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Re: Carriers for Recovery


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The California Highway Patrol and many other states have tow guidelines to state that carriers are NOT recovery trucks. Because carriers with experienced operators ARE capable of conducting rollovers, why aren't they considered recovery trucks, especially when a greater number of officers order tow operators to, "drag em' on", and open lanes quicker? We've heard the comments and arguments about upside down rollovers, but isn't it about time the industry reviews their capability? In my tow operator safety course for the CHP and law enforcement, I personally teach a specific, "hands-on module", for carrier use where other associations and training entities don't. Does it make sense to arrive on-scene only to turn-down a rollover request when the on-scene officer forgets to mention the call was a rollover? Does it make sense to cancel the carrier and accept the additional waiting time until a wrecker arrives? Does that thinking negate the concept of quick-clear? If I'm the cop on-scene, you can be sure that I'm expecting a trained, capable and enthusiastic operator to arrive and conduct the roll REGARDLESS as to the type of wrecker, carrier, or, even a Jeep with a strap. I believe an equal part of the having the right tool is the ability to use techniques and tools to get the job done. Besides, the advancements in side-pull devices and on-scene training is the best it's ever been. Carrier's have been getting a bad rap since way, way back when. And, with the increase of tow companies adding more and more carriers to their fleets, should carrier's be part of emergency response?  What do you think?    R.

Randall C. Resch

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I went through a issue a couple years back with the local pd here when I purchased my roll back and began showing up at all sorts of recoveries with it. I would get the "what are you gonna do with that" all the time. after a few jobs, I no longer get questioned about what I rolled up with. Now keep in mind when I outfitted my truck i outfitted it with all types of recovery equipment including 100' of 5,300lb. winch line, ( the original, 40' line was removed and stored the instant the truck showed up from the dealer)100' of synthetic winch line extension, 5 assorted snatch blocks, cribbing and blocks up the whazoo, straps, roundslings etc..(I could go through and make a list of my equipment, some say I carry too much gear ) Not only have I been formally trained I also would  and still do spend time at the yard with some scrappers just trying all sorts of different rigging and senarios to "self teach" myself things. My roll back is the only truck I use. My partner runs our wrecker so its basically a matter of doing what I can with what I run. I am a firm believer that with the right gear and training there is not much I cant do with my roll back that can be done with a wrecker. some situations would go much faster and smoother with a wrecker but if the situation dictates it will get done with my roll back. 


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If memory serves me correct over a decade ago @Jeff Poquette was a contributor to Georgia's Towing and Recovery Incentive Program (TRIP) which was implemented in metro. He is a very experienced resource when it comes to quick clearance.


Soon after Florida implemented their program follow by Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio etc.


Most of this is from memory, while the states mentioned above were found on google and were updated as recently as 2018.

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Thanks, I wasn't an actual contributor but definitely an early supporter. I believe we were the first Atlanta company to jump on board with the idea and were the first company to pass inspection and become a certified TRIP company. That wasn't so much a big accomplishment as it was the fact they just happened to schedule our inspection first but we gladly accept that title.


Wow, I could go on about these programs for hours. My overall opinion has changed recently but not for the reasons anyone would guess but we'll have to wait about three months to talk about that.


It's hard for me to speak towards this particular thread because our local program is heavy only and companies around here are about 98% carrier as far as their light duty fleet goes so everything is done with a carrier. I think the carrier issue came out of an old argument about manufacturers not rating their equipment for recoveries whatever that could actually mean. One camp claimed their equipment was. I heard this argument for years but can't say I ever saw proof either way. I never quite understood the argument since if you are working within limits than you aren't loading anything more than about 3500 lbs considering your winch line is most likely the weakest link. It's hard for me to picture any of the beds being damaged at that load. I'm sure it's been done more than once but I'm not sure it's worth the argument. The resistance on a passenger car upright is what, maybe 1800 lbs?


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Your's are outstanding comments Jeff. ... thank you for jumping in. Your comments are exactly what I'm looking for in simple attempts to dispel the rumors and old wives tales that carriers aren't for recovery.  I knew you were involved in the TRIP project as I know that he Time Task Force project was primarily built on heavy-wrecker and large scale incident response. 


Carriers are the proverbial red-head-stepchild over-looked for their capabilities. So ... why not carriers for recovery?


In my experience and contact with manufacturers and tow truck builders, no one manufacturing entity or builder has offered to provide written documentation to show why carriers can't be used to conduct a simple roll-over based on the numbers you used in your comments. Could it be a marketing ploy to sell more wreckers ... I don't know, but, I firmly believe that carriers are a great asset to quick clear as they provide a trained operator any number of recovery and loading options that include debris removal.


Perhaps it's time that the law enforcement community take a closer look at the capabilities modern carrier's offer, while manufacturers and state tow associations help promote their use in recovery scenarios. As Jeff says, tow company fleets are 98-percent carriers because tow company's know their overall value.


 If law enforcement knew what modern carriers could do based on use by a trained operator, they may change their opinions as seeing is believing, right? Perhaps the manufacturers within these forum pages can chime-in here as to why carriers can't be considered or thought as recovery trucks.


Hey ... John Coupland, what are carriers considered in the UK as far as recovery capabilities?


If I hadn't mentioned it before, thank you all for your insight and opinions. Best Regards.    R

Edited by rreschran

Randall C. Resch

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