Digital Edition
The Week's Features
Maryland Trooper Jason Reid saved a tower after an SUV slid off his bed and pinned him.
Hershey's chocolate tanker is a casualty of tragic pile-up.
Brian J. Riker shares some cautionary advice for the summer season.
Patriotic themed unit one of many from Texas tow company.
A repo of a loaner car ends with owner of dealership getting shot.
Events
Fprt Worth, TX.
June 16-18, 2022
Las Vegas, NV.
Sept. 21-23, 2022
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 17-19, 2022
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing May 25 - May 31, 2022


Click here to read more

Billboards to Save a Tower’s Life

In Orlando, Florida, the mother of a tower that was killed roadside over a year ago is taking it into her own hands through billboards to bring awareness of Move Over/Slow Down to hopefully save more lives of towers and other first responders.

Her son Austin, who was a tower for Johnson’s Wrecker Service, was killed in February of 2021 after a driver failed to move over while Austin stopped to tow a disabled truck.

"Someone wasn’t paying attention and came by and struck him," said Brooke Lawrence as she described the death of her son, 24-year-old Austin Gayne.

Despite broad day light and plenty of reflective lettering on Gayne’s uniform, the challenge of getting the public to slow down and move over remains.

In Champaign, Illinois, in the wake of the death of 21-year-old Ross Booker in March, owner Jim Hampton was surprised to learn the staggering amount of people who didn't know about these laws.

Hampton too addressed this lack of public knowledge through an advertising campaign, which features signs around town and a digital billboard public-service announcement in tribute to Mr. Booker.

For an industry, Move Over/Slow Dow is a constant mantra. Yet, this week it was 38-year old Christopher Russell who was struck and killed by an unaware driver.

Although billboards won’t bring these people back to life, advertising and public service reminders are another weapon the industry has to fight the tragedy of first responders.

https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/




A billboard was put up for Austin Gayne in order to bring further awareness to the Move Over Law.

All-American Runs Deep

DSC 2238 2 d32a1
By George L. Nitti

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at georgenitti@gmail.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine! 

What's the Best Way to Tow a Spaceship? The Answer may Surprise you!
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


Towers on Vaccination
I got vaccinated without any side effects
I got vaccinated and had subsequent health issues
I am not vaccinated
I see no good reason to be vaccinated
Answers are anonymous
homediv
Managing Editor: George Nitti
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
May 25 - May 31, 2022
A Milwaukee junkyard where tower Michael Morgan turned bogus vehicle liens into cash.

Vehicle Lien Scheme Foiled

A tower working in cahoots with a Milwaukee County employee are charged with stealing tens of thousands of dollars over two years in a vehicle lien scheme that included forgeries, money laundering and more.  

The scheme involved using vehicles liens that child support worker Daneen Pope wrote and sold to tower Michael Morgan, who in turn sold the vehicle for cash at a scrapyard, according to a 16-page criminal complaint filed on May 25.  

Allegedly Morgan would text Pope the VIN number, make and model and lien holder's name for a certain vehicle. He'd pay Pope, a Milwaukee County Child Support Services employee responsible for processing lien release payments, between $25 and $50 to forge a lien release form for the vehicle. 

In return, Morgan would get the vehicle lien-free to sell, junk or salvage. 

The complaint says police believe Pope made at least $15,0000 and estimates Morgan made between $37,000 and $43,000. 

She faces one charge of misconduct in public office, while Morgan, who's in jail, faces six charges including racketeering, embezzlement and bribing a public official. 

https://www.fox6now.com/news/

American Towman Exposition Gallery
homediv tow411
May 25 - May 31, 2022
Maryland Trooper Jason Reid saved a tower after an SUV slid off his bed and pinned him.

Trooper Saves Pinned Tower  

On May 23, a tower was rescued by a trooper after he was pinned by an SUV that slipped off his bed while clearing the scene of a crash on I-495 in Silver Spring, Md. The tower was in the process of attaching a winch to another vehicle when the incident occurred.   

Despite never operating a tow truck, trooper Jason Reid witnessed the accident and intervened, using the truck’s controls to lower the bed and maneuver it underneath the SUV. Reid then used the bed to lift the SUV off the 51-year-old driver, so he could pull him to safety. 

The driver, whose identity was not released, was taken to an area hospital for treatment of his injuries. His condition wasn’t immediately known Tuesday. 

https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/

Philadelphia Employing Safety Enforcement Officers 

Philadelphia plans to employ 28 safety enforcement officers to ticket and tow abandoned cars on its streets. The bill, which allocates $1.25 million for the positions, was approved by the Philadelphia City Council, also with the aim to free up city police to fight gun violence, which remains at high levels. 

