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Tower Down: California Tow Operator Killed 09/05/2018

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A California tow truck operator was killed in Compton, just after midnight while in process of loading a disabled Mercedes onto a carrier.

 

CHP state this was a hit & run collision and little details are known nearly 12-hours later.

 

This fatal is less than 30-days after California tow operator Jon Israel, of StageCoach Towing was struck and killed by a semi. The irony here is; we just did Spirit Ride through these parts that rode the entire west coast with their message of Slow-Down Move-Over. News video shows the carrier had its amber emergency lights on as well as the white-lights to the rear.

 

I also noted that the carrier was legally parked inside the white-line perhaps three to four feet offering the tower room to work, but none the less on the traffic-side. The operator's body wound up in the number four (slow) lane. My Prayers go out to the operator's family, his company, and the towing community.    R.

 

https://ktla.com/2018/09/05/tow-truck-driver-killed-in-hit-and-run-crash-on-91-freeway-in-compton/

 

UPDATED:

 

Authorities on Thursday identified a tow truck driver who died after getting struck by a vehicle while assisting another motorist on the eastbound 91 Freeway in Carson as Carlos Mauricio Dubon-Ventura, 33, of Los Angeles.

 

He was to the rear of his truck, just before midnight on Tuesday near Central Avenue, when a silver Honda Pilot veered into the shoulder and hit him and fled.

 

The driver of the vehicle Dubon-Ventura was helping because of a flat tire was uninjured. But a one-year-old girl, who had been put in the cab of the tow truck, was transported to a local hospital with injuries from glass shattering.


Randall C. Resch

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While there are thousands of successful flat tire changes as well as towed vehicles that occur every day in this country, every week there is also a fatality incident. This industry has a desire to be viewed as a profession. A profession does not allow or tolerate those who work amongst the ranks to be subject to serious injury or death as a part of the daily routine without taking methodical, logical, though out steps to control or eliminate the risk involved. This industry has failed miserably in taking the required steps to protect via education, advocacy. and policy to protect those who attempt to get the job done. This includes those who insure the industry, motor clubs, vehicle manufacturers, government agencies, company owners, and the employees themselves. Under NO circumstance should a vehicle undergo a tire change on the side of a highway, or be loaded for towing without a blocker vehicle in place to divert traffic. Yes, this is expensive, but what are the lives worth of those who have been needlessly slaughtered on the side of the road. I continue to observe more and more police departments in my area utilize fire/rescue to block a lane to shield their staff from distracted/impaired/HUA drivers (head up ass).

 

When will the appropriate leadership representatives of this industry step up, demand, and implement change rather than eulogizing the victims?  

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GoodMichael shares a well-thought, well-written, lucid response to this latest fatality. His comments are spot-on target. Is it OK to keep conducting business with our heads in the sand? Bitch about insurance? But, what's it cost to pay for tow operators killed in the line-of-duty, over and over and over again? What is it doing to our industry? I believe if the industry doesn't step-up, the Wall of the Fallen, will need to purchase a larger plot of land just to make room to bear the numbers of tow operator fatalities that WILL happen in the future. And, just as a matter of education, did you know that as many as 300-tow operators have been killed in loading, recovering, and/or tire change activities since 1954. The numbers don't lie.  I'd personally like to hear from those, "industry leaders", as to what you have to say one the subject of tow operator fatality?

In a time of desperate needs, what are our associations, motor clubs and insurance companies doing to recognize this problem that does something proactive to help save the lives of America's tow operators? If you're reading this newest thread; you're reading the HOTTEST  topic facing the towing and recovery industry.To whit; I make an open challenge for you to respond to these issues.   R


Randall C. Resch

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Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends.

I agree with the hottest topic although this might not be the right place here for all the family to see


George - - Moore's BP
We'll see you on down the road

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If there's one thing I've learned in all these years of love and war ... if nothing's challenged ... nothing changes. OK ... So, let's agree to disagree. This where it change begins by NOT being politically correct or hiding our head's in the sand. It's about hundred's of tow operators killed in the line-of-duty; literally hundreds. I don't think any family of a deceased tower wouldn't want to help fight this epidemic; if it would only help save another tower's life to where their loved one's life wasn't in-vain. Is it not proper to work in a positive manner to at least try and find a solution? Is there no value in strength in numbers?

