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brian991219 last won the day on February 17

brian991219 had the most liked content!

About brian991219

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    1st Class Contributor

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  • Location
    Hawley, PA

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  • Company
    Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC
  • WreckMaster Level
  • TRAA NDCP Certification
    Level 2 Medium/Heavy Duty

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  1. I did not know Donnie well, met him a few times in the early to mid 90's. He helped me with my first 2/3 course which was the theory only home study version. I was surprised when I called the office asking for help and they put him on the phone. Always appreciated his drive for professionalism. WM 991219
  2. This question has been popping up all over social media since the FMCSA declared a nationwide suspension of the hours of service regulations for truckers providing relief related to the COVID-19 outbreak. There has been some bad, misleading and downright incorrect information published all across social media since then. See below for my professional opinion on this subject as well as links to the actual text of the relief announced by the FMCSA. In short, I do not believe towers are included in the relief from hours of service, even when towing a truck that was legally included. The only exception would be if the tower were providing direct assistance themselves by transporting material or supplies used for a quarantine facility, temporary health care project or maybe a generator to a retail store or emergency supply stock pile. Even then, there is still a duty to not operate dangerously or in a fatigued condition, and should an incident occur (crash, injury or fatality) you can bet that the prosecutor would attempt to prove, most likely successfully, that the hours of service relief was not applicable or the operator failed to properly rest. Simply put, it is not worth trying to use the relief from hours of service as it is vague at best as to what is qualified use. https://fleetcompliancesolutions.net/covid-19-hos-guidance https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/newsroom/us-department-transportation-issues-national-emergency-declaration-commercial-vehicles
  3. I would love to see a peaceful protest and a work stoppage to get our point across. The US Department of Labor regularly calls for "Stand Down for Safety" periods in various industries where they encourage management to stop work for a hour or so and use that time to focus on a particular work risk with their crews. It would be awesome and effective to get our point across if the tow industry picked a day and said from 6 AM to noon no one is going to respond with a tow truck for any call except life safety critical (entrapment or something similar). This would cuse a traffic nightmare and may result in contract issues for many law enforcement and motor club towers, but in the end the results would be worth it. Now, I am a realist and know full well that most towing companies are operating on such tight margins that they could not afford the short term financial consequences of a planned work stoppage. There is a real likelihood that a planned stoppage would cost a few companies their contracts, at least for a 14-30 penalty suspension period, and that some companies that choose not to participate would take full advantage of the stoppage and attempt to steal away customers and contracts. Even so, the cause is just and important enough to warrant some risk for the success of the movement.
  4. I am looking forward to it this year. With all the travel I do for work, San Antonio is one city I have not been to yet. Can't wait to check it out.
  5. This is not cool or heroic in any way! The tower that interfered with the police chase should be charged with obstruction or something similar. The only time I can condone this type of interference is when it is requested by law enforcement such as when they request tractor trailer drivers to block a highway to stop a suspect, and even then I have a hard time saying it is ok to place civilian vehicles in harms way. This is a huge black eye for those of us in this industry trying to gain acceptance as professional. You don't see the fire department chasing down the ambulance, and it is one of their pieces of equipment. Further, the tower almost caused a major wreck at one of the intersections when he tried to stop the ambulance and caused them to barely miss a stopped vehicle. Thankfully the stopped vehicle was paying attention and moved to the side just in time to avoid being struck. We are not equipped, trained or skilled in vehicle apprehension -leave that task to the professionals. They did not need to make a chase, the helicopter was tracking the ambulance and perhaps it even had a locating device for dispatch so it was really a simple matter of waiting for the suspect to stop and then apprehending them.