“We need Public Safety Enforcement officers on the job in Philadelphia — and we need them today,” said Council President Darrell Clarke. “With gun violence remaining at high levels, we need every available police officer on the streets, fighting crime and acting to prevent gun violence. Abandoned cars are a blight in too many neighborhoods and can lead to a climate of disorder than breeds crime. Communities deserve better, and Public Safety Enforcement officers can play a real role in getting these blights off the streets — and freeing up police to do more proactive violence reduction work.” 

https://www.penncapital-star.com/blog/

Tower Killed Giving Roadside Assistance  

A tower giving roadside assistance on Interstate 91 in North Haven, Conn., was hit and killed Saturday night around 7 p.m. The tower was identified as Christopher Russell. 

“Hardworking.  Never said no.  Even on the hardest days, he never said no,” said Harley Garcia, operations manager at RTT, LLC. “Sometimes wouldn’t have the biggest smile about doing it, but he would go get the job done always.  He cared about how he looked doing it.  He always tried to exceed my expectations when it came to how he operated, how he serviced our customers.” 

The North Haven Police Department and Connecticut State Police have not indicated if an arrest has been made. 

https://www.wtnh.com/news/

Tow Contract Rejected in Wichita 

The Wichita City Council rejected a tow contract that would grant a 4% increase to nine tow companies that provide emergency towing services for the Wichita Police Dept and remove abandoned vehicles. The contract is set to expire June 1. 

Former City Council member Greg Ferris, representing the tow companies, said the companies are facing higher costs for fuel and other items and can’t go any lower than the fees negotiated in the contract. Some council members argued price gouging or that the increase would be a financial burden for citizens.

Under the contract, the fees would continue increasing by 4% annually for four years. One council member who supported the contract, said the city should approve rate increases to help small businesses. The council member challenged the Mayor’s claim that the rate increases could result in residents losing their jobs or homes. “The average increase per incident would probably be $50 for the individual, so I’m doubtful that that would put someone in the position of losing their home,” said the councilman. “I’m also cognizant of the fact that these occurrences happen rarely. Somebody doesn’t get their car impounded by the police on a frequent basis. So the fact of jeopardizing our community members’ jobs or homes is probably limited.” 

More than 1,700 vehicles were towed under the city’s contract last year. More than 600 of those were sold at auction.

https://www.kfdi.com/

https://www.kansas.com/
 

Illinois Tackles Rogue Towing  

Governor JB Pritzker on May 13 signed a bill requiring police agencies to call only on tow companies that are on an approved tow rotation list when there is an accident.  

The bill was a response to ongoing reports of rogue towing practices, exposing how private tow companies would deliberately hold vehicles.  

Under the bill, if a random tow driver pulls up on the scene and wasn't requested by the owner of the car or officer, they will not be authorized to tow the vehicle. 

The legislation requires any towing service working within the jurisdiction of a given police agency to submit an application for inclusion on that police agency's tow rotation list. 

Tow drivers will also need to go through background checks, insurance, and licensing.  

https://www.cbsnews.com/chicago/news/

Colorado Passes Tow Bill 

In Colorado, the legislature passed a bill requiring tow companies give 24 hours written notice before removing a vehicle from a parking spot or the common area of an apartment building.  

Under the bill, towers are required to take pictures of the car and cite the reason for the tow before connecting to the vehicle. 

The tow company must also allow owners access to the car to get their belongings and return the vehicle even if the owner can’t pay charges in full. 

Tow companies say the bill goes too far. Under current law, towing companies can hold your car for 2 days before notifying you even as charges accrue. They could also sell your car in 30 days if you can’t pay in full to get it back. 

https://denver.cbslocal.com/2022/05/15

homediv
homediv
Rate how they handled this recovery
Great job on a challenging recovery.
Hit all the basics on this one. Thumbs up.
Creative approach on this recovery. Good job.
I would approach this recovery differently.
Vehicle(s) could be rigged more efficiently.
More trucks were needed.
May 25 - May 31, 2022

Liquid Chocolate Tanker Recovery

tanker1 ca89e

By George L. Nitti

On March 28, one of the casualties of a wicked snow squall that descended upon Schulylkill County, Pennsylvania, which caused a massive pile-up on Interstate 81, 50 miles north of Harrisburg,  was a tanker filled with chocolate syrup enroute to Hershey Park.

Mark Hammer, owner/president and operator of their 65-ton NRC rotator, along with Jeremy Richards, the operator of their Century 75-ton rotator, were both instrumental in removing the tanker, one of the last recoveries made amidst many entangled and mangled vehicles numbering more than 80. 

At the recovery scene, many contaminants were released on the roadside and vehicles were burned up from fire. According to Hammer, those were a couple of the many challenges they faced during the clean-up.

