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brian991219 last won the day on January 8

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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Lend an ear but keep it professional. While it is great to be friends with our employees, we must remain impartial so that our judgement as a supervisor is not cloudy when a difficult decision must be made. It is all too easy to overlook indicators of serious mental health or drug/alcohol abuse problems when we are very close to someone. Hell, I am a trained drug recognition expert for the trucking industry -having taught the class to hundreds of trucking supervisors- yet I failed to recognize the behaviors in my own son prior to his drug fueled suicide. Be cautious is all I am saying. That said, I am still very close friends with several former employees, however I was able to keep it professional when we worked together -even terminating one on the spot for gross insubordination. He and I are still close to this day, and last time I stayed over at his house while passing thru town he remarked how getting fired that day hurt but it caused him to reflect on how he was acting and made him a better man today. I teach in my defensive driving class to leave the distractions behind while driving although in reality it is easier said than done. It does not hurt to be there for your team, often all someone needs is a person willing to listen without judgement, not even offering a solution just an ear.
  10. Absolutely. By the way, I just completed my registration yesterday so it is confirmed I will be in attendance from Wednesday thru Friday afternoon. I also requested meetings with Representative Cartwright, the co-sponsor of the INSURANCE Act. He happens to be my representative so it will be hard for him to not agree to meet with me. I also requested a meeting with one of our Pennsylvania Senators, Pat Toomey. He claims to have an interest in highway safety, so that is what I requested to speak to him about. I am hoping both of these meetings get approved. Also, if I can be of assistance with the prep work for any meetings you have scheduled please feel free to ask.
  11. Randy, your mentioning of John Coupland from the UK got me thinking a bit. Industry professionalism is not just a United States, or even North America problem, it is global. In that aspect, we face many of the same challenges, operate in the same environments and with globalization of vehicles, equipment and even standards there is much that could be gained by combining forces as a global standard for the towing industry. Again I point to the NFPA as they have managed to accomplish exactly what we are just now attempting, and they are in fact doing it on an international level. NFPA has reach into Asia, the Middle East and many other global regions. https://www.nfpa.org/international Perhaps with resources from around the world we can cherry pick the best of current policies, regulations and industry practices already in play to create a workable standard. As I have learned from my involvement with the legislative committees of multiple trade associations, our lawmakers want the easy way out. What I mean is if we bring them properly formatted regulations with supporting documentation and can point to where similar legislation has already been adopted they will work with us. Why do you think so many vehicle codes are strikingly similar across the US? It isn't just an effort to harmonize laws, no, it is the work of a little known association, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators https://www.aamva.org/ There is no reason why the towing industry can not have a strong association that provides this type of leadership, we just have to make it happen. Now is the time.
  12. My take is that all of these are bad for the trucking industry as a whole, including the towing sub-segment. Here is why. The speed limiter act will do nothing to increase safety, in fact studies show it will have the exact opposite effect by increasing vehicle interactions between cars and large trucks. Forcing large trucks to all be governed at 65 MPH will for miles long lines of slow moving trucks incapable of legally, or safely, passing the one truck that is going a mile or so slower. We will end up will "turtle races" on every multi lane roadway in the country. Just look at the trouble caused with the split speed limits in the several states that still have them, with California being the worst. The other issue with speed limiters on trucks is already occurring with large fleets using them. Drivers run up against the governor limit all day, regardless of being in a reduced speed work zone, residential area or otherwise in a position where slower speeds are prudent. They do this in an attempt to "make up" the perceived loss of time that travelling a few miles per hour below the posted speed limit causes. The INSURANCE Act is bad for all trucking including towing because as currently written it will only increase the public liability portion of a motor carrier's insurance coverage. This will result in a projected 4x increase in insurance premiums yet have little effect on the desired result of providing fair and just compensation for crash injury victims. Current stats show that most truck involved crashes settle for far below the current $750,000 minimum required coverage, with most settling for under $40,000. This increase in coverage will have no bearing on towing operators collecting on recovery bills as this only applies to for-hire interstate trucking companies, not regular motorists, private fleets or local (in-state only) trucking companies. Further, the MCS-90 coverage is not the portion of the trucking companies insurance we collect from. We collect on most large truck crashes primarily from cargo and/or physical damage (comp/collision) coverage. Further, most towers are interstate motor carriers so this will have a direct impact on the already outrageous costs of our insurance policies. The SAFE ROADS Act requires higher level of automation than is practical. While I am not against having driver assist technologies, I feel that automatic braking and other collision avoidance systems takes away from the focus a driver needs. It reduces their skill set because the become complacent, accustomed to getting the earning form the automated system telling them they need to react. This is a real problem in airliners today, pilots are losing their skill set due to so many routine functions being automated. A better solution would be increased driver training requirements, continuing education requirements and maybe an apprenticeship program or graduated license system where you can't go from being a car driver to a class A tractor trailer driver in less than a week!
  13. Brian J. Riker, President Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC Hawley, PA Associate Member, TRAA, actively serving on several committees in education and legislation. Regulatory Compliance Adviser to the Pennsylvania Towing Association and Southwest Tow Operators (Texas) Educational Contributor to The Towing and Recovery Association of Ohio (TRAO)
  14. I work directly with the Pennsylvania Towing Association and also have reached out to their executive director. Will update when I hear something.
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