  6. Randy, I have said it to you privately, and will say it publicly, you are one of the mentors I have followed since the beginning. I always made it a point to sit in on your seminars in Baltimore, as often as I could, and have ready almost all of your towing related work, modeling much of my own work as a communicator and educator after you. Thank you for sticking with our industry and pursuing better even when the industry itself seems to have no regard for improvement. I am honored to know you and be a friend to you. 600 is quite an achievement. I hope someday to have half that amount of published works. I really never thought I would get as far as I have, and in fact was just speaking about this today with another industry figure and Hall of Fame member that has helped me tremendously.
  7. For several years now I have been saying grant money should be used to start, or subsidize, physical crash barrier programs in the highest risk areas. We already have motorist assist programs, adding a crash barrier response truck to these types of programs would be an effective way to provide physical protection for all tow and road service responders, not just those working for companies that are progressive enough to provide this protection on their own. As much as the capitalist within me would like to see proper traffic control, including crash attuenator barrier trucks, become standard response provided at a profit by towers (or at least at break even as a mandatory billable item), I also realize we need to provide protection much sooner than the insurance and motor club industry will evolve to support the fee based provision for these services. This is where grant monies could be used to show proof of concept, allowing crash attuneator trucks to become common in the towing industry.
  8. Van True N2 Pro with the GPS mount for real time speed and location data to be captured with the video and audio. Does not transmit, only downfall, so you need a big SD card and have to remove it manually to save the video. Had it for a year or so and use it in multiple trucks as I deliver them. Works without fail and great video quality.
  9. I have three occasions to add personally. I am very fortunate to be here today to tell any of these stories. 1992, PA Route 739 Northbound near Silver Lake Road, driving a Ford carrier, deck on the ground about to load a Ford Escort that had spun out in the snow/ice and bent a rear trailing arm so it wasn't driveable. Had just begun to stand up from hooking the bridle to the lower control arms when it feels like I was kicked by a mule and all of a sudden I am at the driver door of my carrier. Someone in a Dodge Power Wagon had came over the hill and couldn't steer on the slippery road, driving too fast for conditions and plowed head on into the push bumper on my truck, sending it about 18 foot backwards and under the car I had just been hooking up. 30-45 seconds earlier and I would have been between the edge of my deck and the front axle of the disabled car, most likely would not be here today to discuss. No citation issued because the PSP (State police) Trooper said, "well it is icy out, he couldn't help it. Besides you weren't injured and maybe next time you will leave the crashes to the professionals." This was in direct response to the fact the other tower in town did all the Trooper's personal car repairs and had the contract to service the patrol units as well. Heck, they wouldn't even give me a rotation call that landed in my own parking lot if the owner wasn't there telling them it was mine. 2004, driving an International 4700 with a 21' Chevron carrier deck. I-84 WB mile marker 50.4 in Pennsylvania. Carrier deck down, parked on right hand shoulder at about 45 degree angle, winching a SUV out of the ditch and directly onto the deck to transport from the scene. Had a PSP patrol car down stream from me by 100' or so, right lane closed with flares that the PSP and Fire Dept had placed, another patrol car upstream about 100'. Two Troopers standing outside, customer in my truck strapped in. Two tractor trailers are coming up the hill strong, moving quickly and the outside one was not letting up, the inside one either. The one in the right lane started hitting cones and flares, then the Trooper patrol car and my carrier. Sent it flying into the other patrol unit that was 100' upstream. Where I am fortunate, I had just walked around from the right front corner of my truck with the Trooper that was investigating, saw the trucks coming and shoved him into the ditch as I jumped down. The SUV being winched out, think it was a s-10 Blazer, just missed both of us as it was violently jerked out of the ditch. The other Trooper called out to make sure we were all ok and took off in pursuit as neither trucker stopped. Caught the offending truck 8 miles down the road, driver swore he didn't hit a thing but still had most of my hood wedged between his trailer axles! He ended up losing his CDL over that one, it is all on dash cam. 2010, driving a International with a Holes 600R in Albuquerque, NM at 2nd and Menual, responding to a rolled over RV. APD has all for corners of the major intersection closed, about 8 or 10 of their units on scene as well as fire, ems and our company had my truck, a 35 ton, our Landoll and a KW carrier. Car drives over the sidewalk and around the APD officer doing traffic, hits me in the shoulder hard enough to knock me down and take the wind out of me, then keeps going. Saddest part, APD wouldn't even pursue them, said no big deal as I wasn't seriously injured. So, I have been very fortunate to have a few close calls but sustained no serious injury. To this day I can recall these moments and they will pop into my head when I see someone in a dangerous situation on the roadside. Scary stuff.
