gordon’s Interstate Towing was selected by the Young Professionals of Jamestown (North Dakota) and the Chamber Ambassadors as April Business of the Month. Image - Jamestown Chamber.

Gordon’s Interstate Towing Named Business of the Month

The Young Professionals of Jamestown (North Dakota) and the Chamber Ambassadors recently awarded Gordon’s Interstate Towing with the April Business of the Month Award for their outstanding customer service and continued commitment to the community. “Randy (Gordon) always provides great service and has helped me more than a handful of times the last two winters. It doesn’t matter the conditions he’s always out helping people getting them stuck or towing them. He works insane amounts of hours and is so dedicated to his job. I feel he does so much and goes underappreciated,” the nominating letter stated. Gordon’s Interstate Towing and 11 other 2020 monthly award winners will be considered for Business of the Year that will be awarded at the Chamber’s Annual Banquet in January 2021. Source: newsdakota.com.

Tow Truck Stolen from Center Auto Body

According to a release from the Statewide Towing Association of Massachusetts, three suspects in a Chevy Silverado stole a 2018 Freightliner flatbed tow truck with the Massachusetts repair plate 724D from Center Auto Body in Norwood on April 2 at 1:19 a.m. The release stated that the suspects parked in front of the gate and used a power tool to cut the lock on the gate. One of the suspects proceeded to go into the lot and stole the tow truck which had the keys in the vehicle. The truck is white and blue with a Center Auto Body logo on the door. The truck was driven off the lot in under five minutes. Source: STA.

Stalled Vehicle, Tow Truck Struck by Train

A stalled vehicle and a tow truck were struck by a train in an incident that was caught on camera late Friday night in Houston, Texas. A police officer observed a vehicle stalled on the railroad tracks around 11:34 p.m. The officer requested a tow truck and informed dispatch to stop railroad traffic while crews worked to remove the vehicle. A towman quickly responded and began working to pull the vehicle off the railroad tracks. While recovering the vehicle, a train proceeded down the tracks striking both vehicles. No injuries were reported, but the incident remains under investigation. Source: onscene.tv.


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April 08 - April 14, 2020
Miller Industries has developed an icon to represent the towing and recovery industry within the First Responder family. Files of the icon can be downloaded from their news website at news.millerind.com.

Miller Industries Develops Tow Icon for First Responder Family

Citing that the spotlight is currently on first responders during the COVID-19 outbreak, Miller Industries has taken on the task of developing an icon to represent the towing and recovery industry.

“As we witness the online recognition for our first responders and towing and recovery community, we realized that there is a need for an icon to represent towing and recovery,” a company release read. “That said, we have worked to develop an icon that we feel is a good representation for our industry and we hope that you agree. Please feel free to use and distribute the icon as you wish to help raise awareness for our industry.”

The files are available at news.millerind.com.

Source: millerind.com.

AT Reschedules Cleveland, Las Vegas, San Antonio Shows

Due to the health crises challenging the nation, American Towman has rescheduled its tow shows in Cleveland, Ohio, Las Vegas, Nevada, and San Antonio, Texas.

The Towman Games in Cleveland, Ohio, has been moved to Aug.19-22, 2020 (exhibit dates on Aug. 21-22). AT ShowPlace-Las Vegas has been moved to Sept. 9-12, 2020 (exhibit dates on Sept.10-11). TowXpo in San Antonio, Texas, has been rescheduled to Oct. 16-18, 2020 (exhibit dates on Oct. 17-18).

Lastly, the American Towman Exposition returns to Baltimore, Maryland, this year, Nov. 19-22.

Source: American Towman.

Planet Halo Transitions its Business Due to COVID-19

Planet Halo, suppliers of fleet tracking vehicle camera systems, has transitioned its business entirely to personal protective equipment and supplies for the time being.

A release from the company stated the company is supplying masks, gloves, thermometers to hospitals, businesses and first responders.

As many tow companies are still out there running jobs, Planet Halo said in the release that it can fulfill orders of FDA-approved gloves quickly, working around the clock and shipping door to door.

Source: myhealth.planethalo.com.

Beacon Software Offering Free 90-Day DA Subscription

In the wake of COVID-19, Beacon is offering a free 90 day subscription of their flagship product, Dispatch Anywhere, to assist first responders in need of an immediate solution, according to a press release from the company.

The offer is available to new DA customers or preexisting TowMagic and TowLien customers.

Beacon Software said that the company “is offering a solution to those who are scrambling to communicate effectively with their employees and customers from home or on the road.”

“Our only goal is to make it easier for first responders to do their jobs safely and efficiently,” said Todd Althouse, president of Beacon Software. “We know drivers are working longer hours to keep essential businesses and medical facilities stocked and we think this is the best way for us to provide the necessary resources to them that will support remote work.”

Source: beaconsoftco.com.

