American Towman Magazine - October 2021

Page 1

The Road Calls

TowIndustryWeek.com AmericanTowman.com

OCTOBER 2021

$10




Contents

October

Volume 45 Issue 10

43

AT EXPO XXXII

All About Essential Services AT Expo XXXII will honor tow co’s who worked through the Pandemic. Official Show Program inside. Cover Art by Rodolfo Reyes

Features

16

Making the Grade

What goes down must come up when recovering a cement mixer on a mammoth mound.

2021 Departments 6 The Walkaround 8 News Share 10 Tow Manager 26 Tow Boss 34 Ad Index 76 Safety 92 Towman’s Market 94 My Baby 98 Lowdown 100 Case Closed N, W 109 Adventures of A.T. S, M 105

by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

76

Damage Control

Advice on error-free operation of a wheel lift. by Terry Abejuela

4 • October 2021 | Towman.com

First on the scene since 1977



The Walkaround Like Opening a Gift Box

Dennie Ortiz Publisher

It’s great to be back in Baltimore, towing’s adopted hometown and tow show mecca for the emergency road service professional. Be sure to check out the Official Show Program that has the current intel on American Towman Expo events, conferences and the hundreds of suppliers that will be exhibiting their latest and greatest products and services. A special thank you in advance to all the towers, vendors and sponsors that join us to create the biggest and best trade show in the industry. This October issue is like an early holiday gift box with much to unpack. The tow truck that is operational on a daily basis 24/7 is the most crucial piece of equipment in running your business, so it is the most important item to keep running well. Paul Stephens shares his vast experience for best practices in preventative maintenance in order to avert costly downtime. The challenging recovery, featured later in these pages, shows how a well-trained and wellequipped staff can execute a flawless recovery through the woods, through a rock wall and down a 300’ pit to a massive concrete mixer casualty. Continuing on the topic of maintenance importance Brian “Regulations” Riker, who is as knowledgable as they come on federal and state transportation rules, gives you his take on what you need to be aware of to work within the law. His focus here is knowing what officials look for so you may prevent inspection violations. Bottom line is to keep a keen on eye on the upkeep of your fleet. In this month’s safety department, sponsored by Allstate Roadside, Terry Abejuela, delves deeply into how best to operate a wheel lift to avoid damages to the towed vehicle–and not surprisingly there are many that can occur. Be ready to be dazzled though not by the bright lights of Vegas, where our Editor Steve Temple found this My Baby at the AT Showplace last month, but by this beauty itself. Take a look at Chino’s Towing’s treasure out of San Bernadino, California. Has your business ever been accused of overcharging on a recovery bill? Probably not a question of if, but when. Read the last article, by attorney Josh Brown, that rounds out this edition to discover how best to be prepared to fight for fair compensation for the services you have rendered. Hope to see you folks in Baltimore next month and until then stay safe out there!

6 • October 2021 | Towman.com

Dennie Ortiz Steve Calitri Steve Temple Randall Resch Terry Abejuela Jim “Buck” Sorrenti David Kolman Bill Simmons Mark Lacek Brian Riker George Nitti

Publisher Editor-In-Chief Editor Operations Editor Field Editor, West Field Editor, Northeast Chassis Editor Safety Editor Repo Run Editor Contributing Editor Contributing Editor

Editorial Board Tommy Anderson Roy Carlson Debbie Collins Belinda Harris Bill Johnson Ron Mislan Kurt Wilson

Dallas, Texas Saint Paul, Minn. Las Vegas, Nev. Greensboro, N.C. South Hadley, Mass. Warren, N.J. Creve Coeur, Ill.

American Towman Staff Page Layout Artist Advertising Sales Mgr. Senior Account Exec. Customer Service Subscription Manager Regional Advertising Sales iMarketing Manager ATTV Producer President

Gina Johnson Dennie Ortiz Ellen Rosengart Henri Calitri Patrice Gesner Peggy Calabrese Ryan Oser Emily Oz Steve Calitri

American Towman Media Headquarters 2 Overlook Drive, Suite 5, Warwick, NY 10990 800-732-3869 or 845-986-4546

E-Mail: Publisher Editor-In-Chief AT’S Digital Edition AT’S Website AT’S Weekly ATTV

dortiz@towman.com scalitri@towman.com itowman.com americantowman.com towindustryweek.com americantowmantv.com

Copyright ©2021 American Towman Magazine is published 12 times a year by American Towman Media, Inc.

Subscription: Single Copy: $10 1 yr: $60 – 2 yrs: $110 International: $75 & $135

All material published through American Towman Media (AT), to include American Towman Magazine, iTowman.com and TowIndustryWeek.com, including advertisements, editorials, articles and all other content is published in good faith. However, AT accepts no liability for any errors or omissions, and does not endorse any companies, products or services that appear. AT does not test or review products submitted for inclusion in its publications. AT does not accept responsibility for the accuracy of content, warranties or claims made or implied by its advertisers. The views expressed are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of AT. The act of mailing or delivering a letter, email or article to AT shall constitute permission to publish that letter or article or any portion thereof. AT reserves the right to edit any and all material submitted. No part of the magazine or websites may be reproduced without prior written consent of AT. AT reserves the right to not publish advertisements that disparage competitors or call into question the integrity of a competitors product or service.



News Share Tow Associations Remain Vigilant Against Proposed Amendment As the proposed 3.5 trillion-dollar Infrastructure Bill (HR3684) winds its way through Congress, the Towing and Recovery Association of America (TRAA), Emergency Road Service Coalition of America (ERSCA), and the Association of Professional Tow Operators-Ohio (APTO) remain vigilant against an amendment (Van Hollen Amendment), that if added to the bill, would give states the power to regulate consensual towing. TRAA maintains that their lobbying efforts have helped ensure the exclusion of this amendment from the infrastructure bill that was passed by the Senate on August 10. TRAA is confident that this amendment will not be included in the final bill when the House votes on it, but is standing on watch nonetheless, as the House is drafting another bill, referred to as the 3.5 trillion Reconciliation Package, that could potentially alter that reality. TRAA, which has been working with relevant staff on house committees, with a lobbyist hired from their organization, assures this is “not something the house considers as part of the second infrastructure package.” ERSCA as well is aware of the situation unfolding before Congress, as they were approached by APTO, who voiced their concerns and want to also take political action by hiring a lobbyist. Although both organizations are relieved that the amendment was excluded in the Senate’s bill, they inform “that the immediate threat has not been eliminated yet, as another congressmember could request the same amendment be added to the bill.” In light of this, ERSCA is compelled to assist APTO to ensure any inclusion whatsoever and is requesting financial support through ERCSA.org to help offset costs of a lobbyist. Source: TRAA & ERSCA

Tow Memorial

for Texas Tower

Towers held a memorial on Wednesday, September 2, for Dallas, TX tow truck driver Garry McGee, who was killed Monday, August 30, while hooking a disabled car on the Dallas High 5 interchange. He fell 50 feet from over a rail onto a major expressway and was further hit by passing cars. Denise Alford, the woman who allegedly caused the crash, was arrested and charged with manslaughter. She told police she had three alcoholic drinks earlier in the day and had also smoked marijuana, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Court records show she’s been arrested multiple times before for reckless driving, driving without a valid license, and possession of a controlled substance. McGee leaves behind a wife and two daughters. His family indicated that he’d only been in the industry about two years, but enjoyed his job.

8 • October 2021 | Towman.com

Garry McGee “He loved it, he loves towing, and he would tell me every day that he loved his job,” said Ryan McGee, the victim’s wife. “It hurts us all when one of us goes down,” said Thomas Acevedo, with NorTex Towing, who has participated in six memorial services for towers. Acevedo is part of a group in the tow truck industry trying to raise awareness for a Texas law that requires drivers to move over and slow down for both tow trucks and other emergency vehicles on the side of the road. Source:fox4news.com

WreckMaster Goes to Vancouver

WreckMaster, which offers training for rigging, recovery and incident management, is running a five-day course in Vancouver, Canada. This program is purportedly the first such training ever being offered there, with 23 drivers enrolled across the country. “This is the highest level (of training) that we offer at the moment,” said Bruce Campbell, lead instructor for Wreckmaster. He explained it’s an 8/9R (which stands for rotators) and it’s used in incident management for quick clearance of highways so the entire road isn’t blocked for long periods of time during a recovery. WreckMaster provided a “clothesline” demonstration, inviting

Calculating working load limits of the rigging was one of many topics covered in WreckMaster’s training course.

a local news organization to witness how they might lift a vehicle over an embankment or a body of water, by suspending it between two tow trucks some six meters in the air. “It’s calculating all the working load limits, it’s calculating forces,” said Jeffrey Martin, one of the course instructors. “We have to understand about the working load limits of the rigging, the wire load, the chains, the shackles, and what the trucks can handle,” said Campbell. On the last day of the course, those enrolled must complete and pass an exam to become a certified WreckMaster. Source: bc.ctvnews.ca


Tower Rob True pulled out a whimpering pooch trapped in a truck.

Rottweiler Rescued

in Semi-Tractor Recovery

What started as a tractor-trailer recovery turned into a rescue mission for a dog. On August 27, 2021 the Michigan State Police called True’s Towing & Recovery to respond to a tractortrailer accident involving the death of construction worker Reason TillmanMorgan. Tillman-Morgan tried to jump from a forklift before it was hit by a semi-truck, which was then hit by a second semi, causing his death. Once the truck was in his shop in Dowagiac, tower Rob True thought that was the end until he got a call the next morning from the trucker’s family asking where their dog was. “My first thought was if there was a dog still in the truck, there’s absolutely no way it’s still alive,” he said. “But we jumped in my truck and went to the lot and I crawled up and started going through debris and we heard a

little whimper.” Spotting the Rottweiler trapped in the truck, True worked quickly to free him. “His leg was caught and he couldn’t move. Had stuff piled on him, covered in glass,” he recalled. “So we dug down, got stuff moved, got him freed and got him some water. He was all better after that.” True says he’s shocked the dog not only survived the crash but the heat. Once parked, the truck was covered with a tarp. The estimated temperature in the cab was about 200 degrees. True says he’s not looking for any recognition, he was just doing his job. But he wanted to show there can be hope even in tragedies. “To show everyone that just because something nasty, dangerous, and gloomy happens that there is positive still out there.” Source: wsbt.com

Bronx Teen Charged for Manslaughter of Tower A teen named Angel Medino in the Bronx was charged with the murder of a tow truck driver after a shootout at an auto body shop on August 17. Medino had come into the shop to pick up his black Mercedes E300 and was allegedly angered by the fact that the car hadn’t been washed and that he had to pay a $1000 deductible. After Medino pulled a gun, tower John Vallejo responded in kind. Shots were exchanged, both were hit and Vallejo was fatally wounded. According to shop manager Armando Lio, “We told him, ‘Listen, we’re gonna wash your car so you can take it.’ And I guess he was on drugs or something...His eyes, it was like he had a demon in him. He was like, ‘Yo, I

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

John Vallejo want my car right now.’” Vallejo, who was struck in the upper body, died at the hospital while Medina was intubated at the same hospital for gunshot wounds to his upper body and arm. He is expected to survive. Source: news.yahoo.com

News Share Towing “Bill of Rights” Proposed

Two city councilors from Boston, MA, Liz Breadon and Lydia Edwards, have spearheaded an ordinance aimed to improve towing standards and address predatory towing issues. The ordinance, called the Ordinance Regulating Predatory Towing Practices and Establishing a Towing Bill of rights, was introduced on August 18. It proposes mandating that tow companies publish and display their rates, accept payment via credit card as opposed to solely cash, and take a photograph of the vehicle’s parked position before towing. In addition, towers would be required to provide itemized bills detailing charges and reimbursement for damages related to towing or storage. The legislation also prohibits tow operators from cruising or surveilling private property without cause, as an involuntary tow must first be initiated by a request from a private property owner. Under the ordinance, the Boston Transportation Department would be tasked with proposing guidelines for “No Parking” signs for private property owners to provide sufficient notice of enforced towing. The department would publish and distribute a Boston Towing Bill of Rights to inform consumers of their rights when their vehicle is towed, how to recognize predatory towing practices and an unlawful tow, provide details on how to retrieve their vehicle and how to file a complaint of an unlawful practice. An annual report would be submitted to the City Clerk summarizing the financial statements of tow companies as reported to and regulated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities Transportation Oversight Division. The ordinance follows the recommendations outlined in a May 2021 report by the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG), “Getting Off the Hook of a Predatory Tow in Massachusetts.” The MASSPIRG report identified existing protections in Massachusetts, including a maximum tow rate of $108, and maximum storage rates of $35 per 24-hour period. Other protections noted are notification by the tow company to law enforcement of an involuntary tow, release of a vehicle for an incomplete tow at a “drop fee” no greater than half the towing cost, and reimbursement for an unauthorized tow.

