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Re: Reckless or Authorized ? ?


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OK ... who's up for a good debate? I just watched this TikTok video Ron posted on another thread (link below) finding it quite interesting while looking at it from the side of tower responsibility or tower recklessness. Just my opinion to suggest, while it's really cool and amazing to see just how fast a wrecker can, "Do its thing", I feel this video demonstrates what's WRONG with the towing and recovery industry. Because there's no regulation to the industry, these kinds of tactics promote the proverbial dollar over safety. I know ... this incident perhaps was an impound and authorized by an agency, but does that make it proper because the cop said it was OK? Does it demonstrate a dangerous action, "Is this a reckless action or business as usual?" Am I wrong?

 

Let's say this tow was a repo, a regular tow, or PPI, and there were no officers or agencies involved. If a local traffic cop were to witness this action, here's what the citation's (violations) would likely read, especially in this state ... 1) Driving (backing) the wrong direction against traffic 2) Unsafe movement to the left or right 3) Driving across a painted center 4) No safety straps 5) No safety chains 6) No extention lights, AND, 7) Steering wheel not secured. For all intensive purposes, this WAS an unsafe load.  

 

These are the things that cops love to write tickets on. And, if convicted in-court, good luck finding an insurance provider as they'd drop the tow company faster than this car was towed. I believe this video demonstrates a reckless action by the tower and sends a wrong-message (especially) to the hundreds of new towers entering the towplace every year. If something were to happen and the car were to detatch injuring or killing someone, do you think the agency would claim responsibility? Sure it's cool, but look at it from a liability standpoint that's not even close to industry standard training. By the precision actions of the tow truck operator, I'd venture to say the tower had experience on-the-job. What do you think?   R.

 

 

Randall C. Resch

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I think it was a Repossession... Does that make it right no, however this type of towing has been done in this manner for many years. Snatch and Grab take them around the corner as this vehicle was transported. Then securing the vehicle properly for transport which may have likely happened off the roadway at the end of the video clip. I've done this 100's of times on repos over the years (I have not conducted a repo in 30 years).

 

Recently I have been removing vehicles from dangerous locations prior to securing them properly in order to avoid confrontation. Each situation is different and as a tow truck operator we have to adjust for those situations. Again, I am not saying it's right as I fully support securing the vehicle properly for transport and often having someone to run block provides to the extra time to secure the vehicle. Although, that does place two individuals in harms way. The longer you spend in the danger zone the higher your chances for injury, be it on the street conducting a repo, parking violation or on the side of the interstate/highway. I watch far to many drivers spend additional time in the roadway securing vehicles with a 4 point tie down rather than moving them off the roadway first. It similar to changing a tire on such roadways. Each added second increases the odds of being struck and while it would be great to have a support unit on scene to assist. This industry has never progressed to that point.

 

For what could have and should be done when conducting tows such as Repo's we need to seek answers from those who primarily conduct such tows. For police ordered tows in the vast majority of situations an officer is present.

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If it is in fact a repo situation, then I agree with how it was handled. I surmise the reason he pulled into the lot down the road a bit was to secure it, add tag lights etc... It is certainly a double edged sword and a good operator has to look at the big picture when preparing to grab one like that. I performed repos for a couple years waaaay back in the day and I always just wanted in and out. I never wanted confrontation of any sort. Now are written laws broken while this repo was performed? yes. The road was clear of traffic, the operator was able to get ahold of it and get out of the lane of traffic before cars came through. I just feel there has to be a high level of common sense used in these situations. I will be the first to admit that there are occasions where I have pulled a car up on my deck in gore points of highways for instance, set the brake and put it in park and got my A$$ out of there in a new york minute off the exit to secure the car. Is it Illegal?? Of course, Is it dangerous?? Sure is.. But these days being out of that truck in the middle of the highway is much more dangerous as far as I am concerned. I will take my chances using gravity to hold the car down for 500-1000' to get myself out of harms way.... Write the ticket... I will be alive to answer it..

PROFESSIONAL TOWING & RECOVERY IS NOT JUST A JOB.. IT IS A LIFESTYLE

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Is that not a service car with overhead lites of some sort rite behind him Just looked at it again there's a empalen on the side of it and it has overhead lites on

Edited by carl4tow
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Repo or not, I likely would have done the same, grabbed it and pulled it into a lot to secure. From the position the car was in you would have had to block a lane no matter what truck you used or direction you loaded. His method limited the impact to traffic as much as possible and got him out of "harms way",in one sense or another, quicker.

