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1 pointPITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They’re called chasers — local tow truck drivers who race each other to the scenes of accidents to get the tow. When they get there, it can sometime turn violent, like in early February, when police say one tow truck driver shot another who was wielding a baseball bat at the scene of a crash on Washington Boulevard. “What we’ve had historically is a wild, wild west. It’s been a free-for-all where when there are accidents on city streets, whoever gets there first and gets their business card in front of a crash victim was winning multi-hundreds of dollars of towing fees,” Dan Gilman, Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief of staff, said. The administration wants to put the brakes on the chasers once and all. Instead of having tow trucks racing in the street, the city would establish a half dozen districts and have a designated towing company for each one. “This isn’t trying to create a monopoly. It’s not trying to cut anyone out of business. We could have as many as six tow truck operator companies still doing business with the city,” Gilman said. Over the years, KDKA has done several stories on folks having their cars towed and not being able to locate them, only to be charged days later with exorbitant towing and storage fees in the thousands of dollars. Gilman says new city rules would address that too, limiting fees but allowing the companies to make a living without deceptive or dangerous practices. “We want to support our local businesses. We want to support entrepreneurs, but it needs to be done safely,” he said. This is a request to the towing companies to bid on one of six towing contracts. Each winner would be assigned a zone in the city that would be theirs alone; no other company could tow cars from accident scenes within that zone. The city believes that this would do away with the chasing once and for all. RESOURCE LINK with video UPDATED: Pittsburgh tow truck drivers doubtful about proposed city procedures Monday morning’s precipitation mix caused fender benders and crashes from the South Side to Squirrel Hill. Just after 7 a.m., emergency dispatchers could be heard over a police scanner radio discussing three cars that slid off Potomac Avenue in the city’s Banksville neighborhood. Tow truck drivers were certainly tuned in — just as they are beginning to dial in to a city plan that could dramatically change the way they do business in Pittsburgh. “There’s quite a few companies that are legitimate companies, and they listen to a police scanner,” said Jason Watkins, owner of Jay’s Towing in Brighton Heights. “We know all the streets in the city, we go to a wreck.” He said there are some “bad” operators in the business that are considered “chasers” because they hurry to accident scenes in hopes of hooking the resulting business. The city of Pittsburgh is now trying to stop so-called chaser tow truck drivers from racing to crash scenes, which public safety officials say “creates unsafe conditions” — a justification that comes just weeks after an incident in which one tow truck driver critically injured another after arguing at a crash site within city limits. The city announced Friday that it has launched a bidding process for towing companies to split coverage areas. But some in the towing industry are afraid the regulations will kill business. Mr. Watkins, who lives in Brighton Heights, said he heard about the city’s effort when another person in the industry gave him a call. “Is it going to push out the good ones or bad ones? I don't know. There’s not enough answers out there,” said Mr. Watkins, who said he’s looked at the city website and has called to ask questions. In an effort to stop the chasing, the city is seeking to designate one towing company to respond to car crash scenes in each of the city’s six police zones. Companies can bid on more than one zone. According to the city’s request for proposals, eligible towing companies must have at least three trucks on call that each have a gross vehicle weight rating of 17,500 pounds; be able to provide a flatbed that could haul two vehicles simultaneously; and have a facility that can store at least 10 vehicles within a two-mile radius of the city. Additionally, towing charges would be determined by the city’s towing ordinance, which now sets pickup fees for passenger cars, light trucks and motorcycles at $135. Mr. Watkins said his company operates five tow trucks, including flatbeds, and that he could store up to 11 vehicles inside his Brighton Heights garage, or as many as 40 on his outside property. He charges $395 for a tow from a crash scene. Mr. Watkins said that adjusting to a lower fee is “not going to be feasible” for his business when considering his operating costs of plates, insurance and maintenance. But according to Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration, “safety and customer protections” are paramount for those who find themselves in car crashes or disabled vehicles on city streets. “When numerous tow trucks hurry to the scene of a vehicle crash it creates several safety concerns,” Pittsburgh’s Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich wrote in an emailed statement Monday. “First, they are competing to get to the scene and therefore often speed and break traffic laws to get there first, which