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 9


Tow Manager

Preventive Maintenance

Tips for Avoiding Breakdowns on Rollbacks and Wheel Lifts By Paul Stephens

Paul Stephens is a towing industry trainer with more than 34 years of towing experience. He has served as a consultant for many automobile manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, and companies for service provider education, towability and road service procedures.

T

he current supply-chain issues can make maintaining your equipment a priority. Parts are now harder to get since the pandemic’s start, so keeping components in top shape is no longer a low priority but an essential part of running your business. Regular maintenance is the lifeline of your equipment. Understanding the required maintenance intervals, procedures, inspections, and general functions of the body and wheel lift can improve their overall quality of life and extend the expectancies of these units. Having a good understanding of how the components work can greatly improve the maintenance process and educate you and your staff on what needs to be addressed, or what the interval should be on certain components. Spending money on maintenance can save thousands of dollars in parts and downtime. This approach all starts with the knowing your truck. Whether it’s a new or old unit, the manufacturer usually has schematics and basic lubrication guidelines that can get you started. These guidelines can help with many maintenance items such as location of grease points, lube intervals, what type of grease, and how much, along

10 • October 2021 | Towman.com

with more intensive maintenance such as which roll pins need complete removal for lubrication and other potential servicing. These charts are usually available via the internet or by reaching out to a manufacturer or local distributor. Sometimes the easiest part of maintenance can be the lubrication. Many other items need to be addressed regularly, though, and are relatively easy to check or mitigate during routine maintenance services. Routine greasing can prolong the life of these components. One of the most important parts of lubrication is knowing how often each component requires greasing. Some can require almost daily intervals, while others might only require once-a-month servicing. Most tow companies follow a mileage maintenance routine, so when their trucks’ oil needs changing, they also service the body at the same time. Unfortunately, this approach can sometimes be too long of an interval. The wheel lift stinger, T-bar, pivot pin, wheel lift grids or arms, and rollback pivot all require regular greasing. It is always a good idea to clean the grease fittings prior to attaching your grease gun. Old, dirty



Check body bolts to make sure they are snug and free of rust and wear.

12 • October 2021 | Towman.com

grease should be cleared prior to pumping in new lube as the fitting could have accident debris, rocks, dirt, or old paint mixed inside, which could cause a blockage or create friction on the slide portion. The manufacturer will specify which type of grease should be used for each unit, and it is usually a pressure and/or a water-resistant formula. Understanding the components will help prevent smaller issues from becoming large ones such as failures. One personal choice is to build an inspection process for the wheel lift and wrecker system. The inspections should include many different components, not just the obvious ones. Check hydraulic fluid levels and confirm the vent bolts are snug, as vibration tends to loosen these and cause small leaks with heated hydraulic oil. Often overlooked is the hydraulic filter. This unit should be changed every three to six months.

Some maintenance can be more visual than physical. Inspections should include checking for worn or loose items, stress cracks, fatigue, PTO leaks, loose attachment bolts, wheel lift pin bolts, wheel lift pins, strap attachment points, winch bracket, roller guides, leaks from hydraulic hoses, and winch motors. Knowing what to look for can help prevent long downtimes. For example, inspection of hydraulic hoses can involve more than just checking for leaks. Look closely for rub marks against metal where a wire tie or bracket might have broken and allowed the line to rub on a piece of metal or against another line. Search for tight turns in hoses that could have adverse effects on the life of the hose. Replace these lines if they show wear as it could cause a weak spot in the line and fail. These failures sometimes are more than just downtime and can create a big mess. A blown hydraulic line in



the wrong location, driveway, or parking lot can cost a lot of money to be cleaned. Sometimes you don’t get the opportunity to do it yourself, so use a contractor you know who can usually help mitigate the expense. Look for anything that might be a potential issue. The units you are running could have some age or have seen abnormal stresses which could cause small cracks in welds or loose body attachment bolts. These are often overlooked areas, and they can be expensive fixes later in the life span. The underside of these units is the best place to find potential problems. Searching the routing of lines, checking the PTO, as well as the backside of control panels, could identify trouble areas long before a problem arises. This proactive practice could give you time to get the parts needed prior to removal from service. On the topside of the unit,

14 • October 2021 | Towman.com

inspect for extensive wear on the winch, attachment hardware, tensioner plate, roller guides, and wire rope. These components work together to protect the wire rope and load vehicles. The winch should be checked for leaks, but the fluid level is also important to keep the resistance down. So be sure to check the level and add accordingly to prolong the life of the gears. The service interval is much greater on a winch, but the fluid still should be inspected regularly. Winch tensioner plates wear over time and can actually cause a wire rope to fatigue much faster due to sharp metal cutting into the fibers. Also, the roller guides should move freely as they keep the wire rope from creating resistance while loading and unloading. Too often these units are not lubed regularly and they tend to rust into place,

which can cause the wire rope to basically dig into them, creating friction and cutting a groove. This lack of regular lubing can cause a wire rope to fail early in its life. Inspect wire rope, checking for flat spots, frays, abrasions, and broken fibers. The wire rope is usually one of the least expensive items on the unit to replace. The abuse of a wire rope can have dire consequences and can be a potential life threatening safety risk if it were to fail under load. All of these service items are important to increase in service time and reduce downtime. If you take care of your equipment and perform maintenance regularly, you will save money on repairs. A few dollars of grease, filters, zip ties, and lube will go a long way in keeping your tow truck running at peak performance and extend its components’ life.


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 15


Making the Grade Winching a Massive Mixer up a Mammoth Mound By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

16 • October 2021 | Towman.com


W

hat goes down must come up. This reverse logic started to make sense on May 20, 2021, when Bland’s Wrecker Service of Ellettsville, Indiana, received a call from a longtime client to recover an empty 36,000 pound, mammoth concrete truck. Way easier said than done, though. Its operator had been emptying the truck on a hillside above a washout pit and left it in gear, causing it to roll down the slope and into the woods, more than 300 feet from the top of the incline. In addition, its fuel tank strap had broken, leaving the tank hanging and the steer axle damaged. Due to debris in the area and limited space on the top of the mound, there was only one viable recovery path. ◀

Jim “Buck” Sorrenti, a longtime editor of American Towman, has been our field editor for the past 10 years. He is a freelance writer and photographer with more than 40 years of experience covering motorcycle, hot rod, truck and towing culture. He writes weekly for TowIndustryWeek.com.

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 17



Bland’s first dispatched an operator with an NRC 9240 sliding 40-ton rotator to the scene, then a second operator with the same setup. Chad Stephens, the owner of Bland’s, also responded, along with rotator operators Rocky Studebaker and Kenny Seitz. They developed a recovery plan, and the following day, Bland’s Wrecker Service returned, transporting personnel and equipment through the woods to the casualty using a Polaris RZR. Recovery specialists cut down trees, clearing them away from the recovery path. Andrew Patton, Bland’s Safety/Training Director described the recovery plan in detail. “The rotating drum was secured with chains and binders and a ratchet strap was used to hold the fuel tank up,” he noted. “The damaged steer axle was then secured with chains and binders.” Due to the damage of the steer axle, the solid tie rod had to be cut off so both tires could be straightened and locked in position. In addition, a rock wall behind the casualty was directly in the recovery path, so Bland’s crew removed it with a 2001 John Deere 550 H Crawler Dozer. Then they brought down a 250foot wire rope, attaching it with a pair of clevises to the rear of the casualty in a two-line formation. Next, they set the wire rope to an appropriate veer angle and ran it through a snatch block. After Bland’s operators put a NRC 65-ton rotator in position at the top of the hill, they extended and planted the outriggers for a stable and secure platform. With the boom unlocked, they rotated it in a counter-clockwise direction to line up with the pull. The two main wire rope lines from the rotator were pulled out and then over

The Superman logo on the hoods of the trucks was right in keeping with the extreme efforts required to recover the cement mixer.

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 19


Responding Equipment • Polaris RZR • 2005 KW T800 w/ NRC 9240 Sliding Rotator • 2001 KW T800 w/ NRC 9240 Sliding Rotator • Peterbilt 50-ton straight boom wrecker • KW T800 Semi w/ 2002 Talbert 55-ton lowboy • 2001 John Deere 550 H Crawler Dozer • 2006 KW T800 w/ NRC Quickswap

• 2000 Ford F-350 HD Service Truck • 2017 Ford F-350 service truck with a 2014 PJ 7712 Utility trailer (hauled Polaris, and extra items such as wire rope extension, fans, and fuel)

the incline. The right wire rope line ran through a 15-ton snatch block and then back up to the left wire rope line. Once snatch blocks were connected, the mixer was winched out of the woods and into an open area at the base of the incline. Bland’s operators decided that the mixer needed to be turned so the front would come up first, in order to eliminate any balance issues, also so the casualty would be ready for tow once at the top of the incline. They adjusted rigging and placed it on the front of the truck. A second NRC 65-ton rotator was set up and wire rope pulled down the incline and then over a pile of brush to the rear of the casualty. The rotator connected to its front, winching it, while the dozer pushed on the front as well to spin it. That way the nose of the truck would be facing the incline and in line with the recovery path. 20 • October 2021 | Towman.com

An assortment of chains, hooks, snatch blocks, and synthetic slings had to be rigged to the chassis just to get the cement mixer out of the woods.

The rotator attached to the rear of the casualty also winched in to help provide additional spin. Once the mixer moved around 90-degrees, the operators disconnected the wire rope at the front. Then the wire rope from the rear of the casualty was unhooked and brought to the front of the casualty and reconnected. The rotator winched the front around even more with the help of the dozer pushing on the casualty. Once the mixer was in line with the recovery path, all winching was stopped and wire ropes were disconnected. Then the towers formulated rigging for the final part of the recovery. With both NRC rotators set up with a proper platform, Bland’s backed a Peterbilt 50-ton straightboom heavy wrecker in between the rotators to indicate where the casualty would come up using straight-line winching. A common link was placed on the front

Responding Personnel

• Chad Stephens WM 8/9 AR, HAZWOPER (Recovery Supervisor) • Rocky Studebaker WM 4/5, HAZWOPER (Rotator Operator) • Kenny Seitz WM 4/5 (Rotator Operator) • Rick Baugh WM 2/3, HAZWOPER (HD Service Tech) • Eli Carpenter (Additional Recovery Specialist) • Carl Duncan WM 2/3, HAZWOPER (DOZER Operator) • Andrew Patton WM 2/3, HAZWOPER (Scene/Safety Supervisor) • Tim Greenwell WM 2/3, HAZWOPER (HD Operator)



At the base of the 45-degree incline, Bland’s crew connected wire rope lines from each rotator to the rigging on the casualty’s front and the 20-foot slings on its rear.

pull pin of the casualty, which had an unknown working load limit. A 15ton snatch block was attached to the common link, and a wire rope line from the 50-ton heavy wrecker was fed through the snatch block and back to a second wire rope hook to hook. Rigging for both rotators consisted of two grade 100 chains run under the steer axle and up to the frame behind the cab. They assisted in keeping the steer axle held tightly up in the truck during final lifting. Also, a pair of grade 100 chains ran to shackles, and two 20-foot synthetic slings were fed into the rear axle mounts and frame, and then connected to shackles. The heavy wrecker then winched the casualty to the start of the 45-degree incline. Next, Bland’s crew connected wire rope lines from each rotator to the rigging on the casualty’s front and the 20-foot slings on its rear. At this point, all of the weight of the mixer truck would be winched because of the steep incline. The rotators used the rear rigging points to steer the truck, winching it in unison to the top of the hill. The heavy wrecker was then moved forward, and both rotators picked up the casualty and found the center of gravity. The rotators then rotated in unison to bring the casualty between the two rotators using the rear connection points to steer, and lowered the mixer back on the ground. Once lowered down, the cement truck had its wire rope lines from both rotators disconnected. Operators then hooked up the heavy wrecker to the casualty and prepared for tow by using the rigging that was placed on the steer axle for the recovery. They disconnected the driveline and removed the right front steering tire, along with the twenty-foot slings, shackles, and chains at the rear. The dozer was used to rebuild the rock wall and was then taken to the top of the hill and loaded back on the 2002 Talbert 55-ton lowboy. A

22 • October 2021 | Towman.com



Polaris RZR transported all the tow rigging to the top of the hill for reloading. In addition to restoring the wall, Bland’s crew left the area tidy, too. “The work area was cleaned of all trash and a final check for any equipment was conducted,” Andrew noted. Lastly, “Our 2006 KW T800 with NRC Quickswap towed the casualty to the clients shop in Bloomington, Indiana.” How long did the operation take? On May 21st, crews left Bland’s shop at 8:00 a.m., arriving on site at 8:30 a.m. Crews returned to the shop at 9 p.m. that same night after completing the recovery. All in a day’s work.

