The Week's Features
Following leading brands can positively impact bottom line
The industry lacks written laws that say so
More than 60 tow trucks take part in 66-mile memorial
Company will have three units on display at Expo
Sliding rotator and a 35-ton wrecker will be in Expo booth
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August 15-17, 2019
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Dec. 4-7, 2019


American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing December 04 - December 10, 2019

Spotters for Rotators, Heavy Wreckers

image7 6a8f2By Randall C. Resch

I taught a California Highway Patrol Operator's safety course recently that included tow operators of all ages and experience levels. At the start of every class, I hold a safety briefing to remind all hands to have their heads on a swivel; especially when tow trucks, carriers and forklifts are on the move during techniques and scenarios.

About mid-way through one class, a young tower wasn't paying attention as a carrier was backing up across the yard. When I saw his actions, I immediately stopped the class. His naïve, but unintentional, movement seemed like the perfect segue to have a discussion regarding the safety and dangers of backing up.

Too Often

Many years ago as a budding tow driver, my dad gave us his version of on-scene, in-the-yard, backing safety. It was simple and to the point, "Don't put your wrecker in any location where you have to back up unnecessarily."

In our line of work, it's not always possible to avoid backing.

At the San Diego Police Department, their own policy says, "If there are two officers in a police vehicle, the passenger officer will exit (the) vehicle and provide a visual, 'second set of eyes' to the backing movement."

If a two-officer police car had an incident while backing, both the vehicle's driver and the second officer would be held accountable. Officers working alone were required to make a full walkaround of their car before travel.

How many of you take a walkaround of your tow trucks and carriers to see if there are any obstacles or other persons before you drive off?

Who's to Help?

Enlisting a spotter is a perfect-world situation if there are others around to become your spotter. Many of the world's tow companies are mom-and-pop operations and spotter availability is not always possible. Still, the truck's operator must be aware of their surroundings at all time.

The same applies when you're on the road. Due to the sheer size, bulk and blind spots, every backing movement can be potentially deadly. A solid set of hand signals is the best way to communicate between the tow truck's driver and the spotter that's behind them.

In this litigious time for accidents and injury, not having written narrative in your company's employee handbook could weigh heavy on the outcome of the lawsuit. When these situations occur, an injured plaintiff or representative of the deceased will assuredly attack your tow operator's driving record, their background and your company's training.

If your company's employee handbook makes no mention of safe-backing protocol, the total price of a lawsuit could be monumentally increased. It may not be not fair, but failing to make any attempt to prevent a backing incident plants the seed of incompetency. It makes perfect sense to include a spotter when big rigs are backing up. Like other dangerous tow-related situations, get people out of harm's way.

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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WORLD'S BIGGEST TOW SHOW & WRECKER PAGEANT STARTS THIS WEEK IN JERSEY!

--Charles Duke
By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


After a long day, what’s your favorite way to wind down?
Throw back a couple of “shots”
Watch TV, music, do social media, read
I never get to “wind down”
Video games
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Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
Media Director: William Burwell
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203,
William Burwell x208, Peggy Calabrese x202
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
ATTV Technical Production: OMG National
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
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December 04 - December 10, 2019
Family and co-workers are mourning the loss of Zach Johnson, 24, who was killed on the job early Monday. Image- nbcdfw.com.


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Don't Miss It!
The American Towman Academy will feature seven conferences totaling 29 seminars during the American Towman Exposition in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at the Atlantic City Convention Center. Conferences on: Towing & Recovery; Business Operations; Building Revenue; Insurance; Repossession; Safety; and Police Towing will be featured. See the complete lineup of seminars at atexposition.com.

atexposition.com
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December 04 - December 10, 2019
More than 60 Maryland tow trucks and service vehicles honor fallen towman David Alvarez in a 66-mile memorial drive on Nov. 23. Image - Jim & Vicki Beatley, Past and Present Towing, Laurel, Maryland.
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American Towman Exposition Gallery
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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.
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December 04 - December 10, 2019
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NORTHERN - Sturgeon Bay, WI
$85
(pop. 9,144)

SOUTHERN - Flowood, MS
$125
(pop. 7,823)

EASTERN - Burlington, NJ
$90
(pop. 9,920)

WESTERN - Orland, CA
$225
(pop. 7,291)

Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
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December 04 - December 10, 2019
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December 04 - December 10, 2019
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December 04 - December 10, 2019
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December 04 - December 10, 2019
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December 04 - December 10, 2019
Tim Russi, former Ally Financial president of auto finance, joins repossession management firm Resolvion.
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