Talbert Announces 2019 Dealer Award Winners

Talbert Manufacturing has named Hale Trailer Brake & Wheel of Voorhees, New Jersey, as its top dealer for 2019. This award recognizes outstanding performance in trailer sales, service and parts on behalf of Talbert.

This is the 12th year in a row Hale has outperformed other Talbert dealers to take the top spot.

“Year after year, Hale delivers not only the sales numbers, but the quality service and dependability Talbert stands for to customers up and down the East Coast,” said Troy Geisler, Talbert VP of sales and marketing. “Each of their locations is staffed with some of the most knowledgeable specialists in the industry and provide top-notch customer service.”

Talbert also named Alamo City Trailer Sales, serving central Texas and beyond, as the Most Improved Dealer of 2019 and one of the Top 10 dealers overall.

Source: talbertmfg.com.

Roadcheck Postponed as Pandemic Continues

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced it will postpone the annual International Roadcheck inspection blitz, which was set for May 5-7, to later in the year. New dates for the enforcement campaign have not yet been decided.

While Roadcheck has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, CVSA noted that roadside inspections and traffic enforcement will continue as normal.

When it’s rescheduled, this year’s Roadcheck will focus on driver compliance, notably electronic logging devices and hours of service, but also medical cards, CDLs, seatbelt use and more. Inspectors also will do standard checks of lights, brakes and other equipment.

Operation Safe Driver Week is still scheduled for July 12-18 and Brake Safety Week is still set for Aug. 23-29.

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

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!

Kitty Stuck in a Hole

0 f5431By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

On March 6 2020 Brad Mills from Active Towing in Ontario, Canada, called his buddy Rob Goodliffe, the owner of family-run Bob’s Towing in Guelph, and asked if he could assist in getting a 30-ton excavator out of a pond at a pit in Waterloo, Ontario.

“Brad sent some pictures and I headed out to assist,” Goodliffe said. “He was out there in his 2006 Western Star with a 40-ton NRC slider and I showed up with my 2001 Western Star with a 2011 Metro RTR 70-SL.”

The CAT excavator had been moving around and the bank gave way. Down into the pit it went with the operator turning the machine before it fully went over and upside down. The operator was unscathed, just a little shaken.

Mills and Goodliffe surveyed the situation and came up with a plan. Both heavies were put into place, and with the help of some of the crew on site, they began rigging.

“We took two lines from Brad's NRC,” Goodliffe informed, “hooked one line to the base of the CAT and one line to the top for support, holding it from rolling over as the arm lifted out of the mud at the bottom of the pond. Then we rigged the Metro rotator to the belly of the machine for the pull up the bank.

“Inch by inch we pulled the machine out of the water letting the suction release as we pulled.”

Once they got the CAT up and out of the water on to dry ground, the crew of the construction company went over the machine and checked the fluids. After finding that all was good they started the machine up and all was well.

“We pulled it up the embankment with the machine operator controlling the machine's bucket and releasing truck pressure. Once it was at the top our job was done,” stated Goodliffe. “They went over the machine there and it continued working and ready for the next day. Brad and I packed up our equipment and back out to the next job.”

The teamwork of two veteran operators using state-of-the-art equipment made for a successful recovery. Goodliffe's 2011 Metro RTR-70-SL and Active’s NRC 40-ton slider made easy work of this Kitty stuck in a hole.

Editor’s Note: Look for the this story in an upcoming issue of American Towman Magazine.

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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Danbury, CT
$88
(pop. 80,893)

San Angelo, TX
$85
(pop. 100,450)

Toms River, NJ
$125
(pop. 92,093)

Boulder, CO
$89
(pop. 97,385)

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

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.

TRAA Legislative Workshop Recap

TRAA.Legislative.Meeting 30987By Brian J. Riker

Despite the pandemonium that was setting in from the coronavirus, the Towing and Recovery Association of America’s Legislative Workshop held in Washington, D.C., March 11-13 was a huge success. The congressional members and their staff were very accommodating and accessible, even while being pulled away to deliberate and vote on virus issues.

My take away from this event was two-fold. First, TRAA has a national voice with a seat at the table on many very important conferences or committees across multiple federal agencies and is being asked to actively participate in more every day. Other disciplines such as fire, rescue, EMS and law enforcement are finally seeking our industry input and opinion on issues critical to our safety and success.

Secondly, towmen have a voice that is being received in Washington. Let’s work to keep this momentum going forward as now is the time to make a difference with so many folks sick and tired of the status quo.

I was pleased to see representatives from several state associations in attendance and actively participating; however it was the individual towman that made the most impact on the legislators. I am calling for towmen from all 50 states to attend next year. Just imagine the impact 50-plus towing professionals would have on Capitol Hill.