Note how many rigs were needed to haul the mixer up the steep hill, lift up in the air, and then towed back to the shop.

24 • October 2021 | Towman.com


About Bland’s Wrecker Service Gary Bland founded Bland’s Wrecker Service in 1969. He sold the business and retired at the end of 2015, and Chad Stephens took over. Bland’s tows range from light- to heavy-duty, and the company also handles Emergency Spill Response, accident cleanup, and site restoration, with a welltrained staff of 18 professionals. For tackling a wide range of jobs, Bland’s varied fleet consists of four heavies, one medium-duty, two light-duty, three carriers, four service trucks (two light-duty, and two for heavy-duty roadside repairs). The company’s extensive specialized

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equipment includes a Polaris RZR used to transport personnel and equipment to recovery scenes not easily accessible (trucks in woods, down steep grades, etc.). In addition, this firm has a First Response Recovery Trailer, plus 15, 20, 30, and 40-yard rolloff tubs, a dump truck, seven semi-tractors, a roll-off truck, Landoll, Lowboy, Wacker Light Tower, 12K dump trailer, 14K trailer, John Deere 550 H Crawler Dozer, Cat Skid Steer, Cat Mini Excavator, Van Trailer, a DJI Mavic Air 2 Pro Drone and a workhorse 2013 NRC Quickswap mounted on a 2006 Kenworth T800.

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 25


Tow Boss

Meeting the Regs

Tips for Keeping Your Trucks and Drivers Safe, Legal and Generating Revenue

By Brian J. Riker

Brian J. Riker is a third-generation towman, with 26 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator, and president of Fleet Compliance Solutions. He specializes in helping navigate the complex world of federal and state transportation regulatory compliance. He can be reached at brian.riker@fleetcompliancesolutions.net

M

odern tow trucks and car carriers are very complex machines that, although greatly improved from years past, still require regular maintenance to stay operational and safe. A large part of this maintenance also contributes to your overall Safety Management System (SMS/CSA) score. Keep in mind that while towing is very different from trucking in many aspects, it is still viewed by the regulators and insurance companies as part of the overall trucking industry, which means your personal and company’s SMS score is very important. A poor SMS score can result in significant insurance premium increases, possibly even a refusal to renew, or make an individual driver unemployable. Along with the SMS score, there’s BASIC, an acronym that stands for “Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories.” It is part of the Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) program that monitors individual drivers, and the motor carriers they work for, to determine who is generally safe and who needs some “coaching” (or as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration likes to call it, “intervention”). Of course the last thing you want is the FMCSA to intervene in how you operate your company on a daily basis!

points. These violations remain on your record for up to three years, losing value each year. These points also contribute to an Inspection Selection Score (ISS) which is used by the automated systems for weigh-station bypass and the officers watching traffic as it passes to decide who gets selected for an inspection (even when no obvious defects are visible). The lower your score the less likely you are to be selected for an inspection. Your insurance company also monitors this score, using it as a means to rate your policy for risk when the driving records and loss runs are inconclusive as well as a means to verify that the information reported to them by you is accurate. Some insurance carriers cancel policies for fraud when towers claim that they stay within a small radius of their base (usually for significant premium reductions), but there are several inspections reported which are actually hundreds of miles outside this radius. Insurance companies can also catch unreported drivers and equipment using this data, and other data from a product called the CAB Report. Bottom line: your roadside performance and SMS/CSA scores are critical to operational success.

BY THE NUMBERS

What does the inspector look for? In North America commercial vehicle inspectors and their respective Agencies participate in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), which is intended to provide uniform training and enforcement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The US DOT, through its agency the FMCSA, is charged with enforcing these regulations, but they do not have the staff or authority to be everywhere. So they partner with State

Why is all this so important? In most states a towing company is required to have a valid US DOT number, even if it only operates within the state, for tracking and data collection purposes. This number is how all your inspections and other roadside motor carrier enforcement interactions are tracked, ranked and reported for analysis and intervention when necessary. Every infraction has a point value, the more serious the violation the higher the 26 • October 2021 | Towman.com

DETAILS ON INSPECTION REPORTS



and local law enforcement agencies to conduct the routine inspections, investigations and audits. Inspections in North America are broken down into eight levels, however not all levels apply to the average tower. Most often a tower will undergo either a level 1, 2 or 3 inspection. Level 1 is the most detailed where they check credentials, physically inspect the vehicle(s), including undercarriage and brake adjustments, and cargo. This inspection typically takes 45 to 60 minutes to complete. Level 2 is a quick walk-around of the vehicle, driver paperwork and cargo securement. Level 3 is the easiest as it is only a driver and vehicle credential check. The most common violations cited for tow trucks and car carriers include inoperable/missing lights, unsecured/improperly secured load and driver not having a

28 • October 2021 | Towman.com

medical certification. Not using a proper tie-down on the deck is most often cited, including using damaged or unmarked straps or chains. If the strap or chain has any damage, or the ratings can’t clearly be determined, take it out of service. Secondary attachment (safety chains) are a close second on towed vehicles, as is failure to properly secure a vehicle to the wheel lift, under lift or tow bar. Use your straps or chains as intended by the towing equipment manufacturer and be sure they are both tight and properly installed. Even when there’s an extra piece not required by regulation, if it comes loose or is damaged, the officers are within their rights to note the violation on the inspection report. These violations are easily preventable with just a little effort, especially the medical certification. Drivers should note that regardless

of your state laws or exemptions, federal regulations require a medical certification to operate any vehicle with a gross weight rating in excess of 10,000 pounds in interstate commerce. Just get the medical card and carry it with you. As a tower you often are engaging in interstate commerce without realizing it. This is a case of better safe than sorry because not being qualified is an out-of-service violation (highest point level) and will result in you needing to send another qualified driver to remove your truck from the inspection site.

HIDDEN VIOLATIONS

Some of the tougher to catch violations that are common include brakes out of adjustment, inner-wheel seal leaks and other underbody mechanical defects. Enforcement is particularly harsh on rubbing or chaffed brake



lines, so make sue you have spacers, zip ties or other means to keep the lines or hoses from rubbing. A good preventative maintenance program will include thoroughly cleaning the underside of the vehicle and conducting a complete DOT equivalent inspection every 90 days. This is also a great time to check wrecker or carrier body mounts, subframe and other critical components that don’t get inspected daily. Window tint and lettering are other easy to prevent violations that pop up often. Under federal regulations, window tint on the windshield and front two windows typically is not allowed. I say it that way because modern factory tint on these windows is just about at the legal limit of 30 percent. FMCSA requires that 70 percent of light pass through these windows, and the other windows

30 • October 2021 | Towman.com

may be tinted as dark as your state law allows as there is no federal limit. Even though you can get a medical waiver, unless it is truly necessary, it’s better not to do so, as the tinted windows give the inspector a reason to pull you in and conduct an inspection. As for lettering, the most common vehicle marking violation is not displaying a US DOT number, or not having it visible. Regulations require it be in a sharply contrasting color, legible from 50 feet away in normal daylight, at least two-inch high letters, and it must include “US DOT’ before the number. Also required is the legal business name, as listed in the US DOT database, to be displayed clearly on the vehicle with the words “operated by” preceding it if any other trade name is on the vehicle. Unclear fonts, shadow lettering and such may look cool

but likely are not compliant and can be just another reason your truck is inspected.

CHALLENGING WRONGFUL CITATIONS

If you have a few violations that you don’t think are right, what can you do? This is the one time you hope the officer writes you a citation. Now, don’t go demanding a citation, but if they do cite you (not just note a violation on the inspection report), you have a better chance of having the violation removed or amended on your SMS/CSA record. If a citation is successfully challenged in Court and dismissed or modified then you can then file a DataQ challenge to have your SMS/CSA record updated to remove or amend the violation and they must comply. If no citation was issued you can still submit a DataQ challenge,



but it is unlikely to have an impact on your record because the challenge goes back to the same agency that issued the violation, often the same officer, for review. To successfully challenge a violation without a citation you need to put together a very detailed and convincing report of why the officer was incorrect. If safe to do so, during an inspection a driver should photograph the alleged violations before making any corrections or moving the vehicle. Try to capture location information in the photos to document the true condition of the vehicle or load. This practice is helpful in determining if the violation did in fact exist, and if the officer noted it correctly. If you are unsure of the violation, ask the officer to point it out. In reality, most motor carrier enforcement personnel just want you to be safe and are willing to educate you. They are usually happy to answer questions and point out issues before they become critical safety violations. Bottom line, performing complete and proper daily pre-trip inspections, along with routine preventative maintenance, will help to keep your trucks and drivers safe, legal and generating revenue. Maintenance

32 • October 2021 | Towman.com

doesn’t cost, it pays in the form of better uptime, less frustration and, from the perspective of meeting the regs, fewer issues with motor carrier enforcement. A well-maintained truck will also have a higher resale value, or given today’s reduced supply of new vehicles, last much longer than originally expected without causing many headaches. As an industry we train for the cool stuff like rollovers, winching and specialty-vehicle hookup, but often overlook the basics like how to properly inspect our equipment or what to do during a roadside inspection. It’s really important that tow bosses consider investing in some traditional commercial driver training, not just tow operator training, given your team spends about 80 percent of its time behind the wheel, and only 20 percent actually doing tow hookup or recoveries. Of course, one aspect is not more important than the other, just that great towers are more than merely excellent riggers and technicians. They also must be expert motorvehicle operators, which includes understanding the mechanics of their vehicle as well as the regulations they are expected to comply with. You can’t play the game well if you don’t know the rules.

