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In a bizarre scenario, a man enters tow facility and stabs a woman in the neck.
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing June 16 - June 22, 2021

WEBFLEET Video

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Webfleet Solutions launched WEBFLEET Video into the market. With the industry leading technology of Webfleet Solutions and Lytx, a leading global provider of video telematics solutions for fleets, integrated on one platform, users can access and manage both their vehicles and their in-vehicle cameras from a single interface. 

Road facing and optional cabin facing HD dashcam event footage is displayed alongside driving data to give users the full context of road incidents. Users can request video from a specific time and position of a previous trip or instantly livestream from the road, to take action immediately when an incident occurs. 

Accompanying WEBFLEET Video is the CAM 50 dashcam. This hardware uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to automatically identify risky behaviour such as distracted driving and mobile phone usage. When it does so, it notifies the driver with a visual and audio alert, helping them avoid dangerous situations. 

“For the fleets we serve, safeguarding drivers is crucial,” says Matt Gunzenhauser, Director of US Sales, Webfleet Solutions. “And the more accurate a picture you have of what’s occurring on the road, the more protection you can give them. This is what WEBFLEET Video delivers. With footage from the road, drivers get both clear examples of how they can drive safer. It further provides evidence to protect them
For more information please visit:  https://www.webfleet.com/en_us/webfleet/lp/webfleet-video/?cid=7015Y000002TNdrQAG&ls=mwd 
 


Click here to read more

Nova Scotia Towers Protest Proposed Licensing By-Law 

More than a dozen tow trucks from different companies paraded through the streets of Sydney, N.S. in protest and in unity Tuesday. They’re concerned about a proposed by-law they say would make them pay more to operate.

 “We feel it’s a tax grab, because we already pay these fees to the Nova Scotia Government,” says Stephen Jamael, the owner of Jamael’s Towing in Sydney. 

Operators say the bylaw includes an annual fee, driver accreditation and a flat rate that could cost the consumer more. 

“Doing quick math, if you have 10 tow trucks, the new cost per truck is the better part of a thousand dollars, so if you have 10 trucks that’s 10 thousand dollars before you even turn your wheel,” says Frank Campbell, a tow truck operator. 

Christina Lamey is the communications officer for the municipality. 

“There's some further regulation going to be coming from the province in regards to the traffic safety act, so that is going to impact towing fees, impound fees, and rules around seizure,” says Lamey. 

“The by-law is to put more consistency into the cost of towing, seizure and impounding of vehicles, particularly after traffic accidents, which deals with the police service,” says Lamey. 

Tow truck operators feel they should've been consulted about the changes, and say it's unfair to compare the CBRM to the way bigger cities operate and regulate towing companies. 

“What is going to happen is all of the small tow companies, most of them are going to end up going bankrupt over this,” says Kim Withrow, a tow truck operator. 

There is no clear date as to when the towing bylaw will be back before council. 

https://www.saltwire.com



A convoy of tow trucks in Sydney, Nova Scotia protest proposed licensing by-law.

Container Job Nightmare 

container11 508a4

By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti 

On March 25, 2021, in Long Beach, CA., City Tow Service received a call from one of their Long Beach accounts to recover a forklift that had gone over hauling containers. City Tow driver Matthew responded with their 1994 Peterbilt with a Century 1060 60-ton 2-stage rotator. 

Once on scene, City Tow called Pepe’s Towing Service, a fellow tow company, to help them on the job. Pepe’s Joshua “Josh” Acosta responded with Hulk, his 2020 Peterbilt 389 with a Century 1150 50-ton rotator. 

The forklift was trying to stack a loaded container when it fell forward, knocking over multiple containers. One landed on a Toyota Corolla parked outside the chain-link fence, crushing its windshield and hood. 

Josh exclaimed, “This job was a nightmare! The containers were loaded, weighing about 17,000-pounds. They were loaded with some type of gas. My plan was to tackle the containers one by one. I assisted City Tow in lifting the containers that had gone on the street first, including the one that crushed the Toyota. Using one rotator on each end, Matthew and I set them on a trailer chassis to take them away.” 

The hardest part for Josh was tackling the forklift that had its mast all the way up and was still attached to a container. He had to first secure the container to the mast to make sure it would not fall off. 

“I decided my best course of action was to pull the forklift towards me, while City Tow assisted by providing a catch line so the forklift did not slam back down,” Josh stated. “Once I had the forklift back on the ground, I released tension on my boom lines while the forklift operator simultaneously brought down the mast to lower the forklift. I did all of the rigging with my custom ‘Pepe’s Slings’ I had made by Bailey’s Towing Accessories. This made it so much easier to rig as opposed to having to carry and use heavy chain.” 

Working in tandem, using the two Century rotator, all containers were either placed on a trailer chassis to be moved or stacked back where they belonged in the yard. The nightmare was over and the customer was happy. 

_____________________________________ 

City Tow Service is a top-notch towing, recovery and emergency road service company that has been servicing greater Long Beach, CA and the surrounding communities since 1961. All of their employees are trained and certified through WreckMaster and CTTA. Their fleet consists of state-of-the-art equipment including everything from one-ton conventional wheel lifts, flatbed carriers and heavy-duty wreckers to 60-ton (4 axle) rotators.  

