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Re: Tow Truck & Carrier Crashes on the Rise


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Hi All … the last three posts captured my attention. So far in July, five tow trucks and or carriers have crashed for whatever reasons.  And, these are the ones that make the news, so there have to be more.

 

July 2  NH - Carrier transporting mail truck rolls over

July 5  FL - Carrier smashes into police car - unloaded

July 16  TN - Carrier into a tree - unloaded

July 16  OH – Wrecker rolled over - unloaded

July 17 FL – Carrier loses control avoiding object - unloaded

 

As tow company owner, what company training do you conduct to try and make tow truck and carrier (driving) operations as safe as possible? What evidence of training can you present to your insurance company to show some form of driver’s training?    R.

Randall C. Resch

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Think it may have something to do with tow truck dealers selling “de-rated” CDL trucks?

Example: truck has 21k rear, 10k front & air brakes, under cdl GVWR can be achieved by simply installing tires with a lower load capacity

FMSCA/DOT seem to overlook this gray area

Actually surprised there isn’t more accidents, in NJ anybody with basic drivers license can operate any air brake truck registered up to 26,001.   

If enough fatal accidents occur & FMSCA/DOT begins enforcement, there will be more properly trained CDL drivers or more f350, f450, 4500(actual light duty) rollbacks & tow trucka

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NJSSS, I agree with where you are going with your comments. It has disturbed me for as long as I can remember that the difference between a properly trained CDL holder and anybody with an operators license is 1 pound of GVWR. Yes, we need to draw the line somewhere, but I think we have drawn it at too high of a weight rating.

 

I am not sure you are correct about the de-rated trucks per se, although they do fall into the category of heavier trucks being operated by a non-cdl driver. I have long advocated for requiring a CDL class C license for any truck over 10,000 pounds gross weight rating that is used in business applications, as well as a national recognition/requirement for a tow truck endorsement. This would at least require some basic knowledge of vehicle characteristics and other special considerations for tow trucks.

 

Sadly, many states make no distinction between light commercial and passenger vehicles, and most of those that do are weak inn enforcing it. My home state of Pennsylvania has a non-commercial class A and B license for folks that want to operate recreational vehicles, trailer and such. Unfortunately, they do nothing to enforce this regulation so most PA residents do not test in a representative vehicle, many are not even aware of the availability of non-cdl A & B class PA operators licenses.

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On 7/17/2019 at 11:36 AM, rreschran said:

Hi All … the last three posts captured my attention. So far in July, five tow trucks and or carriers have crashed for whatever reasons.  And, these are the ones that make the news, so there have to be more.

 

July 2  NH - Carrier transporting mail truck rolls over

July 5  FL - Carrier smashes into police car - unloaded

July 16  TN - Carrier into a tree - unloaded

July 16  OH – Wrecker rolled over - unloaded

July 17 FL – Carrier loses control avoiding object - unloaded

 

As tow company owner, what company training do you conduct to try and make tow truck and carrier (driving) operations as safe as possible? What evidence of training can you present to your insurance company to show some form of driver’s training?    R.

Randy, if I may chime in with a shameless plug, I will be presenting a seminar at the Texas Tow Expo on defensive driving for tow truck operators Saturday, August 17th at 8 AM.

 

I strongly recommend all towers take some form of advanced driving instruction. There are many sources for this training, including programs offered by the National Safety Council, Smith System as well as most insurance carriers. Although not yet recognized by any insurance underwriter, I have offered an extended version of the program I will be presenting at the Texas show to individual tow companies for the past ten years.

 

Even a well thought out in-house training program may help reduce the risk of crashes from "over driving" the vehicle handling characteristics or road conditions. Often times tow bosses focus all their training efforts on below the hook techniques such as vehicle recovery, winching, road service procedures and basic tow damage prevention without thinking about improving their operators basic driving habits/skills. I understand budgets may be tight, however the tower spends much more time behind the wheel of their tow truck than they do winching or recovering a vehicle, or even loading it onto the truck. I am not saying one is more important that the other, no, however all aspects of the job must be addressed through adequate training.

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