New Type of Citation For towers that also do vehicle transportation services such as auction or salvage cars, it has recently come to our attention that in parts of Pennsylvania there are motor carrier officers citing transporters for using the “crash chain” hookup. This is when you use your wheel lift on the carrier to tow a second vehicle but are not using the wheel retainers, rather using it as an oldschool tow bar. While it is the opinion of this author this practice is legal, it is currently being challenged and investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police, FMCSA and CVSA to determine how Pennsylvania will proceed with uniform enforcement statewide. Look for future updates here and on our website, TowIndustryWeek.com



AD INDEX AAA...........................................................81 Akins Body & Carrier Sales.........................39 Allstate Roadside.......................................15 American Safety & Supply..........................86 Anchor Graphics........................................82 APTO Association.................................M 103 Atlanta Wrecker Sales................................83 Austin Insurance...................... N 106, M 101 B/A Products..............................................29 Beacon Software........................................30 Captain Recovery...........N 107, S 101, W 108 Chevron Commercial..................................85 Crawford Truck Sales........................... N 102 Crouch’s Wrecker & Equip. Sales................37 Custer Products.........................................41 DewEze Mfg...............................................86 DP Winch.....................................................7 Dual-Tech Wreckers & Carriers...................15 Dynamic Towing Equipment.......................31 East Coast Truck & Trailer........... N 99, M 104 Edgetec...............................................W 103 Elizabeth Truck Center................................80 Environmental Chemical Solutions........ N 103 Fayetteville Ford.........................................40 GEICO................................ Inside Back Cover GM Consultant...........................................41 G.Stone Commerical............................ N 105 Hanks Insurance Group........................W 102 Hino Trucks.................................. Back Cover IAA.............................................................23 i BUY REMOTES................................... N 106 ICW Insurance Group..................................90 Integrated Veh. Equip. Leasing....................89

34 • October 2021 | Towman.com

October 2021

Intek Truck & Equipment............................85 ITI..............................................................22 Jerr-Dan Corp..............................................2 Joyride......................................................28 Kalyn Siebert.............................................34 Landoll Corp...............................................78 Len Zermenos............................................41 Lien Enforcement......................N 101, W 104 Lift Marketing Group............................M 101 Lodar USA..................................................88 Lynch Truck Centers...................................35 Maryland Carrier & Wrecker Sales........ N 104 Matheny Towing Equipment........................97 Matjack Jumbo Safelift..............................79 McMahon Truck Center..........................M 99 Metrocom..................................................40 Midco Sales.........................................W 102 Miller Industries...........................................5 Mobile Control Systems..............................84 Mobile Create USA.....................................36 Mobile Video Computing.............................75 New England Truckmaster.................... N 107 North American Bancard............................13 Nottingham Insurance.............. N 104, M 102 NRC Industries...........................................27 OMG Tow Marketing...................................14 Pacific General Insurance.....................M 102 PeakPTT....................................................38 Peak Wrecker Sales.............................W 107 Performance Advantage Company..............91 Phoenix USA, Inc........................................89 Photo Card Specialists...............................24

Quick Cash for Remotes....................... N 105 Quick Draw Tarpaulin System.....................83 Ranger SST................................................21 Recovery Billing Unlimited..........................17 RimSling....................................................17 RRA Tow Truck Insurance.....................W 101 SafeAll Products.........................................24 Santander Bank.........................................42 Sea Crest Insurance Agency.................W 105 ServiCase..................................................33 Sierra Pacific Insurance........................W 107 Smyrna Truck & Cargo...............................38 Specialty Vehicle Equip. Funding................77 Steck Mfg. Co............................................32 Talbert Mfg................................................91 Texas Towing & Storage Assoc...................80 Towbook Management Software.................11 Tow Brokers Insurance.......................S, W 99 Tow Industries.....................................W 104 Towman Medal..........................................90 TowMate....................................................87 Trail King Industries...................................87 Urgently.....................................................36 Utility Trailer Sales S.E. TX....................W 105 Warn Industries............................................3 West End Service.......................................88 Will-Burt Company.....................................84 Winches Inc. .......................................W 103 XINSURANCE........................................ N 103 Xpress-pay................................................19 Zacklift......................................................12 Zip’s/AW Direct.....................................18,25



News Flash Horse Rescued with Rotator

Hank, a 2500-pound horse at Garret Mountain Equestrian Center in Woodland, N.J., was trapped when the planks he was walking on collapsed Friday, Sept. 3, 2021. He was rescued by several firefighters with the rotator of Camp Towing of Wayne, NJ. According to Mayor Keith Kazmark, “The plank was weakened not just by the storm but the number of storms we had recently.” Hank was out on a trail ride and was the last of five horses crossing the bridge when the plank gave way. Rescue crews were called, and Woodland Park firefighters were quickly on the scene. The first responders called the borough’s tower, Camp’s Towing. Tower Don Campanello Jr. arrived on the scene just after 7 p.m. Hank was given a sedative by a veterinarian who was also on scene. “With the sedative they had about a 25-minute window to work with,” Kazmark said. Camp’s was able to use its large rotator truck to lift Hank. The entire operation was done in less than an hour. Even so, Hank wasn’t necessarily out of the woods. Horses don’t always recover easily from sedation, the mayor said he was told. “It was touch and go,” Kazmark said. “He fell over once.” But Hank did recover and was soon standing. By 9:45 p.m.,he was back in his stable and eating. Source:northjersey.com

36 • October 2021 | Towman.com



Supplier Scoop AutoReturn Partners with Nexa Equity

AutoReturn, a leading provider of towing and parking enforcement software, has received a majority growth investment by Nexa Equity LLC, a private equity firm. Investment will accelerate adoption of AutoReturn’s technology in the U.S., further expand international presence and provide capital for M&A. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed but AutoReturn’s management team and founders will continue to be meaningful shareholders of the business. AutoReturn, based in 9 of the largest 20 U.S. cities, is a trusted partner to both public and private customers helping keep roadways clear by connecting law enforcement, parking enforcement, towers and vehicle owners on a single software platform. AutoReturn processes more than half a million tows annually and has a 90% win rate among customers when compared to similar solutions

38 • October 2021 | Towman.com

in RFP selection processes. “The Nexa Equity team has a strong track record of scaling software companies, and we are excited to partner with them as we enter our next phase of growth,” said John Wicker, AutoReturn’s Founder. “AutoReturn’s vision is to make the towing and parking enforcement process easier for everyone involved. In partnership with the Nexa Equity team, AutoReturn will further execute on this vision while expanding into new product categories and propelling customer adoption domestically and internationally.” “AutoReturn is emblematic of Nexa Equity’s investment approach given the company’s undeniable impact on modernizing the towing and parking enforcement sector that was previously dominated by pen, paper and phone calls,” said Vlad Besprozvany, Founder and Managing Partner at Nexa Equity. “AutoReturn has grown rapidly as a result of



Supplier Scoop its unique technology platform and strong customer loyalty. We are excited to have AutoReturn as our second platform investment.” Source: NEXA press release

TEC Equipment is Now Nevada’s Exclusive Jerr-Dan Distributor

TEC Equipment has extended its support for Jerr-Dan towing and recovery products from Northern California into Nevada. This firm now serves Jerr-Dan as its exclusive distributor in Nevada. TEC will also make financing available to its tow and recovery customers through its in-house financing. “TEC is excited to expand our relationship with Jerr-Dan …,” said Jeff Stevens, TEC Equipment’s vice president of medium-duty trucks & trailer operations. “Our partnership has grown over the last year after becoming the Northern California distributor, and we look forward to

40 • October 2021 | Towman.com

providing Jerr-Dan’s premium tow products to Nevada customers from our stores in Las Vegas and Reno.” Jerr-Dan is enthusiastic about this new business development. “We’re thrilled to team up with TEC Equipment to help serve the Nevada tow and recovery community,” stated Hal Wyatt, Jerr-Dan’s director of aftermarket support. “We were looking for a partner that not only brought knowledge of the industry to the table, but also seasoned experience delivering on customer promises. Expanding our partnership with TEC Equipment into Nevada naturally fits the needs of Jerr-Dan and our customer base, and we look forward to continuing to deliver great products and support with TEC onboard.” Known for its industry-leading expertise in parts, service and sales of heavy- and medium-duty trucks and trailers, TEC Equipment employs over 1,300 employees across its network for a quality customer experience.


LITE-IT UP WITH

CUSTER PRODUCTS

www.custerproducts.com • 800-490-3158

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 41



EXPOSITION XXXII

Official Program

NOVEMBER 11-14, 2021

BALTIMORE, MD BALTIMORE CONVENTION CENTER

Easy Online Registration at ATExposition.com


ALAS! TOWING’S

MAIN EVENT Returns to the Baltimore Convention Center The world’s greatest service industry comes together here and now at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and its wonderful Convention Center. Towing’s premier suppliers of equipment, accessories and services are gathered under one roof, eager to meet with tow business owners once again after the Pandemic disrupted normal business activities for everyone. Expect to see wrecker booms raised to the rafters! The American Towman Exposition will give tow bosses the opportunity to engage with dozens of equipment manufacturers and distributors among over 200 exhibitors, including motor clubs and call providers, digital towing systems, finance and insurance companies specializing in this industry, plus, professional training organizations, tow accessory manufacturers and resellers and much more. Often a tower who hasn’t reached out much beyond his local region, finds a new world opened up inside the Baltimore Convention Center. The right supplier of products and services for your business can be a great ally in your quest for success and profits.

November 11-14, 2021

Baltimore Convention Center | Baltimore, MD


Exhibit Hall Hours

Fri., November 12: 1-5pm Sat., November 13: 11am-6pm Sun., November 14: 11am-4pm

Wrecker/Carrier Manufacturers

Custom Built Dual-Tech Wreckers & Carriers Dynamic Tow. Equip. & Mfg. Jerr-Dan Corp. Metro Tow Trucks Miller Industries (Century, Chevron, Holmes, Vulcan)

NRC Industries

Trailer Manufacturers Kalyn Siebert Landoll Corp. Talbert Mfg. Trail King Industries

Chassis Manufacturers Hino Trucks International Truck Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

Motor Clubs/ Call Providers

AAA Allstate Roadside Copart Auto Auctions FleetNet America GEICO Honk Technologies IAA (Insurance Auto Auctions) Mach 1 Services Nation Safe Drivers (NSD) Peddle Penske Truck Leasing QuestX Towing Services TTN Fleet Solutions Urgently

Easy Online Registration at ATExposition.com


THURSDAY

Nov.11

7:00AM – 8:00AM REGISTRATION OPEN

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FRIDAY

Nov.12

7:00AM – 8:00AM REGISTRATION OPEN

WreckMaster/ERSCA Participants Only Pratt Street Lobby, Baltimore Convention Center

Towman Academy & Recovery Billing Classes Participants Only Pratt Street Lobby Baltimore Convention Center

8:00AM - 5:00PM REGISTRATION OPEN

8:00AM – 6:00PM REGISTRATION OPEN

Pratt Street Lobby, Baltimore Convention Center

6:00PM CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY (Ticket Required) Jacket/Tie McCormick & Schmick’s Steak & Seafood Reception begins 6:00pm Event begins 6:30pm

6:30 PM WELCOME DINNER CRUISE ABOARD THE SPIRIT OF BALTIMORE (Ticket Required) Baltimore Inner Harbor Boarding 6:30 pm Departs at 7:00 pm Returns 9:30 pm

Pratt Street Lobby Baltimore Convention Center

8:00AM – 12:00PM TOWMAN ACADEMY CONFERENCES

Level 3 Meeting Rooms Baltimore Convention Center

9:00AM - 2:00PM TOWMAN HUNT (SKEET)

Prince George Skeet & Trap Club - Lunch included Transportation from Pratt St. Lobby Baltimore Convention Center

12:00 - 2:00 PM DONNIE CRUSE RECOVERY AWARDS LUNCHEON

Morton’s The Steakhouse Sponsored by WreckMaster, AW Direct, B/A Products Co., American Towman

1:00PM – 5:00 PM

EXHIBIT HALL OPEN! Baltimore Convention Center

1:00PM - 5:00PM AMERICAN WRECKER PAGEANT OPEN

Baltimore Convention Center Exhibit Hall

1:00PM – 5:00PM AMERICAN WRECKER PAGEANT VOTING

Sponsored by East Coast Truck & Trailer Baltimore Convention Center Exhibit Hall Booth #3405

7:30 PM - 11 PM MILLER ROCKS! BULL & PIG ROAST FREE EVENT Hard Rock Café Sponsored by Miller Industries & American Towman

9 PM – 11 PM CALITRI’S CUBA CIGAR SMOKER

(Ticket Required) Luckie’s Tavern – Power Plant Live Sponsored by AutoReturn & Police Towers of America

Easy Online Registration at ATExposition.com


SATURDAY

SUNDAY

Nov.13

Nov.14

8:00AM – 4:00PM REGISTRATION OPEN

7:00AM – 6:00PM REGISTRATION OPEN

Pratt Street Lobby, Baltimore Convention Center

Pratt Street Lobby, Baltimore Convention Center

8:00AM – 11:00AM TOWMAN ACADEMY CONFERENCES

8:00AM – 11:00AM TOWMAN ACADEMY CONFERENCES

Baltimore Convention Center Level 3 Meeting Rooms

Baltimore Convention Center Level 3 Meeting Rooms

11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Baltimore Convention Center

Baltimore Convention Center

2:00PM – 3:00PM ACE AWARDS

EXHIBIT HALL OPEN!