The key issues addressed this year were safety-related, with TRAA’s focus on safety for roadside operations. The injury and death in our industry is greater than it should be, and distracted driving is not going away anytime soon. TRAA and the workshop attendees spoke to more than 30 members of Congress and/or their staff on three key issues:

Support for a National Move Over effort to harmonize the 50 individual Move Over laws into one Federal standard. This would include mandatory educational efforts and opening the discussion for allowing towers to provide for their own safe work zones. This effort is currently being revised with bi-partisan support to include all roadside workers such as fire, police, EMS, mobile mechanics and DOT.

Technical corrections to the size and weight exemptions granted to the towing industry in the FAST Act of 2015. This would allow for towing combination and other heavy commercial vehicles off the highway in a more efficient manner to reduce the time and workers required to clear a disablement or crash.

Support for passage of the DRIVE Safe Act. This would allow qualified and properly trained 18-20 year old operators to engage in interstate commerce; an effort important to many vocational fleets, towing and road service operations. Interstate commerce is much more than long-haul trucking where a driver is away for days or weeks at a time. It can include intra-state or intra-town hauling if it is intended to cross a border.

TRAA has made it a key mission to monitor and address other legislation that may have a national impact on towing. As such, they have been actively monitoring and commenting on several other key pieces of legislation which they provided updates to the attendees. I will go into more detail on this and much more in the May 2020 issue of American Towman Magazine.

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.
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April 08 - April 14, 2020

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

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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

Hooked on Towing

0 705b4By George L. Nitti

On Pink Hookers Towing’s Instagram page, a catchy quote states: “Trust the next chapter because you are the author.”

Tow owner M.A. Johnson recently penned a new chapter in her life when she left her teaching job as a behavioral specialist to become her own boss, starting Pink Hookers Towing in New Castle, Delaware, in December, 2019.

“I have always been into cars,” she said. “A friend of mine owns a tow business and I did it once and got hooked.”

For her the allure was meeting new and different people and seeing all different kinds of cars.

Johnson said “I liked teaching but I love towing.”

As a new start-up, she operates one tow truck: a 2009 Dodge 4500 JerrDan MPL40.

“We went with the color pink,” Johnson said, “because we are an all-female towing company that supports breast cancer. We went with the name ‘Hookers’ because we hook up cars.”

On the side door, against a white background, the company name pops out in large, bright pink lettering written in a classy font.

Johnson said, “The lettering really stands out. Routh Signs of Greensboro, North Carolina sent us a couple of proofs and I picked the one I liked.”

Just under the company name is a tow chain that is hooked together, completing the logo.

The bottom side of the truck is done in pink with a swirling design that pulls together the pink lettering and white background as Instagram, Facebook and Youtube logos pop out.

An apropos slogan - “Towing for a Cure” - and hashtag #Girlpower are also found along the side.

Johnson stressed, “The main thing is that we are an all-female towing company. Girls can do it too.”

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

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

Diamondlift Fits Variety of Shops

Diamond70LiverpoolNYSchoolbus 6edcfStertil-Koni’s inground telescopic piston Diamondlift delivers service shops options for a variety of situations, whether constructing a new facility, renovating a workshop, or faced with difficult building conditions Diamondlift is available in either cassette or frame versions that are customized to fit your facility; models come in two-, three- or four-piston verions with lifting capacities of up to 35,000 lbs. per piston.

stertil-koni.com
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April 08 - April 14, 2020
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April 08 - April 14, 2020
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is calling on financial and lending institutions to halt repossessions, foreclosures and evictions for at least 90 days. Image – ABC 15 Arizona.

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.

Arizona AG Requests [b]Temporary Halt to Repos

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is calling on financial and lending institutions to provide temporary relief to customers.

Late last week, Brnovich sent a letter sent to more than 1,000 financial institutions that do business in Arizona, urging them to halt repossessions, foreclosures and evictions for at least 90 days.

In the letter, Brnovich acknowledges some financial institutions have already launched voluntary relief programs, but said Arizona needs a "consistent application of these amelioration efforts."

"We want to make sure we're doing everything we can so people have that security right now, that they know that even though we're in tough times, we're going to pull together and that especially economically, we don't want people to worried they're not going to have a roof over their head or they're going to lose their car," Brnovich said. "It's unconscionable."

Brnovich is also asking credit card companies and other lending institutions to waive late fees and default interest for late payments.

Source: azfamily.com.

Four Banks Halt Repossessions [b]During Pandemic

Tens of thousands of Americans are facing unemployment as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect daily life for cities and towns across the U.S. 

Cable financial station CNBC rounded up a list of what many major banks are offering to do for Americans affected by the coronavirus crisis. Among those temporarily halting repossessions are:

Bank of America: Announced it would pause foreclosure sales, evictions and repossessions.

Fifth-Third Bank: Announced it would suspend any new repossession actions on vehicles for the next 60 days.

Huntington Bank: Will suspend any new repossession actions associated with vehicles, RVs or marine craft financed by Huntington through at least the end of March 2020.

Wells Fargo: Will suspend residential property foreclosure sales, evictions and involuntary auto repossessions.

Source: cnbc.com.
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