 

So, if this topic is insensitive, Ron Parish, would you please direct this narrative to a location that hides the sensitivity from crying eyes and let's continue on from there. Too many people want to hide behind the issues, and I'm confident that GoodMichael and mooresbp have many more ideas and opinions on this topic. I also know there are other strong voices of this industry with much to say, but won't get involved. If that's the case, then we (the industry) are simply giving up on our own; but somehow overwhelmingly gives a rats-ass MORE about a smart-mouthed tower who's verbal and disrespectful to a customer ... and that goes viral? Where are your priorities? Gimme a break. I'd hate to see the untimely loss of another tower be swept under the proverbial carpet like everything else. Common men ... step up.


Ron ... what say ye?    R.


Randall C. Resch

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Randy, do not think for one minute that I have not given this much thought myself. I have been round and round in my mind. The conclusion I have reached is that everything that has been tried is directed towards adults. I am not sure that maybe we need to be addressing children. Children are in the vehicles with adults and will speak up when they see a vehicle on the side of the road. This small voice can have an impact on a driver, even when the child is not in the vehicle the voice will be heard. Just my thought's, to date the only impact media I have seen is roadside overhead signage.

 

While nothing we can do will bring back those we continue to lose at such an alarming rate. To do nothing at all, only meaning nothing will ever change and the names on the wall will grow. We will do some Brain Storming at the Wall next week, as more names of our fallen towers are recognized.

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I have not given up and am mad and upset as anyone. One of the reason's we had the spirit ride here this summer to try to bring awareness. We still need better training for operators to stay off the traffic side at all costs. We must keep operators safe.


George - - Moore's BP
We'll see you on down the road

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Very sorry to hear we lost another brother in our industry.

 

In our RBU seminars we always do a special segment on this important subject just to get the company owners an equipment purchasing agent some insight on how to order a safer ramp truck were as most accidents the operator is using a ramp or flat bed as some describe it. 

 

First of all we have a company policy that all operators must sign off on an that goes into there Employee file. Reads we do not change tires on the side of any highway, that's were all operators are in the most danger. Also, calls for service or tire changes on highways means that vehicle is going to or by the next exit anyway. So, lets load it up and do our call at an off highway location which is in many cases a 7\11 or equal, even use the grassy center island between the ramps. This way your operator and customer are out of harms way an we feel you really shouldn't charge for the tow.  

 

We also advise our class on what we feel is the safest type of Ramp truck body to order for any tower that works the highways. First never buy any Ramp Truck that the Head board is fixed to the trucks frame. Problem is Your safety lights an take downs or working light are blocked by the disable car or S U V being loaded. When the lights are attached to the bed they stay visible all at all times, remember when you slide the bed back an lower it to the pavement you just completely blocked all your tail lights as well an with the body sliding up with a fixed headboard on the frame no safety lights or tail lights at all your tower is completely blacked out.

 

Secondly never ever order or buy any Ramp Truck light or medium duty unless it has an Autogrip instead of that antique wheel lift that is most likely the cause of most injury's an deaths. Any operator using those antique style wheel lifts always has his back to the traffic as he attempts to load or even free up the lifts arms an ajust them, then free up the pins even on well maintained units very very dangerous. The Autogrip you can always work standing up on the side away from traffic never have to kneel an always looking to the rear that's the direction of on coming traffic great also in the snow as well thousand times safer. Autogrip is about 3500 hundred more an when you sell the truck its value is 3500 more, so it's free.

 

Third don't take the side rails off your ramps they will help greatly in loading accident vehicles that the front wheels are turned or bent out of line.

 

That's my view point on how to stay safer out there using safer front line equipment, also make sure your operators put on there level 3 safety vest before leaving to any an all calls, make that another sighted policy that will help prevent you from paying big OSHA fines.  

