The Week's Features
News reports note uptick in tower activity downtown
Motorist awareness of the law touted on truck
Roadside steps to increased safety awareness
New design makes down-driveway hookups easier
Puts cap on assets; forces four off board by end of year
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingFebruary 21 - February 27, 2018
Linda Unruh of All Rite Towing and the 2018 American Towman “Towman of the Year” has upped her contribution to the Spirit Ride.

Unruh 'Double Downs' on Spirit Ride

Linda Unruh of All Rite Towing and the 2018 American Towman "Towman of the Year" has upped her contribution to the Spirit Ride.

"I became a Diamond sponsor to the Spirit Ride," she said, "because I believed the campaign could have a real effect on awareness and enforcement of the Move Over law. ... Law enforcement has been embracing the Spirit Ride's mission and the media has been following the Ride and broadcasting its message.

"Now I'm doubling down and I hope others in our industry will match my second $10,000 contribution."

Unruh further stated that the Spirit Ride needs additional funds for 2018, and asked fellow towers to join the effort. "Let's make working the white line safer for all tow operators."

Source: AT staff.

Dangers to Towers

Every time Kerry Muhammad hits the road in his tow truck, he knows potential danger awaits.

"In a split second, anything can happen," he said.

Tow truck operators put their lives in danger every day—helping people stranded along roads and highways.

"There are situations every day where you have close encounters," Muhammad said, a tow operator for University Towing Services in Madison, Wisconsin.

With snowfall moving through the area, the risk they face will increase.

"It is a dangerous situation for the operator or the emergency responder on the side of the road," Muhammad said.

Muhammad recalls having a close call of his own when he was nearly hit by a semi.

"The semi obviously couldn't move over. There was a lot of traffic and it just went right by me. I felt my jacket swirl, so I knew it was close."

Muhammad says if you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road:

"Don't react so suddenly where you'll create another accident or another scene. Slow down. At least slow down. That's the first thing everybody should do."

Source: wkow.com.

Trooper Accused of Sex Harassment

A Utah woman has filed a civil rights lawsuit against a Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant claiming sexual harassment.

West Coast Towing is one of three rotation companies with Utah Highway Patrol for Utah County. Their liaison, Heather Leyva, said the sergeant overseeing the program sexually harassed her.

In the lawsuit, Leyva claims the defendant used his position as the operation overseer of the "Heavy Duty Rotation" contract for the Utah Highway Patrol to commit various acts of sexual harassment.

"She was in a vulnerable position," her attorney said, and that business calls turned into flirtatious texts.

Leyva complained to her boss and when he confronted the Sergeant's superior; he said he was threatened.

When West Coast Towing sued UHP and UDOT for breach of contract in July of 2017, they say the sergeant was removed from that position and work started to pick up.

Source: fox13now.com.

Increased Towing in Charlotte

According to news reports in Charlotte, North Carolina, new numbers show towing is on the rise in the heart of the Queen City. NBC Charlotte is also revealing complaints of alleged "predatory towing," or questionable business practices.

One viewer said a towing company put a boot on his truck shortly after he went to get a coffee.

"I was really upset," said Alan Vanderschouw. "I wasn't even in there for five minutes."

Vanderschouw parked in a spot reserved for another tenant. NBC Charlotte asked if he saw the towing sign.

"No, I didn't see the sign," Vanderschouw said.

He shared photos with NBC Charlotte that appear to show shrubs blocking the towing sign. However, he said the towing company put a boot on his truck nonetheless.
"It's definitely predatory towing because it was so quick and they didn't really give me a chance to move," Vanderschouw said.

According to the city program, Park It!, there were more than 1,400 tows from October 2016 to November 2017, a three-year high. However, the city's towing contractor, Eastway Wrecker, gets an A rating from the BBB.

NBC Charlotte also asked city leaders if there needs to be more parking in Charlotte. They said they couldn't answer that because a study has not been done yet.

Source: wcnc.com.

Close to 200 Attend [b]TIMS Training

First responders recently attended a four-hour training on Traffic Incident Management Systems in Emporia, Kansas.

TIMS is a national program from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Traffic Incident Management System Training is designed to include all disciplines to promote consistent training of all responders to achieve the three objectives at a traffic incident: responder safety; safe, quick clearance; and prompt, reliable, interoperable communications.

The Reasons for TIMS Training, according to Lyon County Undersheriff John Koelsch, are:

• The safety of incident responders
• The safety of all road users
• Congestion mitigation and commerce

In a typical year, 12 law enforcement, five fire and 60 towing recovery professionals are struck and killed while managing traffic incidents.

The classes during the week included Emporia Fire, Emporia Police, City of Emporia Public Works, Emporia State University Police, Lyon County Highway Department, local towing companies and the Lyon County Sheriff's Office. After classes ended Friday, close to 200 responders had attended the course.

Source: emporiagazette.com.

More Than 80 Drivers Honor Taylor

Towman Jonathan Taylor, who was hit and killed by a semitrailer on Jan. 26, was laid to rest in Bixby, Oklahoma, Feb. 1. Taylor worked for Allied Towing as a heavy wrecker operator.

More than 80 towers met up before his funeral to drive there together.

"It's a brotherhood," said Nick Ragsdale, owner of Ragsdales Towing and Recovery in Spencer. "We all are a really close knit type family, so when there is a loss like this, even though we are 100 miles up the road, it's still close to him. It affects all of us."

Drivers came from all over Oklahoma and surrounding states. Not all of the drives knew Taylor, but they understand the danger that comes with having your office be the side of a busy road day after day.

"It's scary honestly," Ragsdale said. "It really is. You never know. You spend just as much time with your head on a swivel as you do during the work you're doing."

Tragically, Taylor left behind a wife and three kids. A GoFundMe page has been set up for the family at gofundme.com/the-taylor-family-support-fund.

Source: kjrh.com.
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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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