Pepe’s Towing Service was established in 1978 by Jose and Delfina Acosta. As the business grew, Jose Jr. and brother Manuel “Manny” followed in their father’s footsteps and became full-time employees in March 1987. In 1989, Lorenzo Navarro joined the Acosta brothers and became an integral part of the company. 
More than 40 years later, Pepe's is still family owned and operated. They have over 90 employees, a fleet of over 80 trucks, including everything from light to super heavy-duty and specialized equipment. Their specialty and primary focus is medium- and heavy-duty towing and recovery. 

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! 

4 Towman Expos in 2021, Mark your calendars for The Comeback Tour!!!

By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


I work the non-traffic side of the wrecker/carrier:
seldom
maybe 30% of the breakdowns
half of the time
most of the time
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Managing Editor: Steve Calitri
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203, Peggy Calabrese x202
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
June 16 - June 22, 2021
Video surveillance at a Vancouver tow company captures suspect in action.

Man Stabs Woman at Vancouver Tow Company 

In a bizarre scene, a man is accused of stabbing a woman sitting at her desk at a Vancouver towing company.  

According to court documents, the victim, who works at Retriever Towing, called to report that a man attacked her from behind while she was sitting at her desk. Court documents allege the suspect took off running. When officers got to the scene, they found that woman with a 1 to 2-inch puncture near the base of her neck and say it looked like a stab wound. 

In court documents, police say surveillance footage shows the suspect took off his shoes and entered from the back of the building. They also say surveillance footage shows the suspect approach the victim, standing behind her and appears to be looking for the exact spot to attack the woman. The suspect then stabs the victim's neck and immediately turns and runs, according to court documents. 

In court documents police say a bystander saw the suspect running from the scene and gave police a description. 

Officers searched the area and arrested Hunter Levi who is accused of attempted murder. Court documents claim Levi matched the suspect from the video. 

https://www.kptv.com/ 

On The Hook 10: New Stuff
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June 16 - June 22, 2021
Bumper Sticker being placed to remind drivers to Slow Down/Move Over

Bumper Stickers/Posters to Remind Drivers in Jersey to “Slow Down, Move Over”

New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) along with a coalition of transportation agencies that comprise the NJ Traffic Incident Management (NJTIM) task force, launched a bumper sticker and poster campaign to raise public awareness of the Slow Down, Move Over Law. 

“The Slow Down, Move Over campaign is not just a catch phrase. For the emergency responders and others who serve the motoring public, the highway is their office,” NJDOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “We want everyone to get home safe, every night. The goal is to remind drivers approaching stopped emergency or work vehicles to please slow down and if it is safe to do so, move over. That simple act could save a life.”  

The eye-catching, florescent, pink stickers, which match the emergency incident sign color used at roadway incident scenes across the United States, will be placed on the bumpers of NJDOT and participating emergency response vehicles across the state.  

In addition to seeing these bumper stickers on state vehicles, Quick Chek, is partnering with the NJTIM coalition, and will be displaying the Slow Down, Move Over posters in the windows of 72 of their New Jersey stores and at 67 gas stations. 

There have been 22 emergency responders and highway workers struck and killed throughout the United States in 2021 as reported by the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, www.ResponderSafety.com. This number does not include injuries. 

“Our law boils down to simple courtesy and the care and caution we should all inherently be showing the folks that are working on and around our roadways,” said Eric Heitmann, Director of the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “These folks already have a dangerous job – and we can all do something to make it safer for them – simple courtesy.” 

https://www.southjerseyobserver.com/2021/06/06/nj-traffic-incident-management-task-force-reminds-motorists-to-slow-down-move-over/ 

Texas Towman Downed by Airborne Car

Tower David Isaac Simmons, who was pulling a disabled vehicle out of the center median of the highway using his 2020 Freightliner with a sliding bed, died a couple of days after he was struck by a car that careened off Interstate 45, south of Fairfield, Tx.  

Simmons was at the control box of his tow truck when a 22-year-old woman driving a 2020 Toyota Corolla made an unsafe lane change. The Toyota collided with a 2014 Volvo sedan driven by a 33-year-old Dallas woman, and then crossed back into the inside lane, shot up the tow truck’s sliding bed, went airborne and slammed into Simmons. 

https://www.kwtx.com 

Vigil for Downed Tower in Fla.

A vigil was held Monday night to remember 30-year-old tower Carlos Betancourt, who was killed while stopping to help a motorist in Orange Park, Fla on interstate 295 around 2:40 a.m. on Sunday.  

Troopers said Betancourt and the driver he stopped to help were standing near the tow truck parked on the left shoulder, partially blocking the left travel lane, when they were struck by a sport-utility vehicle. 

The impact sent the SUV careening into a concrete barrier. 

Betancourt died at the scene, according to FHP, and the 19-year-old driver he stopped to help was taken to an area hospital where he too was pronounced dead. 

Betancourt’s brother Kevin described him as the “best brother, son and friend.” Friends said the small business owner also beat cancer twice. 

“I woke up to it and my heart sank,” said Max Williams, a friend. 

During the vigil, dozens of tow trucks were lined up together with their lights on. A flag reminding drivers to move over was draped over a truck. 

A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Transportation underscored the importance of obeying the state’s “move over” law, which requires drivers to change lanes when passing emergency vehicles. 

https://www.news4jax.com/ 

NJ Tow Company Calling it Quits 

The owner of Paterson NJ’s Classic Towing, John Kruse, is calling it quits after hauling away and impounding thousands of illegally parked vehicles over 36 years.  

