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brian991219

Level III Patron
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brian991219 last won the day on August 7 2018

brian991219 had the most liked content!

About brian991219

  • Rank
    Participating Member

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  • Location
    Hawley, PA

Professional Infomation

  • Company
    Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC
  • WreckMaster Level
    4/5
  • TRAA NDCP Certification
    Level 2 Medium/Heavy Duty

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  1. I am saying sorry to hear of this loss all too often anymore. When are we going to band together as a brotherhood and just stop responding until our safety is protected? If we were highway maintenance workers we would have proper temporary traffic control measures most likely including a crash attenuator truck. Law enforcement presence is nice, although all too often I see officers that do not use their warning lights properly or exercise poor parking discipline. Ideally the officer providing traffic control should be upstream of your location quite a bit rather than just a few foot behind the disabled vehicle you are loading. Flares are an excellent device for notifying oncoming traffic, and they should be invoiced for on any call they are deployed. Studies show that motorists will not slow down unless they perceive a need to do so, and the move over law is not enough of a need for them to comply. Flares seem to convey a sense of urgency, as does police presence. Keep in mind, even with police presence and proper placement of blocker apparatus, fire/ems and law enforcement officers (combined) are still being struck-by vehicles at nearly the same rate towers are. There is no perfect solution, although a barrier vehicle and uniform lighting policy regarding usage and color will make a difference. I would like to see a traffic unit deployed to all highway calls regardless of source, meaning law enforcement, private customer or motor club would all get invoiced for not only the tow or service call but also the traffic management unit. A simple 1/2 ton van or pickup truck with a raised arrow/message board that is towing a crash attenuator trailer would be sufficient in most cases. Something like this;
  2. I have no words for this. Fired for sure,
  3. brian991219

    Truck For Sale But No Price. Why?

    Tow truck distributors do not get manufacturer incentives from the chassis makers, we buy them wholesale and our price varies slightly based on the volume we commit to each year, but it is not much lower than you can buy the chassis off the street for, sometimes even higher. If you are comparing apples to apples then yes, an educated buyer should be able to make a fair comparison. Keep in mind a Miller or Jerr-Dan spec chassis, for example, will not be available outside of the distributor network so the exact specs will vary slightly if you try to source a chassis directly from a OEM dealer rather than the tow distributor. Take out the extras like rigging, add on lights and other accessories then you can get a fair comparison. Keep in mind what extras the dealer may be including in their base build price vs. others that nickel and dime you to death with add-on fees.
  4. brian991219

    Truck For Sale But No Price. Why?

    I am sorry you don't like the truth. I have been selling new tow trucks for a few years now. Granted I only do it part time, consulting is my primary business, but everything I stated is fact in the tow truck distributor business. Plain and simple. Now, there are dealers that will work around their distributor agreement and risk losing their contract for a buck, I am not one that will.
  5. brian991219

    Truck For Sale But No Price. Why?