Hammer added “The tanker recovery was challenging because it was full of liquid chocolate and because the heat from the fire was so significant, the tanker/product was left at a dangerously high temperature.”

The crew of Hammer’s decided it best to let the tanker sit and cool down while they worked on recoveries around it.

When it came time to remove the tanker with the 65 and 75 ton rotators, Hammer said they first attempted to sit it on a bus hauler for transport.

“However, it was determined that this was not the safest method,” said Hammer.  “Therefore crews placed a dolly underneath the front of the tanker and chained and secured everything for transport.”

Finally all axles were chained and the tanker was towed from the rear. 

Credit goes to all of the operators at Hammer’s including both Hammer and Richards, along with tow operators Dwayne Kimmel, Dale Reightler, Shawn Houtz, Daniel Shuman, Brian Huntzinger, and Brian Staller.

Brag @ TIW!
Should your recovery be featured here? Send pics and your contact information to the editor at georgenitti@gmail.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

Tragic Pile-up with Silver Lining

pileup6 51d21
By George L. Nitti

On March 28, 2022, two of the larger tow companies in Schulylkill County, Pennsylvania, were dispatched to attend to a massive pile-up on Interstate 81, 50 miles north of Harrisburg. The tragic event involved over 80 vehicles that included several deaths, numerous casualties, and lots of damaged vehicles, including passenger vehicles, box trucks, RVs, motorhomes, tractor trailers and even tankers. The cause: a blinding snow squall that suddenly enveloped the roadway.

Enter Hammer’s Towing and Trail Towing & Recovery. Both companies worked side by side, for almost two days, laboriously extracting one vehicle after another until the job was finished and the roadway cleared. 

Mike Gula, owner of Trail Towing said, “Usually we work against each other. This time we worked together. And it worked really well. I think we buried the hatchet on this one.”

Mark Hammer, owner of Hammer’s Towing said, “We started around 8 p.m. and worked around the clock. We didn’t finish until 12 a.m. the following evening.” Gula said, “It was definitely one of the worst recoveries I have ever seen.... It was two days of hell. No sleep for two days.”

The nightmarish scene exposed countless vehicles that were entangled, mangled and burned. Hammer said, “There were over 80 vehicles involved so there was a lot to work through.” Before a recovery ensued, each vehicle had to be checked for passengers and cleared by police. Gula added, “It was a slow process at first until they had everybody accounted for.”

Fire was also involved, completely burning up some of the vehicles. Hammer said, “There was fuel oil, diesel, antifreeze, and other contaminants soaking the roadway that crews had to work in.” Noting the horror of one of the burned vehicles, Jeremy Richards, 75 ton rotator operator of Hammer’s said, “There was a pick-up truck pulling a camper. It was so burned, you couldn’t even make it out from one of the pictures.”

Adding to the challenge, was the grinding, tedious nature of the work. “You know what happens when you get tired,” Gula said. “Everything becomes a hassle. Everytime you would get to the next truck, it would be a different story.  For one recovery, we needed a dolly, for another a Landoll. I said, “We might be able to tow this one, but we have to do 13 things first.’”

Both companies spared no equipment nor manpower to get the job done.  Hammer’s brought along several rotators, heavy duty wreckers, a bus hauler, a service truck and a flatbed.  Trail was also deep in equipment. Gula said, “You need a lot of other set ups to go along with the heavy duty trucks. Landolls, skidloaders, dollies, dumpsters…. It’s one thing to go up there and hope that most things roll, but the fact is that they didn’t.”

Not only were both companies aided by ample equipment, but employed over 20 tow operators to clear the scene. Gula commented, “It’s great to have all of the equipment in the world, but the main thing is help. All of my guys are awesome. I turn around at 2 a.m. in the morning, and all my guys are there.”

At the end of the day, Hammer estimated that they pulled out over 3 dozen trucks and cars. Gula estimated that for every vehicle Hammer’s pulled out, they pulled out in equal proportion.

Side by side, working together, two competitors united for the common good.

Brag @ TIW!
Should your recovery be featured here? Send pics and your contact information to the editor at georgenitti@gmail.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

TARVA to the Rescue 

TARVAeblast2 3e3f6
By George L. Nitti

Low clearance light duty recoveries benefit from the use of specialized tow equipment, like EasTract’s Tow Tract, a remote-control robot that requires no touching the vehicle.  

In February, Tow Atlanta, located in Atlanta, Georgia, was called to recover a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee AWD with their Tow Tract named TARVA, at the Four Seasons Hotel in their underground parking deck with clearance of only six ft. two inches. 