EXHIBIT HALL GRAND OPENING!

Baltimore Convention Center Sponsored by GEICO

11:00AM – 6:00PM AMERICAN WRECKER PAGEANT OPEN

11:00AM – 3:00PM AMERICAN WRECKER PAGEANT VOTING

Baltimore Convention Center Exhibit Hall

Sponsored by East Coast Truck & Trailer Baltimore Convention Center Exhibit Hall Booth #3405

11:00AM – 6:00PM AMERICAN WRECKER PAGEANT VOTING

Sponsored by East Coast Truck & Trailer Baltimore Convention Center Exhibit Hall Booth #3405

11:00AM – 4:00PM AMERICAN WRECKER PAGEANT OPEN

6:00 PM ORDER OF TOWMAN

3:00PM – 4:00PM SUNDAY PIE PALOOZA

Marriott Waterfront Grand Ballroom Sponsored by AutoReturn

7:00 PM FESTIVAL NIGHT

(Ticket Required) Marriott Waterfront Grand Ballroom March of the Heroes, American Towman Medal Sponsored by American Towman Magazine

Baltimore Convention Center Exhibit Hall

Baltimore Convention Center Exhibit Hall

3:30PM – 4:00PM AMERICAN WRECKER PAGEANT WINNER CEREMONY Baltimore Convention Center Exhibit Hall Band Stage

November 11-14, 2021

Baltimore Convention Center | Baltimore, MD


WE MISSED YOU! The Inner Harbor Beckons Again

For thousands of towers who attend the Exposition each year, it will be three full years since they’ve seen Baltimore’s magnificent Inner Harbor. The Harbor has always been an uplifting back drop to the show, a place where industry friends gather for food and drink, or special outings like Miller Rocks at the Hard Rock (Bull & Pig Roast) and Calitri’s Cuba at the Powerplant’s Luckies Tavern (the envy of all cigar aficionados). Many visit the National Aquarium, the Frigate Constellation, the Maryland Science Fair, or take a breathtaking stroll around the waterside promenade. Others take a water taxi to Fells Point to explore shops and pubs. Those arriving by Thursday can take the Towman Dinner Cruise which winds throughout the harbor.

48 • October 2021 | Towman.com

November 11-14, 2021

Baltimore Convention Center | Baltimore, MD


Exhibit Highlights

AT Expo Exhibit Highlights from American Towman October display advertisers

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American Safety & Supply

AAA Club Alliance

Allstate Roadside

The AAA Network of Savings provides superior value to our hardworking, everyday highwayheroes.

Fuel your business with dependable volume, easy payments and industry-leading vehicle information.

Rechargeable LED Cap-Mounted Light. 4 LED light-modes, 90° tilt, 2.5-hour run-time, water impact resistant. Clips to brim of a hat. Item #0015.

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Anchor Graphics

Atlanta Wrecker Sales

High quality parking permits (no paper) with your laser printer! Program included for printing and tracking.

JD10 Freightliner Industrial Hauler: Jerr-Dan’s 28ft JD10 paired installed on a Freightliner M2 tandem is highly useful and very affordable.

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Austin Insurance Specialist in the towing and recovery industry. We provide our clients with the best coverage and most competitive rates possible.

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B/A Products

Beacon Software / TowLien

B/A’s patented Low-Profile V-Bridle turns the point of the hook away from the underbody of the vehicle, reducing chance of damages.

Towing and Roadside Management Software, fastest dispatch on the planet! Over 50 integrations including QuickBooks, GPS companies and 18+ motor clubs. Phone apps for driver productivity.

Easy Online Registration at ATExposition.com

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Chevron Commercial Your one stop shop for Chevron and Vulcan Car Carriers, wreckers & parts. We are the eye candy of the Industry!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 49


Exhibitor Roster

Bad Dog Tools

For 31 years we’ve been making specialty and multi-purpose tools for cutting and drilling. Guaranteed for life.

Baremotion

360 Payments

Anchor Graphics

AAA

ARI-Hetra

Ari-Hetra provides heavy-duty mobile column lifts for lifting and servicing your vehicles.

Distributor of NRC Industries, Dynamic, Trail-Eze trailers & Reitnouer trailers. Full sales, service & custom fabrication facility.

AASP-PA

Ascentium Capital

Bay Street

Access Tools

AT&T - The Wireless Experience

BBSI

360 Payment Solutions specializes in payment processing and merchant services for automotive industries. The AAA Network of Savings provides superior value to our hard-working highway heroes. State-wide trade association representing mechanical, towing, and collision shop owners through lobbying, benefits and education. Car opening and automotive specialty tools.

Alliance Funding Group

Leader in the financing industry providing equipment financing, leasing, and working capital programs.

Allstate Roadside

Join the network that supports you with leading technology, network support and technical information.

Amdor

Existing to create customized tow signs, parking permits, hang tags for the towing industry!

Finance nearly anything: tow trucks, new or used equipment, technology, and more.

Connected dashboard cameras, GPS tracking, fleet management telematics, wireless phones, DIRECTV.

Atlanta Wrecker Sales

We would like to thank everyone for helping to¬†make us Jerr-Dan’s #1 sales dealer for over 15 years and running.

Aussie Rimshine

The original ‘on vehicle’ wheel polishing machine.

Premium quality roll-up doors and customized LED lighting solutions tailored specifically for the towing industry.

Austin Insurance

American Safety & Supply

Auto Data Direct

High-Visibility clothing and safety equipment.

American Towman Magazine

Manufacturer’s Spotlight

Leading magazine in the industry for over 45 years. The best marketing vehicle to reach tow business owners!

Austin Insurance specializes in the towing and repair Industry, providing all insurance needs to our customers. DMV123 (real-time vehicle data), Direct Post-Office (certified mailing tools), NMVTIS Salvage vehicle reporting tools.

B/A Products

Parts and accessories for the towing, fire rescue, and auto transport industries.

DUAL-TECH WRECKERS & CARRIERS

50 • October 2021 | Towman.com

Specializing in Rigging, Lifting, and Towing Recovery Equipment. Chains, Slings, Tie-downs, and more.

Battelini Wrecker Sales

Commercial truck and equipment financing specialists offering programs for all aspects of the towing and recovery industry. Services for small business: HR consulting, risk consulting, payroll, workers’ comp insurance, and business coaching.

Beacon Funding

Beacon Funding offers flexible financing options at competitive rates to towing businesses across the nation.

Beacon Software

Dispatch Anywhere Towing & Roadside Management Software. Integrations include QuickBooks, GPS companies and motor clubs. Phone apps for driver productivity.

Benchmark Payment

Benchmark Payments provides credit card processing solutions to every business type in all 50 states.

Breg Environmental

Breg Environmental Inc. is a manufacturer and supplier of spill control and sorbent material.


Sunday Pie

YOU’VE EARNED THE

ROYAL TREATMENT AT’s Legendary Hospitality Academy Breakfast

November 11-14, 2021

Baltimore Convention Center | Baltimore, MD

The old South and your favorite aunt have nothing on American Towman’s Legendary Hospitality. On the show floor the hospitality begins with the strolling entertainers that put a smile on your face. It continues at the Towman Café with the live blue grass band. It ends with Sunday Pie, pretty much all the pie you can eat! Academy participants get a good dose of hospitality with each morning’s complimentary breakfast. On Friday evening, towers get a heap of hospitality at the Miller Industries chow-down, the Bull and Pig Roast at the Hard Rock Café. There’s, in fact, surprise hospitality everywhere you’ll go. American Towman has the reputation of treating its show guests like Royalty. There’s a good reason for it.

Easy Online Registration at ATExposition.com

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 51


Many towers come for the spectacle of the American Towman Wrecker Pageant as much as they do for the supplier displays in the same Exhibit Hall. These are the world’s greatest tow trucks. When touring the Pageant and talking to the wrecker owners, tow bosses get down on everything from branding ideas to painting and graphics, unique detailing to customized levers and wheels, and amazing recovery stories! No telling who you’ll meet on the Pageant aisles, a wrecker artist like the famous Cecil Burrowes, a veteran wrecker builder, a reality TV towing star, an old show acquaintance…

TWO SHOWS IN ONE WORLDS LARGEST WRECKER PAGEANT by the Main Event in the Exhibit Hall

On the Pageant floor, you’ll see the wonders of the towing world. Plus, you get to weigh in by voting on Best in Show. Pageant contestants must enter their trucks by October 31.

November 11-14, 2021

Baltimore Convention Center | Baltimore, MD


Exhibit Highlights Pa S ge ee N 10 2

Crawford Truck Sales Jerr-Dan Sales, Parts & Full Service. The largest Jerr-Dan parts department In the USA.

DewEze is your live hydraulics solution, backed by more than 20+ years in the wrecker industry.

Crouch’s Wrecker & Equip.

Custer Products

Full line Miller Industries distributor. Wide variety of new and used equipment in stock. Parts/Service. Serving Tennessee and Florida.

Manufactures and distributes high quality LED lights, tow lights and related lighting products to the towing industry.

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DP Winch 8RPW, 12RPW, 15RPW & 20RPW Series. Same renowned design and quality as the heavy duty dp Winch, optimized for the light duty recovery market.

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Dynamic Tow. Equip. / Mfg. The Python has a reach of 82”, 25˚ of power/neg tilt 8,000 lb tow rating. Customers asked for a unit that lifts faster, higher & provides better weight transfer.

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DewEze Mfg.

AT Expo Exhibit Highlights from American Towman October display advertisers

East Coast Truck & Trailer A full-service dealership: Sales, Service, Parts, & Equipment. Serving Towing, Auto Transport & Waste Collection Professionals.

Easy Online Registration at ATExposition.com

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Dual-Tech Wreckers & Carriers

Dual-Tech-Manufactures a full line of quality, low profile, towing and recovery equipment.

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Environmental Chemical Solutions

Gold Crew TC: EPA-NCP listed 50 years strong. Removes oils and suppresses Voc’s, speeds biodegradation.

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 53


Exhibitor Roster Brown & Brown Insurance

Dedicated Funding NY

Car-Part.com

DewEze Mfg.

Insurance.

Car-Part.com and Cart-PartPro.com creates software that provides auto recyclers with integrated end-to-end work flow.

Chevron Commercial

Chevron and Vulcan car carriers, wreckers and transporters.

Collins Dollies

Financial Services.

Instant mobile power with the flip of a switch. The DewEze hydraulic system provides the best solutions for mobile hydraulic power.

DK2 Warrior Winches

DK2 Warrior Winches are the premier supplier of Industrial Winches to the North American Towing Industry.

Since 1972, Collins designs and manufactures products: Dollies, Underbody Boxes, Tunnel Boxes, & Push Bumpers.

Drive

Copart Auto Auctions

DriverLocator.Com

Crawford Truck Sales

Dual-Tech Wreckers & Carriers

Copart remarkets salvage & clean title through internet sales utilizing VB3 Technology around the world.

Management training for tow business owners and management software for more efficient operations. DriverLocate.com is a leading provider of GPS tracking and Dash Cams for the Tow industry since 2007.

Crawford Truck Sales - Jerr-Dan sales, parts & full service.The largest Jerr-Dan parts department in the USA.

Dual-Tech is a leading manufacturer of quality towing equipment. Rollbacks and wreckers readily available.

Crouch’s Wrecker & Equipment Sales

Dynamic Towing Equip. & Mfg.

Sales and support of full line Miller Industries tow trucks and tow accessories since 1989.

Custer Products

Custer Products manufactures & distributes the highest quality LED lights in the Towing Industry.

Custom Built MFG

Manufacturer’s Spotlight

Custom built Mfg. Manufacturer of heavy Wreckers and rotators 15-ton to 80-ton.

Designs, manufactures, & distributes self loading wreckers, carriers, slideins & rotating rollbacks domestically & internationally.

East Coast Truck & Trailer Sales

Full service Jerr-Dan & Cottrell dealer. Offering parts, service, and equipment sales at great prices.

East Penn Truck Equipment

Full line Miller Industries distributor featuring sales, parts, service, fabrication, paint, restoration and more!

DYNAMIC TOW EQUIPMENT & MFG.

