The Week's Features
A procession for fallen Pennsylvania Tower Tyler Laudenslager gives honor and serves to remind drivers to “steer clear.”
Two rotators work in tandem to upright a dump truck
This attractive wrap with many contrasting points puts customers at ease
The 8800 Evolution 2 is a high-performance 4x6 LED headlight
“Operation Repo,” the popular reality series about the car repossession business, is back on air
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing August 05 - August 11, 2020

Towman Fatally Struck on I-290 in Illinois

A towman was fatally struck by a vehicle Jan. 1 on Interstate 290 in Maywood, Illinois, according to Illinois State Police.

Authorities were called about 6 a.m. to eastbound I-290 state police said. The towman was towing cars from an earlier crash when a gray Nissan sedan traveling in the right lane veered to the right and struck him.
 
He was identified as 23-year-old Andrew Dove-Ferderer by police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The Nissan also hit an unoccupied gray Chrysler sedan parked ahead of the tow truck, state police said. 

The 49-year-old woman driving the Nissan was taken to an area hospital for minor injuries, state police said. Dove-Ferdere, with O’Hare Towing, was pronounced dead on the scene, state police said.

Source: chicago.suntimes.com.


Click here to read more

AT Refining the Virtual Show Experience

American Towman’s Virtual Aisle is featured on Tow Industry Week, making it easy for tow business owners to explore the products and services of American Towman exhibitors. With over two hundred exhibitors on the Virtual Aisle, there are now thirty with custom booths being created, many of them now up on Virtual Aisle. “By September we expect there will be fifty custom booths and growing,” said Doc Calitri, president of AT Expo Corp.

The Virtual Aisle is also working on featuring mini-seminars on topics critical to tow bosses. “These seminars will be both live and video presentations,” said American Towman Editor in Chief, Steve Calitri. “There are many aspects of the in-person Exposition we will bring to the virtual experience.”

Calitri points out that the Virtual Aisle has the advantage of being accessible 24/7, all year long.
“By September we expect there will be fifty custom booths and growing,” said Doc Calitri, president of AT Expo Corp.
On The Hook with "Mr. Industry"- July 2020

Against Loading Loops

340LoadingLoops 7747cBy Randall C. Resch

Towers typically use factory loading loops as the main, recommended tool when loading vehicles onto flatbed carriers. This process is typically recommended by vehicle manufacturers and passed down to motor-clubs and vehicle owners. But I believe using loading loops is a calamity waiting to happen and don’t recommend their use.

To illustrate this point, a west-coast tower experienced an on-scene catastrophe during the loading process of an expensive foreign car valued around $83,000. The operator was somewhat new and not thoroughly trained in advanced techniques necessary for loading high-end vehicles. Loading this vehicle was supposed to be nothing more than an easy winch-on, winch-off process, to be delivered to a dealership.

As the tower located the loading loop, he carefully removed the bumper’s plastic socket-cap, inserted the factory tow-loop, and tightened it into the front-bumper as required. He attached the winch’s cable to the loop and began winching it onto the carrier’s deck.

When the vehicle’s wheels rolled onto the carrier’s deck, without indication, the loading loop violently detached and ripped away from the bumper’s mount. Because the tower didn't include a catch-strap in his hook-up process, the rollaway car damaged two parked cars, a mailbox, and a residential yard full of landscaping. The subsequent insurance claim topped $19,000.

In early years, towing vehicles with a tow-rope, or, recovery-type straps, as a means of assisting disabled vehicles, was reasonably common. The process of flat-towing was nothing more than attaching a straight-line, rope, or strap, from service vehicle to the disabled vehicle and towing it at a slow-speed to remove it from the disablement’s location to a repair destination. Flat-towing is an easy process, yet, in many states, it’s still legal (on city streets) where motorists and users are subject to comply with relevant road rules and regulations.

At some point in automotive history, loading loops became standard as a means to facilitate carrier loading. I believe, however, that loading loops were only intended for flat-towing because of minimum pulling/rolling resistance on the pavement.

While the concept of loading loops is a good one (in load theory), they’re known to strip, pull-out of its mounting socket, or break the factory welds intended to hold them steadfast. And for the purpose of incline loading, a scary proposition.

When you’re loading a vehicle by rolling it onto a carrier, there’s approximately 10-percent surface resistance for the vehicle’s tires and about 25-additional percent for the 12 to 15-degrees of sloped carrier’s deck.  At this point, you would have approximately 35-percent load on a 25-percent rated attachment point.  

Peter Fuerst, a well-respected industry trainer, wrote, “In most cases the eye and the receptacle are not really a rated attachment point.  The only thing I have seen them rated for is a straight-line pull, for 25-percent of the vehicle’s weight. Then again some manufacturers say not to use them for loading onto carriers.”

Volvo’s owner’s manual, for many of its model year cars, says to not use loading loops for loading onto a flatbed carrier.

Because loading loops represent huge potential for property damage, runaway injuries, or ultimate fatality, I train away from using them. Rather, I teach alternative ways to load vehicles onto carriers such as v-bridles, back-hooking, motorcycle straps, round-sling straps and more. But because loading loops are recommended by some manufacturers, I teach the reality of past experiences and some basic lessons learned.

Owners, be smart and evaluate the risks. What works for you is your choice, but keep in-mind those accidental scenarios that were the direct result of a separating loop.  