    This is a loaded question. Selling tow trucks and carriers is not like selling a Ford Explorer. There are so many variables that posting a price is really useless. Often the trucks we as dealers post are not yet fully equipped, or we may have two identical looking trucks but once you dig into the specs it becomes apparent they are vastly different. There are a few "discount" dealers that put low end spec, junk chassis under low end spec bodies and sell them at $10-$15k less than a properly spec'd and built truck. They have become so good at making their turds look appealing that even the educated consumers often eat them up, arguing with the dealer, saying they are ripping them off. Sadest part is, these dealers with the polished turds are making a bigger spread on their deals than the honest dealers that are offering the right equipment for your job. Posting prices leads to hurt feelings because customers feel like they were shafted when they see a similar truck at a lower price, even once you point out the difference in specs, equipment levels or other options that increase the overall value. Not to mention, multi-state dealers market their trucks nationwide and can't post prices because the final price will vary depending on where you take delivery of it due to shipping and other costs. Plus, some dealers may build trucks in multiple locations which results in different base costs for the exact same truck, again due to geographic cost fluctuation. Not to mention what a specif market will bear, sometimes to break into a market dealers will sell at or below cost, and it does no good to sell these trucks out of market into areas already established, the good deals need to stay available in the under-served or new market to entice customers into doing business. Lastly, in an effort to stop price shopping and encourage buyers to buy from their regional dealer, most manufacturers prohibit posting sale prices on brand new equipment. If you look at the fine print on traditional new car sales materials it will state that the advertised price is only available to residents of specific areas or states, that is because the manufacturer offers different incentives to move equipment in different regions. The towing sales industry is to small for the mass marketing used by the new car industry so we just do things a bit different to protect the dealer and manufacturer interests and promote healthy competition among dealers. Oh, as for the dealers asking 20 questions when you call for price, it is in their best interest to a) qualify you as a buyer, b) make sure the truck you are inquiring about is right for you and c) make sure they can sell it to you. Some manufacturers prevent dealers from selling out of their territory unless the customer has already refused to deal with their local distributor, so they are required to qualify you. This may seem like a waste of time but it really a benefit to you and a sign of a quality dealer trying to do their job and make sure you get the right truck for the right price.
  6. Yes, a few states are still so far behind that they fax me permits for my customers that I then have to scan and email to the end user. Crazy that in this day and age they can't digitally send me a oversize or overweight permit.
  7. brian991219

    Re: Sad News - Tow Operator Fatality New Mexico

    This is another needless death. Although I didn't know Pat personally, I do know the company and they are good people always looking to help out. I have worked that same stretch many times when I was in Albuquerque. This also speaks to the desperate need for trucking industry reform and better entry level driver training standards. The roads were icy, New Mexico is experiencing unusual winter weather conditions that they simply are not prepared for, yet this "professional" driver chose to continue on trying to meet a schedule or whatever. There needs to be a better understanding of weather related delays to help encourage truckers to shut down when it is bad out. My gut feeling is the electronic logging mandate, although artificially, has placed increased pressure on drivers to "push through" because of that set in stone digital clock staring them in the face. Before, they could go slower and make it look right at the end of the day. Further, there needs to be better entry level driver training of ALL drivers, not just truck drivers. I also would like to see reoccurring training, continuing education if you will, for all drivers to renew their licenses. With this continuing education we could address current issues such as slow down move over, distracted driving and other issues directly impacting highway safety. I find it absurd that many Americans obtain their driver license in high school and never have to update their knowledge or prove they are still competent drivers. Simply pay your renewal fee and pass an eye exam and what you learned 30 or 40 years ago is good enough! Absurd. Enough ranting, it won't bring back Pat. Hopefully it stirs thought and we find a way to increase the level of skill among American drivers before there are not any of us left willing to work on the roadways.
  8. brian991219

    Owning a tow truck

    Now, since the OP is Georgia based here is a link to a document from the Georgia DPS. If you read it they define a commercial vehicle at 10,001 gross weight rating so if used in commerce (for business) even a pickup truck could require a medical card and qualification as a motor carrier. They use gross combined weight when pulling a trailer, so even a F-150 pulling a small trailer will likely exceed the 10,001 pound threshold. Of course, crossing state lines or moving business products that have come from OR are intended to go out of state/country puts someone into interstate commerce and subjects them to Federal regulation from the FMCSA> https://dps.georgia.gov/sites/dps.georgia.gov/files/related_files/site_page/Chapter 1 DPS Transportation Rules.pdf Further, here is a copy and paste directly from the Georgia DPS regarding moving personal property with commercial vehicles that exempts the occasional movement of such. With the OP's stated intent he should be exempt, if he is truly not supporting any business activity. Bold italics added for emphasis. 1-365.602 Applicability (a) The rules in Subpart F of this chapter are applicable to all employers, employees, and commercial motor vehicles, which transport property or passengers in intrastate commerce. (b) Exceptions. Unless otherwise specifically provided by State or Federal law, the rules in this subchapter do not apply to— (1) All school bus operations as defined in 49 CFR §390.5, (2) Transportation performed by the Federal government, a State, or any political subdivision of a State, or an agency established under a compact between States that has been approved by the Congress of the United States; (3) The occasional transportation of personal property by individuals not for compensation nor in the furtherance of a commercial enterprise; (4) The transportation of human corpses or the emergency transportation of sick and injured persons; (5) The operation of fire trucks and rescue vehicles involved in emergency and related operations; (6) The operation of agricultural vehicles in intrastate commerce. (7) Volunteer charitable organizations (8) Private Motor Carrier of Passengers Non-business
  9. brian991219