Emergency Road Service Coalition of America / ERSCA

National towing association created to facilitate and promote collaboration in the industry, with a focus on training and advocacy.

Enviromotive

Manufacture and sell PDF cleaning equipment as well as sell aftermarket and OEM gaskets, clamps and bungis.

Environmental Chemical Solutions

We teach you how to get paid for what you already do - cleaning up spills at accident scenes.

Excel Sportswear

Custom designed imprinted & embroidered sportswear.

EZ Spare Wheel

Universal wheel & tire creates income for Roadside Operators servicing emergency flat tire customers who have no spare.

FCar Tech USA

FCAR delivers great truck diagnostic scanners and services to tow truck owner and service professional.

Federal Signal

Federal Signal is a premier provider of tow truck warning lights and back-up safety products.

First Business

Bank financing for all your new & used truck acquisitions with rates as low as 5.99%.

FleetNet America

Premier 3rd party planned & unplanned maintenance management company specializing in medium & heavy duty.

Flitz International

Flitz polishes, waxes, sealant, buffers, cleaners and microfiber cloths.


It’s the most bizarre hangout since the Star Wars bar where creatures of the future drank beer and threw down Jack Daniels. When a tow boss walks into the Hard Rock Cafe and scans the characters at the bar, he’s no less amused. Miller Rocks! All the familiar suspects, aged a few years since the last Bull & Pig Roast. Plus, many firsttimers seeing what it’s all about. Sponsored by Miller Industries, this is what a Towman’s bar looks like.

WAR STORIES AND STAR WARS Miller Rocks & Calitri’s Cuba

You can see many of those creatures walking up to Calitri’s Cuba at Luckie’s Tavern. There occurs the world’s great cigar smoker. Greatest by virtue of the premium cigars offered, the VIP clientele present, and the friendliness of tow bosses happy to be among his own kind without having to set eyes on a competitor. Oops! How’d he get in! Well, unlikely you’ll see your nemesis at the Calitri’s Cuba. Tow bosses present come from all over the world. Hear the war stories are almost beyond belief. Sponsored by AutoReturn with Police Towers of America. November 11-14, 2021 Baltimore Convention Center | Baltimore, MD

Easy Online Registration at ATExposition.com


TOWING & RECOVERY CONFERENCE Calculating Recovery Resistance

This seminar will highlight techniques for calculating recovery resistances due to the recovery path surface and slope, as well as rolling resistance. This is essential to avoid overloading equipment and ensuring that the recovery operation will be successful. Terry Abejuela, American Towman. Friday, Nov. 12, 10:00 a.m.

Recovery from Median Cable Barriers Systems

Discusses options for how to safely recover all sizes of wrecked vehicles when entangled in the High Tension Cable Barrier System (HTCBS). Discusses issues with releasing the tension of the HTCBS. Bobby Tuttle, CIRT. Friday, Nov. 12, 11:00 a.m.

The Business & Economics of Owning a Rotator

Thinking about getting a rotator? Many tow companies are enjoying the benefits and added business that a rotator brings to their bottom line. Is it the right investment for you? This two-hour seminar tells you everything you need to know. Bob Fouquette; Big Wheel Towing. Friday, Nov. 12, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Understanding Recovery Equipment Ratings

It is imperative that tow operators know and understand how to apply recovery equipment ratings in order to avoid overloading which may results in equipment failure, injuries or fatalities. Knowing working load limits and determining loads imposed on equipment is required to safely perform recovery work. Terry Abejuela, American Towman. Saturday, Nov. 13, 10:00 a.m.

Air Cushion Mystery Theater

An entertaining theatrical review of air cushion jobs dedicated to our fallen brother, Howard “Scooby” Eagan. John Sweezy Jr., Jeff Martin, Matt Barlett, Matjack Jumbo Safelift. Saturday, Nov. 13, 10:00 a.m.

SEMINARS SAFETYCONFERENCE Let There Be Light...or Not!

Join John Borowski as he discusses how to use your emergency lights as many tow company owners don’t train their drivers on proper usage. John Borowski, Auto Return. Saturday, Nov 13, 9:00 a.m. 56 • October 2021 | Towman.com

Roadside Safety

Tow industry veteran Bobby Tuttle will discuss: responder struck-bys from D-drivers, Slow Down/Move Over laws, emergency lighting, and the need for roadway safety tactics for all levels of towers, and customer safety. Bobby Tuttle, CIRT. Saturday, Nov 13, 8:00 a.m.


BUSINESS OPERATIONS CONFERENCE

The Uncontaminated Vehicle Storage Facility (VSF)

A presentation that addresses the leaks and staining at VSF’s from the damaged vehicles. Save thousands of dollars in cleanup costs, fines, and bad publicity. Jim Figueira, Ed Grubbs, Environmental Chemical Solutions. Friday, Nov 12, 9:00 a.m.

How Tow Owners Can Protect Their Business

Discover the tools you can use to protect 100% of your assets from lawsuits, Save thousands of dollars each year in taxes and avoid probate and eliminate all estate taxes. Larry Oxenham, American Society for Asset Protection. Friday, Nov 12, 10:00 a.m.

The 21st Century Towman: Examining New Trends in Communications

Brian Jemison will discuss real world applications of dual mode (analog and digital) two-way radios, Push-to-Talk over cellular technology, and body worn cameras as the premier tools for the 21st Century Towman. Brian Jemison, Two Way Radio Gear, Friday, Nov 12, 10:00 a.m.

Fleets and Motor Carrier Compliance

As towers continue to diversify as a means of survival the line between emergency tow operations and general trucking becomes very blurry. Join Brian J. Riker as he explains some of the key differences a towing company needs to be aware of between operating a traditional towing company and a full service trucking company. Brian J. Riker, Fleet Compliance Solutions. Friday, Nov 12, 9:00 a.m. Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

How To Get More Cash Calls

If they can find you, they can call you. If not, they will call somebody else. Get found online. Jared Fischgrund, Chris Blake, OMG Tow Marketing. Friday, Nov 12, 9:00 a.m.

Billing for Liquid Debris Cleanup

Liquid debris cleanup is an untapped revenue resource for towers as first responders. This seminar will also address the law and regulation, dealing with the insurer, proper cleanup and getting paid. Jim Figueira, Environmental Chemical Solutions. Saturday, Nov 13, 9:00 a.m.

Beating Your Competition for Online Cash Calls

Securing online cash calls has become a contact sport. Learn how to outsmart your competitors and drive cash call profit for your company. Kevin McMillan, Lift Marketing Group. Saturday, Nov 13, 9:00 a.m.

Get Found Online, Get More Cash Calls

Learn strategies to improve your rank on Google. Jared Fischgrund, Chris Blake, OMG Tow Marketing. Saturday, Nov 13, 10:00 a.m.

BUILDING REVENUE

CONFERENCE

November 11-14, 2021

Baltimore Convention Center | Baltimore, MD


INSURANCE CONFERENCE

Using Technology to Reduce Insurance Costs

Insurance premiums are out of control with no relief in sight. Join Brian J. Riker as he explains how technology can reduce the cost of operating your fleet, improve driver performance and reduce your insurance costs dramatically. Brian J. Riker, Fleet Compliance Solutions. Saturday, Nov 13, 8:00 a.m.

Captive Insurance Alternative

An informative presentation on the Captive insurance approach. Todd Welch, Charter Partners USA, Sunday Nov 14, 10:00 a.m.

“Top Gun” How Being the Best Will Lower Insurance Costs

One of the most in-depth presentations on insurance cost-control ever presented by an American Towman Academy. Discussion includes: laying a real foundation for the image that will be looked on favorably by insurance companies, the factors that determine the price you pay for insurance, and the factors that influence your insurance profile. Rob Austin, Austin Insurance. Friday, Nov 12, 11:00 a.m.

SEMINARS POLICE TOWERS CONFERENCE

Strategies for increasing your town’s regulated rates. Having statistics to back up one’s case for a rate increase can mean all the difference. The Conference will also cover ways to cultivate a strong relationship with the town and the police department. Ron Myers, Police Towers of America. Saturday, Nov 13, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.

The Seminar Passport allows you to attend as many seminars as you can handle over the course of three days. 58 • October 2021 | Towman.com

ALLSTATE LUXURY VEHICLE EDUCATION

Allstate Roadside Services will be conducting Education classes on the towing methods for various makes and models of luxury and premium vehicles. Participants will have the opportunity to see how to safely secure and tow a variety of luxury and premium vehicles during exposition hours.

RECOVERY BUSINESS SUCCESS

A special three-hour course geared towards the business end of recovery. Three crucial steps for recovery business success will be covered: Documenting the Recovery; Billing the Recovery; and Collecting on the Recovery Invoice. John Borowski, Auto Return & Ron Myers, Pine Tree Towing. Sunday, Nov. 14, 9 am - 12 noon Independent Course - $250


RECOVERY BILLING

WRECKMASTER HEAVY-DUTY ROTATOR RECOVERY TRAINING

Industry’s Premier Rotator Training with WreckMaster Instructors

Led by Bob & Eric Fouquette

WreckMaster instructors conduct a special 12-hour training course on rotator recovery; classroom and outdoor hands-on. Do you know how to calculate the safe distance to an overhead wire or underground gas line? How close your rotator can safely get to the edge of a 23-foot deep hole? How much cribbing is required under your outrigger legs to compensate for a 50,000 pound load?

Teaches towers how to become more profitable.

A WreckMaster rotator course is a risk management must-have for anyone who has a rotator in their fleet —or plans to add one in the future.

8-hour course covers: • Remediation of the accident scene • Proper way of writing recovery invoices • Billing liability insurance • Billing for vehicles that only have property damage coverage • Obtaining payment from insurance companies Fri. & Sat., 9 am - 1 pm. Approval required.

FEE REQUIRED $695/person. $795 after Nov 8 Thurs. Nov. 11, 8 am - 5 pm. • includes lunch. Frid. Nov 12, 8 am - 12 noon (Classroom) Fee also includes Friday Carte Blanche Passport

Fee: $2250. Price includes 2 people per company. Includes Wed. Carte Blanche Passport.

This 2 day course teaches you everything you need to protect both people and equipment, including formulas for calculating ground pressure and outrigger compression loads. Students spend the morning in the classroom, then it’s out to the field to apply the theory and formulas to real-life scenarios, including properly attaching and lifting cement mixers, tractor-trailers and sea containers.

November 11-14, 2021

Baltimore Convention Center | Baltimore, MD


Since 1989, American Towman’s Festival Night is the best dinner-show in Baltimore. Featuring a gourmet meal at the Waterfront Marriott, the March of Heroes and the legendary American Towman Medal Ceremony, Festival Night celebrates the towman’s courage in the face of danger. The evening also features the Mike Corbin Band performing favorite American songs like The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and original towman ballads like The Road Calls and Booms in the Sky. An evening a tower never forgets!

FESTIVAL NIGHT Towing’s Greatest Tradition

November 11-14, 2021

Baltimore Convention Center | Baltimore, MD


Exhibit Highlights Ins S id ee Co e Ba ve ck r

GEICO Come see how you can join the elite in providing exceptional customer service to GEICO’s 19 million policies and 24.4 million vehicles.

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ICW Group offers you exclusive work comp services to keep your tow business moving forward.

IAA

We Buy Your Used Remotes. Turn your junk into cash! Visit us online or bring your remotes to our booth. We pay TOP dollar!

Join the IAA Tow Network work whenever, wherever. Inbound and outbound towers needed at locations nationwide! Competitive rates offered.

ITI’s Yellow Signature Series automotive skate kit offers greater visibility at night and better contrast against gravel and dirty road surfaces.

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Intek Truck & Equipment Leasing/Finance

Integrated Vehicle & Equipment Leasing

As a national direct lender since 1999, Integrated has been providing leasing and financing for the tow truck industry.

Offers customized and flexible lease & financing options for all new and used towing equipment. Exclusive finance programs for up to 10 years.

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ITI

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i Buy Remotes

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ICW Group Insurance

AT Expo Exhibit Highlights from American Towman October display advertisers

Jerr-Dan For nearly 50 years, Jerr-Dan has defined towing and recovery industry standards for performance, reliability, and service offering high quality wreckers, carriers and rotators.

