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Re: Using Emergency Brakes

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I have many pet peeves when it comes to tow truck operations and safety. 


One of the biggest peeve's I have as an instructor and tow business owner is when my drivers don't use the truck's E-brake. In most tow truck classes I teach, during the second-day hands-on portion of class, there are many failed opportunities when towers don't apply the tow truck's emergency brakes. Although it's a required practice and law per the vehicle code, why is it such a problem for towers to put the E-Brake on?


If you keep a close-eye on the actions of your drivers, you'll see that no E-Brake is a common occurrence. And, because most towers DON'T use chocks, a runaway scenario always possible.


Note: As many at 10x tow operators were killed by their truck's rolling away and they were either run-over and crushed trying to catch them, or, they were pinned between other vehicles. What does your company's Employee Handbook or safety training say about using the E-Brake?


This is one question that OSHA and Worker's Comp will ask during an industrial (injury or death) investigation or subsequent Worker's Comp settlement.    R.

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Randall C. Resch

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parking / e-brake keeps half the load off the TINY parking brake paw inside the trans you do NOT want to tear inside of to try and fix .


i used mine on the c5500 gm truck i use to drive and never had a problem . and the 1 time i needed my e-brake lever to work i knew it would since i had always used it in the past .

ex-tow truck operator . ex- auto mechanic . just a nice guy trying to make a living and enjoy life .

1987 k30 chevy 1ton 4x4 built from scratch truck as my daily driver - work truck .

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I believe this has become much more of an issue with the widespread use of the automatic transmission. So many rely on the transmission parking pawl to hold, something it is not designed to do alone, especially when applying the forces of winching or loading a vehicle. I miss the days when nearly every tow truck was equipped with a hydraulic brake line lock such as a Micro Lock in addition to the factory parking brake. That said, back then the issue was drivers relying on the Micro Lock to hold pressure without using the parking brake.


We still have state safety inspections for all motor vehicles here in Pennsylvania and I am a state safety inspection mechanic. It amazes me how many vehicles come thru for inspection that the parking brake not only doesn't hold, it is frozen in place and unable to be activated! I noticed the same thing when running my auto transport company. It is common practice to drive the vehicles onto the trailer, set the parking brake and place the transmission in park or reverse gear (for manuals). Often the vehicle would not want to hold in place because the parking brake was inoperative, making it difficult to tie down and properly secure.

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