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Everything posted by rreschran

  1. This is a prime example where daily tow truck inspections and regular, documented maintenance is challenged. The investigators will go about looking at all maintenance records and the inspections that drivers conduct on the day of use. Is your company's inspection process capable of proving no neglect on the vehicle driver's part? Although the company is innocent until proved guilty, there's a huge burden of proof that goes against the grain.
  2. Just a note to share that you don't have to be a runner to participate in this event, Shane Coleman and I walked this last year as a way to try and solve all of the problems in the industry. Although we didn't solve the industry's problems, we spent our afternoon walking to support the museum and its causes.
  3. We send our prayers to those involved. What a horrible tragedy.mi
  4. Hey Brian ... is it possible that California, Texas and Florida tow operators are NOT being adequately trained by the companies where they work? I'll pose this question for all tow companies, "When a new driver is hired, do hiring owners, managers, supervisors, or HR representatives, provide a "reality based" orientation as just how dangerous this industry is? Or ... do they not mention the dangers hoping to not lose the possibility of new hire? In every CHP tow operator safety classes I teach, I include a one-hour module on the dangers of roadside response, not to scare drivers away, but to tell them how they can be smarter in a defensive manner. I firmly believe that towers who get killed working shoulder events are NOT fully trained to those dangers ... including the most recent California tow operator who was killed reportedly working his second day on the job. I have no data to support that theory, yet have hundreds of (archived) tow operator fatalities that suggest their exists a whole lot of "experience" versus that of the new tower on the job. How can a company, in their right mind, send a novice worker into the lion's den? R.
  5. If the van was towed to an impound lot, why would the police have to smash the window out? Lockout tool ... duh. None the less, the smell of a decomposing person is something that's hard to mistake, yet I remember the same smell coming from a car parked in the long-term parking area the San Diego Airport. At the PD's request, I popped the lock, opened the truck, only to find a hundred pounds of rotting meat in the trunk. It's not a homicide until proved a homicide.
  6. While I'm always one to respect police, fire and other officials on-scene, I stick to my guns that I'm the professional tow operator on-scene and it's my job to load or tow in the manner that I'm experienced in doing. Putting hands-on anyone is an unacceptable practice, especially for a fire captain to do so. If the worker was untrained, inexperienced, or flat out flippant, a violent exchange is unprofessional. There may be something that occurred that we're not aware of, but at face value, fire captain's should stick to their line of work and not that of towing and recovery.
  7. Good Michael and Brian have valuable comments regarding the lack of a full safety-mentality in the workplace.Their combined comments from their latest posts resonates on what issues I believe creates and extends untimely fatalities. I believe Brian's direct statement indicated, "It is frustrating that most company training is exactly as you described, more about invoicing and paperwork to assure payment than safe working procedures. When towers do train, and this is not a knock again any of the industry trainers, the focus training on whiz bang procedures for complex recovery not stuff that will keep an employee alive every day." I believe the number one cause of operator deaths is towers working, walking and standing in a live traffic-lane that's on or near the white-line. Formal training by big-box training entities focus too much on product demonstration, how bigger, better, and the baddest heavier equipment can make more money, or how to go after those invoiced dollars. With no disrespect to trainers, vendors and manufacturers, little of their demonstrations or course's focus has anything to do with the errors, mistakes, or negative factors that create tow operator fatality. It may be a reversal of information, but a great percentage of on-highway strikes may have been prevented if the tower did not place themselves in harm's way. Similar to, a large percentage of towers are killed in preventable traffic accidents where the operator's driving actions were the cause of fatal crashes to include not wearing seat-belts. I believe that only a small percentage of operators were killed by equipment failure leading me to think that the entire spectrum of safety focus is lost in translation, little to no retention, and that "I don't give a damn", attitude. But, regardless as to what training (if any) a tow employee receives, it's message of safety and survival in in the mind of the beholder. All the safety training, formal certificates, or years in the trenches do nothing if an individual fails to apply the messages safety training represents. White-line safety training typically isn't a voluntary thing, but oftentimes a mandate by an agency's contract. The numbers of tow operator fatality are staggering and my statistics (1934 to current) incorporates a total of approximately 954-lost souls for any number of reasons including DUI, Tow Truck vs. Train, Shootings, Traffic Incidents, Ejected -No Seat-belts, operator involved industrial accidents and others. Note: I believe there is NO completely accurate fatality list of towers injured or killed, but, there are many lists floating around ... only to simply suggest that fatality rates among tow operators far exceed the fatality rates of other first responders. I've recorded as many as 313-tow operators killed working white-line highway incidents. There's plenty of evidence to clearly show that whatever white-line strategies as taught to industry professionals aren't working ... there's got to be a better way. When it comes to tow