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.
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


Have you diversified into any new revenue streams to cope with the pandemic?
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No
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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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August 05 - August 11, 2020
Tow Truck Procession Giving Tribute to Everett Hibler, Jr.

Tow Truck Procession Gives Tribute to Everett “Charlie” Hibler, Jr.

A procession of tow trucks rolled through Binghamton, NY to pay tribute to Everett Hibler, Jr., owner of Al’s Garage and Hibler’s Towing and Recovery. He passed away at the age of 76 on July 25.

Approximately 75 trucks, including Joe’s Garage, Gary’s U-Pull It, and Beck’s Towing, drove past Hopler and Eschbach Funeral Home, where Hibler’s family was standing outside.

Hibler’s daughter, Michelle Jenkins said, “My father was an honest businessman, and a wonderful person.”

Hibler, who went by the name “Charlie,” ran his business for almost 50 years, gaining respect and adoration from his community and clearly from the towers of the Greater Binghamton Area.

Source: www.binghamtonhomepage.com

Tow Truck Driver and Motorist Killed in Baker, Ca

A tow truck driver assisting a motorist with a flat tire were both struck and killed along Highway 15 in Baker, Ca., early Thursday morning, July 31.

According to a California Highway Patrol news release, a trailer of a freightliner hauling two bottom-dumps traveled across the lane onto the right hand shoulder, hitting the tow truck driver’s 2004 GMC and causing a chain reaction that resulted in the fatal injuries.

The release stated, “For reasons still under investigation, the driver allowed the truck tractor-trailer combination to leave the #2 lane and travel onto the west shoulder of Interstate 15 southbound.”

In the motorist’s 2002 Chevrolet, a female and two juveniles escaped injury, but were later transported to Barstow Community Hospital for further evaluation, while the driver of the Freightliner was uninjured, nor suspected of being impaired.
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August 05 - August 11, 2020
First responders honor Halifax firefighter and tow truck driver Tyler A. Laudenslager, 29, who was killed Tuesday while offering roadside assistance on Interstate 78. Image: dgleiter@pennlive.com

Procession Honors Fallen Tow Truck Operator

A procession and ceremony was held Thursday in honor of 29 year old PA tower and firefighter Tyler Laudenslager who was hit and killed on Tuesday on Interstate 78 after responding to a roadside assistance call. His body was transported by hearse to a funeral home in his hometown.

Laundenslager, who left behind his wife Holly and 10 month old daughter, was remembered by family, friends and coworkers for his laughter, wit, and great love for his family.

As a result of the tragedy, tow truck operators and police reminded drivers to obey the "Steer Clear" or "Move Over" law.

Casey Burkins of Cabbage Hill Garage and Towing said, "Slow down. Move over. Give us the space we need.”

He further asserted that many drivers still do not slow down or move over when approaching emergency situations and that they should treat their amber lights like the blue lights of other emergency vehicles.

Pennsylvania State Police are taking part in a "Move Over" initiative this week with departments from neighboring states to raise awareness about the law.

Source: wgal.com; wfmz.com; pennlive.com

Tow company Finds Woman’s [b]Body in Car Trunk in Philadelphia

An employee from Philadelphia tow company Superior Automotive found a dead woman inside the trunk of one of their towed cars after detecting a foul smell.

Joe Swan of Superior Automotive said, “I got a call from an employee saying he found a body. I thought he was joking.”

Police are investigating, including the origins from where the car was towed several days ago.

According to reports, the woman has not yet been identified nor a cause of death ascertained.

Source: pennlive.com

Fugitive in Tow Truck Strikes and Kills Passenger

A man who tried to flee from police in a tow truck in Anne Arundel County, Md., was captured after fatally running over his passenger, a woman who was originally in the passenger seat.

According to police spokesman Sgt. Jacklyn Davis the man reversed the truck toward a detective, who fired a shot at him and missed. The man then tried to drive away while the passenger either jumped or was thrown from the truck. She was hit by the truck’s back end and killed at the scene.

Davis said the fugitive team had been trying to serve him with a warrant. Homicide detectives are investigating.

Source: yourvalley.net

Towing Company Allegedly Concocted Fraudulent Claims against Auto Club

According to a lawsuit filed by The Auto Club Group, a Michigan tow company operating under various fake names, most notably Clio Towing, allegedly schemed to defraud funds by billing for services not provided and creating requests under fake names.

Charges include fraud, breach of contract, civil conspiracy and racketeering.

The lawsuit maintains that since 2015, one of the owners of the company was billing the Auto Club Group for services never performed while others also acted on the company’s behalf by requesting Clio Towing to perform services for non-existent people and to false locations.

The lawsuit claims The Auto Club Group suffered more than $75,000 in damages and seeks the amount in restitution along with attorney fees.

Source: mlive.com

Tow Truck Driver Assaulted Repossessing Vehicle

Osman Mubarak of Rancho Cucamonga, Ca was arrested after allegedly assaulting a tow truck driver who was repossessing his Nissan Altima.

The police report claims that Mubarak punched the driver in the head and then subsequently got into the Nissan, trying various ways to get off the tow truck. First, he drove forward, but was blocked by a brick wall. He then put the car in reverse, hitting the tow truck driver in the leg in the process. Still unable to get the car off the tow truck, Mubarak jumped out of the car and into the truck, apparently trying to flee the scene.

