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Tow Truck Wheel Lift slide/grid hits vehicle windshield (FL) "Updated"

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Piece of metal crashes through truck windshield on Interstate 95 near Delray Beach

Delray-Beach-Fire.png

A piece of metal flew off a tow truck crashing through the windshield of another truck Tuesday afternoon.

 

The crash happened just after 3:30 p.m along the northbound lanes of Interstate 95, about one-and-a-half-mile south of Woolbright Road.

 

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the incident occurred when a piece of metal came off a bed tow truck that was driving in the right lane and crashed through the windshield of a black Ford truck driving in the left lane.

 

The driver of the Ford, a 64-year-old Hispanic man, suffered minor injuries from the shattered glass.

 

"He is lucky to be alive," said Delray Beach Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Todd Lynch.

 

The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.

 

RESOURCE LINK

 

Driver survives metal smashing through windshield on I-95

 

A South Florida driver recounted the terrifying moments a piece of metal smashed through his windshield while driving on Interstate 95, missing him by inches.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the incident happened Tuesday around 3:30 p.m. south of the Woolbright Road exit.

Officials said the metal flew off a tow truck and into Eduardo Medina's truck.

The metal missed Medina by inches, leaving a few scratches on his face and hands from the glass.

Medina, who speaks Spanish, had his wife Norma Rodriquez translate the moments he scary crash.

 

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Eduardo Medina and his family believe this gift from his daughter helped save his life.
 

"All he heard was an explosion. He said he is fine, nothing hurts, nothing hit him," said Rodriquez said.

FHP Lt. Yanko Reyes said the metal could have killed Medina. He said drivers are responsible for properly securing the load on their vehicles

 

"That could have been a fatal case," Reyes said. "A case like this, you could be charged criminally. You could go to jail for this because you are causing injuries."

 

Reyes said a fine could also be issued to the driver of the tow truck.

"We know that God protected him. He just walked away from that terrible accident," Rodriquez said.

Medina's rosary was still hanging off his rear-view mirror. Rodriquez said they also believe a gift from his daughter that says "Dad, please drive safely," helped watch out for him.

"We invoke our little guardian angel, and I know he was protected," Rodriquez said.

FHP said they are still looking for that tow truck involved in this incident.

 

RESOURCE LINK

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Wow ... someone had their guardian angel riding with them that day.

 

There's been plenty of discussion on TowForce about who's tasked with inspecting dolly bearings. This is similar in the manner of how often are the inside safety retention springs inspected by drivers? Or, is it the responsibilty of the shop?

 

One the other hand, the left side photo isn't clear enough to determine if the plunge-pin was completely seated. No matter if the retaining slider has plunge pins or a screw-in safety device, that's something drivers must ensure are completely seated and tight after each use. For sure, this is a good topic for a safety meeting.        R.


Randall C. Resch

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I've seen more than a few wheel lift grids, L-arms/scoops, other miscellaneous stuff on the road where it's come off a truck.  I would say 100% operator's responsibility to be sure their equipment is properly secured.  Your manager/boss can't be there to double-check you throughout your shift.

 

Richard

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No question in my mind it is the drivers responsibility.  This is also why you see bungee cords across the back of the wheel grids, just extra layer of safety in case the locks fail.

 

  Luckily this man was only slightly injured.


A good friend will bail you out of jail, but a great friend will ...

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Have you, or a driver you know, ever been struck in the eye by a damaged or rotted Bungge Cord.


While the Bungee Corporation doesn't write application details for tow truck operaotrs to try and stowe heavy parts and equipment, Bungee Cords are inherently danagerous because they store great aamounts of kenitic energy. When released unknowingly, they reportedly can strike someone's eye at 200-miles per hour. One of my drivers suffered a serious eye-injury when a Bungee holding the trash can lid came apart and hit him just below his eye. Thankfully, his eye was spared. For that reason alone, Bungee Cords should never be used to secured wheel-lift retainers ... I'm sure there's a mathematical disclaimer that can prove the same.       R.


Randall C. Resch

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Being an item that is manually manipulated multiple times throughout the course of the work day, This incident is 100% the operators fault. Even if the plunge pin is defective, that is an obvious item that is used everyday. There is no way possible to say that he did not know it was weak, broken etc.. It should have been written up, repaired or replaced. And if it is in fact operational, Then the operator failed to secure his equipment Prior to driving the rig. Either way, It is on the operator. Same goes for the safety catch inside the cross bar. I broke my foot back in the day when I went to slide a grid end out and it came right off the truck and smashed my foot. Needless to say, they are on my monthly check list now and are replaced when defective.

That operator is INCREDIBLY lucky that driver was not horribly maimed or killed. If he worked for me, He would be looking for a new job.


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

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While I can fully understand the concern, I have always used quality Rubber Bungee Cords and replace them at the first sign of dry rot.

 

bungee1.jpg

 

I do not use this style of Bungee Cord, because they have a much lower tension rate.

