The Week's Features
United Coalition for Motor Club Safety changes name
Unit is dedicated to fallen police officer
Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union in violation of SCRA
New heavy-duty wrench features three fixed sockets
Carrier, light-duty clear crash and debris on Pike
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingNovember 07 - November 13, 2018

City, State
Independence, MO
(Pop. 116,830)
Arvada, CO
(Pop. 111,707)
Providence, RI
(Pop. 179,154)
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.

Rates Set by Highway Patrol?


Rarely can we say that we know, with 100-percent accuracy, what the results of our actions will be—even when reliable indicators abound.

From the beginning, people have made misjudgments in calculations, and often the results have been catastrophic. The people of the ancient city of Pompeii—even though Mount Vesuvius had erupted many times before—weren't deterred from soaking up the sun in the early tourist destination. And the resulting eruption in 79 A.D. that entombed thousands in ash has no effect on discouraging the 3 million or so who surround the mountain today, even when experts predict another eruption is imminent.

While we've seen the devastating effects of government involvement and the resulting control it's had on the towing industry, Missouri still believes it can do better. Missouri towers have long sought to allow what's left of the "free market" to flourish by requiring the Missouri State Highway Patrol to use a rotation list.

Over the last seven years, Missouri towers have been in negotiations with the patrol and have presented legislation aimed at creating a rotation for accidents and non-consensual tows. Each year it's shot down.

Maybe it's because they were so close last year or maybe it's out of sheer desperation, but this year's proposed language requires all towers—who would like to be allowed to participate—to provide the patrol with rates.

That may seem innocuous enough, but it's just the beginning.

Not only must towers provide their rates, but those rates must be pre-approved by the patrol before they'll be allowed to participate in the rotation. And should a tower not adhere to his given rates, the patrol will be authorized to hand down penalties that include removal from the rotation.

If this bill passes and towers are required to provide their rates, and those rates must be approved by the patrol before the tower is allowed to participate, then, at the core ... isn't the Patrol setting rates?

Do the towers, who are preparing this language, really think that allowing a bunch of free-market-averse bureaucrats the ability to set their rates is such a good idea?

Take out your crystal ball and look down the road five or 10 years.

Right now the patrol has no statutory control over Missouri's towing industry outside that of the laws the majority of citizens are subject to. Do we really want to go down that road?

Besides is this why we began the fight in the first place? Are we the problem? Do we really believe that there's a problem with our rates? Are we making way too much money?

The reason Missouri began this journey was to compel the state patrol to change. The legislation was intended to require individual troopers to discontinue favoring their friends and allow the free market to work. In so doing, we'd be providing the patrol a clear path for avoiding alleged incidents of impropriety.

Giving in now ... because it's difficult ... would be a mistake filled with unintended consequences.

Don Archer lives and works in Jefferson City, Mo., where he and his wife, Brenda, own and operate Broadway Wrecker, a 12-truck operation that's been in business since the 1950s. Email him at

Preventing Violence Against Towers

gun1 36f23By Randall C. Resch

In a a year-long compilation of tow operator fatalities I conducted, my research confirmed more than 100 tow operators were killed nationwide while in the process of towing, impounding or repossessing cars. These fatalities include violent acts against towers: struck by 2x4s, stabbings, shootings and more resulting in death.

If you didn't know it, the violence against tow operators reports as far back as Oct. 6, 1934, when garage mechanic/towman Kenneth Ray Davis, 26, and CHP Officer William McDaniel, 36, were literally assassinated as they were about to remove a DUI (wrecked) vehicle.

Colorado even has a "preventing violence" law on the books that was written to reduce unnecessary violence towards towers doing their jobs. Under Colorado's law, vehicle owners and other persons cannot cause interruptive actions attempting to stop towmen from towing vehicles once the vehicle has been identified and marked as a vehicle to be towed.

Action Against Violence

In June 2011, towman Allen Rose, 35, was working to tow an illegally parked vehicle at an apartment complex. The vehicle's owner, Detra Ferries, 32, allegedly jumped into her SUV and raced away from the scene. A cable or chain somehow wrapped around tower Rose's legs resulting in Rose being dragged at least one mile. Rose was transported to an area hospital where he died of his injuries.

In the months following Rose's death, Colorado enacted the "Allen Rose Tow Truck Safety Act" (SB 11-260). The law makes it a crime to interfere with a towing operator and the process of lawful towing.

In accordance to Colorado's law, a tower is now required to post an 8"x8" sign on the vehicle stating, "Warning: This vehicle is in tow. Attempting to operate or operating this vehicle may result in criminal prosecution and may lead to injury or death to you or another person." Although this sign-posting does not prevent a vehicle owner from going high-order, it does prequalify that a person may be arrested if they accost a tow operator as they are in-process of towing a vehicle.

Why don't all states have some version of the same law to make it known to motorists?

The towing and repossession industries have been plagued with on-scene violence as the result of active private-property impounds or repossessions. Vehicle owners oftentimes "claim" they didn't know that they were illegally parked or that their vehicle was being repossessed.
The processes of providing impound services to private-property owners and lending institutions is a lawful business: They need protection under law. Colorado's SB 11-260 is a move in the right direction.

At the end of Colorado's legislation there's a safety clause that states, "The general assembly hereby finds ... and declares that this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety." Since the bill was initiated into law in 2011, I haven't seen any additional tow operator deaths that occurred as the result of a towing action.

Though my research doesn't include incidents that have resulted in assault or injury, it might suggest that more states should have similar laws to provide a level of protection for tow operators. Wouldn't you agree?

No matter what tow or repo action you're involved in, keep your wits about you—don't provoke, initiate or escalate any interaction with a vehicle's owner or their entourage. If it means backing down, there's nothing wrong with living for tomorrow.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.
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