Jump to content


Level III Patron
  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


brian991219 last won the day on February 17

brian991219 had the most liked content!

About brian991219

  • Rank
    1st Class Contributor

Personal Information

  • Location
    Hawley, PA

Professional Infomation

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

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. I will be at all four of the American Towman Shows, unless they end up being cancelled. Right now they have all been rescheduled, except for Baltimore which is still on the as planned for November. In addition to the four A.T. shows, I will be at the Mid-West Regional Tow Show in Mason, OH in September and the Tennessee Tow Show in October. I am on the schedule to present at all four A.T. shows and the Mid-West Regional Show. Just an attendee at Tennessee.
  2. I would love to, it would have fit nicely into the Towman Games. Maybe next year? The Mid West Regional Tow Show in Mason, Ohio (put on my TRAO and TRAK) has a skills challenge that includes driving maneuvers. Never have had the time to compete, would like to give it a shot and see how rusty I really am! As for when will the country get back to normal, maybe never -although that may not be a bad thing as normal was broken! All joking aside, I see a slow ramp up back towards being productive, not going to happen by this summer. Maybe we will all be allowed to have Thanksgiving Dinner together, doubtful of any large gatherings much before then. As for the damage, many small businesses will never return and even once the workers get back to work their discretionary spending will be lower for a year or two. I honestly think we are in for a 3-5 year period of recession. Just my .02 cents, hope I am proven wrong. Your and my world as trainers will never be the same, people are going to get more comfortable with distance learning and it will become mainstream, negating the draw for in-person hands-on classes. Now, I know not everything we teach can be adapted to online, but much of it could. Imagine doing the classroom portion at the students own pace before the hands-on portion, it would cut down the disruption to the schedule quite a bit. Walk into the yard, do the hands-on practical and ride away in half a day? On this subject, the FMCSA has proposed relaxing the CDL exam standards (at least temporarily) to allow for an exam to be conducted using technology instead of having the examiner ride along in the vehicle with the permit holder. This indicates to me that the US DOT is preparing for a long term disruption to how we do things in person, especially since the state driver licence agencies have until June 30 to submit their plans for review. I take this to mean driver license testing, and other DMV functions, will not return to normal until sometime in 2021.
  3. This is exactly why I have been trying to bring my Defensive Driving for the Tow Operator seminar to the tow shows for the past few years. I want to generate interest, or at least discussion and thought about professional training for towing operators. So much of our industry focus is on below the hook training -which is extremely important- but we miss other equally critical areas such as how to drive the darn truck! Thanks for the awareness you bring to this and other important issues outside the normal for our industry. Can't wait to get together when the country opens back up and have a meal to discuss what is next and what the new normal is going to look like.
  4. With the new normal off working from home many towers I have spoken to have moved their dispatch operations to the home office or have allowed their dispatchers too work from home. This is fairly simple to do today with high speed internet, laptop computers and virtual phone systems replacing traditional wireline services. My question is, what security measures have you taken to protect the integrity of your company data when accessing it remotely? It would be devastating if someone hacked into your dispatch or billing software and held the data hostage, or worse yet, used it for fraudulent purposes. Most business liability insurance policies have some coverage for cyber crime, however many do not cover work from home or other unsecured networks. Let's face it, not everyone is computer savvy and security conscious. Even on my own network at the home office, where I am very conscientious of cyber attacks, I have attempts almost daily. My home network is worse because my wife and in-laws (they live in an apartment in my home) are not very security aware even after I have educated them. Here are a few tips I have for computer security in these unusual times. Perhaps Ron and Chris have even more to add as they are very familiar with web based security? If your work at home employees are using their own personal computer or cell phone make sure it has an effective anti-virus and the latest updates/patches for their operating system Set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for remote access to your office servers/computer system Insist on password security including regular changes and not reusing old passwords Make sure your work from home employees have firewall protections on their router/wifi network -including a robust password for wifi access Ask remote workers to limit sharing and non-essential internet use while connected to your software and/or servers to help prevent backdoor entry Consider supplying company owned computer equipment and phones for long term work at home situations to allow for better cyber security controls Monitor usage and access logs daily for reports of suspicious activity Pay for effective cyber security measures for work from home positions to discourage your employee from taking the cheap/free source way out or ignoring the requirements Consider data security training such as anti-phishing and email integrity training for any employee that ha internet access to company software (even drivers on cell phone/tablets) Now is a good time to also review your internet and social media policies for all employees. It is tempting to pass the slow time on social media or watching internet video, although this is a easy way for hackers to gain access to secure systems. Be very wary of loan offers, including those that appear to be from the SBA or other government sources, coming via email or social media. Many are false and just looking for your business info so they can scam you out of money or clean out your bank account. Be very aware and damn sure of what you are replying to! A popular scam going around on Face Book currently is to have you play along to a copy and paste challenge where you google your first car or some variant of that, then post it as a challenge. What this, and similar scams, does is give hackers clues about your potential security question answers such as year you graduated (senior photo challenge in honor of class of 2020), high school attended, first car, current car, etc. Do not participate in these "games" as you are exposing much of your personal identifiable information to the whole world. Further, by using copy and paste for the original challenge you give the author of such challenge, usually a bad guy, access beyond your security setting on Face Book to view your answers and do who knows what with them. As always, be alert and diligent in your safety and security measures.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  • Create New...