operator instruction, I know my audience, but, I feel that the bottom-line of training reverts back to EVERY individual tower and their individual attitude towards heeding the word of training. How each tower applies their actions to the message of safety (at EVERY scenario_ is THEIR responsibility, NOT to blame the boss, NOT to blame a lack of training, NOT to blame the cops, and NOT to blame distracted, DUI, and head-up ass motorists. FACT: The answer to the latter is simple ... drunks and distracted motorists are here to stay. Tow Operators MUST be smart about staying focused on-scene. Sure, it's the industry's responsibility to provide the training tools to every tow operator, but how they apply it is the biggest component of survival. There's too much finger pointing going on, but, towers must take responsibility for their own actions when they drive and when they're boots-to-the-ground. I believe that on-highway protocol via TIM and the highway patrol must change to where traffic gets slowed or stopped for instances that tow trucks prepare to load; perhaps conducting more traffic breaks when situations call for such. Law should be changed where untrained or unqualified tow operators cannot work the highway until they show evidence of an approved safety course. I believe that all tow trucks for highway/freeway service patrol and rotation tow operators should be equipped with a large, visible arrow-boards. Laws should be changed requiring towers to place cones/triangle/flares at every incident in a manner required by FMCSA § 392.22 - Emergency signals; stopped commercial motor vehicles. As we move forward, I too am watching what's being mentioned here. I'd really like to see more of the industry's heavy hitters get involved in this conversations, especially from the industry's side, the insurance community, and that of the varying tow associations. For 85-years now, the towing and recovery industry has FAILED in delivering ways to increase tow operator safety. Anyone worried about operator retention should be worried as to where the next generation of tow truck operators will come from if all they see is an industry that doesn't care. R Brian ... let's talk about ISO ratings for the industry?
  8. Ron … I can’t speak for CTTA, however, I can speak to California training for tow operator training. I am an authorized CHP safety instructor with my own stand-alone, two-day, 16-hour, tow operator’s safety course. The two-day course is 8-hours classroom, then 8-hours of hands-on module. I specifically cover causes that get tow operator's killed while driving tow trucks and as pedestrian workers. Tow operators of all classes must go to refresher training every 5-year regardless of class or experience level. In addition, rotation/contract towers now must also attend or complete on-line, the 4-hour TIM course to go along with their background application. All tow operators serving California’s Freeway Service Patrol are mandated under California Vehicle Code sections 2430.5 and 2436.5, to attend 3-days of topic specific training taught by CHP instructors and specific to highway operations like HERO and Rangers. Currently, there are no requirements for non-contracted tow operators who venture onto the highway to respond for calls or services (mechanics, service technicians or tire companies). It’s my opinion that ALL tow truck drivers should be required by state law that they are trained in topic specific highway related response. Because there are no requirements for non-contracted tow operators here, anyone, regardless of time and experience can come onto the highway to tow, service or do vehicle repairs. Although California mandates training for tow operators, it doesn’t necessarily create a solid safety factor in the tower’s mindset noting that … California leads the industry in tow operator fatalities and struck-by incidents both on the highway and off, next in line being Florida and then Texas. Texas has TDLR requiring state mandated tow operator training.
  9. Regarding California's most recent fatal, it was noted from another post that the tow operator killed may have been newly hired with only two-days on the job? Question: Why would any tow company send an inexperienced tower into the proverbial lion's den until that tower had been thoroughly trained? There's something tragically wrong if that pans-out to be a true statement. I personally believe that ALL tow operators and service technicians (of all trades) must be thoroughly, "highway trained", before being dispatched to calls on high-speed freeways. so owners, what actions do you take to ensure your personnel are thoroughly trained noting that, California's Vehicle Code Section, 2430.5, and its Freeway Service Patrol program, REQUIRES, every FSP operator attend a 3-day, CHP, highway safety course that includes TIM training. May I ask, what are your company's MINIMAL training requirements for on-highway response for new hires and those who claim that they're experienced? Thanks.
  10. Hi John ... it's always so very exciting to hear from you across the pond. I hope you and your business are doing well. Thanks for your comments and I personally won't apologize for offending other towers when it comes to ... as you've so eloquently described ... "self-preservation". Perhaps that's one of the reasons why this industry is behind the curve is because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Will towers ever wake up? Highway related fatalities are traced back to 1934 and the same old pig headed mistakes and actions have resulted in literally hundreds of towers killed. And, Like me and you John, I'm pretty sure most towers have their own "struck-by" stories to tell ... some non-preventable. Like the over-use and abuse of amber-light on all the time, perhaps the current feeling is ... "Nah ... it's just another tower killed ... glad it's not me." I guess we've grown numb to the root causes that continue to get tower's killed, but I'm interested in the tower you talked with about no safety vest. At some point John, if you do talk with the company's owner, please share what his reaction were. Best regard. R.