“Believe it or not, you make a lot of friends in this business, even though you piss a lot of people off,” Kruse said. 

Kruse said “an accumulation of challenges” prompted him to shut down his company’s impound operation effective May 31. He said running the impound storage area had become a financial drain on his business, partly because so many people whose cars were towed in Paterson simply abandoned them rather than pay the fees. 

“I’ve got a lot full of derelict cars that were just abandoned by people,” Kruse said. 

https://www.northjersey.com/ 

Memorializing Towers with Processions of Honor

It's a good bet that any month out of the year, you will find stories about towman giving tribute and honor to fallen towers or recently passed veterans of established tow companies.

Last month a procession of approximately 100 tow trucks honored Kansas towman Joe Meyer who lost his life when he was crushed by a vehicle that fell off a tow truck. In March, the Las Vegas community came out for Ryan Billotte, who also lost his life roadside. In Montana, two towers that lost their lives have had several tributes in their honor. And just in the last few months, towers have come out in large numbers for veterans like Leo Rinwalski, Marvin Pardo, and Everett Hibler, considered icons in their respective communities.

This month towers from all over the Pacific Northwest were in Kelso, Washington on Sunday to honor Affordable Towing’s Arthur “Art” Anderson, who was killed last month when a driver crashed into a disabled car. Anderson’s daughter Sparkle Chism said, “These people came from all over to honor my dad. You can’t ask for anything better than that."

As memorial day approaches this coming Monday, TIW is proud to acknowledge the unity that towers express all year round to memorialize those who have fallen.

Chicago Reigning in Rogue Practices among Towers

Rogue towing practices in Chicago, which have come under intense scrutiny, are being addressed by Chicago City Council as new ordinances are revised and approved. Rogue practices include towers showing up to scenes of accidents unsolicited, ensnaring damaged vehicles and charging exorbitant release fees, practices that are likened to the “Wild West.”

The City Council’s Committee on License and Consumer Protection approved a revised ordinance that calls for the city to establish a first-ever license for tow truck operators, require a $250 license for every truck they use and license the locations where vehicles they tow are stored.

Meanwhile, the ordinance has been amended to accommodate AAA towing operations, freeing them for being responsible for individual towing contractors, and amended to waive the fees for city contractors.

Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), who championed the legislation, said, “AAA didn’t want to be responsible for individual towing contractors. So, [I] struck that. If you’re a city vendor, you won’t have to pay the license. However, if you have other vehicles that are not working on the city contract, those vehicles would have to pay the license,” Villegas said.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/

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American Towman Exposition Gallery
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Rate how they handled this recovery
Great job on a challenging recovery.
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June 16 - June 22, 2021

Container Job Nightmare 

container11 508a4

By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti 

On March 25, 2021, in Long Beach, CA., City Tow Service received a call from one of their Long Beach accounts to recover a forklift that had gone over hauling containers. City Tow driver Matthew responded with their 1994 Peterbilt with a Century 1060 60-ton 2-stage rotator. 

Once on scene, City Tow called Pepe’s Towing Service, a fellow tow company, to help them on the job. Pepe’s Joshua “Josh” Acosta responded with Hulk, his 2020 Peterbilt 389 with a Century 1150 50-ton rotator. 

The forklift was trying to stack a loaded container when it fell forward, knocking over multiple containers. One landed on a Toyota Corolla parked outside the chain-link fence, crushing its windshield and hood. 

Josh exclaimed, “This job was a nightmare! The containers were loaded, weighing about 17,000-pounds. They were loaded with some type of gas. My plan was to tackle the containers one by one. I assisted City Tow in lifting the containers that had gone on the street first, including the one that crushed the Toyota. Using one rotator on each end, Matthew and I set them on a trailer chassis to take them away.” 

The hardest part for Josh was tackling the forklift that had its mast all the way up and was still attached to a container. He had to first secure the container to the mast to make sure it would not fall off. 

“I decided my best course of action was to pull the forklift towards me, while City Tow assisted by providing a catch line so the forklift did not slam back down,” Josh stated. “Once I had the forklift back on the ground, I released tension on my boom lines while the forklift operator simultaneously brought down the mast to lower the forklift. I did all of the rigging with my custom ‘Pepe’s Slings’ I had made by Bailey’s Towing Accessories. This made it so much easier to rig as opposed to having to carry and use heavy chain.” 

Working in tandem, using the two Century rotator, all containers were either placed on a trailer chassis to be moved or stacked back where they belonged in the yard. The nightmare was over and the customer was happy. 

_____________________________________ 

City Tow Service is a top-notch towing, recovery and emergency road service company that has been servicing greater Long Beach, CA and the surrounding communities since 1961. All of their employees are trained and certified through WreckMaster and CTTA. Their fleet consists of state-of-the-art equipment including everything from one-ton conventional wheel lifts, flatbed carriers and heavy-duty wreckers to 60-ton (4 axle) rotators.  

Pepe’s Towing Service was established in 1978 by Jose and Delfina Acosta. As the business grew, Jose Jr. and brother Manuel “Manny” followed in their father’s footsteps and became full-time employees in March 1987. In 1989, Lorenzo Navarro joined the Acosta brothers and became an integral part of the company. 
More than 40 years later, Pepe's is still family owned and operated. They have over 90 employees, a fleet of over 80 trucks, including everything from light to super heavy-duty and specialized equipment. Their specialty and primary focus is medium- and heavy-duty towing and recovery. 