 

For the sake of argument, let's imagine showing up to tow that as a disabled car with a flat bed. You'd have to park in the live lane and manuver the vehicle up the bed, then secure at least 2 points to get off the road and apply the other 2. Add the time to lower the bed, attach the winch, winch the car up, secure and stow the bed, and your in that live lane at least 5 minutes if not more. Add a lot more time if it's an impound or repo to deal with the no key, in park without being able to steer.

 

Now show up to the same call with his truck, disabled, repo, or regular run of the mill breakdown. Lower the wheel lift, back up to the car, pick it up and get out of traffic. You end up using both lanes, but instead of the 5 to 10 minute impact, your in and out in less time than it takes to put a bed on the ground. Even if there's not a parking lot to pull into like in the video, you could always pull it into the shoulder to secure the car and be on your way. This gets you out of traffic and lets everything flow with minimal interruption.

 

With today's push to get in and out of the road side assistance quickly as possible, I feel he did just fine. Yes he skipped a few steps, but only for the time it took to get himself out of harms way. Were an officer to call him on it, I would like to think common sense would prevail and the officer realize that taking the time to strap the car down could be accomplished mere feet from the the pick up happened, rather than while the truck is blocking a live lane or lanes.

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As Carl4 Tow pointed out, there's a vehicle following the tow truck with its light's on. I'm thinking this is an agency tow that was authorized by the agency. I too have impounded cars for the PD and moved them several blocks away so to do an inventory WITHOUT a comfrontation by an irrate vehicle owner. The point I make is simple, to not make any attempt to tie the vehicle down or secure it in a transportation mode is something some cops love to write tickets on. That brings me to question ... Can an officer tell you to do something that's against the law? Ponder that and let's see those comments that relate to your work.     R

Randall C. Resch

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Can an officer tell you to do something that's against the law?

 

YES, if justified to clear the scene quickly in the majority of states now law enforcement can order the tow truck to expedite the scene using caution. Does this mean the tow truck operator can to this recklessly NO. But, it does mean that they do not need to take the additional time to fully strap chain and light the vehicle. Normally the officer will escort them to a safe location.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/14/2020 at 10:28 PM, TowZone said:

Can an officer tell you to do something that's against the law?

 

YES, if justified to clear the scene quickly in the majority of states now law enforcement can order the tow truck to expedite the scene using caution. Does this mean the tow truck operator can to this recklessly NO. But, it does mean that they do not need to take the additional time to fully strap chain and light the vehicle. Normally the officer will escort them to a safe location.

Had a judge tell me in court that a policeman cannot arrest you for doing what another policeman directed you to do, except if it's a felony.  This was due to a traffic violation.  He did say that civil prosecution is still possible, just not criminal prosecution.

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Had a call 30 years ago, about A mile away from the seen they said step it up they needed assistance with the extrication of the injured driver. As as I did an officer pulled out and lit me up. OK, either he is attempting to pull me over or follow me to the scene. Either way I was not slowing down. He got on the PA and said pull over, get this I'm maybe a 1000 feet or 4 blocks from the scene. I arrive on scene and he comes running up as I exit the truck. The other direction is a Sargent that immediately chews that officer out as I continue to walk up the the scene. Of Course Fire was getting the driver out of the vehicle.

 

That's the way it used to happen more than not. As Fire became more skilled and added more tools they don't call for code as often. Actually rarely, I assume the officer, ducked tail and left the scene. I may have had a couple of more run ins with him before he either left the department or was reassigned. Someone said he was placed on desk duty because of his strong temper. He must have been one of the 1%. I've met a few and they met me, oddly I never realized I had higher connections then they did and the officer often had a bad past. One of the last ones transferred from another department which did not release his disciplinary records until after the transfer. For a couple of reasons it took the department several years and multiple public confrontations to terminate him. Even though they released ALL the records, I heard another department hired him.

 

You may ask way these departments hire bad cops or keep bad cops. It's similar to the reason tow companies don't send new tow operators to training. Actually it's opposite, Police Departments spend considerable money to train an officer and do not want to spend more to train another officer even though in most of these officers in training the mental issues should have been recognized. Towing Companies do not send new drivers to training because of the number of drivers that leave once they have the training. However, when we look deeper into the training we find that drivers without proper training cost the company more money over time then drivers that received skills from training sessions.

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