    Owning a tow truck

    Two things I can agree with you on is, yes a pickup and trailer may be a better choice than a rollback for the OP and finding a competent insurance agent that can get coverage will be difficult. The rest, sorry to inform you but you are the one that is misinformed. Insurance, true that it may be difficult to obtain a private policy on a rollback but not impossible. If he is in fact not engaging in any commercial activity it is not a commercial vehicle, no matter what it was first built as. If you apply your logic someone that buys an old school bus to make a camper out of would need a CDL with a passenger endorsement and medical card to drive it. Driver license, the only requirement for a commercial driver license for vehicles under 26,001 pounds gross vehicle weight rating is if the vehicle is hauling hazardous materials or more than 15 passengers. New York does also require a tow truck endorsement for light duty wreckers and rollbacks effectively making you obtain a class C CDL. By the way, CDL stands for Commercial Driver License, so you contradict yourself with your post. Medical cards, again they do not apply if he is truly a non-commercial activity. I suspect he is actually looking to move his equipment in support of some business activity so all this goes out the window at that point because he becomes a private motor carrier of property at that point. If he charges to move property he does not own, like his example of a friends car, then he becomes a for-hire motor carrier of property. Both have to comply with the same regulations, with the for-hire carrier also needing operating authority. As for the actual regulation for medical cards, again that varies from state to state -unless engaging in interstate commerce, then it is at 10,001 gross vehicle weight rating. Example, Pennsylvania intrastate operations do not require a medical card, or even conciser a truck a commercial vehicle until 17,001 pounds GVWR unless hauling hazardous materials requiring placards. Other states do not require medical cards until 26,001 pounds for intrastate only operation. Further, a pickup and trailer would put him in the same class as the rollback or maybe even make it worse. Example, a F-350 has a gross weight rating of say 11,000 pounds and a good trailer to haul the average skid steer may have 2 7,000 pound axles making a combined gross weight rating of 25,000. Under CDL but over medical in most states. If the truck were a F-350 dually or 450 with a 14k GVWR he would jump right up to a class A CDL, fuel tax, IFTA and more. Moving his own personal property regardless of what that property is, as long as it is never used for a business purpose does get around the regulations. Otherwise every person that loads up their furniture in a U-haul and drives across country to move would need to be a registered household goods motor carrier. Your logic is flawed. Again, if there is any connection to business then he could be a regulated private motor carrier. The intent of operation is the defining event. Lastly, I know this can be done as I have done it. When I sold out my tow company I kept a tractor for pulling my toys and a camper trailer as well as a rollback for moving my project cars around. I write magazine articles on the subject of DOT regulatory compliance and run a company specializing in helping non-traditional fleets such as towers, construction companies and landscapers navigate the complex world of regulatory compliance. I would not answer a question and risk my reputation if I did not know what I was speaking about. Bottom line, his actual use of the vehicle is what determines if it is a commercial vehicle not the design of the vehicle.
  10. brian991219

    Re: New Years Awareness

    Could not have said it any better Randy. Thank you for always being on watch for our industry. Folks, please be extra careful there are so many folks out that usually do not party so they do not have any idea of limitations. Combine that with snow and heavy rains throughout most of the country and it is a recipe for disaster. I just drove 655 miles from Pennsylvania to Chicagoland today, traffic was wonderful until about 6 PM, then the crazies came out. Glad I am parked and in a hotel already. I made it my goal to be off the road by 8 for safety. I know active towers do not have the luxury I do as a salesman, you have a service to provide, however please keep in mind your safety. Stay Safe and have a wonderful 2019.
  11. brian991219