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! 

Double Dog Dare Recovery

Double Dog Dare Recovery TIW 9 ab70d

By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti 

In Upper Macungie Township, PA, on a road that has a double dog leg turn (two - 90 degree turns), the driver, hauling approximately 42,000 pounds of a name brand soda, took the turn too fast, causing the semi-truck and trailer to roll over.  

After another tower had been on the job for more than 7 hours and was unable to upright the casualty, Hauser’s Truck Service was contacted by the Upper Macungie Police Department. 

Hauser’s dispatched their 1990 Peterbilt with Nomar HD wrecker, 1987 Mack 35-ton Challenger HD wrecker and a 1988 Ford LTL 45-ton Challenger HD wrecker. They also brought out their recovery trailer with the USA air cushion recovery system they wanted to use on this job. Owner Tim Hauser, along with operators Jake Schrawder, Tim Moser, Bill Hillenbrant, Brad Hauser, and Kevin Krase responded to the scene.  

Tim informed, “We determined the best way to approach this recovery would be to bag the trailer from the roof side and rig the trailer from the floor side to pull it up with the Mack and Ford heavy-duty wreckers. The Peterbilt heavy-duty wrecker was used to stabilize the tractor as the casualty was coming up to keep everything in line.” 

Jake rigged the job, in part using extra wide 18-inch recovery straps to lend additional support as the casualty came up. The side of the trailer had been compromised and they felt it best to bag it, utilizing seven air bags to cover the square footage of the 53-foot trailer. Tim explained, “We find seven works great so there's no chance that the rib line of the trailer walls open up or "unzip.” 

“After the truck was recovered, we allowed the original tower on the scene to tow the tractor away and they also transported the trailer,” stated Tim. “We came in to do a job and we weren't looking to ‘poke the other guy in the eye.’ We felt it was the neighborly thing to do to allow the original tower called out to take the casualty from the point we had recovered it.” 

The recovery was completed from beginning to end in approximately 90 minutes. It was a great example of how know-how and years of experience, paired with quality equipment, gets the job done. 

_____________________________________________ 

Timothy “Tim” Hauser is the President and owner of Hauser’s Truck Service of Allentown, PA. The company is a third-generation family business, founded by Harold & Jean Hauser in 1971 out of their home and garage. Brad Hauser is the third generation of Hausers involved in the business. 

Celebrating 50 years in business in 2021, the company has grown into one of the Lehigh Valley’s largest towing and repair facilities with 18 employees and 26 vehicles in their ever-expanding fleet. 

Show Yours @ TIW 

Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim jimchaos69@yahoo.com“Buck” Sorrenti at ; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine! 

Beemer Up Up & Away 

beemer7 39d10

by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti 

On May 28, 2021 at 4:30 a.m. in Lincoln, R.I., the Lincoln Police stopped a 2010 BMW 328 with a M3 style kit for suspicious activity. The driver attempted to flee, causing him to lose control, go up an embankment, bounce off a tree and put the vehicle on top of a stone wall and Dodge Ram pickup truck. The driver and passenger were taken to the hospital for minor injuries. 

King’s Towing operator Jason Mellen responded with their 2020 Hino 268 with a Jerr-Dan XLP bed to haul the casualty away. 

Heavy operator Andrew White of Sterry Street Towing responded with a 2021 Peterbilt 389 twin-steer with a Century 1075 75-ton 6 winch rotator. Andrew informed, “The Lincoln Fire Department requested a rotator be used to lift the BMW as it was on top of a wall, resting on its fuel tank and leaning on the back of a pickup.” 

When Jason and Andrew rolled in, the Lincoln Police and Lincoln Fire Department were on scene. Lincoln Fire was keeping an eye on the beemer’s gas tank. They requested the rotator because the pickup couldn’t be winched forwards or backwards without rupturing its fuel tank. It had to be lifted straight up and off the wall and pickup. 

The rotator and flatbed were staged and Andrew got busy rigging. Andrew explained, “I rigged it using a Miller Industries spreader bar using two BA Products 8-foot red round slings and a BA Products spreader bar kit. We also used green round slings through all four rims to protect the wheels from anymore damage and a tog line was used to control swing while the lift was being made.” 

The casualty was lifted straight up, rotated and set onto the Kings Towing Jerr-Dan flatbed. Jason tied it down and transported it to the yard for police hold. 

_________________________ 

King’s Towing out of Central Falls, R.I. serves residential and commercial customers with towing service, auto repair, accident recovery and roadside assistance. Serving Providence County since the 1931, they are a AAA participant and also offer emergency services. 

Sterry Street Towing was started in 1980 by John Martins with one tow truck. As the founder, owner and CEO John slowly grew his towing business by adding 2-3 trucks every year. He named his company after the street where he got his start in Pawtucket, R.I. After John passed away in 2015, his son Jamie Turmel took over ownership of the family business and continues the same strong work ethic he learned from his dad. Sterry Street employs over 30 full-time employees and have a large, varied and extensive fleet that includes specialized equipment along with several heavy-duty rotators. 