Owner Lionel “Bo” Clarke said, “We use the Tow Tract for a lot of underground parking and low clearance areas. It’s a touch free way to do towing. We get a lot of use out of it in Atlanta but also all over Georgia, as it goes out multiple times per week.” 

Instead of using a wheel lift, Tow Atlanta brought out TARVA, navigating hands free to the Jeep Cherokee, located six basement levels down, where it was stuck in the middle of the driveway.  

Part of the reason they used it was because when they went to pick up the vehicle, the hood latch release was broken, and they could not open the hood. Also, the Jeep Cherokee needed to be transported up six levels, 12 incline ramps through 14 hair pin turns.  

Clarke said, “If there was a truck to fit into the 6’2” deck, it would be impossible for a wheel lift to be able to carry that Jeep on dollies and still navigate the hairpin turns.” 

Arriving on scene, TARVA safely cradled all four tires of the Cherokee. Through a series of articulations, it moved the disabled vehicle on its “back," resulting in only 24 plus or minus inches to the vehicles overall height and allowing moving the vehicle out of the very low, tight space, guided by a remote control. 

Clarke said, “I used to send out multiple trucks; now I don’t have to. It also saves on labor.” 

TARVA carried the Cherokee from six basement levels out into the parking lot, where it was loaded on a Hino flatbed and then successfully delivered to the dealership. 

“The recovery was completed in 45 minutes and we billed at triple rate due to the equipment required for the complexity,” Clarke said. “Insurance paid same day.” 

Brag @ TIW!
Should your recovery be featured here? Send pics and your contact information to the editor at georgenitti@gmail.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

homediv


Warren, MI,
$175
(pop. 134,141)

Casselberry, FL
$375
(pop. 26,449)

Elkton, MD
$640
(pop. 15,579)

Loveland, CO
$250
(pop. 70,223)

Heavy-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
May 25 - May 31, 2022

Summer Breezes Bring Bad Driving Behaviors

88 summer accidents 88bf5
By Brian J. Riker

With Memorial Day fast approaching, thoughts drift to family vacations, warm breezes and wanderlust sets in. Even with fuel prices rising higher than ever before, summer tourist travel is predicted to be back near, or even above, pre-pandemic levels.

Let’s hope this translates into some much-needed work without any major tragedies on our highways; after all, we know tourists are often not focused on the condition of their automobile or the suitability of the route their GPS navigation system suggests. Add in a lack of recent experience brought on by previous pandemic related restrictions and I suspect there will be some interesting “adventures” for some vacationers this season.

Keep in mind that with the increase in tourists and out of town travelers passing through, the risk of crashes increases, again good for business - if your truck is not involved in the crash!

Pay close attention for out of state license plates, vehicles with extra luggage or entire families as well as those that are making erratic or unusual moves in traffic. Tourists are usually unfamiliar with your area and may be distracted by their family or even fatigued from attempting to drive longer than they usually do.

Be extra alert for slower moving vehicles this season, especially large over the road fleet trucks as slowing down is the simplest way many fleet operators save money on fuel. This will lead to increased close calls and rear-end collisions between faster moving, often distracted, cars and larger trucks.

As schools begin to recess for summer break, children too fill their heads with thoughts of recreation and easily lose focus on the hazards surrounding them. Perhaps you take advantage of this break in the school schedule to bring your own children along with you in the truck for some bonding time.

When children are around, be aware of what they are doing and where they are doing it. Kids love trucks, so they don’t think twice about climbing in, on or under trucks that they may find interesting. Always conduct a circle check every time you move your vehicle!

Children and pets have been killed because they were under a vehicle that was placed in motion without the operator knowing. “Behind each bouncing ball comes a running child.” I recall seeing this slogan plastered all over trucks in the northeast when I started driving. Keep a close eye between vehicles for kids that may be hidden from your view and unaware that you are driving nearby.

For the heavy-duty operators, summertime also means more ride alongs in big rigs and extra children in truck stops. These kids are already familiar with big trucks and may be even more curious about your tow truck, so use extra caution when driving through truck stop parking lots.

Now is also a great time to assess the health of your truck. Pay particular attention to the tires, as the temperature difference will cause inflation to change and require adjustment. Inspect the cooling system, giving the radiator fins a good spring cleaning and make sure you have extra water onboard. Not just water for the cooling system, but also drinking water to keep yourself, and your customers, hydrated.

Summer means longer days, warmer weather and perhaps some well deserved recreation. With the change in seasons, let’s not lose focus on safety, ours as well as that of the general public. Enjoy time off, but stay safe since tragedy doesn’t stop just because you are on vacation.