The tow truck driver however took charge, pulling the keys out of the ignition, ousting Mubarak from the tow truck, and punching Mubarak in the face, rendering him unconscious.

Mubarak was arrested and booked into West Valley Detention Center on $75,000 bail.

Source: newsbreak.com

Advocating Towing Reforms in Greater Toronto

In the highly competitive towing region of Greater Toronto, towing reforms are needed as there have been turf wars involving towing companies. More than 200 criminal charges, including arson and murder, have been made.

Joey Gagne, the CEO of Abrams Towing, the largest tow truck company in Canada, says he is calling for sweeping changes to end violence and intimidation within his industry.

He said that usually the first driver speeding to the scene gets the tow, but now other drivers are showing up claiming territory violations.

"I believe firmly that this model perpetuates the violence," Gagne said. 

30-year veteran tower John Somerville said he's never seen anything like what has happened over the last couple of years. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford recently announced a task force to regulate the industry and protect consumers. 

“There’s no place for that kind of activity. To all the bad actors out there, my message is very clear: ‘The party’s over, we’re coming for you, we’ll catch you and we’ll lock you up,’” Ford said.

Source: www.toronto.ctvnews.ca/
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August 05 - August 11, 2020

Tandem Tango

0 972f7by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Null's Towing in Cochranville, Pa., is a family owned and operated business started in 1958 by Charles "Chic" Null. In 1989 the business was passed on to his son Dain. Dain runs the business with his sons Latta (sales manager) and Jared (operations manager).


On the rainy morning of Sept. 1, 2016, they were called by the West Lampeter Township Police Department to recover an overturned dump truck.

“At the same time we were contacted by one of the chief officers who was on scene,” Jared said, “he advised that the dump truck had been involved in a collision with another vehicle and was overturned blocking the roadway. He also advised that the truck was loaded with sand and that the load had spilled onto the roadway.”


Null’s dispatched two of their NRC Sliding Rotator recovery units and their skid-steer loader to the scene. Jared was operating their 2016 Kenworth W900/NRC 50/65 Composite Sliding Rotator and Dain was in their 2013 Western Star 4900/NRC 50/65 Composite Sliding Rotator.

They also contacted Null's Recovery & Site Restoration to respond with an incident response unit and dump trailer to assist with the cleanup. Operator Kyle Stoltzfus responded with the service truck and incident response unit. Jerry Stoltzfus responded with the 2015 Peterbilt 337/22.5' NRC 20TB, and operator Gehl Skidloader with bucket and sweeper attachment, and dump trailer. 


A Peterbilt 357 quad-axle dump truck had been cut off by a Dodge pick-up causing the dump to lose control and overturn onto its passenger's side. It came to rest with its front end on top of the guardrail and its fuel and hydraulic tanks resting on the ground, but not leaking.

Null’s crew moved their equipment into position and began prepping for uprighting the overturned dump. The truck still had about half of the load in the bed and weighed approximately 50,000 lbs. They removed its driveline.

 One NRC sliding rotator was positioned on the roof side and the other NRC slider was positioned on the wheel side of the overturned dump.

“Both rotators were set up on work platforms,” said Jared. “Rigging was connected to the front of the truck's frame. The rotator on the wheel's side rotated its boom counter-clockwise and connected the main winch lines to the rigging at the front of the truck. The rotator on the top side of the overturned truck placed rigging connected to the frame and under the dump body.”

Working in tandem, the rotators began lifting the overturned truck.

“Once it was lifted approximately four inches,” Jared said, “additional rigging was able to be placed under the front of the body and connected to the frame as well. The truck was then lifted the remainder of the way clear of the guardrail. With it clear of the guardrail, the rotators worked to upright the truck.

“The rotator on the axle side maintained clearance at the fuel tank so that it was not ruptured. Once the uprighting process was started, the front of the truck was set back onto the roadway. The rotator on the axle side transitioned from lifted to ‘spiking’ the front axle and connected a control line to lower the truck back onto its wheels. "With the dump back on its wheels, the rigging was removed and air was supplied to its air system. The rotator on the driver's side of the dump hooked to the front of the partially loaded truck and set it back parallel with the roadway. One of the rotators hooked to the front of the dump truck to tow it from the scene.


“Several of our personnel along with Null's Recovery & Site Restoration worked to shift the sand that was still in the truck so that it was no longer leaning to the passenger side,” Jared said. “The remainder of our crew worked to prepare the truck to be towed from the scene. Our personal also worked to assist with cleaning up the truck parts and the load of spilled sand from the roadway. "

The truck was then towed from the accident scene to Null's of Cochranville and placed inside for a DOT Inspection. When the inspection was complete, the truck was moved from the shop to their secure storage facility.

(Ed. Note: This article originally appeared in the Sept. 7, 2016 edition of Tow Industry Week.)


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!

Eastbound & Down in Teaneck, NJ

truck1 33d31by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

On Sunday afternoon, June 21st, 2020 (Father’s Day), a tractor-trailer hauling pallets of peat moss tipped while coming off eastbound Route 80 in Teaneck, NJ. The trailer toppled at Exit 68 to southbound Route 95 at around 12:30 p.m. Responders included NJ State Police, Teaneck firefighters and others.