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 – Nacogdoches, TX
$500
(pop. 34,047)

SOUTHERN – Lake City, FL
$250
(pop. 12,099)

EASTERN - King George, VA
$145
(pop. 4,457)

WESTERN - Brentwood, CA
$276.25
(pop. 53,673)

Heavy-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
June 16 - June 22, 2021

No Driving Atop a Carrier’s Deck

By Randall C. Resch  

If carriers are manufactured and sold with removable side-rails, does removing them take away operator protection? Does this violate OSHA safety? This is a reasonable question based on total operator safety.

Depending on what business niche tow companies serve, some company’s remove side-rails for purpose and ease when loading equipment items and wide-track vehicles, especially dually trucks. However, when doing so, nothing prevents stopping something from edging over-the-side and off the carrier’s deck. 

So is it prudent to risk safety over convenience? Here are two fatality scenarios of operators killed because rails were removed: 

Scenario 1: A North Carolina operator allegedly drove a forklift atop a carrier’s “leveled-deck.” As the forklift rolled over the carrier’s edge, it fell off the deck. Its driver reacted by jumping from the lift and was crushed under its weight. The resulting investigation reported the operator was driving atop the carrier’s deck when it backed off the side of the truck. This carrier had side-rails removed.

Scenario 2: A Nevada operator drove a forklift up the carrier’s tilted bed, not utilizing the winch. The operator connected the winch-cable to the forklift, then returned the deck to its level position. The unsecured forklift began rolling towards the carrier’s cab steering to the passenger-side edge of the carrier’s deck. 

As the operator was standing near the driver-side controls, he stopped the deck’s motion and hurriedly ran to the carrier’s passenger-side. At the same moment, the forklift rolled over the edge and onto the operator. The operator was fatally crushed. Like scenario one, this carrier didn’t have side-rails.

Tow owners accept odd-jobs where forklifts get transported to job sites and used to raise items to upstairs balconies or upper floors hoping to gain 48-inches and make “high-reach” possible. While I understand the thought process … it’s simply too dangerous. 

Odd jobs like these pay decent money, but they take-on incredible risk and peril. In doing so, driving atop a carrier’s deck is a dangerous practice especially when rails aren’t installed to stop movement beyond the edges.   

In both examples OSHA and CDC investigators alleged the forklift’s operator may have been driving atop carrier decks. When a forklift was about to fall, the tower reportedly jumped from the machine and was crushed. None-the-less, without having safety rails in-place, nothing prevented the forklift’s fall.

It’s obvious that side-rails are removable allowing a carrier’s deck to be converted into a “stake-like” bed with detachable sides. Some towers say that eliminating side-rails means there’s a less strenuous reach from the deck’s sides to the deck’s center. Some comment that pallet loads are easier accessed by forklifts.

But, if side-rails are intended and designed for containing product or load on carrier’s decks, is it sensible to remove side-rails and flirt with danger? 

Cyber Attacks: Are You Prepared?

cyberattack 08f9bBy Brian J. Riker

Cyber attacks are on the increase and small businesses are not immune. In fact, small businesses are more likely to be attacked than large corporations because defenses are usually much lower … even nonexistent.

According to a recent report by Germany-based Allianz Risk, cyber-attacks have now taken the lead as the top corporate concern globally, displacing business interruption which had held the top spot for the past seven years.

Cyber attack risks come not only from external hackers, but also from internal sources. It is important to make sure you have the proper security protocols in place to protect your data from both accidental and malicious loss.

Imagine how hard it would be to operate your impound yard if all of the vehicle records just disappeared one day? How about if your dispatch software crashed?

The modern tower has embraced technology, as it is a must to survive in today’s industry. With that technology comes risks that also must be managed. We routinely collect sensitive personal information about customers as well as employees that must be protected. Do you have adequate password protection and limited access for this information?

Gone are the days of keeping everything sensitive locked up in a file drawer tucked away in the back corner of the office. Now we have computer terminals at almost every workstation, all connected with a local network and then connected to the world via the Internet.

Most tow bosses can even access all their data remotely from their smartphone or laptop computer. Convenient, but very risky.

Now is the time to perform a cyber-risk assessment. Begin by making a list of who currently has access to what software and data, then determine if they really need that access and make changes as needed.

Next check for physical security issues. Are there computers that are not locked or password protected with access to sensitive info that employees or even the public can get access to?
Make sure any public Wi-Fi at your office is a completely separate network from your business computers. The No. 1 way hackers gain access to sensitive information is through unprotected public access points. Make sure your business Wi-Fi network is password-protected with a unique network key—not the standard one that came with your router.

Develop a security protocol that requires routine updates to all network passwords. Do not allow your team to write them down and leave them in their workstation or use autofill functions on their web browser. This defeats the purpose of having passwords!

Consider setting up a virtual private network for all your remote access needs. Cellphone and mobile data networks are ripe with security flaws that a VPN can protect against.

Many towers are now using virtual phone networks in place of traditional landline telephones. While these are great for flexibility and mobility, it pays to have at least one backup physical landline telephone when the system crashes. Don’t have all your communication dependent upon the Internet or other virtual systems. Always have a second, and even third, method for critical customers and team members to communicate.

These measures seem complicated and may require retaining a computer network specialist. What is the alternative if your data is held for ransom or destroyed? How hard and expensive would it be to recreate years of records? What about lost income because of the loss of supporting data such as pictures or purchase orders?

Lastly, check with your business insurance agent about the cost and availability of cyber attack insurance. It is an excellent supplement to business interruption insurance, which you should already have to protect against losses from fire, flooding and even loss of phone or electricity.