Bungee2.jpg

 

Regardless of the manner of pin that secures the grid I have always used a bungee and

it does not have enough tension to make it a projectile. It simply keeps the grid in place.

 

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The first one shown is whats typical to tow truck truck trash can as a hold doen to prevent the can or lid from launching, especially wreckers where B-Cords are constantly exposed to sun. I personally don't use B-Cords to secure heavy retainers, thats what plunge pins and spin screws are for by the manufacturer, right?

Edited by rreschran

Randall C. Resch

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I am sorry, but I disrespectfully disagree.  To add a level of security on a wheel grid you would not need to stretch them tight across the grid, just enough tension to hold the S hooks on, then if it starts to slide it will tighten up.  I have a Jerr Dan and the locks are in place and work, however, if I wiggle them and bounce them just right I can get them to disengage.  I tighten down the T bolts and run a bungee across.

 

I have used bungee cords for years for various applications and have actually had more than one break on me.  We used to get them in by the bundle at the trucking company I used to work for and used them to secure mud flaps bolted to 2x4's to the back of bobtail tractors.  As soon as we saw any dry rot or any other tear, we discarded them.  To me, the risk is minimal if you use common sense.

 

In this instance, we don't know all the particulars, but if the locks were in place and just became disengaged while traveling down the road, that bungee cord could have completely eliminated this accident.  If the locks were inoperable and the driver was relying on the T bolts or pins to hold the grids in place and one came loose somehow, the accident would still have been prevented.

 

 


A good friend will bail you out of jail, but a great friend will ...

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I use rubber bungee cords to secure certain items and equipment on my rig including as a extra safety on my wheel grids. I also stock a few to use in securing loose wreck parts, hoods etc.. Bungee cord use is like most any other tool in our industry. A certain level of common sense is needed for proper use. If your pulling on it with all your might to secure it to something then your asking for an injury. They also have a shelf life and need to be replaced at the first sign of wear or damage. 


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

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Good Morning Gentlemen - What I like about ya'all who participate here are your comments that are appreciated and welcome. I've been on other sites where a single tower's comments get attacked by the Tow Police. Their comments are oftentimes rude, curt and over-aggressive. I'm of the opinion that there's no perfect answer to anything we do in this industry. Every job, ever tow, every situation is different where we work far beyond the norm. I like this site because it allows me to expand my own personal knowledge about the industry and to see what other towers are doing in the world. Thank you guys for your participation and your answers.

 

Mr. Stubborn ...  No worries, your comments are well-taken especially using Bungees to keep safety chains from dragging.

 

Both you and Grumps made the same comment to suggest, "The risk is minimal if you use common sense."  We all know that there are those towers who take their careers seriously and follow the rule and guidelines the industry represents, where others have flash in the pan mentality. We also know that not all towers have the same amount of common sense to make quality inspections and to replace when necessary. 

 

Accordingly, what works for one tower may not work for another. That's called, "choice", and there's nothing incorrect about any single technique, tool, or item of accessory when it's maintained and used as it was designed.         R.


Randall C. Resch

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OK, here is something to think about... I was taught to always return the wheel grids to center or all the way in after each tow. There they were held together by a bungee with very little tension. On newer beds we didn't often do this as they didn't have the wear that caused the issues.

 

Now how many times over the past few years have we seen drivers leave the grids extended. Even worse how many times have you seem one grid extended to the end and the other all the way in. Then you find they actually load a vehicle that way and then wonder why the center pin wore out.

 

Food for thought as I never liked those screw in T handles. They always came lose over time, generally a short time.

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I too always return the grids to center and bungee them.  I know if I can catch sight of my grid in the mirrors something is loose, and yes that has happened which is why I now use the bungees.

 

I see drivers all the time leave the grids extended, my assumption is that they are relying on the locks.  The guy you see with one extended and one in the center has likely had one loosen up and come out.  Hooking up that way is just plain lazy

 

I agree that the pins are more secure but if you are running scoops instead of regular L arms you have to get the grid in the right position to lock it in place and have the scoop well behind the tire.  I set the grid so that the outside of the tire is lined up with outer edge of the tread plate on the grid.  The pins don't offer enough adjustment.  I have only run scoops so I am not too familiar with the L arms to know if the grid adjustment is as critical.

 

Randall, I agree that everyone here seems respectful and I appreciate what I can learn just by browsing these forums.


A good friend will bail you out of jail, but a great friend will ...

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Those screw in t- handles were the very first thing to go when I purchased my new Jerr-Dan roll back in 17. Loped them off and welded on a new pair of barrel plungers. Of course this was a simple deal for me being a welder/fabricator. a quick splash of Rustoleum gloss black gave it a factory look.


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

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Now we learn that the driver didnt stop, he may not have known at the time but I am sure he knows by now what happened.  Will he step forward, hopefully he does?

 

It also looks like the cross bar had the plunge style retainers


A good friend will bail you out of jail, but a great friend will ...

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