Jason Sorrenti, a lieutenant on the Teaneck Fire Department, said, “Teaneck Engine 3 responded. The driver self extricated. Teaneck Engine 3 and Teaneck Volunteer Ambulance Corp assessed the driver for injuries. Teaneck Engine 3 applied dry sorb to contain the fluid spills. Bergen Brookside Towing was called in to clear the wreckage.”

Bergen Brookside Auto Body and Towing, located in Hackensack, NJ, is privately owned and operated family business established in 1988. John Salemme is the owner and president of the company that he runs with his sons, Michael “Mike” Salemme, general manager, and Steven Salemme, the operations manager.

Mike Salemme said, “On Father’s Day, my father, my younger brother Steven and myself were about to start BBQing with our family when we received the call from our dispatch. The New Jersey State Police called us to respond.”

John, Mike, and Steven responded along with their Level III Certified Recovery Supervisor, Christian Greco.

Mike stated, “Christian is the mastermind behind our recoveries and one of the most knowledgeable operators I’ve ever encountered in our industry. He has been with Brookside for 25 plus years.”

There were also two additional CDL operators and three additional light-duty operators, all WreckMaster certified.

Brookside responded with their 2015 Peterbilt with a Jerr-Dan 60-ton rotator, a 2017 Kenworth with a Jerr-Dan 35-ton heavy wrecker with a JFB body, a 2000 Western Star tractor attached to a 2015 48-foot Landoll 440 trailer, a recovery support vehicle, a Bobcat skid-steer with bucket and forklift attachments, a 2020 Freightliner with a Chevron 21-foot flatbed and a 2015 International with a Jerr-Dan 21-foot flatbed.

Using their Bobcat skid-steer, the casualty was first partially off-loaded in order to lighten up the trailer. Pallets of peat moss were then loaded onto their Landoll trailer to clear the highway.

“We first picked up the front of the casualty by dead-lifting nose to get our rigging underneath it, followed by lifting the rear of the casualty by it’s ICC bar,” explained Mike. “The Jerr-Dan 60-ton rotator was positioned on the heavy side/front end. Utilized drag winch to arm wrestle the tractor off the front axle. Utilized main winch for a highline upright, with a secondary main winch utilized as a catch. The Jerr-Dan 35-ton heavy wrecker was positioned on a 45-degree angle to the rear, utilizing one highline to support the upright.”

The Brookside crew used soft and hard rigging, which included a 20-foot blue endless loop on the back end, 30×12 recovery strap on the front end attached to a 17.5-ton screw pin shackle. Protectors were applied to all soft rigging. A 10-foot red endless loop was on the catch line, which was attached to the drive wheel on the tractor.

The trailer was transported with their Jerr-Dan 35-ton heavy to Brookside’s storage lot in Hackensack, NJ. Standard hookup procedures, towed as a combination. Loose parts secured and another job well done by the Brookside crew.

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!

On A Mixer Mission

0 4678eBy Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Mission Wrecker Service has been one of the finest wrecker services in South Texas ever since it was founded in 1970 by David Pizzini and Llyod Mooney. Current owners Muhammad Choudary and Vernon Oliver bought Mission Wrecker Service in 2002, merging its operations with their company A Ace Towing.

Mission Wrecker Service was recently called to handle an overturned mixer along eastbound State Highway 151 and Pinn Road inside Loop 410 in San Antonio, Texas.

“The incident occurred on July 3, 2020 at about 6am in the morning,” said Vernon’s son Matt Oliver, operations manager and heavy-duty supervisor for the company. “We were called out by the San Antonio Police Department at 6:32 a.m. Our Century 9055 arrived first on scene at 7:05 a.m.”

According to the company officials the mixer had a blowout and caused it to rollover fully loaded with concrete. The mixer ended up blocking both eastbound lanes of Hwy 151.

Along with one of their 2007 Century 9055s, Mission sent one of their 2018 Jerr-Dan JFB 50-tons. Operator Gilbert Gonzales was in the 2007 Century 9055 and operator Pete Flores was in the 2018 Jerr-Dan JFB 50-ton.

“This was an all-hands on deck effort to rig our 9055 to do a reverse roll with one four-part line to lift, and one two-part line to catch,” explained Matt. “We rigged our Jerr-Dan JFB 50-ton on the wheel side to do a low pull on the steer axle, and we also rigged a two-part line to the drum of the mixer to help pull.”

Matt informed, “Also, the axles were chained up before uprighting due to broken leaf springs and shifted axles and a blown steer tire. That is why it could not be towed conventionally and a lowboy bus trailer was used.”

The mixer was upright and on its wheels by roughly 9:25 a.m.

After uprighting the mixer and getting it turned in the proper direction on the highway, Matt called in Jason Banis from Banis Towing to bring his lowboy bus trailer to haul the mixer.

Banis Towing showed up to load the mixer on their 2021 Kenworth T800 pulling a 2021 Trail-Eze 50-ton lowboy bus trailer.

“This took the efforts of both of our 50-tons and one of the winches on the Trail-Eze,” Matt said. “After loading the mixer onto the Trail-Eze lowboy bus trailer, both 50 tons and the Trail-Eze went in tow to the City of San Antonio Impound Facility to assist in unloading and parking the mixer.