Re-Entering Highway Traffic 

bigstock Highway Traffic Near Ann Arbor 69407431 725x400 41dac

By Randall C. Resch    

An east coast tow company transported a disabled vehicle from the highway’s shoulder. While slowly merging into fast moving highway traffic and over-head lights “on,” a motorist rear-ended the slow-moving carrier and was killed instantly. Regardless that the motorist crashed into the carrier, a wrongful death lawsuit ultimately blamed the carrier’s operator. 

This narrative is specific to highway scenarios where law enforcement isn’t on-scene. A slow-moving tow truck creates a considerable danger that demands precise movement on the tow operator’s part.  

AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety reported approximately twelve percent of interstate (highway) deaths were the result of crashes occurring on emergency shoulders. It’s estimated that as many as 600-individuals are killed annually with thousands more injured while situated on highway shoulders.  

Referring to the opening fatality scenario, the approaching motorist failed to slow-down and move-over; it was their improper reaction to SDMO (Slow Down Move Over) that caused their death. 

Worse yet, a tower’s survivability is challenged by some state laws prohibiting tow trucks from driving in-traffic with over-head ambers, strobes and rotor lights activated. 

Because on-shoulder crashes are frequent occurrences, consider these suggestions for tow trucks and carriers re-entering traffic from right shoulders or center medians: 

1. For SDMO “reaction” by motorists, tow trucks and carriers must be parked inside the shoulder (stationary) with over-head, emergency lights ”on"
2. From parked, at-idle positions, look rearward in the tow truck’s mirrors for approaching traffic 
3. Start driving forward; emergency light’s “on,” looking for a substantial gap between the tow truck and approaching traffic 
4. Activate the truck’s turn-signals to indicate your direction of travel and the lane you intend to occupy  
5. While remaining inside the shoulder’s white-line, accelerate and gain speed being aware of vehicles or obstacles that may be ahead on the shoulder. Watch for locations where the shoulder lane runs-out or pinches to a point 
6. With “Head on-a-swivel”, accelerate and estimate a realistic gap in-traffic to re-enter traffic 
7. Anticipate that same direction traffic may change lanes toward you at the same time you’re re-entering traffic  
8. Increase truck speed to approximately 50-miles-per-hour while watching following traffic. Merging from center-median or slow-side shoulder requires the truck’s speed to reasonably equal traffic flow  
9. Use turn signals. Keep arms inside the truck’s window for fear a motorist could crash into the tow truck  
10. When a substantial gap in-traffic is available, carefully merge into the next lane with the turn-signal still activated as speed increases  
11. Merge only when safe to do so. Once re-entry is safely made way into traffic-lanes (as allowed by state law), turn over-head emergency lights “off” unless the tow or load (for safe travel) impedes traffic 
12. Never assume they see you 

This is a great topic for your safety meetings. Re-entering traffic lanes from stopped, slow-rolling positions requires total attention and perfect depth-perception.  

This narrative may seem basic and unimportant, but it’s a necessary component of defensive driving and tow truck operations. I guarantee another unfortunate traffic collision like the opening scenario will happen again.  

Speed Limiters – Friend or Foe?

speedlimiting c735a
By Brian J. Riker

A common sight on America’s highways are two tractor trailers from large national fleets riding side by side for miles as they attempt to pass each other, incapable of building up the speed necessary to do so and so poorly trained they don’t know enough to give up and fall back in line. Annoying surely, safety hazard? Absolutely! 

Now imagine, if you will, a world where truck speed limiters are activated at some arbitrary speed on nearly all commercial vehicles operated within the United States. The dream of safety advocacy groups, large fleets and many government regulators is the nightmare of responsible professional drivers -including towers- everywhere. Worse yet, this nightmare is getting closer to becoming reality. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on May 4, 2022, proposed just such a scheme with their latest advanced notice of proposed rulemaking. This is nothing new; the FMCSA has been attempting to implement arbitrary, often dangerous, speed restrictions on large commercial vehicles for many years at the behest of large trucking companies and their trade associations. What is different about this proposal is the questions they are asking, especially centering around if speed limiters should be on all commercial vehicles or just the largest of trucks. Previous proposals only wanted to restrict CDL required vehicles whereas this proposal is asking about requiring speed limiters on all trucks greater than 10,000 pounds. 

Why is this so bad, and what does it have to do with towers? First, most towers operate trucks that likely would be covered under this proposal and though I do not advocate speeding under any circumstances, the proposed top speeds may hinder a tower’s ability to respond in a timely manner to requests for service by law enforcement, especially those responding in rural areas with great distances to travel on open highways. 

Next, we have the increased danger to all highway users that occurs when vehicles travel at substantially different speeds. This is why states with split speed limits for cars and trucks are dangerous and see more rear end collisions than other states without split speed limits. With proposed speeds as low as 62 miles per hour, imagine how many more times a truck will be passed or otherwise have to interact with other road users! These interactions are where and when crashes occur. This could even interfere with motorists’ ability to safely execute the requirements of slow down/move over laws because of traffic being forced to travel in tight clusters. 

