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Re: Snow Ban


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Just for fun ... I read an article having to do with law enforcement in one Wisconsin county declaring a "Snow Ban" where they are not going to call tow trucks out so towers can get some much needed rest.  Read the link:   https://www.wsaw.com/content/news/No-tow-ban-implemented-in-Marathon-Co-tow-truck-drivers-say-theyre-thankful-505541851.html


Because snow days are brutal to towers who work those conditions, being tired and over-worked IS a safety consideration. However, because we're in business to make money during those snow events, do you thinks it's smart to hold-back on call-volume in the best interest of operator safety? I remember those days working snow events in the Sierra in that, "around the clock", mode. So, at what point should the all American dollar be considered priority over operator safety? What are your thought?    R.

Randall C. Resch

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Never! As a tower in the northeast I worked my fair share of snow events these past three decades. When I was young, possibly dumber although the jury is still out on that, it was normal to go around the clock for days on end clearing vehicles from the roadway. On top of that we also did snow removal, so when we were not towing we were plowing and sanding. 36 or more hours without a break was common in my twenties.


I had way too many close calls that, looking back, were directly attributable to my fatigue level. Driving past my exit on the highway and not being able to recall where I was or how I got there was a normal occurrence during snow events. This type of clouded judgement leads to injury or death very easily.


The only place fatigue trumps over caution, and this is even debatable, is when life safety is on the line. Removing a disabled vehicle that is preventing access for fire or ems service or other situations like that, responding to a rescue assistance request, those warrant a little more risk on the part of the tower, within reason. As harsh as it sounds, remember you are not the one that put that person in jeopardy, you will be of no use to anyone if you are injured or killed, so your safety (and those around you) must be a priority in all decisions.


Should we decide to place earnings above safety for a snow event what is next? Profit before safety for a motorist willing to pay extra for a tire change in an unsafe location, or placing your body in harms way just because it pays extra? I don't think so.


I will say, although I like the concept of providing rest for the towers, I do not understand the all out tow ban concept that is common in the midwest. Not all disabled, stuck or wrecked vehicles need to, or can be, safely recovered during the actual storm, but to prohibit all towing is questionable. I see the intent, and if the local tower is not staffed to allow for rest then the agency may need to step in and force a rest, but what about major metropolitan areas? It seems unfair to restrict a business if they could safely complete their task.

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We have "tow bans" here in Iowa that are put in place by the highway patrol when road conditions are questionable, more often that not visibility is a concern as well. Having said that if law enforcement calls for an accident or a vehicle blocking the roadway we are often called to remove it with their help and blessing. We are often just as busy during the ban after a major storm clearing vehicles that were left in the road way so plow crews can do their work. Our county and city police are very good to work with, we can on a case by case basis do tows on gravel roads where traffic is light and visibility is good. Most of the the time the trooper on duty will let us know about when they think the ban will be lifted so we can plan accordingly.


As far as the working around the clock that should be covered by the hours of operation policy's in place. We have all worked too long and been sleep deprived. As was stated above that is a recipe for disaster!!!! The one exception that will over ride the hour law is a request by law enforcement for a roadway blockage as was also stated above. There is NO JOB so important that it's safety should compromised for it's completion!!!!

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

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When there is a ban here, P.D. keeps us out there but only to clear the main roadways. if there is something off the road, The occupants are out and safe and not impeding the plow crews we will leave it there till the ban is lifted. I feel we all have pulled the 36 hour shifts at some point in our careers. As i get older i dont do it as much. There is just no point in pushing that hard. the cars will be there when the storm clears. I find it better to rest up, Prep your truck and equipment and be ready to rock when the call comes in. We only roll out during the ban at P.D. request. there are some shall i say less desirable companies that lurk around during the storm and extort top dollar from people. It's sad really.

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