  10. I am finding a position of disdain towards public forums by many association leaders I have spoken with. The seem to want to remain behind closed doors as if the common tower does not have the bandwidth to help better their own industry. I find this very disrespectful, although atypical of anyone with a political type position. The often forget they are in place to represent all the members of the industry not just the affluent few. I am deeply saddened by the responses I have received when asking industry leadership to participate in a few key discussions taking place on this forum board. That said, I refuse to allow it to get me down or keep me from trying my best to better the industry for all.
  11. Well crafted letter Randy. Did you distribute this directly to the various state associations via email or other delivery methods? If not, can we share it with our state associations directly on your behalf? I am not sure how many association leaders will see your challenge if it is only distributed on one forum. Along these lines, I think we should have this round table discussion at as many major venues as possible including as you suggest the American Towman show in Las Vegas. I also suggest we continue the discussion during the Cleveland, San Antonio and Baltimore shows. Perhaps even move up the opening date for the first discussion to the Florida tow show if you will be in attendance. That would coincide with a bunch of TRAA meetings, most of their Board of Directors will be in attendance in Florida, perhaps it could gain some serious traction at that event?
  12. While I agree this should be a billable service I do have a few concerns with billing at the moment. 1) Is the person and the entity they work for authorized to provide temporary traffic control? 2) Are they using the proper equipment, which is not just parking behind someone with lights on. It requires proper lighting and possibly a crash attuenator device. 3) Is the person/entity performing the blocking service part of, or contracted by, the responding firm (tower/road service company) they are blocking for? 4) Is the entity providing the blocking insured for this service and prepared to face the legal ramifications should their blocker vehicle be hit or determined to be the cause of a secondary crash due to improper or unauthorized deployment? Here in Pennsylvania we as towers or road service technicians have limited authority to block a lane of travel or set up temporary traffic control (TTC) on the shoulder of a highway. Really it depends on the area you are in. For example my home County, Pike, leaves it to the tower to provide for their own TTC for any incident whereas neighboring Lackawanna County will provide TTC through either the volunteer fire department or PennDOT (state highway). In other counties, Monroe for example (which borders both Pike and Lackawanna), it is a mixed approach with many towers either subletting TTC to the local volunteer fire department (tower invoices for it then makes a donation to the F.D.) or they provide their own traffic control with properly trained, equipped and insured traffic technicians. The above example highlights the need for a uniform standard, direction if you will, as it shows the vast differences between three different counties within the same geographic region of the same state! Traffic volumes and patterns are very similar so it isn't even a case of one area needs more TTC than the other or needs more intricate (read compliant) controls in place.
  13. I like the concept of this Waze app notification, it may help with how many drivers blindly follow their gps. It reminds me of what they have had in Germany many years ago where all emergency vehicles have a beacon that causes an interruption to their in car radio and broadcasts an alert that a tow truck, fire, ems or police unit is on the shoulder ahead. As far as I understand this has been very helpful over there to prevent struck by incidents.
  14. It is funny, sad funny not ha ha, that you say that. Just this week there was a discussion in a Facebook tow group about working the traffic side and overwhelmingly the operators, and I use that term loosely, in that group were declaring the purposefully work the traffic side! Their reasoning was so they could see the threat coming at them and get out of the way rather than be pinned between their truck and the guide rail or Jersey barrier. Several even said their exit strategy was to dive under or on top of their carrier if a strike was about to happen. WOW is all I can say. Never mind the facts support being away from traffic with a physical barrier such as your truck as much safer, just plain common sense is lost upon these folks. I think that until we raise the bar of entry into this industry, and becoming a tow operator is not a job of last resort for folks as it is with many today, this attitude will never change. Look at how it took a culture shift within the fire service to make them respectable professionals, and look at all the training and continuing education they willingly undertake -even the volunteers- just to stay qualified. Yet in our industry asking a driver to take an online quiz is often too much effort! It becomes disheartening some days.
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