Lastly, unless the speed limits imposed by these devices are variable to account for variances in state speed limits, professional drivers will lose their ability to use their best professional judgment on what is a reasonable and prudent speed at which to travel while maintaining safe interactions based on traffic volume, location and road conditions. Often the best course of action is to change speed, higher or lower, to avoid conflicts with other road users. Having a fixed, arbitrary speed limiting device installed removes this option from the professional’s toolbox. 

If you happen to agree, or disagree, with these points or the need for these speed limiting devices, now is the time to make your voices heard. Please contact your state and national associations and file written comments on this advanced notice of proposed rulemaking by visiting www.regulations.gov and searching for FMCSA-2022-0004. Please be respectful, clear and explain how this would impact your safety or the safety of your employees, family, etc. Include any data you may have available to prove your points. Please provide answers to the twelve specific questions contained in their notice as part of your individual comments. 

The speed limiter mandate is being promogulated under false pretenses. Simply put, large fleets are pushing for mandatory speed limiters to gain a competitive advantage over independent fleets when recruiting drivers. If all trucks are set up virtually the same, then there will be less of an advantage working for small fleets. At least that is how the large motor carriers see it. 

Safety groups are wrongly pushing for speed limiting devices to save lives, and although that is a goal we all should support, the data behind their request is flawed. While speed is a factor in many trucks involved in crashes, it is rarely the truck that was speeding, nor was the speed at the time of the crash more than the posted speed limit. Having a truck artificially limited to an arbitrary speed will not prevent these crashes; in all likelihood it will increase the number of cars crashing into the rear end of large trucks. 

If safety were the true reason for speed limiting devices, then the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation of variable speed limiting devices that respond to the posted regulatory or advisory speed limit on highways would be installed on all motor vehicles -not just large trucks. That is a proposal that makes sense from a safety perspective since numerous studies show that traffic is at its safest when all vehicles are travelling at the same speed. 

Whatever side of this issue you are on, now is the time to make your voice heard. The public comment period is short, only 30 days, and closes on June 2, 2022. Act now and make your voice heard! 

homediv
homediv
May 25 - May 31, 2022

All-American Runs Deep

DSC 2238 2 d32a1
By George L. Nitti

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at georgenitti@gmail.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine! 

Western Modern

118347847 3318817848165647 7909233748083132373 n 79c5fBy George L. Nitti

In describing the killer logo found on his 2018 Kenworth T880 with a 1075 S Century Rotator, owner Nik Morgan says it projects the image of grit, iron, toughness, and bad to the bone.

Morgan, who owns Morgan’s Towing & Recovery, the largest tow company in Oklahoma, and starred in the realty T.V. show "Hustle and Tow, projects a similar image, where he is seen doing extreme recoveries with his 75 ton rotator.

The logo puts the Morgan name front and center, in a western styled font. Morgan said, “Afterall, we are in Oklahoma and we tow in the plains and the valleys through the countryside.” Contrasting the western flavor, however, is a modern scripted font, giving contrast between country and modern sensibilities.

Behind the white lettering of each of the fonts that are accentuated by shadows of red and black, is a diamond shaped design in a washed out black and white graphic with several stars and stripes. That shape is contained partially in a diamond plated frame as the crisp lettering extends over the diamond and onto the red background of the truck where modern black and white stripes give it further identification.

Morgan said, “I wanted to do something modern and contemporary with 80’s styled pinstriping. Something smooth.”

Those modern stripes can also be found on the side of the unit, extending across its large rotator real estate, with the Morgan logo and brand clearly standing out.

Morgan said, “I didn’t want a busy truck. Or a loud one. I wanted something calm to contrast with our name, so that would stand out.”

The red, white and black rotator, with a Western Modern flavor, is also enhanced by the yellow outriggers that stand out against those colors.

“Oklahoma’s Largest” pops in white lettering on the front sides of the truck. When asked about how he keeps up with such a large business, Morgan said, “It has a sleeper for a reason. It’s a dog house.”

 

Brag @ TIW! Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at georgenitti@towman.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

Nostalgic “Hell Hound”

allways9 c5fb0
By George L. Nitti

As a tow company, there often is no getting around the fact that towing is an around the clock enterprise. As long as roads are open, tow companies are working.

All Ways Towing, which is a slight play on the 24/7 concept, was the creation of Larry Broughton and his wife Sherry, who came up with the name after starting the company in Summerville, S.C., a suburb of Charleston, six years ago, just after Larry’s Pop, Larry Sr., passed away. Family owned and operated, their three children - Samantha, Larry, and Ashlie - are also involved in the day to day operations. 

