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emergency lights on for no reason!!

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Every tower for aaa and motor clubs around our area drives with their overhead emergency lights on. Loaded or unloaded. I asked a driver why in the world he would drive around like that? He said he was told to by aaa. So we die on the side of the road almost daily and these idiots think its ok to drive around with their overhead lights on all the time. I believe its also against the law. What can be done about this? 

Even if your loaded and the vehicle is on your bed. Why the emergency lights? Are you warning people you may have the car fall off at any time?

 

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AAA should not be telling anyone how to run their business. Until people tell AAA how things are going to be, and charges them accordingly for services rendered, they will continue to bully this industry.

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It's my opinion and knowledge that, use of emergency lighting is generally dictated by state law, not by the wording of any motor club. There are states that require emergency lights to be "on" while in-tow. Additionally, if a loaded wrecker or carrier is travelling on a highway or roadway slower than the posted speed limit for safety reasons (wrecked, over-width, over-height, permit load, etc.) state law may require that emergency lights are on. Unless local law enforcement enforces improper lighting violations, there's not much that can be done. Perhaps there's an issue of training from a reliable source, or, for towers to attend a Traffic Incident Management course to identify what's proper for the state of operation? There's a reality in this industry that suggests towers will oftentimes operate their own way as they see fit, but that doesn't make them an idiot, only incorrect as we all aren't perfect nor do we work in a perfect world.    R

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I have heard a tow truck driver and even a few owners say that a motor club mainly AAA has told them when to run the beacon. But, I find that very difficult to believe and doubt that it is anywhere in writing. You will find that those states that have laws dictating when the beacons should be used, are citing very old laws. The industry has been using wireless light bars for years now. I feel this really falls back on the state associations as they should be in a position to fight to change these laws which are out of date. Often those who wrote the laws are gone and those who enforce them can not explain them.

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This is a pet peeve of mine, and a factor that I believe contributes to roadway injury and death. As already stated above, the use of emergency lighting is regulated by state law regardless of what any motor club or other private entity wishes. As Ron said, the laws are outdated -often written to require use of warning lights because of the lack of tow lights. With modern technology there is no excuse to not use tow lights (remote tail/stop/turn lights) on every tow where the wheels are on the ground.

 

Now, as to why this issue bothers me so much. We have a lack of uniform lighting standards in North America. Most lights such as tail, turn, headlight and hazard lights are Federally regulated with that standard being recognized in all of North America. With emergency lighting (beacons and strobes) there is no such standard which causes confusion as motorists travel across the country or internationally. Example, in my home state of Pennsylvania blue lights are courtesy lights for use by volunteer fire fighters and have no force to make someone yield right of way. Go to other states and blue is the color for law enforcement and you better yield right of way and pull over!

 

A uniform lighting standard, similar to the design standards that must be adhered to when buying an ambulance with Federal grant money would help immensely with recognition of tow trucks as emergency vehicles. Now, for this to be effective we as an industry must train and police ourselves to use the lighting properly, which leads me to another pet peeve of mine, the concept of more is better! Not always, especially at night. There is a movement across the US for law enforcement and fire/ems vehicles to only display warning beacons in the direction traffic is approaching from, to limit use of spot lights and overall reduce lumen output to avoid blinding oncoming traffic or distracting traffic not in danger.

 

It would be best to include proper use of all lighting devices in this uniform standard, not just emergency warning lights. We have inconsistent laws across the US as to when it is appropriate to use hazard flashers. Example, Florida prohibits their use unless you are stationary where New York requires their use if you are travelling slower than the posted minimum speed. Some states require them when travelling more than 15 MPH below the posted speed limit. Again, this causes confusion for travelers. Uniformity will help us all.

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The original post had to do with towers driving with overhead emergency lights on, not the lack of extension lights, wireless lights or four-way flashers. The training topic regarding lights are many and specific to their use. NO matter what, Brian is proper to say that driving with over-head emergency lights can be confusing, especially if you reside in one state that requires over-head lights, yet work in a neighboring state that doen't require their use. To me, the old days of NO overhead oscillating lights were more effective and safer as flashing amber/yellow lights only were visible to the rear of old style wreckers. To say we must train and police ourselves to use lighting properly is an effort in futility knowing that proper training isn't reaching all towers and all companies (where tow operators get their share of in-house training and not that from a formal entity that has a training module specific to use of lighting. 

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I brought the tow lights into the discussion because it seems a percentage of tow operators substitute the beacons for the tow lights. Then thee are the rollbacks that run the beacons with a vehicle on the bed. No Tow Light Needed... No Beacon Needed yet it is On anyway... My answer is always Boss says when loaded run the beacon.

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17 hours ago, rreschran said:

The original post had to do with towers driving with overhead emergency lights on, not the lack of extension lights, wireless lights or four-way flashers. The training topic regarding lights are many and specific to their use. NO matter what, Brian is proper to say that driving with over-head emergency lights can be confusing, especially if you reside in one state that requires over-head lights, yet work in a neighboring state that doen't require their use. To me, the old days of NO overhead oscillating lights were more effective and safer as flashing amber/yellow lights only were visible to the rear of old style wreckers. To say we must train and police ourselves to use lighting properly is an effort in futility knowing that proper training isn't reaching all towers and all companies (where tow operators get their share of in-house training and not that from a formal entity that has a training module specific to use of lighting. 

