The Week's Features
Ornate graphics and Ben Franklin make for a colorful look
Towman gets cut off … by the improbable
Don’t waste time and a driver to deliver extra cable
New series capable of handling up to 37,500 lbs.
Submissions open until April 1; will be announced at Dallas event
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingMarch 20 - March 26, 2019
A small plane crossed in front of towman Bill Chan (inset) as he was driving and slammed across a road, just missing him near Buttonville Airport in Ontario, Canada, on March 12. Image - Bill Chan; Image of Bill Chan: Tina MacKenzie/CBC.

Airplane Narrowly [b]Misses Hitting Towman

An Ontario, Canada, towman said he's lucky to be alive after a small plane slammed across a road, just missing him, near Buttonville Airport in Markham, Ontario, on March 12.

Bill Chan captured the incident on his truck's dash cam, and it's been shared widely online. Chan told CBC Toronto he was on his way to a family meal at the time of the incident.

"I was driving on the highway, I was picking up speed, and then the plane just came right in front of me," he said. "I tried to dodge it, and that's when everything crashed."

Chan said he got out of his truck to make sure the people on the plane were okay and saw them getting out of the plane. He said the plane was approximately "two car lengths" away from his truck when it flew by and crashed.

The male pilot and a single female passenger were uninjured, though the aircraft sustained significant damage.


Ordinance Targets [b]Excessive Overcharging

The North Charleston (South Carolina) City Council has approved the first reading of an ordinance to prevent people from being overcharged by tow companies. Under the ordinance, a wrecker cannot tow a car from private property without the property owner's permission.

Operators cannot go inside a vehicle whether it's locked or unlocked. Fees will be set at $160 or $250, depending on the vehicle's type or weight. Additionally, if the car owner returns to the vehicle and it's hooked up, it must be released for no more than $80.

"Tow companies by and large are doing the right thing and they have been doing the right thing. This is only addressing the few number of companies that are taking advantage of the consumer," said city spokesman Ryan Johnson.

Any towing company that violates the new law could face a fine up to $500 or up to 30 days in jail.


TRAA Develops TRSCP [b]Certification Program

The Towing & Recovery Support Certification Program is the towing industry's first educational program designed especially for individuals providing support to incident management efforts but are not themselves tow truck operators, according to a release from TRAA.

The release said the program is for new and seasoned dispatchers, office managers, company safety managers, compliance directors, non-operator company owners and general administrative staff.

The program will include two levels: Entry Level (Nationally Certified Towing Support Professional) and Advanced Level (Nationally Certified Towing Support Specialist).

The educational program aims to inform, evaluate, and set the standard for professionals working in this important capacity, according to the release. It will cover a wide variety of content from customer service, on-scene and off-scene considerations, traffic incident management, post incident activities, and more.

Source: TRAA.

Initiative Looks to End [b]Workplace Deaths

Nothing traumatizes a company like a fatality. Disbelief and confusion reign for months afterward. Co-workers strive to make sense of it by compulsively reliving every detail. Productivity goes down the tubes.

This year, the National Safety Council will launch Work to Zero 2050 with a $500,000 grant from the McElhattan Foundation. Its purpose is to eliminate death on the job by the year 2050. The initiative will pilot and evaluate promising technology and training programs that could eliminate workplace fatalities in this lifetime.

In the United States, over 5,000 workers were killed on the job last year due to motor vehicle crashes, falls, exposure or other causes. In the early 1900s, more than 50,000 employees were killed each year; 10 times more than now.

"We won't stop until every one of these fatalities is eradicated," a release from NSC read. Since 1913, NSC has used data, expertise and innovation to solve some of the toughest workplace safety problems.

Source: National Safety Council.

$475K Fine for Predatory Towing

All County Towing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has been ordered to pay nearly $500,000 in fines after targeting cars at a mall in Sunrise. Companies caught making illegal tows in Sunrise will face fines as high as $15,000 per incident.

All County illegally towed 94 cars near the Sawgrass Mills mall over the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday.

A judge ordered All County to pay $411,000, or $4,372.34 per tow. At the city's request, the judge tacked on $41,498 in interest and $4,475 in legal fees, bringing the final tally to $457,520.

Chris Casale, owner of All County, referred questions to Levi Williams, his attorney. Williams could not be reached for comment at press time.

Sunrise first cracked down on tow companies in 2011 after an even more extreme towing frenzy at Sawgrass Mills mall. That year, more than 350 cars were towed on Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan says his city has zero tolerance when it comes to predatory towing.


Bill Seeks to Expand Move Over Law

Idaho's "slow down, move over" law—which currently applies to police and emergency vehicles on roadsides only—would be broadened to also apply to motorists, towmen and incident response or utility crews displaying their flashing hazard lights at the side of the road, under legislation that passed the House recently.

SB 106 now heads to the Senate side.

Rep. John McCrostie, D-Boise, said the bill was brought to the Legislature by the Idaho Towing Association, and is supported by AAA, the Idaho Sheriffs Association, and insurance groups.

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WreckMaster President Justin Cruse said that the WreckMaster Convention will bring together towers from all over North America to provide a unique and beneficial opportunity to broaden knowledge.
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