Brian J. Riker is a third generation towman and President of Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC and is a contributing writer to American Towman Magazine and Tow Industry Week. He specializes in helping non-traditional fleets such as towing, repossession, and construction companies navigate the complex world of Federal and State transportation regulatory compliance. With 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator Brian truly understands the unique needs and challenges faced by towing companies today. He can be reached at brian.riker@fleetcompliancesolutions.net

Scrappers? What, No Papers? 

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By Randall C. Resch      

The opening picture depicts a brightly colored sign hanging from a pole where I live. While the sign was posted by a law-abiding tow owner, could that scrap item be the property of another? 

One business niche called “scrapping” is an action that could land you in hot-water. You wouldn’t think taking scrap is an illegal practice, but there’s a fine-line defining “scrap” versus “a hulk of metal” being the remains of a stolen car. 

A discarded car-body found in a field may not be that of an unwanted car, but the remains of a stolen and stripped vehicle. If the vehicle was stolen, its owner could be anticipating their property’s return. 

So, as a “Scrapper” drives around and find’s a rusty car body conspicuously parked behind a dilapidated store, does that “kid in the candy store” feeling kick in? While it’s admirable to rid the community of derelict cars, it’s prudent to think twice before taking possession.  

Driving in traffic, the scrapper gets stopped because there were no extension-lights or proper tie-downs. The officer asks about the car on the truck and runs the VIN in the national ARJIS System. To the tower’s dismay, the hulk was a stolen car.  

The end result: the tower goes to jail for possession of stolen property while the tow truck is impounded as evidence. That’s a possibility of “Scrapping.”  

An old saying suggests that if it’s free, it’s too good to be true. Even if it’s total junk, is that stripped car-hulk that of a stolen car or is it debris free for the taking? While its scale weight could mean potential profit for the tower, if the vehicle was delivered to a scrap-yard with no papers, is there violation of law? 

When accepting vehicles without papers, scrapper’s risk arrest and conviction if it was a reported stolen vehicle. In all reality, shouldn’t the tower obtain DMV documentation to prove ownership? Is there responsibility to determine whether or not the hulk was the remains of auto-theft? 

When towers scrap as a mode of business, being in-illegal possession of a stolen-hulk could result in an arrest. In most states, to be convicted of possession of stolen property, proving a defendant guilty of the crime, prosecutors must establish two elements: 

1.) The defendant took possession of someone’s property without owner consent, and 2.) when the defendant took the property, did they intend to deprive the owner of that property for any period of time? 

The bottom-line: Did you take steps to determine if the junk in your possession didn’t belong to someone else? How will you answer?  

While a Scrapper’s business intent is honest and upright, receiving vehicles without obtaining properly administered paperwork, i.e., lien-sale, abatement or assigned title could result in arrest. There is a responsibility to pre-determine that the scrap’s not stolen. 

 
 

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June 16 - June 22, 2021

Interior Bliss 

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By George L. Nitti 

Paddack’s Wrecker and Heavy Transport, located in Indianapolis, Ind., has a tow truck that will take you to the moon, in luxury, with their latest acquisition, a 2020 Kenworth W900 with a Century 1075 Rotator. 

It’s interior includes plush red leather seats with red and orange painted aluminum floors, a ceiling that is lined with patterned leather black buttons, a dash camera with GPS, a custom radio with 13 speakers, and a host of other bells and whistles that would “wow” any star voyager.  

For Paddack’s it signifies a journey long in the making. 

Fleet manager Jacob Ripley, son of owner Jeff Ripley, said, “As a kid I always wanted a custom truck and so I finally built a show truck. It’s my home away from home.” 

Of all their red trucks in a fleet of 50, this one really stands out, due to several marked differences, including a unique blue heartbeat found in two places on the unit’s side. 

Jacob explained, “Back in the 90’s, my father bought the company from Norm Paddack. They built a truck together with the same scheme: A heartbeat. Norm passed away 4 years ago and as a memorial type thing I went with the old-style lettering for my Dad and Norm.” 

Striped decals along the rotator’s side give the unit distinction as the colors of yellow, orange, royal blue and burgundy contrast nicely with its bold, red background. And a little white pin-striping on the royal navy adds just the right touch, giving it a subtle, decorative note. 

With all reflective lettering, pertinent information about the company is made clear, during night and day. On the side, it’s stated “Wrecks and Recover Specialists.” On the boom, and its backside, the Paddack name pops out in a unique, white lettering while on the grill, the company name stands out with class. 

Of course, at night, it shines too, enveloped in 3 inch maxxima lights. 

What better way to travel than this rotator that travels with a heartbeat? 

Brag @ TIW!  

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

From Snowblowin’ to Towin’

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By George L. Nitti 

Although former auto repair shop owner and tower Mike Lagomarsino has been out of the business since 2001, when he had a couple of shops for 25 years in Fairview and North Bergen, NJ, he continues to stay connected to the industry with his love of classic vehicles, one of which is a dandy 1942 Ford 29T 1 ½ ton with a Holmes 460. 

The truck’s origins date back to 1942, purchased during the 2nd World War, as part of the Lend Lease Program that enabled the purchase of specialized vehicles to be used by the military. In this case, the 42’ Ford was used as a snowblower, leased to England to clear airports of snow.  