  11. I commend the Towing and Recovery Museum's decision to support this product and as a step in the right direction to help lessen the number of tow operator fatalities this industry experiences each year. R.
  12. Ron ... you asked for a rant, or, a rah rah speech? Well ... here ya' go. No ... I'm not a state association, yet simply, a concerned individual who's worked much of my adult career training police officers and tow truck operators. For 30-plus years, I've been a career instructor and technical writer teaching white-line safety and the TIMs concept for tow operators. I have had my legs broken by an out-of-control vehicle while I worked a highway patrol recovery some 40-year's ago. I know what it's like to being critically injured at the hands of some motorhead because they were driving too fast for conditions in the rain. I know what it's like to think and rethink that incident asking, "What I could have done better to have lessened my on-scene exposure?" I felt guilty for having totaled my bosses tow truck, but, only because I was there to help serve law enforcement, not because it was my fault. It was at that very moment where I committed myself to learning and practicing on-scene safety. Since then, I have tracked highway related fatalities that go back as far as 1934, with nearly 950-operators killed for varying reasons; as many as 350-of those killed on the highways. I have written and reported on tow operator fatalities, helped bury many police officer and tow operator friends killed in the line-of-duty to the point I have grown weary of the repeated slaughter. But, I haven't lost my inner-fire with simple hopes that we'll somehow recognize a way to reduce the pandemic of tow operators killed. But, that comes with stirring the emotions of some tow operators and tow business owners who don't give a care about what their doing or how they're going about their daily tasks. We know that flares, signs, blockers, cops and whatever ... does take extra time, but the very fact of identifying a work-space that says, "HERE I AM", should be worth the time it takes. There are lessons to be learned here people ... we're not reinventing the wheel, but simply demand, "Do what you have to to make yourself seen; don't stand in active traffic lanes and stay OFF the white-line side." That's no-brainer stuff. How hard can that be? Sure there are incidents where distracted drivers will continue to crash into us working the highways. But, lessons learned from 350-tow operator fatalities has clearly identified that working on or near the white-line side is THE most dangerous place to be. Need I say more? I am a realist that understands that DUI's, texting and motoring stupidity are here to stay. Towers continue to put themselves in harms way. No ... not because of a lack of training, is it too much testosterone, or is it that overflowing macho that says, "Nothin's gonna' happen to me?" Without concern for hurting anyone's sensibilities, tower's ... stop worrying about the cops not being there, state associations not being involved, or those damned non-concerned highway drivers. You have NO control over what they do, but you have every bit of control about where you work and what you do to help save your individual life. It's your professional skills and on-scene processes that you that prayerfully will keep your name from being part of my fatality archives. Take control of your actions and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. You should be telling yourself ... "Not me, not today", preparing yourself mentally that no punk driver is going to take you out based on your carelessness or complacency. On-scene safety is every operator's choice ... and NO amount of hand-holding or coddling by others will help keep you safe more than your own actions. In a nutshell, the cops aren't helping, the associations haven't stepped up and the motoring public simply doesn't give a crap. To me ... that presents a bleak picture of the industry's future. I will continue to help spread the word of safety and survival where I can. But, I can only pray for your safety. It's that, "lead them to water", kinda' thing. R
  13. Right on Brian. But, forget about the costs. Cost shouldn't be a factor in safety and prevention. In all business plans, that should be the first consideration is how to keep a company's employees safe in the work-place. And, that's accomplished by safety, processes and training. We know it ... we see it ... we teach it. But, where is safety lost in translation when tower's can't retain even 10-percent? I'll go out on a limb here to suggest that on-scene safety is the responsibility of each tow company owner. It's each owner's responsibility to make sure towers have the, "mental tools and preparations", before sending their personnel onto the highway. I personally feel the industry has lost it's sense of safety by making bling and monster-tow trucks the priority while safety and survival scrapes the bottom of the proverbial barrel. I evidenced that recently by noting seven, only seven attendees, including you Brian, attend a PTSD seminar versus that of seeing literally hundreds of towers watching a rotator being run through its paces at the same tow show. It's evidenced in these posts where only a handful of personalities have the guts to approach those procedures and processes that get tower's killed. When an industry doesn't care about it's people, its current state will only get worse before it ever gets better. We know the issues, so, what's it take to overcome the lack of safety awareness in a proactive manner? One can't expect to peer down the barrel of a gun with the possibility of being shot in the face right?