On all of the company trucks, Larry has got a short tribute of his Dad on the back windows of their trucks: “In Memory of Pop.”  “From the age of four or five,” he said, “I was calling him Pop.”

Their 2023 Peterbilt 389 Century 9055 XL 50 ton, purchased from American Wrecker Sales near Columbia, S.C., also includes the same tribute on the back of the sleeper. Larry took delivery of the unit at the 2022 Florida Tow Show after waiting a year for it to be built.

“It was a surprise for my wife and it went well. It could have gone the other way,” he said dryly.

Also dear to Larry was his buddy Rocky, a pit bull who prematurely passed a couple of years ago on Father’s Day. He was only 4 years old. Larry’s got Rocky memorialized, his warm image gracing the Peterbilt sleeper.

You might say the truck is a bit canine themed, with a fiercer looking cartooned bulldog at the front-end biting down on a large tow chain, which extends across the wrecker.

Larry said, “My son wanted to name the truck ‘Hell Hound.’” Those words are found on the side doors. Remembering a quote from a tower who was recounting war stories of a recovery he did, Larry added the slogan, “Pulling Hell Off the Hinges.”

On the side of the wrecker, in a classy font with large reflective lettering, is the company name “All Ways Towing.” It pops out in silver and white lettering against a black background and an arresting hue of blue, the same color as Larry’s favorite football team, The Carolina Panthers.

“They are not doing so good these days,” he said. “I’m still living in 2015.” That was the year Carolina won the most games in the N.F.L, despite losing the Super Bowl in a close game to the Denver Broncos.


May 25 - May 31, 2022

Actio PRO Radio

actioPROradio 45753

Actio PRO is a wireless noise-cancelling radio built for those who are on the jobsite day in and day out—serious support for cutting background noise and creating safer, more effective workplaces. Actio PRO is packed with features like increased range, extended battery life, additional users, and more! 

Features 
- Powerful Noise Filter 
- Hands-Free—No “Push to Talk” 
- Up to 1650 Yds Total Range* 
- All-Weather Usage 
- Group Radio Up to 6 Users 
- Unlimited Use with On-the-Go Power Connection 
- No Earmuff Modification 
- Ability to connect multiple teams with 2-way radio 
- Use a Combination of Single-Speaker or Dual-Speaker Headsets 

What’s Included 
- Actio PRO Radio 
- Actio PRO Elastic Helmet Mount  
- Actio PRO Single-Speaker OR Dual-Speaker Headset with Waterproof Mic 
- Actio PRO T-Cable 
- USB On-the-Go Charging Cable 
- USB Charging & Data Cable 

For more information, https://speakeasycommunication.solutions/how-to/actio-pro/

Online Impound Auctions 

OnlineImpoundAuctions.com allows Tow Lot Owners to seamlessly dispose of their abandoned vehicles and maximize their sales revenue. The platform is designed with an understanding of Tow Lot Owners’ goals and business practices. 

At no cost to the seller, and the lowest bidder cost in the industry, the live auction platform increases bidder pool and eliminates the cost and effort of holding an onsite auction. 

Benefits

  • Free to sellers
  • Lowest cost to bidders in the industry
  • Larger bidder base = higher selling price per car
  • Cars stay on your lot – no movement required
  • Eliminates on premise auction costs like security, staffing and food
  • Easy online showroom setup on OnlineImpoundAuctions.com
  • Streamlines after auction paperwork – invoices available immediately after car sells
  • You collect all the Money
  • Special offers for Towing and Recovery Association members – ask us
  • White Glove services available – we will set up your showroom for you 

For more information, contact www.OnlineImpoundAuctions.com or 888-903-4678. 

Customer Testimonial from Buyer's Report, April 2022, American Towman Magazine

“For hosting and selling a large number of vehicles per month, Online Impound Auctions, LLC has been fantastic.  A Tow has two to three auctions a month selling hundreds of cars.  Online Impound Auctions streamlined and optimized the process to reduce our overhead while increasing our revenues.  A Tow was able to eliminate security, eliminate registration process for 100’s of people and focus on premiering vehicles to be sold.  Online Impound Auctions post reporting is useful to ensure you have the needed information for a successful auction.  Their competitive host pricing that can’t be beat.” 

Page Porter, A Tow Inc., Atlanta, Georgia 

The Life Saver: Cone Mounted Warning Light System

towmatelight 0f0a9
The TowMate Life Saver Gets Attention and Saves Lives!
The rechargeable universal traffic cone light system includes rechargeable unit with two high-intensity LED strobes mounted to it and AC wall charger. Instantly mounts to most traffic cones. This system provides an amazing alert system in a small package.  