“It was a great show of teamwork and two different companies coming together to get the job done,” Matt said.

Banis added, “I want to say thank you to Mission Wrecker for calling us to assist them with our little boy on a rollover. We bought the Trail-Eze lowboy bus trailer in January and it has been busy ever since hauling wrecks for several wrecker companies.”

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!


MIDWESTERN - Elk River, MN
$110
(pop. 23,273)

SOUTHERN - Brooksville, FL
$300
(pop. 7,711)

EASTERN - Toms River, NJ
$350
(pop. 86,327)

WESTERN Beeville, TX
$350
(pop. 13,101)

Heavy-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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August 05 - August 11, 2020

Against Loading Loops

340LoadingLoops 7747cBy Randall C. Resch

Towers typically use factory loading loops as the main, recommended tool when loading vehicles onto flatbed carriers. This process is typically recommended by vehicle manufacturers and passed down to motor-clubs and vehicle owners. But I believe using loading loops is a calamity waiting to happen and don’t recommend their use.

To illustrate this point, a west-coast tower experienced an on-scene catastrophe during the loading process of an expensive foreign car valued around $83,000. The operator was somewhat new and not thoroughly trained in advanced techniques necessary for loading high-end vehicles. Loading this vehicle was supposed to be nothing more than an easy winch-on, winch-off process, to be delivered to a dealership.

As the tower located the loading loop, he carefully removed the bumper’s plastic socket-cap, inserted the factory tow-loop, and tightened it into the front-bumper as required. He attached the winch’s cable to the loop and began winching it onto the carrier’s deck.

When the vehicle’s wheels rolled onto the carrier’s deck, without indication, the loading loop violently detached and ripped away from the bumper’s mount. Because the tower didn't include a catch-strap in his hook-up process, the rollaway car damaged two parked cars, a mailbox, and a residential yard full of landscaping. The subsequent insurance claim topped $19,000.

In early years, towing vehicles with a tow-rope, or, recovery-type straps, as a means of assisting disabled vehicles, was reasonably common. The process of flat-towing was nothing more than attaching a straight-line, rope, or strap, from service vehicle to the disabled vehicle and towing it at a slow-speed to remove it from the disablement’s location to a repair destination. Flat-towing is an easy process, yet, in many states, it’s still legal (on city streets) where motorists and users are subject to comply with relevant road rules and regulations.

At some point in automotive history, loading loops became standard as a means to facilitate carrier loading. I believe, however, that loading loops were only intended for flat-towing because of minimum pulling/rolling resistance on the pavement.

While the concept of loading loops is a good one (in load theory), they’re known to strip, pull-out of its mounting socket, or break the factory welds intended to hold them steadfast. And for the purpose of incline loading, a scary proposition.

When you’re loading a vehicle by rolling it onto a carrier, there’s approximately 10-percent surface resistance for the vehicle’s tires and about 25-additional percent for the 12 to 15-degrees of sloped carrier’s deck.  At this point, you would have approximately 35-percent load on a 25-percent rated attachment point.  

Peter Fuerst, a well-respected industry trainer, wrote, “In most cases the eye and the receptacle are not really a rated attachment point.  The only thing I have seen them rated for is a straight-line pull, for 25-percent of the vehicle’s weight. Then again some manufacturers say not to use them for loading onto carriers.”

Volvo’s owner’s manual, for many of its model year cars, says to not use loading loops for loading onto a flatbed carrier.

Because loading loops represent huge potential for property damage, runaway injuries, or ultimate fatality, I train away from using them. Rather, I teach alternative ways to load vehicles onto carriers such as v-bridles, back-hooking, motorcycle straps, round-sling straps and more. But because loading loops are recommended by some manufacturers, I teach the reality of past experiences and some basic lessons learned.

Owners, be smart and evaluate the risks. What works for you is your choice, but keep in-mind those accidental scenarios that were the direct result of a separating loop.  

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.

Online Education: The Show Must Go On!

GE Online Training 7f371
By Brian J Riker

In theater, the saying goes “The show must go on.” The same is true in towing.

Although we are limited and severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, our businesses must continue to operate and provide the best possible service to our clients, employees and communities.

This too applies to continuing education. Just because it is difficult or impossible to gather in-person to train, we must continue to do so with alternative methods.

While there are still some hands-on classes available, most training organizations these days have turned to online education. Since March, I have been using a mix of pre-recorded and live web-based classes to meet my clients’ needs, giving only a handful of very small in person classes.

Technology allows for the instructor to bring a virtual classroom anywhere the student has an internet connection. Although not the same as in person training, it can work.

I have been successful presenting live training, even when hands-on is required, by using two-way video, one showing me in my studio and the other showing the remote classroom. Sure, this requires some technical skills, but it is fairly simple to accommodate using smart phones and tablets.

My recommended workaround for hands-on field training is to get someone technically competent from the company I am presenting. This person would have already worked in close proximity with their co-workers, thereby reducing the risk of virus exposure from an outside person. Following my lead, they do hands on demonstrations or skills evaluations of the student’s performance. I like to use this method because most tow operators are hands on learners and can pause, review and execute what they watch.

As an instructor I perform better when I have my class involved in activities rather than looking at their faces on a screen. When planning your virtual in-house training, consider how you will keep your students engaged.