I don't disagree with you at all Randy, although sometimes we must engage in the futile because the intention is correct. Sadly, it will most likely take heaps of regulation and enforcement against towers before they start to understand proper use of lighting -or any other safety protocol for that matter, I wish that were not the case and that the industry would step up and police themselves since government regulation from legislators that have never worked in the industry never ends well. As long as guys like us (those that are proactive rather than reactive) keep on fighting to spread the message we will make progress, even when it doesn't feel like we are.

 

I also agree that no overhead lights were more effective because other motorists could distinguish the turn and stop lights more easily. How I long for the simple days of old, days when my dad could use just one gum drop beacon on his truck and feel safe.

 

denny's auto 1982 trucks pic5.jpg

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Back then you felt safe because there were fewer vehicles, fewer distractions, fewer impaired drivers. Well, the fewer impaired drivers had more to do with fewer vehicles and fewer narcotics.

 

If you recall when the strobe lights came out they were great in the urban areas and not so great in the rural areas. Drivers can determine easier where the light is coming from with a mechanical beacon. But they look crappy on a modern truck, Bubble Gum Lights belong on vintage tow trucks. For many years we have had the option of installing strobe type beacons. Now they are becoming common with integrated traffic advisor lights. Most companies are now adding more lower lights with a separate switch to turn off the upper lights which blind traffic and distract from the beacon. Even having strobes on the sides of the bed is possible now though most companies do not invest in the safety these additional lights provide. Even worse companies with road service vehicles often have the least lighting. These type vehicles with one small or half beacon should NEVER be working on the interstate though we see it all the time. Are Road Service Personnel less valued then the Tow Truck Operator. It does not make sense to save money sending out a road service unit (small pickup, van, even a car) and put a budget low cost light on it. Those lights should never be allowed to service other vehicles on roadways above 45 mph. Sorry to once again I strayed from the original topic, but these are my concerns and rants.

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Personally I wish I had the money to buy a $1200 light bar and $400 traffic advisor stick for every vehicle I have.  I'd love to stick little strobe lights in every nook and cranny.

 

The next truck I'm buying gets a $300 Amazon 48 inch light bar and a coat of Plastidip over the control box.

 

I've had it with spending money on light bars to a) have them ignored, b) have them quit working right when I need them to during a snowstorm or with lots of salt dust and spray in the air, and c) not feel any safer having spent more money.  There has to be a breakover point with this stuff.  Amber and white, LED, covers the roof, gonna be good enough for me.  If it dies I can afford to buy three more before I get to the price point of some fancy Whelen or Federal unit.

 

I'll add some little strobes when I have time though.  I want some ambers and some whites and some greens.  I'm tempted to get some purple ones too now that they are getting popular, but I think those are for funeral services.  They seem to use green around here.  I guess it depends.  A red color blind Trooper will think I'm running blue and I'll get an earful.  But maybe they test for that at the academy.

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Guest BmoreTower

I'm wondering if the original poster is from Maryland because I see this all the time also. We call them Beacon boys.. I agree with most of the other posts on here as well that doing this is the equivalent of crying wolf. If you roll around with your lights on all the time then when you actually have them on while you're on the side of the road trying to load up a vehicle no one pays attention to them. I feel like this is a huge safety issue for all of us that go out here day after day and do this job.  when I get a chance to speak to a driver who does this I explain to them that not only is it against the law in our state but it's a safety issue. Maybe if other drivers in this area would do the same thing we can educate these AAA guy's one driver at a time.

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yes im from maryland. just drive around the beltway. you will see every aaa tower with their emergency beacons on. makes me sick.. unloaded just driving around .. 

IT IS A HUGE SAFETY PROBLEM. some say contact the police.. Yeah good luck with that. they dont care. nobody cares about the towers around here....

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Tonight at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, we saw three carriers driving with o/h emergency lights on, two were loaded with cars on the deck. What is MD's law regarding lighting? Allowed?

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In Ontario Canada for example, many different municipalities have different by laws, which dictate when and how emergency lighting will be used.

 

As a long haul tow truck driver it pays to look this stuff up before entering anew jurisdiction.

 

 

 

 

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Tonight at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, we saw three carriers driving with o/h emergency lights on, two were loaded with cars on the deck. What is MD's law regarding lighting? Allowed?

https://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2010/transportation/title-22/subtitle-2/22-218-2/

 

Yes they are allowed in MD.

 

I tow in Northern VA and in VA the law is if you are towing a vehicle with wheels on the ground you must use your beacon. In VA the law specifically states flatbeds don't need to use beacons while in motion.

 

The problem we have is it is poorly worded.

 

C. Vehicles equipped with warning lights authorized in §§ 46.2-1020 through 46.2-1027shall display lighted warning lights as authorized in such sections at all times when responding to emergency calls, towing disabled vehicles, or constructing, repairing, and maintaining public highways or utilities on or along public highways, except that amber lights on vehicles designed with a ramp on wheels and a hydraulic lift with a capacity to haul or tow another vehicle, commonly referred to as "rollbacks," need not be lit while the vehicle is in motion unless it is actually towing a vehicle

https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title46.2/chapter10/section46.2-1030/

 

So I've had some people tell me they think it means flatbeds have to use the beacon when towing a car on the deck but to me it is saying you should use them when towing a car on the stinger.

 

 

Sent from my Moto E (4) using Tapatalk

 

 

 

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Thanks Minchar ... I agree with you. As in all vehicle code sections, the perception of the reader comes into play. A vehicle on the stinger is a towed vehicle, so I believe the wording to be true as, but not that of a carrier with only a car on the deck ... just like any other load considered product.  R.

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