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Everything posted by rreschran

  1. In last weekend's CHP Operator's Safety Class, as many as one-half of the attending tow operators were new with three to four months on the job. On Day-2 Skills, during various techniques and scenarios, several new towers were hustling to get things done. While in the process of moving the tow trucks or carrier's into position, there were four seperate instances where someone didn't set the tow truck's emergency brakes. Although I appreciate their eagerness and excitement to learn, not setting the Ebrake is a deadly practice (or driver behavior) that must be corrected. Each time I was certain to call out to the operator the importance of setting the tow truck's emergency brake as well as using chocks for the appropriate technique at hand. Once we returned to the classroom, we had focused discussion of what happens when towers hurry to get things done. I pointed out that there have been nearly 50x operators killed when they hurried to approach their tow situation to not set the Ebrake or shift the truck's transmission to park. Hurrying can cause the tower to trip and potentially fall into traffic lanes. I do understand that exiting or re-entering the tow truck requires faster movement, but running to get chain or equipment isn't necessary. Like everything else in the line-of-work, slow down and make each movement calculated at the moment of arrival to ensure the truck's transmission is in-park or neutral (stick) with the transmission Ebrake fully applied. And, once you've exited the tow truck, get use to setting a chock-block on the downhill side of the truck's rear dual. R.
  2. While I too am sensitive to this unfortunate incident, there's a reality that regardless of one's means to take their life, any vehicle could be that means as it proved true in San Diego County several years ago. A female, chose death by tow truck and stepped from a highway's center divider into the path of a carrier ending in fatal results. In May 2019, I wrote a mini-article for American Towman entitled, "Suicide by Tow Truck", relating to the uptick in pedestrians versus tow truck deaths. In my research, I found a 2003 investigational study by, Australia’s, Monash University’s, Accident Research Center, entitled, “Suicide and Natural Deaths in Road Traffic,” it reported, “It has been shown that in many of these cases there was a history of mental illness, and the presence of alcohol use. One study identified the main mode of suicide among pedestrians was to walk or jump into the path of a heavy vehicle.” The tow operator should know that there's nothing they could have done. If they need someone to talk to about this experience, please feel free to contact me. R.
  3. In my CHP Operator Safety Courses, believe it or not, I have a short module on the responsibility and dangers of removing debris, taking bumper covers, and having to pay for someone's lost license plate if the tower doesn't take the bumper cover with the car. R.
  4. Could it be part of the hustle to get that impound hooked up and away without detection that led to this incident? There are several like type fatalities where the tow truck was not in park ultimately rolling over or backing over tow operators. Christine and I send our prayers to this agent's family and the company he worked for. R.
  5. Dollies and snatch-blocks are two of the most used equipment items on a carrier or wrecker. Regarding snatch-blocks, because they're a rolling pulley with several moving parts, they NEED to be greased. This is especially true when snatch-blocks are stored atop a carrier's side box and exposed to moisture. I believe it's a driver's responsibility to ensure that the snatch-block has grease and all components, including the appropriate safety clip, are working. In this weekend's class, one of the many snatch-blocks we used hadn't see grease since the Civil War. There shouldn't be a time when the tower has to take some other object, "to beat the snot out of the twist knob", when it's frozen shut with rust. At the very least, a finger-tip full of boom or wheel-lift grease, on the knob's threads, will help the knob to easily screw and unscrew into and out from the snatch-block's faceplate. Owners, in your company, is this a driver's function or that of the shop's? R.
  6. Hey Brian ... glad to see you're back at home where you can spend time being involved in these posts. Nearly five-year's ago, I suggested that a crash attenuator truck or device be added to the FSP program in San Diego County as an available safety program to assist all highway towers involved in towing off the highway. Sine they already operate during prime time traffic hours, a device could easily be implements into their prgram even if it was a tow-behind, trailerable unit. I approached the biggest companies to see if they were interested in being part of that program. Their response to my suggestions was less than favorable where they cited, "It costs too much", and, "There's too much liability". The message of, "cost and risk", will never add to obtaining increased safety for tow operators working highway events. In knowing that, I'm confident that NHTSA or any other federal program has made tow operator safety a priority over those programs I listed above. SDMO is only one component of developing a proactive safety program, but the working components are over-looked due to cost and liability. R.
  7. There were 14x drivers in this weekend's CHP Safety Course. In the rollover module for carriers, one tower set the carrier with the deck not fully set on the ground. We had a great discussionas to why carriers need to have a solid platform before winching begins. As carriers are (said) not designed for extreme winching, setting the carrier's deck solidly atop the pavement helps to lessen bending the deck or deck's superstructure when side pull or snatch-block pull commences. To demonstrate that point, I stood on the end of the carrier's deck as it was raised 2-inches off the pavement and jumped on the deck. My jumping showed movement all the way forward to the truck's mirrors; capable of jiggling the frame from the rear of the truck all the way forward. What tricks do you use to ensure the carrier's deck is solid to the pavement? R.