Consider also bringing in an online independent training entity such as WreckMaster or CTTA to provide industry standard based education. This is where a good independent professional trainer is invaluable since they provide only proven safe and effective methods to your team.

One thing is certain: education will forever be changed. We must adapt to the available methods to continue to provide professional education.

Yes, the show must go on.

A Mural Tribute to the Fallen

Sanchez b6954Edwin Sanchez proudly displays his mural made for fallen brothers and sisters.

By Randall C. Resch

It’s rare to learn of tow employees who step outside daily responsibilities to showcase off-duty talents.

Here’s an example of tower talent about one tow operator working behind his scenes to promote operator safety and slow down move over awareness. Edwin Sanchez, a veteran tow operator and aspiring artist working as night manager for San Diego’s Cortes Towing.

Cortes serves California’s highway patrol, the law enforcement community and the motoring public. They’re one of two evidence contractor’s for the CHP in the entire San Diego County and very active in San Diego’s towing and recovery community hosting tow operator safety courses and are a huge advocate of operator safety. They were a solid participant when American Towman’s, Spirit Ride, made its way through the southland.

Share the Message

Even as a kid, Edwin had a long time ambition of being recognized as a folk artist, hoping to create a small mural for the company’s office. To that, he saved his earnings to purchase an airbrush tool, compressor as well as supplies and colors needed for the project.

Because he’s the company’s third shift, night manager, Edwin spent most weekends working on the mural. Because he’s part of Cortes’ light- and heavy- operations, he wanted his mural to display heavy wreckers, safety striping and the visual presence to spread the message of slow down move over.

Edwin’s mural, “In Honor of the Fallen,” was painted in memory of the women and men who lost their lives in service of the industry. The brightly colored mural is a full-sized sheet of plywood with colors, arrangement and composition that deliver a solid message of safety. Ghosted in the mural’s center read the words, “In Loving Memory of Our Fallen Brothers and Sisters of the Towing and Recovery Industry.”

To left of the mural’s center appears a large, all-white, heavy wrecker, similar to the big rig that San Diego’s veteran tow operator Fred Griffith was operating the afternoon he was killed by a DUI motorist. California leads the entire nation in tow operator fatalities counting approximately 44 operators stuck and killed on California’s highways since 1934.

Finding a Home

Edwin estimates he invested over 2,000 hours in the project; and after about 18 months, his project is completed.

He asked me if I could help him find a home for the mural, so we took to a flurry of phone calls and e-mails. We initially contacted the International Towing Museum in Chattanooga, his first choice.

“It really would be an honor to the memory of the women and men who were sadly killed,” Edwin said. I’d really be honored if this could be displayed in the Museum in Tennessee.”

Unfortunately, the museum’s limited wall space didn’t allow for the mural’s physical size.

That wasn’t a stopper. In late May 2020, I contacted Quinn Piening, president of the California Tow Truck Association, asking if the CTTA would be interested in this one of a kind painting to display at CTTA’s new Sacramento offices? Within a day Quinn messaged me back eagerly stating, “We’d be honored to hang it at the office and have a spot picked out for it already.”

After a few shipping details were sorted out, Johnny Cortes, owner of Cortes Towing, made the appropriate arrangements to send Edwin and his mural to be delivered to Sacramento.

Soon after, Edwin personally delivered the mural to CTTA’s corporate office in Sacramento.

Edwin’s mural reflects a solemn reminder of the dangers towers face when working white line environments. It consists of multiple layovers of pattern, paint and art content, each met with substantial time to await layered paint to dry.

I admire Edwin’s commitment on this project, especially him giving of his time and weekends being a graveyard shift worker. Thanks to Edwin’s wife, Nicky, for supporting his vision and sharing his available time.

And thank you, Edwin, for having the resolve to complete a project of this magnitude: one that supports the towing and recovery community. If you’re ever in Sacramento, stop by CTTA’s new location to see Edwin’s mural.

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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August 05 - August 11, 2020

Bold ‘Dezign’ for Young and Old

0 aad37By George L. Nitti

One major benefit of a well-decorated unit has to do with making a customer feel more secure, said Sheila Still, co-owner/secretary of Still’s Towing in rural Macon, Mo.

“When people are in a jam, they like to see someone show up with a nice truck. It puts them at ease,” Still said.

The family business of three employees—Still, husband, Dean, and son Lukas—is proud of the spruced-up graphics. Perhaps no truck in their fleet illustrates their power more than their 1995 Peterbilt/Century 5030.

With an all-blue custom background, the colors of this wrap blend with thick yellow stripes, a black-and-white checkered flag and a white and yellow logo that makes a strong impact.

“Wraps give us versatility and quick results,” Still said. “We average 300,000 miles a year, so advertising on-the-go only makes sense.  We vary from 1/4 to 3/4 wraps, depending on the type of equipment to optimize our investment.”

On this wrap there are numerous contrasting points worth illuminating. First, there is the yellow striping that runs along the top side of the unit. Not only does it blend in gradient colors giving the striping more nuance, but it also has a stamped-texture look.

Just below that graphic sits the checkered flag.