  14. Ron ... you beat me by second ... this update in information, as reported to the news by the CHP and from other sources, comments indicated the tower may have been changing a tire or could be have been preparing to load a car onto a carrier because it had a flat tire being the reason for the call? No matter what the trouble-code read, the car could have should have been loaded from the non-traffic side in a Tow First manner. A news photograph taken at the fatality scene where three CHP officers are seen to be looking closely at the driver's side, rear area of the carrier, and the rear area of where the customer's vehicle rear tire is located ... both clearly at the white-line side. See the link ... what are your thoughts? Note: Photo Source RMG NEWS https://abc7.com/tow-truck-driver-struck-killed-by-big-rig-in-hit-and-run-in-castaic-area/5326142/ Those areas in the photo are consistent with where tow operator typically work/stand as well as where the (POI) Point of Impact would have been when the semi stuck the tower. It's also clear that the carrier's, amber overhead lights, were on, but the carrier's deck was in a full-tilt load position with the disabled vehicle parked behind it. Unless the disabled vehicle had its parking lights on, the vehicle's position would have blocked the lower and rearward facing lights. There's nothing in the news or CHP's comments to reflect that road flares or cones were visible to the rear. All of these factors (surmised from a single picture) may suggest that there's a huge gap between what should be solid training requirements versus what's not being conducted in the field. How do we as an industry, "Connect the Dots?" Can OSHA help to regulate training? Should there be more training? While I think that the industry's training is the best it's ever been ... it's not reaching the grand majority of the towers out there to reflect the numbers of tow operator's killed.
  15. Common guys … give Brian a break. I support his comments as correct regarding roadside safety versus that of safety for pedestrian tow operators. This section of California’s I-5, towards Gorman and Lebec, is extremely rural, wide, winding and fast traveled. Plus, at 8:30 in the PM, it’s totally pitch-black with no streetlights. If you’re driving a car at 80-mph, you’re driving too slow. And, there are only a couple of CHP units covering the many miles covering the Grapevine area which is the only north south trucking corridor to an from Los Angeles. Not to prejudge this incident, the industry’s history has proved that that, if towers are routinely struck as pedestrian workers, was it possible that this operator may have been working/standing near the white-line side when struck by the semi noting; there are other versions of this crash to suggest the Triple-A tow operator was reportedly working to hook-up a disabled vehicle with the motorists inside the disabled vehicle at the time of the strike. Accordingly, I'll suggest that, all the cones, flares, signs, blockers, cops and whatever ... doesn’t negate the fact that working on or near the white-line side is a dangerous place to be. And, THAT’S the first component of operator safety … stay away from the traffic side where semi-trucks lurk. I believe this fatality is a prime example to show that, when there isn’t available assistance in a rural location, it demands that towers be that much more diligent in their actions when working shoulder events. That being said, of the 30x operators killed on California’s highways this year, nearly one-half killed were pedestrian workers. Perhaps the message of white-line safety isn’t being effectively taught by companies, while at the same time, towers continue to place themselves in harm’s way. Consider this tragic fatality another lesson learned. Christine and I send our prayers to the tower’s family and the company he worked for. R.
  16. Networking with tow professionals is my greatest value received as well as the friendships I've built over the years.
  17. I recall a young tow operator (back east) who was beaten within an inch of his life during one those freebie tows when the drunk motorist went ballistic .. no thanks
  18. ... the grass is always greener on the other side until the drought hits.
  19. I have sad news to report from the South African Cape where a 38-year-old tow truck driver from, Algoa Towing and Recovery, was killed in a hit and run around 3AM this morning. It was reported that the tow truck driver was on the side of the road taking photos of the accident for insurance purposes when a small pickup truck struck him and then fled the scene. Christine and I send our prayers and sympathy to the tower’s family and to Algoa Towing. R. https://www.dispatchlive.co.za/news/2019-05-25-tow-truck-driver-killed-in-hit-and-run/
  20. Rural properties like these can be difficult for delivery persons to be able to recognize underground utilities. In the same manner we teach GOAL, getting out to look is extra hard when underground utilities don't present themselves by being in clear view. At the very least, when faced with a rural recovery like this, Ed's photos are a solid reminder for towers to look and ask where the underground utilities are? If the owner of the house isn't home, there's huge risk of dropping through or into. Thanks for sharing Ed. R.
  21. Thanks Ed for leading the way in making this an acceptible practice.
  22. If you missed the CTTA Awards dinner, Quinn's representation at the Vegas tow show was a great sample of things to come.
  23. Note ... flatbed carriers without side rails are an invitation for disaster.
  24. Christine and I share our prayers in support of the tow operator's family and the company he worked for. This year has seen more than its fair share of flatbed carrier fatalities.
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