Lagomarsino merged the 42’ Ford 29T with a Holmes 460 he found on a 52’ Ford. 30 years since he built the truck, it is having a rebirth of a sort, showing up at a recent car show in Greenwood Lake, NJ, with plans for more. “I use it sparingly, but everytime I use it, it is like new again.” he said. 

Several key elements help to define this classic, one of which is its vibrant color.  

After its peak performance during the 2nd World War, leading us to victory over the Axis Powers of Germany and Japan, this unit went on to a more modest life in a local community where it was used to clear snow off roads. Lagomarsino said, “All town trucks used Omaha Orange.”  

As part of the restoration, Lagomarsino balanced the Omaha Orange with a fusion of white in key places: down the center of the hood, the front grill, the back rear fenders, behind the cabin, the vehicle hubs,  and the safety striping on the backside. 

The lettering, which was done by ID Signs, also stands out to highlight several textual features, one of which is the circular, classic ribbon themed logo found on the side of the unit accenting the owner’s name, his place of residence (Ringwood, NJ) and an established date (1927). 

Lagomarsino said, “I picked my father’s birth year.” 

To give tribute to his family, Lagomarsino added the names of his two boys, Pete and Tony, on the front side and his wife, Nancy, on the back. 

On the front black bumper, also is the lettering “Reckless.”  

He said, “Years ago I had seen it on an old truck and adopted that.” 

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! 

Bull’s-Eye Design Wrapped in a Flag 

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By George L. Nitti 

Throughout the towing industry, patriotic themed graphics abound. But what separates the stellar from the merely ordinary may come down to a simple, creative variation such as a change in color. 

Alberto Castellanos, owner of Alberto’s Towing of Santa Ana, Ca., recently purchased 5 new tow trucks, replacing his older trucks because California’s new law requires operating tow trucks that are made post 2010. 

Castellanos took the opportunity of purchasing the new trucks and then wrapping them all at once with a signature design that uniformly brands the company with a memorable patriotic display featuring the American Flag. 

On their new medium duty 2020 Freightliner M2 with a 16 Ton Century Wrecker, this design is clearly illustrated, but with a color variation of black, white and gold rather than the traditional red, white and blue colors of the American flag. 

Castellanos said, “I went with a gold color because it is similar to yellow. These are towing colors that stand out. That’s why I went with them. I wanted to do something different.” 

The stars on the hood are gold while gold stripes, interspersed with black and white stripes, carve out an image that might at first be easily mistaken for a camouflaged truck but upon closer examination replicates the American Flag.  

The colors are infused with a modern flavor of lines that are not drawn evenly with a gradient of colors promoting a more artistic sensibility. 

Another image that stands out on the truck is that of their logo, a bull, pulling a tow chain. This image stands center stage on the hood of their truck and can also be found on the side doors. 

Castellanos said, “The bull is a symbol of our towing company. Bulls are calm, powerful and even nice. Did you know that you can pet them? You just don’t want to piss them off.” 

The name Alberto’s Towing also stands out as does the slogan on the visor of their tinted windows: “If It Don’t Roll, We Tow.”  

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

June 16 - June 22, 2021

Steel Toolbox w/ Stainless Steel Door

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RC Industries Heavy Duty Steel Toolboxes provide superior security, convenience, and protection for whatever you want to store. 

Features 

  • Heavy Duty Steel Toolboxes are constructed from 14 gauge powder coated steel with a 14 ga. stainless steel door 
  • "Armor-D" protective powder coat finish 
  • Features a unique water resistant door gasket 
  • Stainless steel T-handle latch with lock & key 
  • Automotive rubber bulb seal 
  • 4-sided weather shielded door frame 
  • Unique gusseted, adjustable chain bracket Following toolboxes have double doors: 
  • SUSD72: 34" 5/16 x 16" 3/4 
  • SUSD722424: 34" 5/16 x 22" 3/4 
  • SUSD96: 46" 5/16 x 16" 3/4 
For more information about this product, go to
https://zips.com/parts-detail/rc-industries-steel-toolbox-w-stainless-susd

Hub and Disc Surface Cleaner  

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AME International, the leading supplier of tire changing tools and equipment, released a new automotive service accessory: the 37350 Hub Bro impact-rated hub and disc surface cleaner. 

The 37350 Hub Bro tool saves time with its 1⁄2” impact-rated fitting by eliminating the need to change tools. The 37350 Hub Bro instantly removes rust, corrosion, and other build-up from stud-less vehicle hub assemblies and the wheel mounting disc within seconds.  

“The Hub Bro is the much-needed answer for the other half of vehicles on the road that don’t use a stud and lug-nut combo. It is a huge time-saver with not having to change tools and reducing comebacks due to wheel balancing issues,” said Don Tinker, NA Business Development for AME Intl.   

To request additional information about the 37350 Hub Bro visit their website at www.ameintl.net.  

WEBFLEET Video

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Webfleet Solutions launched WEBFLEET Video into the market. With the industry leading technology of Webfleet Solutions and Lytx, a leading global provider of video telematics solutions for fleets, integrated on one platform, users can access and manage both their vehicles and their in-vehicle cameras from a single interface. 

Road facing and optional cabin facing HD dashcam event footage is displayed alongside driving data to give users the full context of road incidents. Users can request video from a specific time and position of a previous trip or instantly livestream from the road, to take action immediately when an incident occurs. 