Easy Online Registration at ATExposition.com

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Joyride Joyride is the industry-leading online auction platform that makes it easy to buy and sell unclaimed vehicles.

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 61


Exhibitor Roster

Integrated Veh. Equip. Leasing

FlowStop

Intek Truck & Equipment Leasing/Financing

FlowStop’s world class spill kits, products, & equipment for first responders & towing and recovery professinals.

Gantt Insurance Agency

Insurance agency specializing in towing. We service the state of Virginia with 5 locations.

GEICO

The country’s second largest automobile insurance company which provides its own outstanding Emergency Road Service.

Goosetown Communications

Full-service communications solutions, specializing in wireless communications for business and government.

Guniwheel Distributed by LKQ Corp.

Missing wheels on a recovery, come visit GUNIWHEEL™ we have the solution.

Haas Alert

Safety Cloud® alerts approaching drivers to Slow Down and Move Over for active tow scenes and operators.

Hale Trailer Brake & Wheel

A full service trailer dealership specializing in the tow industry: sales, parts, rentals, service, and financing.

Hino Trucks

Manufacturer’s Spotlight

Medium-duty conventional and cab forward trucks.

JERR-DAN CORP.

Honk Technologies

Honk connects service providers to nearby motorists in need of towing and roadside assistance.

Hooks Towing & Equipment

Towing and recovery supplies, lights, straps, ratchets, and chains.

Hunter Engineering

Premier Manufacturer of wheel service equipment Automotive and HD Industries.

IAA

Join the IAA Tow Network - work whenever, wherever. Inbound and outbound towers needed at locations nationwide! Competitive rates offered.

i Buy Remotes

Nationwide direct lender celebrating 20+ years. Leasing or financing for tow trucks, equipment, trailers and service vehicles.

Customized, flexible, lease and finance options for all trucks and equipment. Exclusive finance programs up to 10 years.

International Trucks

A complete lineup of class 4 through class 8 commercial vehicles for recovery and towing. Providing industry leading uptime.

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Truck Chassis Manufacturer.

J & R Products & Towing Accessories

We purchase automotive remotes - we pay top dollar - in cash.

Home of the L-Arm Sleeve, we offer innovative and quality products for your towing needs.

ICW Group Insurance

Jerr-Dan Corp.

Independent Auto Transporters Alliance /IATA

Joyride

A top 20, full-service carrier providing comprehensive workers’ compensation insurance products and services nationwide.

Auto transporters networking together to establish best practices and benefit from group purchasing power.

Int’l Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame & Museum Preserving the history of the towing industry for over 23 years!

Leading industry innovator offering an extensive range of standard, medium& heavy-duty wreckers, carriers & rotators. Joyride is the #1 nationwide lien sale vehicle marketplace where you can maximize revenue from the vehicles in your lot.

Junk Car Buyer Academy USA

JCBA USA is an automotive recycling consultant for towing businesses ready to 10x their income.


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Kalyn Siebert

Landoll Corp.

Kalyn Siebert’s VersaMAXX series offers versatility and durability for your coast-to-coast needs.

440B: You deserve the best traveling axle trailer built.

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Lift Marketing Group Dominate Google rankings and get more cash calls. We’re tow marketing made simple: custom, fast, & effective since 2009.

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Lien Enforcement Lien Enforement, Inc. has over 25 years of experience, specific to the towing industry, collecting the deficient balance of lien sold vehicles.

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Lodar USA

Lynch Truck Centers

Use the wrecker industry’s standard for wireless control. Lodar keeps your people and equipment safe up to 1,000 ft away.

Towing Equipment Dealer. Full line of Miller Industries products.The finest towing equipment available. The right equipment at the right price, right away.

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Towing and recovery vehicles from industry leading brands, all make truck parts, and reliable service.

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Maryland Carrier & Wrecker Sales

AT Expo Exhibit Highlights from American Towman October display advertisers

Matjack Jumbo Safelift

Matheny Motor Truck Co. An extensive selection of Miller Industries equipment and a familyowned legacy of customer service. Come see the Matheny difference!

Easy Online Registration at ATExposition.com

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Matjack Hurricane System uprights trailers in as little as 5 minutes. Come see us to hear more.

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 63


LOOK UP, DOWN

AND SIDEWAYS Networking Opportunities Abound

“I picked up a new recovery technique at the Smoker, some new insight at the Academy on Internet customer reviews, and spoke to a tower at the Hard Rock interested in buying my business, which I’m not considering. Oh, and I struck up a new friendship at the Skeet Shoot.” It’s the norm for towers to do serious networking in Baltimore. After all, all the call providers and motor clubs are there, the premier educators are there, the leading manufacturers and distributors of tow equipment are there, and much, much more. No tow business is an island and the American Towman Exposition makes that very clear. Some ambitious towers target the Captains of Industry dinner conference with its legendary long table to mix with industry movers and shakers. Others target Festival Night, figuring only dedicated towers attend it. Tow bosses will be networking in the Academy corridors, many at the grand gettogethers like Calitri’s Cuba and Miller Rocks (Bull and Pig Roast), and with fellow wrecker owners at the AT Pageant. Often-times it’s sharing thoughts on a piece of equipment on the exhibit floor. It’s impossible not to network in Baltimore. Even if you get in late, there’s always Sunday Pie!

November 11-14, 2021

Baltimore Convention Center | Baltimore, MD 64 • October 2021 | Towman.com

Easy Online Registration at ATExposition.com


Exhibitor Roster Kalyn Siebert

Trailers for the towing industry, sliding axles, VersaMaxx Bus transports and hydraulic trailers.

Landoll Corporation

Magnetworks / Stamp Works

Custom tow truck shaped refrigerator magnets and light up key chains, mouse pads and more!

Manufacturer Express

Manufacturer of specialized equipment transport, traveling axle and detachable trailers. Galvanizing, HOSS hydraulic systems and enhanced LED lighting.

Manufacturer of all Towing/Trucking needs! Straps, chains, round slings, Stainless Steel Collections.

Lien Enforcement

Your local insurance agency specializing in towing and transportation insurance since 1984.

Over 25 year’s experience, specific to the towing industry, collecting the deficient balance of lien sold vehicles.

Lift And Tow

Inexpensive alternative tow truck for your pick up truck.

Lift Marketing Group

Martens Johnson Insurance

Maryland Carrier & Wrecker Sales

Maryland’s premier Jerr-Dan Distributor - truck sales, parts, service.

Matheny Motor Truck Co.

Effective online marketing solutions for towing professionals. Drive Cash calls to your business by calling us today.

Full line Miller Industries dealer with locations in West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia and now Kentucky.

Lodar USA

Matjack Jumbo Safelift

Wireless Radio Remote controls for many different applications.

Lucky’s Trailer Sales

Talbert, Landoll, Felling & Trail King Lowbeds & Traveling Axle Trailers sales & service Peterbilt trucks sales & service.

Lynch Truck Centers

Miller Industries products and Talbert trailers.

Mach 1 Services

The automated & on-demand roadside assistance app that works for you.

Matjack Hurricane Jumbo Cushions/ Landing Bags / High Pressure Mats/ PMI Helmets / 3M and Setcom Headsets.

Menzel Technologies

Manzel mobile vehicle surveillance systems protect towers from liability damage claims and frivolous lawsuits.

Metro Tow Trucks

Metro Tow Trucks provides the most affordable way into the heavy duty wrecker market.

Metrocom

Manufacturer’s Spotlight

Metrocom is a premiere two-way radio communication sales and service company.

METRO TOW TRUCKS

MFC International

MFC International are a specialist manufacturer of inflatable rescue, recovery, survival and sewer maintenance equipment.

Midland Equipment Finance

Midland EF helps businesses achieve success with simplified financing options, competitive pricing and fast processing.

Miller Industries

The world leader in towing and recovery equipment. Manufacturers of the industry leading brands Century, Vulcan, Chevron, and Holmes.

Millner-Haufen Tool

Millner Tools puts high quality durable tools in your hand. Lifetime replacement guarantee.

Mobile Road Service Solutions

Premier provider of purpose-built mobile service vans for tow, mobile battery, traffic management and spill cleanup providers.

Mobile Video Computing Solutions

MVCS integrates video, telematics and information systems to create fleet solutions for the towing industry.

Mytee Products

Auto hauling straps, towing chains, wire rope, snatch blocks and more.

Nation Safe Drivers (NSD)

A forward thinking motor club working to make a positive change to benefit our partners and clients.

Nite Beams

Award winning leader in LED safety apparel and LED safety products.


Exhibitor Roster Noco Jump Packs

NOCO Jump Packs - Jump starter packs and chargers for cars, trucks, and off road equipment.

Peddle

Peddle partners with transporters, providing them a flow of new towing opportunities in their market.

Nottingham Insurance

Penny Pockets

NRC Industries

Penske Truck Leasing

Olson & Company

People’s United Equipment Finance

Exclusive insurance agency for the auto service industry offering comprehensive and complete solutions. Manufacturer of towing and recovery equipment renowned throughout the world for their strength and reliability. Axle caps, axle covers for towing buses and trucks.

Omadi

An end-to-end towing management platform complimented by a partner network to supply towing professionals with more jobs.

OMG Tow Marketing

Providing tow bosses with creative advertising and marketing services. Websites, local search ads, video, onhold messages.

Opti-luxx

Manufacturer of light bars, beacons, perimeter, and interior lighting for work truck, bus and amber markets.

ParkingPass.com

Manufacturer’s Spotlight

Parking management made easy, paperless, no more decals. 24/7 guest pass access, detailed reports. Control unauthorized occupants.

MILLER INDUSTRIES

Custom apparel, jackets, printed T-shirts,embroidered jackets, Hi-Vis workwear. Penske operates more than 280,000 vehicles and serves customers from more than 800 locations.

Premier nationwide commercial finance company that specializes in finance/ leasing programs for towing and recovery industry.

PGM Recovery Systems

Catalytic converter recycling. Come visit our precious metals experts today, where recycling makes $ense.

Phoenix USA

Wheel simulators and accessories, lightbars, lighting products, emergency lighting, storage products, Alcon wheels and accessories.

Photo Card Specialists

Manufacturing photo business products for 30 years. Business cards, post cards, calendars, greeting cards & more.

Planet Halo

Next generation dash camera for towtrucks expandable six channels, PTO alerts, live video, realtime tracking.

Pop - A - Lock

Offering franchises for road service and auto locksmithing.

Pro-Vision Video Systems

PRO-VISION manufactures dash cameras, back-up cameras, body cameras, and fleet management software solutions.

Purpose Wrecker

Authorized National Distributor of Century and Vulcan Miller Industries products and Kalyn Siebert Hydraulic Trailers.

QuakeLED

Leading the LED lighting industry with latest in off-road light technology at straight from the factory prices.

QuestX Towing Services

QuestX is the premeir tech enabled claims solution provider for roadside services.

Quick Cash for Remotes

Midwest Keyless is a nationwide supplier of new and high-quality refurbished, replacement automotive remotes!

R&A Insurance

Independent insurance brokers specializing in the towing and recovery industry.

Ramsey Winch

Leading manufacturer of hydraulic/ electric, Worm and Planetary winches and hoists. Using advanced processes and premium materials.


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Miller Industries Industrial LCG™ carriers ranging from 20,000 lbs. to 40,000 lbs. capacity. New 3-stage heavy-duty underlift option available on 30 and 40 series LCG™ LWB models.

Mobile Video Computing Solutions

We manufacture high-performance towing equipment recognized for outstanding performance, innovative design and excellent craftmanship.

Press-N-Stick Calendars – your full-color info in front of customers all year! Convenient Size. Great for Handouts. Fast Turnaround!

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Phoenix USA, Inc.

OMG Tow Marketing

Made entirely of 304 stainless steel. Underbody or top mountable. Two opposingly-hinged doors open from center. Two sizes available measuring 60”x 24”x 4” and 60”x 18”x 18”.

OMG Tow Marketing helps you get more cash calls by getting your business found higher on Google.

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Quick Cash for Remotes We purchase new and used OEM remote key fobs.