  • Move traffic over with this easy-to-deploy warning light! 
  • Multiple selectable flash patterns 
  • Lithium battery lasts 24+ hours on a charge 
  • Recharges off included AC wall charger 
  • Other color options available 
  • Made in USA 
  • Lifetime warranty on LED’s 

Customer Testimonial: “Over 50 years as a tower, I have tried everything to get traffic to pay attention: warning lights, cones, a flashlight on the fog line. Butch, my driver, was working a scene in his heavy-duty wrecker on I-90 at night in the pouring rain and had put his triangles out. Unsurprisingly, they had no effect. Remembering that he had been given the Life Saver, he placed it on a cone in advance of the triangles. What he saw next was like magic. He turned that light on and those people were all over in the far lane. He said he couldn’t believe how well it worked. It’s the best thing since a pocket on a t-shirt.”  Dave Stephens, Kellogg’s Service & Towing, Mead, Washington 

homediv
homediv
homediv
May 25 - May 31, 2022
Show More
homediv
May 25 - May 31, 2022
Car dealership owner Adel Elhindawi remains in critical condition after being shot at for repossessing a loaner vehicle.

Man Arrested for Shooting Owner of Car Dealership 

The man who shot the owner of a car dealership in Ft. Worth, Texas was taken into custody by Arlington police and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and robbery. 

The incident occurred around noon on May 16 when dealership owner Adel Elhindawi came to repossess a car loaned to Espy. After Espy’s car was repaired for mechanical issues and returned to him and his loaner not returned, Elhindawi came to repossess the vehicle. 

“For somebody to do this to a loving person who was doing a favor who was helping them out who was going above and beyond to help them out,” said Damien Espinoza, an employee at the dealership. “Give them a car when they needed a car. For them to do this to him, it’s senseless,”  

Elhindawi remains in critical condition. 

Read more at: https://www.star-telegram.com/news/

Repo involves Hatchet-Wielding Man  

As two men were repossessing a vehicle in Sioux Falls on May 10, the vehicle’s owner threatened them with a hatchet that he had pull out from his repo’d vehicle.  

The repo men had the vehicle hooked up to their truck when the man, thirty-three-year-old Philip Sven Glader, confronted them, threatening one of the men, but reportedly not striking him. The suspect damaged the repo truck with the hatchet, slashing one of the tires, before police arrived and arrested him. 

No injuries were reported by the repo men. The suspect was arrested for intentional damage to property and aggravated assault. 

https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/ 

https://www.dakotanewsnow.com/

Sub-prime Auto Loan Delinquency Rates Rise in February 

According to Deutsche Bank and Fitch Ratings, more sub-prime borrowers are falling behind on their auto loans. In February, the delinquency rate for subprime auto loans more than 60 days past due rose to 4.15%, the highest since April 2020 according to Deutsche Bank. 

Fitch Ratings also tracked February subprime auto ABS delinquencies at the highest since April 2020, but at a near 4.8% rate. 

Despite the rising trend, the delinquency rate was over 5% before the pandemic and all of the government stimulus kicked in.  

“Certainly, spending power from what we are seeing on inflation could leave the subprime borrower more vulnerable,” said Margaret Rowe, senior director in Fitch’s asset-backed securities group. “We were expecting to see delinquencies normalize or come back to those pre-pandemic levels.” 

Auto lenders often move quickly to repossess vehicles when a borrower falls behind on payments.  

“We believe inflation is more likely to impact subprime borrowers due to lower incomes and/or savings,” BofA Global’s strategy team wrote, in a weekly note. “This leaves the subprime auto loan ABS and consumer loan ABS sectors more vulnerable to credit deterioration, which could add pressure to ABS valuations in the coming months, especially at the subordinated level.” 

Source

2021 Repo Report Illuminates Key Stats

A 2021 Repo Report published by Experian, a credit reporting agency that notifies banks and financial institutions of individual credit worthiness, includes key repo stats such as the number of yearly repossessions (2.4 million), average daily repossessions (5418) and the most repossessed trucks (Ford F-150) and cars (Honda Civic) currently on the market.

Stats also include the 10 highest repossession rates in 2021. Nine states and DC are listed. Nevada is at the top of list.

10. Virginia
9. District of Columbia 
8. Georgia 
7. Oklahoma 
6. Texas 
5. Florida 
4. North Carolina 
3. New Mexico 
2. Arizona
1. Nevada 

According to the report, for every 2.4 cars sold, 1 existing vehicle on the road will be repossessed each year. 


Source

homediv
Translate Page
Contact Us
© 2022  Tow Industry Week/American Towman Media, Inc.