“It was one of the older design elements that we had used on our earlier trucks,” Still said. “We give a lot of credit to Pro Dezigns in Elvin, Mo., for putting together what we think is a great design. We get the most out of the wraps by keeping our equipment clean and protected.  Our oldest current wrap is five years old and the newest is two years”

The logo on the side of the unit caps this dramatic display, adding further contrast with divergent colors of white and yellow and two different fonts juxtaposing “Still” with “Towing.”

“When we met with Pro Dezigns, I told them that I wanted something old people could read and young people would want to look at,” Still said. “Our community of customers appreciate recognizing the brand, no matter which piece of equipment is needed for their job.”

(Ed. Note: This article previously appeared in the April 11, 2017 edition of Tow Industry Week.)

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!.

Clean Wrap Provides Artistic Balance

0 0e9b8By George L. Nitti

Wraps have been growing ever popular due to the array of eye-catching designs, their cost effectiveness and great resale value. Each of these ingredients was a primary factor that turned Vito’s Towing’s focus on getting their trucks wrapped.

“We would have had to spend up to $15,000 to $20,000 to have our trucks custom painted, including the loss of the vehicle due to the downtime,” according to VP/Operations Manager Peter DeRobertis. “The wrap takes a couple of days, and ours cost around $4,000.”

In terms of the wraps appearance, the fast turnover from design to application and the ease in which repairs can be made DeRobertis has been genuinely happy with the result.

“There were only two or three redos and back and forth between us and the designer,” he said. “If you scratch the wrap, it is easily repairable. You print out the section of the wrap that needs to be covered. That’s it. You don’t have to redo the whole thing, whereas custom paint is a different story.”

Of particular note is Clifton, N.J.-based company’s stunning and head-turning black, white, silver and red 2012 Peterbilt 337 with a Jerr-Dan 500/280 25-ton single-axle wrecker, which they bought in 2014 and had decorated by Ultimate Alphabet from Kenville, N.J.

“It’s a great wrap,” said DeRobertis. “The design is eye-catching.”

Several features help it standout; one of which is the red and black design with a gray fade at the bottom of the unit. From the center on the unit’s side, black lines streak and fade upward and downward like brush strokes, giving it a fresh and unique look while promoting a sense of balance.

The name on the side of the unit is also clean and modern, and also balance nicely next to the higher lettering on the door.

“Although we used a font from our letterhead,” DeRobertis said, “recently we had a contest where you could win $350 for the best designed logo, which we then used on tee-shirts we sold. The way we used to do things was more old-school.”

Other features that help the unit stand out include the aluminum wheels, chrome visor and Whelan strobes.

The phone number on the side of the truck is noteworthy. The area code is written is a smaller size while the local number is prominent.

“Most people that call us are local,” DeRobertis said of the company founded by his father Vito in 1981. “They already know the area code.”

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!


The Power of Color

0 39d54By George L. Nitti

A dull personality, even in the form of an inanimate object like a tow truck, comes to life with color.

For owner John Maye of Priority Wrecker Service, in Glendale Heights, Illinois, branding his business had much to do with the power of color.

“I like bright colors and I like cool things,” Maye said, “Our company is known far and wide because of our colorful and memorable graphics.”

Of the company’s 27 wide-ranging units, their 2018 Kenworth T880 Century 1135 Rotator epitomizes the best of what you might find in their fleet.

Maye said, “It’s the best truck I ever bought. It’s convenient for day to day use and is very versatile.”

This rotator, which is part-wrap, part-paint job, has a black and red base which then sets the groundwork for the added layers of yellow, green, purple and blue.

The company name “Priority,” is spelled out in large bright red lettering, popping out across the unit’s side, hood, side doors, rotator and back, partly enhanced by a thick purple and blue shadow.

On the unit’s cab is a catchy symbol, a circle with a big “P” encased within it, in the form of a medallion.

“That too was part of our branding strategy,” said Maye.

The colors keep coming at you, particularly the bright green at the back of the truck spelling out “Heavy Rescue” and the bright yellow, spelling out “Wrecker Service.”

“Our trucks are favorites of kids,” Maye said. “We are big supporters of the community and our trucks are designed with kids in mind.”

One of Maye’s favorite Disney cartoons, The Minions, is a hit with the kids.

Then there is the catchy slogan at the front side of the unit which states, “You Call, We Haul, That’s All!”

Maye said, “I just came up with that one day and thought to put it on the side.”

Yes, plenty of colors all around to make this truck shine.

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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August 05 - August 11, 2020

J.W. Speaker Heated LED Headlights

LED1 aa9bbJ.W. Speaker’s Model 8800 Evolution 2 LED headlights are available with a heated lens to offer a safety solution of improved light output, glare reduction and light placement for heavy-duty trucks. The 8800 Evolution 2 is a high-performance 4x6 LED headlight and is available with a SmartHeat heated lens that automatically de-ices headlight according to ambient temperature. It is a drop-in replacement for typical buckets/panels used in heavy-duty trucks and is street legal supporting DOT, Transport Canada ECE and other standards and requirements. The heated versions of the Model 8800 Evolution 2 feature a thermally conductive grid system that will de-ice the lens faster than other lights; it reacts to temperature changes on a real-time basis with no action required by the driver.
jwspeaker.com