  8. Wow and Wow again ... what an incredible hit. I think this was already reported on TowForce when an Oregon vehicle owner/driver used their impounded vehicle to ram the gate and liberate their SUV. I'm glad the tow operator wasn't seriously injured. The news video shows what lengths the vehicle's driver would go and knowingly take huge risk at killing the tow operator. THe secondary gate across the electric/rolling gate had little effect on stopping her. I hope that the security video leads to the arrest of the male who conspired with her to steal the vehicle and they are BOTH prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. R. https://www.oregonlive.com/crime/2020/02/woman-suspected-of-driving-stolen-truck-into-portland-tow-yard-employee-arrested.html
  9. I've been following this from the moment it reported, but unfortunately, there's limited information as the investigation is still open. I have my own ideas as to what did or may have happened, none-the-less, it could have been the tower shot and killed first and then the highway patrol officer. The world's population is living on the ragged edge and it doesn't take much for a ticking time bomb to go off. R.
  10. While I'm a firm believe that, "Shit Rolls Down-Hill", I'd like to see a convoy of one-million tow trucks, carriers, heavies, rotators, whatever, driving in solidarity around the white-house, capitol loop. Is that a possibility where our president were to see a rolling representations of tow operator's defending the lives of those lost and those who continue to work the nation's highway. Like the Spirit Ride ... how much more stronger of a statement could their be? R.
  11. Hi Mr. Moores ... Something tells me that, if tow operator deaths continue to not mean enough to solve the problem, perhaps a, "no-call response", is a solution for towers to consider. So, playing the Devil's Advocate, would a state's DOT take over towing when private tow companies pull-away out of rebellion? I don;t see that happening because some tower will always be in the wings to jump in. Am I wrong? My fatality statistics for tow operator strikes go back to 1956 and count as many as 33-tow operator's killed working highway related events, with or without the cops on scene. That's 66x years of continued carnage and no recognizable relief insight. As far as SDMO laws, we towers are appreciative of those laws, but they do little to nothing because the motoring public fails to respond to their meaning. SDMO is simply an administrative bandage to a much bigger operational problem. Unfortunately, law enforcement doesn't have a solution. R.
  12. Hey GM - You offer up a great perspective about the number of hours and number of police personnel to work a single fatality event. I don't condone an officer that overlooks public safety because it's not convenient. I simply provide a glimpse as to the reality of lack of funds, minimal staffing, days-off, busy police and criminal activity, or, that individual officer who pick's and chooses his enforcement activity. The bottom-line suggests, that people get "stupid in-public" without care of injury or death of someone else; sometimes there's not enough cops in the right place and the right time to catch em' all ... just like that we saw in that video of the tow truck that road-raged those bicylists. R.
  13. As Ron mentioned, over 100-mph in California can be an arrestable offense. But, get into the officer's head just for a second. Cite and release is a 10-minute process versus making an arrest, impound the vehicle, write the impound report, wait for the tow truck, take the arrested party for, "booking slip", approval at the Watch Commander's desk, transport to jail, wait in-line at the sally port, write the arrest report, get it signed, all the while, chasing calls on the radio. Much of that is about having the elements of the crime arrested for. If the elements aren't there ... let em' go. R.
  14. A west coast tow company is being sued and an attorney group has contacted me regarding my opinion to industry practices. This post isn't about tow company's right or wrong actions, but about what comments I see posted on Yelp-like social media sites, or the BBB. In short, I looked to review the tow company's website and what was posted "good" or "bad" about their contacts and reputation. As a whole, there are too many tow companies that I don't think monitor what's being said about them. Personally, I'm pretty confident when I say a companies reputation can easily be assumed to be the basis of the a lawsuit. I really like to see where tow companies are out-in-front of damaging customer complaints, email, or, customers and vehicle owner's who use social media to slam tow companies. While some tow owners feel social media is, "made up information", complaints can be really damaging when viewed by others, especially new customers. So, I ask, do you monitor what's being said about your company? Even if a complaint is true, are you out in-front to do some damage contro. For example: I'm looking for a contractor for a repair project at my house. I reviewed several contractor sites to see several companies with great reviews, yet another with several really bad complaints saying the company did damage, and then failed to return the customer's calls. The customer trashed the company. Because no one responded back to attempt to correct any problems, and because there were others unanswered complaints, I shied away from calling that company. Note: Once a complaint is posted, they typically won't go away. As far as the tow company in the suit I mentioned at the beginning, I turned the case down as I knew their reputation and the issue at hand would work against them. Knowing that, I pose three questions. One, what do you do to trouble-shoot or monitor your company's website or service sites, and two, do you do anything to protect your reputation, or do you think these sites are a waste of time? Personally, I like those companies that make an effort to justify, calm, or resolve, or even thank their customers. A successful or amicable handling of a customer's complaint could result in them writing a better review versus that of simply being trashed. Fair or unfair, ignoring concerns can only have an effect on your repeated business. Wouldn't you agree? R
  15. According to the author, Rob Lawrence, he writes, "Additionally, NHTSA administers over $500 million in grant programs annually. NHTSA awards grants for occupant protection, state traffic safety information systems, impaired driving countermeasures, distracted driving, motorcyclist safety, state graduated driver licensing laws and non-motorized safety." His narrative falls-short of any mention of throwing some of that grant money at protecting tow operators under grant programs initiated by NHTSA. If it's known that tow operators represent the highest number of pedestrian strikes, why is there no focus at the root cause of tow operator deaths? All he's saying what's been known for years. R.