Accompanying WEBFLEET Video is the CAM 50 dashcam. This hardware uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to automatically identify risky behaviour such as distracted driving and mobile phone usage. When it does so, it notifies the driver with a visual and audio alert, helping them avoid dangerous situations. 

“For the fleets we serve, safeguarding drivers is crucial,” says Matt Gunzenhauser, Director of US Sales, Webfleet Solutions. “And the more accurate a picture you have of what’s occurring on the road, the more protection you can give them. This is what WEBFLEET Video delivers. With footage from the road, drivers get both clear examples of how they can drive safer. It further provides evidence to protect them
For more information please visit:  https://www.webfleet.com/en_us/webfleet/lp/webfleet-video/?cid=7015Y000002TNdrQAG&ls=mwd 
 
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June 16 - June 22, 2021
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June 16 - June 22, 2021

Auto Finance Boom Reported

According to the Brookhaven Courier, a newspaper run by students at Dallas College, the auto finance industry has seen a boom since the emergence of Covid-19, particularly the used car market. Part of this spike has to do with stimulus check and unemployment benefits.

Inske Zandvliet, economics professor at Dallas College Brookhaven Campus, said the demand for used cars is higher due to COVID-19. “People want to avoid traveling on public transport, so they are purchasing cars,” she said. “This leads to the second reason – a new car is a larger purchase. Since economic times are now uncertain, in terms of employment, many people choose to purchase a used car since it is not as expensive.”

Due to the sudden demand for used cars, auto finance companies such as Vehicle Solutions Corp profited, according to CNBC Evolve. 

David Ricci, the company’s repossession manager, said his workload remained steady. “I was expecting to have to repo a lot more cars in the beginning,” Ricci said. “But as it went on, the collections teams ended up keeping the customers current or making payment arrangements, so they didn’t get repossessed.”

Because used cars were selling better, there was a demand for them. “The subprime market was pretty strong, so the cars we did repo sold for a good amount,” Ricci said. The proceeds of the sales helped to offset the losses from cutting back on funding.

https://brookhavencourier.com/107120/local-news/the-auto-finance-boom-during-a-pandemic/

Repo Leads to Arrest in Firearms and Explosives

A repossession of a Mercedes in San Francisco led to the discovery of cache of firearms and explosives in late February. The perpetrator, who had a criminal history, was eventually arrested.

The sequence of events started when 31-year-old Cameron Ybarra shot at a repossessor, missing him and putting a bullet in the driver’s side of his car. After he retrieved items out of the car, he went into his residence, where he retrieved an assault rifle and pointed it at the repo man.

The driver “disconnected the vehicle, fled the area and called 911.”

Police followed up, impounding the Mercedes but were unable to find the shooter until they converged on his residence.

According to a police report, “SFPD investigators from the Crime Gun Investigations Center (CGIC) and Gang Task Force (GTF), along with special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) responded to the suspect’s residence to arrest the suspect and serve a search warrant.”

After officers arrested him, they found inside the house an assault rifle, ammunition, bosy armor, a silencer, bomb making materials and other things.

Ybarra was booked for carrying a concealed weapon, possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, negligent discharge of a firearm, possession of a silencer, assault with a deadly weapon, possession of an explosive device and resisting arrest.

https://www.crimevoice.com/2021/03/09/firearms-explosives/

Repo Job Turns into Bizarre Arrest

75 year old John Beasly of Tenn., whose white Kia was repo’ed and then reported stolen, was arrested when pulled over driving his own car.

Though the car was registered as stolen, police confirmed Beasley was the registered owner of the car.

“It turns out the vehicle is his. He reported it stolen. It had been repossessed. He did not tell the police that it was not stolen and he got it back, so it could be removed from the system. So, it was still in the system,” said Belle Meade, Tenn. Police Sgt. Jon Carter.

It was then that police learned that Beasley had two warrants for his arrest, one for misdemeanor trespassing and the other for felony vandalism.

Sgt. Carter said, “Basically he called the cops on himself. He completely forgot he reported it stolen. Even when I told him it is still showing as stolen, he said, it is not, it is my car. And then it finally clicked that he reported it when it was repo’ed.”

https://www.wkrn.com/

Anticipated Turn-Around [b]in Repo Business

Although many consumers have been shielded by the federal government’s Covid relief act for delinquency of their mortgage, student loans and rent payments, the same may not be said about auto loans, which are not covered by the act. While the pace of auto repossessions has been slow since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, that may soon change.

“It really depends on how the next several months go,” said Matthew Bavaro, a partner at The Loan Lawyers law firm in Fort Lauderdale. “It’s depending on what kind of relief package Washington is able to pass. We definitely expect to see lenders get more aggressive as the months progress,” he said.

Robert Murphy, a Fort Lauderdale consumer lawyer and a University of Florida law school faculty member, fears tighter credit and more repos may be in store over the long term.

“People are becoming really desperate,” he said. “Longer term I am really concerned — depending on stimulus, this could get a lot worse. I think there is a likelihood we are going to see higher repossessions and a tightening in credit available which has real implications for consumers,” he added.

For those who are in the repossession business, that may be good news, as the industry has taken a hit, operating at 50 to 60% capacity.

“There’s no one in today’s business environment that’s operating at 100%,” said Les McCook, executive director of the of American Recovery Association, which is based in Texas and has members in Florida.

Source: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/
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