Vehicle-Mounted Hand-Washing Station

ok da45cNational Fleet Products’ new vehicle-mounted hand-washing stations allow water and hand sanitizer to be dispensed virtually anywhere with application-specific hardware that enables the units to be mounted to a wide variety of vehicles. The water-dispensing tanks come in 6.5-gal. and 10-gal. sizes. An integrated removable soap dispenser serves as the cap to the filling port; a separate cap is also available. Spring-toggle water spigots automatically stop water flow when no longer depressed and are recessed and side-mounted to protect them from damage. They can be outfitted with additional accessories such as paper towel dispensers, graphic signage and more.

nationalfleetproducts.com

Stertil-Koni Portable Hydraulic Jack

product7.2020 81169Stertil-Koni’s first portable air-over hydraulic jack, model SKB25-2, can service vehicles in the maintenance bay or on the road. The two-stage jack weighs 60 lbs. and has a lifting capacity of 25 metric tons first stage, with a final stage of 10 metric tons. The portable design incorporates a 21.6” handle that folds for easy transport and an optional mounting bracket to secure it out of the way in a service truck or workshop. Height is 12.5” without extensions; 2” and 4” extensions included. The jack also has a built-in overload valve and deadman safety switch.

stertil-koni.com
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August 05 - August 11, 2020
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August 05 - August 11, 2020
The cast of “Operation Repo” includes Lou Pizarro, Froylan Tercero, Matt Burch, Sonia Pizarro, Lyndah Pizarro and Ronnie Tyrone Lee. 

"Operation Repo" To Air [b]on Rev’n and The Action Channel

“Operation Repo,” the popular reality series about the car repossession business, will begin airing on automotive network Rev’n on July 27, at 8 p.m. with a repeat of the show at 11 p.m. It will also air on Rev’n’s sister network, The Action Channel at 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Sunday in a two-episode block from 6 -7 p.m.

The series, which originally aired from 2007 to 2014 on TruTV, follows the story of a Latino family that operates a car repossession business in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. 

Joel Wertman, president and CEO of Luken Communications, which acquired the rights to over hundred episodes, said, “‘Operation Repo’ adds an exciting new dynamic to Rev’n’s lineup. It perfectly complements our slate of unique shows that explore the various aspects of the diverse car culture that has impacted our overall way of life, both here and around the world.”

Man in North Dakota Arrested for Resisting Repossession

32 year old Joseph Storment was arrested on July 10 at the Rodeway Inn in Evans, ND., after police say he jumped inside a black 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 as it was being repossessed.

The truck was nearly at the front door of an occupied motel room while still attached to the tow truck.

Storment initially refused to leave the truck when asked by police, but he eventually complied. According to an affidavit for his arrest, he said he heard his car alarm go off, saw his truck being repossessed, jumped inside, put it in four-wheel drive and accelerated. He later said the truck wasn’t attached to the tow truck before he got in.

The affidavit also maintains that he knew he was a couple months behind on payments, but denied receiving notice the truck was up for repossession.

After he accelerated, Storment told police, the tow truck driver also tried accelerating but skid marks from the incident did not match Storment’s story, suggesting that Storment dragged the tow truck. Storment also told police the repo workers were fist fighting with him and that they tried to grab him.

The owner of the repossession agency told police they had the truck hooked up when it was turned on and off again using remote start. Storment then jumped inside the truck and tried driving it while it was still attached.

Storment was arrested on suspicion of four counts of reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, and one count of criminal mischief, a Class 6 felony.

Estimated damages from the incident were $4,160.

Source: https://www.greeleytribune.com/

New Employment Site for Repo Industry

The Recovery Industry Services Co. is now getting involved in the employment part of the repossession and recovery industries.

RISC launched RepoHiring.com in an effort to helps connect collateral recovery industry employers with qualified job seekers. Free for both employers and job seekers, RISC emphasized this site is designed with the asset recovery industry in mind.

The company acknowledged the collateral recovery industry has been particularly challenged to identify and retain qualified employees.

“The old process simply wasn’t very efficient,” RISC said in a statement, while noting that without a centralized resource, industry job seekers found opportunities through word of mouth, Facebook, Indeed, Craigslist or other social media.

“None of these sites were designed with the collateral recovery industry in mind,” RISC added.

RISC explained RepoHiring.com is geared to fill that gap across the gamut of roles in the repossession and collateral recovery industry including agents, lenders, forwarders, industry service providers, skip tracers, locksmiths and more.

Employers can post unlimited free job opportunities on the site in just minutes. They can also search the database of registered job seekers with public profiles.

Job seekers can create a profile and save it to apply for future opportunities. They can upload a resume or build out an employment profile.

“Once the profile is built, applying for jobs is as easy as a single click,” RISC said.

RISC noted RepoHiring.com currently serves all U.S. states with plans to expand as demand grows.

Source: autoremarketing.com

RISC Extends Free [b]Education Offer

The Recovery Industry Services Co. recently extended its fee waiver for RISC Pro Membership, including CARS Certification Training, for the fourth straight month. The company said in a news release that billing will be on hold until Aug. 1.

RISC believes the fee waiver will help current members save on monthly expenses as well as allow new members to sign up to take advantage of free education.

“We have seen a 40% increase in membership over the last three months. This is a great sign that we are helping agencies during this hard time get the value of membership without any expense,” said RISC CEO Stamatis Ferarolis. “We will continue to monitor how markets are doing and consider additional waivers if the financial strain continues.”

Source: autoremarketing.com.
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