  16. When it comes to that get er' done mentality by most operators, especially where a towers actions are simply dangerous and illegal ... I remember my dad saying, "Learn when to say NO!" Most cops don't know what those things' weigh and it's their focus to get the street or intersection cleared even if the little engine that could is grossly overloaded. Good solution Eric. R.
  17. Just like California has a, "National Move-Over Day", or, "Ride a Bike to Work Day", what if Virginia towers were to have a, "We Ain't Towin' No Cars For The Day", day in support of no-expanded protections for tow operators? Wouldn't that be a hoot. R.
  18. This case is one to watch as it claims and blames the move-over law for being a major factor. I think both Plaintiff and Defense have will have to put on quite a show to plead their cases. While the move-over law has its merits, it can create a deadly set of, immediate and, "in your face", cirumstances for anyone not 110-percent aware of their surroundings. Note: a conviction for reckless driving is really hard to prove. R.
  19. Ron ... did you see the multitude of Facebook posts that chastised the Missouri media because the news initially reported the person struck was referred to as a, "pedestrian"? People who aren't in the business of emergency services, or, they don't know what the reporting process is about, have plenty to say out of their personal opinions. R.
  20. Agreed Ron ... I like your comment ... "likely a continuous unsafe practice". At the misforotune of others, none-the-less there's a valuable less to be learned. R.
  21. This 2017 driving and Karoke segment is another form of distracted driving ... even the news reported openly identifies the dangers. As far as the dollies go, someone is riding in a, "towed vehicle", all the while thetowed vehicle is NOT safety strapped. R.
  22. Yeah ... that certainly was an "OH SHIT" moment. I think it's easy to sumise that this pickup truck and trailer weren't your everyday flatbed carrier in process of loading a disabled vehicle and I don;t kow the circumstances. It's easy to ask ... "Who's a fault here?" This video is a great training tool for tow owners and tow operators to focus on court questioning that asks two specific questions, "Mr. Trailer Owner, why were you parked in a live-traffic lane", and two,"What did you do to identify your working zone?" While I see one cone may have been placed curbside before the trailer, but what about the other cone(s) in the back of the pickup? While I don't know if the pickup and trailer were simply stalled or otherwise, a video like this one has great value to the driver of the white-vehicle when it goes to court. The lesson learned here is to make your work zone obvious using flares, cones or signs.
  23. It's about time law enforcement realized the importance and dangers of vehicle recovery during ice and snow emergencies. This is a safety practice that all law enforcement should take a really close look at. Additionally, once vehicle removal is authorized by the Sheriff, a deputy should be assigned to accompany the tow truck to each recovery scene and remain present during total recovery and removal. After all of the recent (rash) of tow trucks and first responder strikes and fatalities, it seems like the approach to highway work is starting to change in the way towing and recovery is done. I personally believe that saving lives of pedestrian workers should be the number-one focus of highway response, making that of motorist inconvenience, secondary crashes and the loss of economy being secondary considerations. Note: Secondary crashes are important to realize, however, those motorists involved in secondary crashes are inside their vehicles protected by seatbelts, air-bags, and with the vehicle's body to protect them. Those poor souls tasked with working in these incredibly dangerous environments are MOST at risk and don't stand a chance when a vehicle plow's into a worker's unsuspecting body. I believe preservation of life should and must take prescedence over everything else. Wouldn't you agree? R.
  24. After reading the bad news report of the tow operator killed in Missouri last Firday, I guess the media is having a tough time putting two and two together. A tow truck parked at the scene of a vehicle crash ... Oh No ! ! ! Is it safe to go out? Perhaps the tow truck was witness to the white car crashing into the wall, or, maybe they were called there to begin with? Could have been involved? May have been involved? Why report it at all if there aren't details? Slow news week I guess. R.
  25. Thanks Rebecca for adding your personality and charm to the cause of Slow-Down Move-Over, although, I think it means something different in your racing circle ... more like ... "If ya' slow-down ... git' the hell out of the way", right? R.
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