creates unsafe conditions. Second, as many as six tow trucks can show up for a single-vehicle crash, which adds to traffic congestion,” Mr. Hissrich said that he’s been to crash scenes where tow truck drivers have gotten into arguments. “Police officers then have to act as mediators when they should be focused on assisting victims or directing traffic. It's not safe. From a public safety perspective, the time has come for action,” he continued. On Feb. 2 an argument between two tow truck drivers in Homewood led to a shooting that left one of them in critical condition, according to police. The incident on Washington Boulevard near Shetland Avenue occurred when multiple tow truck drivers responded to an accident and two of them got into an argument. One pulled a baseball bat from his truck, and another drew a gun and shot the first, according to police. This is not the first time the city has butted heads with the towing industry. Pittsburgh police have publicly complained in recent years about trouble between tow truck drivers. And in 2012, local towing business owner John F. Halbleib filed an injunction in federal court against the city after he claimed towing business was unfairly given to city contractor McGann and Chester. He settled the case with the city in 2013. Mr. Halbleib, who owns the Hazelwood-based businesses Halbleib Auto Body and D-Maxx Authomotive, said he plans to fight the city’s new plans. Among several issues he sees with regulations, he said, he disagrees with a provision in the city’s request for proposals that states that towing businesses affiliated with auto body shops cannot apply for one of the zones. Additionally, he said that splitting the service between the zones will hinder his business. “Sometimes there’s not even one wreck in your zone for two days,” he said. The city deadline for bid applications is March 8. RESOURCE LINK
1 pointMan accused of opening fire on tow truck driver in Southwest Ranches SOUTHWEST RANCHES, FLA. (WSVN) - Police arrested a man accused of opening fire on a tow truck driver in Southwest Ranches. Juan Barquero is facing several charges, including attempted felony murder. The 57-year-old allegedly shot at a tow truck driver who was in the process of repossessing the suspect’s Mercedes-Benz, Thursday morning. Police said Barquero ordered the driver and another person to drop the car. When they refused, shots were fired into the truck. No injuries were reported. RESOURCE LINK with video
1 pointKw5030 did the right thing in my opinion.Great job on that dump!!! I ALWAYS pull the shaft and it appears that he does as well. Ive heard that whole " just leave it in high range and go or leave it running with the clutch in" but im sorry, i feel that is not only wrong and lazy, It's completely unprofessional. you have no idea what type of condition that trans is in. It could be just about toast and you go and tow it 4 or 5 miles, the next thing you know your handed a $ 5,000 + repair bill. and no matter what you say or what you do, its on YOU. YOU didnt follow proper procedures so YOU will be paying for it. Not only financially but in credibility which, hurts your business worse. Driveline removal is part of towing and a BILLABLE labor. Have the right tools and equipment, Do the job right and get paid well for your efforts. I work way too hard to go buying people transmissions. You did a great job there sir, Keep up the top quality work. Thats how you keep customers.
1 pointLately I am running into more and more 12 point 3/8 drive line bolts that the heads are rounded off before I start to remove them. I found instead of trying a chisel or vice grips, I smash the edge of the bolt head with a hammer and then hammer the socket on and usually that gets them off without the socket spinning on the bolt head. Just a tip I thought I would share.
1 pointI hate to hear that happened to you. For the longest time we could tow from the rear with no worries. In my opinion- those days are gone. Years ago I worked as a recovery agent for a truck sales company. I would go all over the country and repossess trucks from owners who had defaulted on loans. I towed pretty much every single one of those trucks from the rear- all across the country- and never lost any parts. These days- I petty much refuse to rear tow- unless I have to. The way trucks are made now- they are plastic and glue. Mirrors have plastic covers, fairings are plastic, skirts are plastic, etc. Hood straps that barely hold a hood down when going forward- let alone from the rear. Even the cabs/sleepers aren't built the way they used to be. Hell, these days- most trucks we have to rollover- the cab and sleepers are coming off. Many trucks need you to secure the cab to the frame to keep from damaging the cab airbags during the tow. Trucks just aren't built the way they used to be. We all have customers that want us to rear tow and some of the guys I work with will only front tow if they have to. But at the end of the day- if I am gonna foot the bill for a damaged fairing or lost mirror cover, or anything else that might blow off because some engineer decided to glue it on or use plastic instead of metal- I am going to front tow it. Sure- I can strap the fairings- mirrors, etc- but I can drop a shaft in 5 or 6 minutes. Just my preference. Sent from my LM-Q710(FGN) using TowForce mobile app
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