    Owning a tow truck

    If you are moving your own stuff for a non-commercial reason then it would not be any different than owning a pickup truck. If this "stuff" is related to a business, such as being a landscaper or contractor, then you are starting a private fleet and would be subject to the same regulations as any other trucking company in your state -even Federal regulations if you engage in support of interstate commerce. Moving your friends stuff is another grey area. Without any form of compensation, including something as insignificant as a tank of fuel, it would be no different than using your pickup and a tow dolly, however receive any compensation and you are a for-hire motor carrier and subject to all the regulations. You may find some useful information here, or at least the contacts within Georgia that can answer your question. I practice as a transportation compliance specialist focusing on interstate regulations in the towing industry, not a Georgia intrastate specialist.
  12. brian991219

    Company Name

    Morally that is only a question that you can answer. Legally, it depends upon how that other company has registered their name and filed it. Some have trademarked their name, so it would be a violation of trademark law to use it. Others have filed their business entity in multiple states, so again there may be legal restrictions. My advice, if there is a name you want to use but it is already known to be in use, check with the corporation commission (or whatever entity registers business names) in your state to see if it is available. Next, make sure it is not a registered trademark or slogan mark. Personally I would avoid this practice, you never know when something is going to happen to sully the name of the other company and you could suffer the consequences of the similarity in names.
  13. brian991219

    Just a suggestion

    I second this. Excellent way to stimulate the thought process.
  14. brian991219

    Train hits wrecker left on tracks (IN)

    Excellent advice. Always follow local protocol and notify the emergency dispatch center at 911, as well as the crossing owner at the number provided on the nearby signage. The first call should be to the track owner, then 911. Generally by FRA regulations they have a duty to immediately begin attempts to notify all dispatched trains. Keep in mind that nothing is absolute, and some classes of railroads are permitted to use an answering machine -so these calls may not result in immediate action! I have had the pleasure of working directly with a Class I and a local short line railroad in the past. Being from a railroading town near where the modern US railroads traces it's origins to, Honesdale, we have a lot of railroad interaction. Shorting the track is never advisable as it can cause extensive damage up or down the line and will disrupt the positive train controls that are in place. The best possible action is to call the phone number that is posted at the crossing, this connects you directly with the owner of the crossing and they can quickly notify the appropriate dispatch to halt traffic. Further, a series of red flares placed at least a mile up and down track will signal a problem ahead, as does a blue flag. It is a FRA requirement to place a blue stop flag on both sides of a workzone when the tracks are closed and humans are working in the right of way. Blue is the most restrictive signal color in use by American railroads, as it indicates a positive must stop because workers are on the track beyond the signal. I do not advise attempting to beat the train, even when you are fairly positive you know their schedule. Always contact the railroad and wait for their go ahead before beginning any work on or near the railroad right of way. Further, I strongly suggest placing watchmen up and down track by at least one mile with red flares and blue flags so that they can warn any stray trains as well as your crew. Not all trains in the US are required to have instant communication with dispatch, nor am I willing to rely solely on a train control signal that is delivered by a decades old electrical system. Further complicating train control is the fact that many railroads use a mix of train control signals so there is no guarantee that the train engineer will properly understand the emergency signal. Unlike automobile traffic signals, train signage and signals are not uniform throughout the country, not even uniform throughout any one rail line. Last thought, when working on or near rail tracks keep in mind not only how heavy the trains are, but also how wide they are. Be sure to never get any closer than 25 foot from the centerline of the rail. Any work closer than 25' requires railroad notification, and in some instances will require a railroad flagger to be present.
  15. I don't disagree with you at all Randy, although sometimes we must engage in the futile because the intention is correct. Sadly, it will most likely take heaps of regulation and enforcement against towers before they start to understand proper use of lighting -or any other safety protocol for that matter, I wish that were not the case and that the industry would step up and police themselves since government regulation from legislators that have never worked in the industry never ends well. As long as guys like us (those that are proactive rather than reactive) keep on fighting to spread the message we will make progress, even when it doesn't feel like we are. I also agree that no overhead lights were more effective because other motorists could distinguish the turn and stop lights more easily. How I long for the simple days of old, days when my dad could use just one gum drop beacon on his truck and feel safe.
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