 

Have a great day,  BOB 


BigWheelsig.jpeg

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Thanks Ron for chiming in. I like Ron's term that suggests, "brainstorming". I believe that comment to be true, Ron said, "To do nothing at all, only meaning nothing will ever change and the names on the wall will grow." This begins within the towing and recovery industry that demands a culture change in the way towers work on highway shoulders by getting off the white-line. We can't teach that enough, especially confirming that what Bob wrote in his comments above (thanks Bob for your comments that re-affirm the continued need for safety). The safety instruction is there, but towers AREN'T heeding the comments of safety changes because of too much complacency, too much macho, or plain ignorance; believing that vests, colored lights, cones, flares, cops on scene and SDMO laws are a solid sense of security. Every tower who works the highway should have never-ending awareness and a bit of, "being scared", when they go boots to the ground. I personally believe the direction this all needs to go is towards law enforcement, blocker trucks, continued public education and with the help of towing associations and insurance companies. Thank you Gents for your comments. FACT: This problem is not going away. Please keep these comments coming and let's work together (and at least) try to come up with some solutions? Wouldn't you agree?     R


Randall C. Resch

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Randy, thank you for all you do. I consider you an industry leader. We need to meet up and get an iced tea, I regret never taking the opportunity to meet up with Philip. Every day. Bob, you are an icon in the industry. I enjoy you narratives. I swear I can smell the plumes of diesel fuel as I read them. Your narratives show people, they do not tell people as my college advanced comp teacher used to advise us. I hope to share an iced tea with you as well.

 

It is mind boggling to me that OSHA can come into an auto repair shop and site the owner if a technician is under a car without eye protection, go to a construction site and site the owners if there are no handrails in place, and site a body shop for having razor blades on the floor that were used for prep work, but do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING when individuals are being needlessly killed on the side of the road.

 

Obviously, it is personal responsibility of the individual in the decisions they make each and every minute of every day, that ensures their safety. I get that. I also understand that many operators are have the, "It can't happen to me syndrome", the "F... it syndrome", and the "I just do not give a Shipped High In Transit" attitude towards safety. I also understand that management as well as ownership in this industry are seriously behind the curve where it comes to personal responsibility. We have some shining stars, who do the right thing for the right reason, even when no one is looking. I tip my hat to you all for a job well done. You do not get the thanks that you deserve. Then there are those on the other end of the spectrum. You willfully omit safety, training, and the welfare of your staff. You do not train your people, not because of ignorance, but because of the expense. You do not have any issues with running your employees into the ground, to a stump, sucking the marrow out of their souls. You could care less if your operators have proper PPE gear, you are perfectly content if they operate the deck controls on the traffic side, you have seen them do this and did not even bother to counsel them. It is, a point to joke about back at the office. It is companies like yours who are the direct cause of high insurance rates, needless driver fatalities, and the negative image that this industry endures.

 

I feel better getting that out of my system.

 

In my own perfect little world, I would like to see a program developed where those who follow the rules, and have an exemplary safety record, do everything humanly possible to mitigate risk, ensure the health, well being, and safety of the public is their number one priority, not be punished by being required to bear the burden of risk that the bottom feeders of this industry force everyone to endure. There could be three tiers if risk assessment that the insurance companies could utilize. Tier 1 would be those who have passed rigorous training credentials, random audits of safe operating procedures that are completed in the field of standards that are adopted by industry leaders, to include towing, insurance, vehicle manufacturers reps, and motor clubs reps. I honestly believe that a curriculum could/should be adopted to allow for an associates as well as a bachelors degree to be developed in towing and recovery, or, Transportation Emergency Science. There is certainly enough information to fit into the curriculum of a Bachelors in Science in TES. The industry interacts with physics, chemistry, biology, sociology, as well as psychology on a daily basis. The requirements to be a Tier 1 company will be rigid. The status will be prestigious. Since companies in this group have done everything possible to mitigate risk, their insurance rates rightfully so, should be a minimum. They are the cream of the crop, a class act, the Rolex of watches, and the Colt Python of revolvers.

Tier 2 will be the probationary phase to reach Tier 1. The companies as well as staff are working towards education and compliance to attain Tier 1 status. They are not there yet, and in all due fairness, do not receive the preferential insurance rates that a Tier 1 company enjoys, but do enjoy rates that are proportional to their efforts to promote a safe work environment. The Tier 2 status is time sensitive. If tier 1 status is not attained within a prescribed period of time, Tier 2 status is terminated.

Tier 3 is reserved for those unmotivated to put in the effort to attain a safe workplace, and for those who do not place a priority in moving their business in the time sensitive direction of a safe workplace. Tier 3 insurance should be such a burden that it forces the business to close, be foreclosed upon, and/or ensure that the business is never allowed to operate again, EVER.   

 

 

 

 

I did not realize it, but that was my 1000th post. I had planned to put out a zinger of a post for # 1000. I hope I hit the mark.

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