Easy Online Registration at ATExposition.com

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Competitive program for the Automotive & Towing Industry serving over 800 Towing Companies Nationwide! Available 24/7 just like YOU!

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Photo Card Specialists

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Nottingham Insurance

Provides video recording systems capable of live streaming, telematics, forward collision avoidance, with daily Monitoring Hub.

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NRC Industries

AT Expo Exhibit Highlights from American Towman October display advertisers

Ranger SST Complete parking management solution for you to serve your private property customers with portals for property managers and permit holders.

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 67


OFFICIAL AT EXPO BEER STEIN CUSTOM MANUFACTURED IN GERMANY

Purchase the Official AT Expo Stein through advance-registration and pick it up at the show. Purchase includes magazine subscription.

ESSENTIAL SERVICES T-SHIRT SOLD EXCLUSIVELY AT THE AMERICAN TOWMAN MERCHANDISE STORE

68 • October 2021 | Towman.com

November 11-14, 2021

Baltimore Convention Center | Baltimore, MD


Exhibit Highlights

Santander Bank

SafeAll Products

Lightweight, compact and flexible, RimSling synthetic slings outperform traditional lifting and rigging methods.

With a twist of the wrist, SafeAll’s Proportional Remote Control system delivers precise and feathered action for your car carrier controls.

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ServiCase

ServiCase connects carriers and fleet managers to towers through an electronic breakdown management system. FREE starter package get listed with carriers and fleet managers nationwide.

Since 1938 Talbert has manufactured very high quality heavy haul trailers and specialized transportation equipment, including low bed and travel axles.

Santander offers a simple application process, quick credit decisions,flexible programs and customized payment schedules. Finance with a leader.

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Steck Mfg. Co.

Specialty Vehicle Equipment Funding

Specialty Vehicle Funding is a direct lender providing fast financing for tow trucks, trailers, service vehicles and other specialty equipment.

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Talbert Mfg.

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RimSling

AT Expo Exhibit Highlights from American Towman October display advertisers

Fourth Wheel Loader allows drivers to load and secure vehicles up to 5 tons with broken ball joints and locked wheels on roll back wreckers.

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Towbook Management Software

TowMate

Towbook is the industry’s leading towing/roadside management software, made for companies of every size! Try it free for 30-Days.

Easy Online Registration at ATExposition.com

TowMate is proud to offer our new revolutionary “”Life Saver” traffic cone mounted light beacon, and the Air Bar, Inflatable safety zone system.

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 69


Exhibitor Roster

Stephens Truck Center/ Bad Ass Tow Products

Ranger SST

Stertil-Koni, USA

All-In-One Tow Management Solution: LD towing, HD towing, recovery, lot management, heavy hauling, auto transport, PPI, relocation, roadside assistance.

Razor Wraps

Safety Vision

Leader of mobile video innovation. We serve a variety of industries and accommodate specific needs with our specialized sales teams.

Santander Bank

Printer and installer of graphicallyenhanced truck wraps.

Offers a simple application process, quick credit decisions, flexible programs and customized payments schedules.

RC Industries

SBA Loan Group

Standard and custom sized tool boxes proudly produced in the USA.

Recovery Title Solutions

Unclaimed and abandoned vehicle management. Title searches, certified mailings, convenient online portal.

Ricky’s Sales & Service

Family owned and operated! Apparel, parts, sales and service for your specialty needs.

RP Recovery Consulting

Manufacturer’s Spotlight

Distributor of Sonetics Wireless Team Communication Headsets.

NRC INDUSTRIES

Talbert Mfg.

TCF Capital Solutions

Sepson manufacturers world class, military grade winches to make your operation safer, and more reliable.

Servicase

Specialty Vehicle Equip. Funding

Your “One-Stop-Shop” for NRC equipment, B/A Products, All-Grip, TowMate and much more!

Westin/Superwinch have been engineering top quality recovery/towing assist products for over four decades.

Sepson US

RoadSync

Robert Young’s NRC Sales & Service

Superwinch

Manufactures high quality heavy haul trailers and specialized transportation equipment including lowbed and travel axles.

Roadside Protect

RoadSync simplified and automates roadside payment collections so you get paid fast, fairly and safely.

Stertil-Koni is the global market leader in heavy duty vehicle lifts, capacities up to 156,000 lbs.

SBA Loan Group is a leading small business loan provider - making access to capital easy.

A web based search tool allowing commercial carriers the ability to locate and electronically dispatch service providers.

Dispatch administration and motor club.

Miller industries, Ramsey Winch, B/A Products, Maxxim, ECCO,TowMate & Access Tools dealer from Oklahoma.

Tow Truck financing made simple.

Spill Tackle

(FKA TCF Equipment Finance) is widely recognized as one of the premier tow/ recovery equipment finance companies in the US.

Time-Out Seated Massage Corner

Seated massage, foot massage and Reiki sessions.

TJR Equipment

Customized switch panels and hand held remotes that can be utilized in all tow trucks.

Absorbent manufacturer specialized in absorbent solutions for all spill response.”

Tow Life

Steck Mfg. Co.

Towbook Management Software

BigEasy Lockout Tool Kits have become the tools of choice for tow drivers and accessories are I-Bolt and 4th Wheel Loader.

Wearing apparel which includes T-shirts, hoodies, tank tops and decals.

The Tow Management Software Everyone is talking about! Sign up for your 30-Day free trail today!


Exhibit Highlights

AT Expo Exhibit Highlights from American Towman October display advertisers

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Trail King Industries

Urgently

Warn Industries

Engineered for speed, the Trail King Hydraulic Sliding Axle is not only fast, but easy to use. Time is money, and this trailer will save you both!

Urgently is re-imagining roadside assistance. Our digital platform connects you with more nearby jobs to grow your business efficiently.

WARN Series G2 Winches The Series G2 electric and hydraulic winches are more modular, highperformance, and durable than any WARN industrial winch ever.

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AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 73




Safety

Damage Control

Avoid Common Wheel Lift Problems By Terry Abejuela

Field Editor Terry Abejuela has 40-plus years of light-duty towing and recovery experience. He is also a light-duty Level 1 instructor for the California Tow Truck Association.

If the wheel lift is extended enough to allow for a sufficient turning radius, the vehicle can be jackknifed a significant amount without causing the towed vehicle to make contact with the tailboard of the tow truck.

T Note: Special thanks to Allstate Roadside and their commitment to tow operator safety.

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owing malfunctions can damage your customers’ vehicles and also harm your company’s professional image, driver morale and your bottom line. Since wheel lift towing is one of the most common ways of handling passenger cars, light-duty vans and pickup trucks, it’s important to learn from others to avoid common problems. In the hands of a properly trained operator, wheel lift tow trucks can be operated relatively error free. The most common types of wheel lift towing damages affect the towed vehicle’s body, undercarriage, suspension, transmission, wheels or hubcaps. Body damage is commonly caused by tow operators who either utilize in-cab remote controls (where they do not have an unobstructed view of the wheel lift and vehicle to be towed) or jack-knife a

76 • October 2021 | Towman.com

vehicle in tow. Tow operators become proficient at estimating where the wheel lift crossbar is in relation to the road surface and if the vehicle to tow has adequate ground clearance. They can usually save time by lowering the wheel lift and extending it from inside the cab of the truck and backing up to the vehicle until the crossbar contacts the wheels. Most wheel lift crossbars are not visible from inside the cab without the use a camera system, so this is done blindly. This practice has a high probability of damage and is not recommended.

STAY OUT OF THE CAB

The best practice is to get out of the truck and watch as you lower and extend the wheel lift. At the same time, inspect



Make sure there’s sufficient clearance between the oil pan and wheel lift crossbar, and allow for compression of the suspension as well. Additional clearance between the oil pan and the wheel lift crossbar can be achieved by reducing the width of the wheel retainers and grabbing less of the tire—but only so far, making sure it’s still secure.

the vehicle to be towed to ensure there is adequate clearance for the crossbar to extend under the vehicle without contacting any vehicle components. Adequate extension of the wheel lift is required to allow sufficient turning radius while in tow. Extend

78 • October 2021 | Towman.com

the wheel lift just enough to allow a proper radius without causing the towed vehicle to contact the tailboard of the tow truck during turns or backing. Avoid over-extending the wheel lift, as this will result in more weight transferring off the front axle of the

tow truck, which reduces braking and steering control. Other damages can occur when the wheel lift crossbar or wheel retainers contact undercarriage components. Low-clearance vehicles and those with lowprofile wheels are particularly



Oil pans, transmission pans, tail pipes, fender wells, and air dams can easily be damage when contacted by the wheel lift crossbar or wheel retainers susceptible to damages. Items include oil pans, transmission pans, tailpipes, fender wells, and air dams. To avoid harm, there must be adequate clearance between the wheel lift crossbar and the oil pan or transmission fluid pan. Keep in mind that the suspension of the vehicle may compress enough during the tow to cause the oil pan or transmission fluid pan to make contact with the wheel lift crossbar. Sometimes this type of damage is not noticed until the vehicle is serviced because no one, including

80 • October 2021 | Towman.com

you, can notice a dented or damaged pan unless it leaks fluid. However, some vehicles are equipped with an aluminum oil pan that will often crack and create a significant oil leak. Both you and your customer will probably notice it before you lower the vehicle to the ground after the tow.

PAN HANDLING

To prevent this from happening on vehicles with low ground clearance or low hanging oil pans, adjust the wheel retainers closer together under the



The width of wheel retainer shown here (right photo) was reduced excessively for illustration purposes only. Do not reduce the wheel retainer width anymore than is necessary to complete the tow without damage. Grabbing too little of the tire may result in the vehicle more easily rolling out of the wheel retainers. On the other hand, with the wheel retainers adjusted to grab as much of the tire as possible (left photo) there is minimal clearance for the oil pan. The vehicle bouncing on its suspension during the tow might allow the oil pan to contact the wheel lift crossbar resulting in damage.

towed vehicle’s tires to maintain adequate clearance between the oil pan and the wheel lift crossbar. Some lowered vehicles or vehicles with flat tires may require a double pick. Doing so requires raising

82 • October 2021 | Towman.com

the vehicle just high enough to place a 4x4-inch block of wood under both lifted wheels. Place the transmission of the vehicle in park so it will not roll off the wood blocks and then lower the vehicle’s wheels onto the wood

blocks. This setup will allow you to adjust your wheel lift retainers closer under the tire. Adjust them only enough, though, to provide the required oil-pan clearance. Autoloaders are usually equipped with spacers that can be


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 83


On a lasso-style wheel strap, make sure there is sufficient clearance between the ratchet or wheel strap metal ring and the hubcap to avoid contact. Adjusting the width of the crossbar outward will move the ratchet and ring away form the hubcap.

installed on the wheel retainers to create the added clearance for the oil pan. When backing the wheel lift crossbar under the end of a vehicle, make sure there is adequate clearance. I prefer to lower and extend the wheel lift prior to backing up to the vehicle. I extend the wheel lift to full extension and then retract it several inches so that I still have some adjustment to extend the crossbar tighter under the wheel if needed. If you are operating a wheel lift with a pivoting wheel retainer receptacle that is positioned above the height of the crossbar, you may need to adjust the crossbar wider to avoid contact. Keep the wheel lift crossbar as close to the ground as possible without dragging it on the ground. It’s better to operate wheel lift controls while outside the truck so you can watch the wheel lift and the vehicle to be towed. I avoid the temptation to operate the equipment functions with wired or wireless remote controls from inside the cab unless I have an unobstructed view of the wheel lift and vehicle to be towed.

CHASSIS SUSPECTS

Suspension components can be damaged by contact with the wheel retaining arms. Lower control arms, tie rods, and stabilizer bars may be damaged by hydraulic operated retainer arms on an autoloader wheel lift. Standard L-arm style wheel retainers must be adjusted so the short length of the L-arm does not make contact with suspension components or the vehicle body or undercarriage. Wheel or hub cap damages are often cause by the improper placement of the wheel retaining arm or ratchet and strap against wheel or hub cap. Tire and

84 • October 2021 | Towman.com


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AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 85


A typical automatic transmission parking Pawl. Notice the size of the pawl in relation to the finger in the picture.

The diagram shows the typical way an automatic transmission parking pawl works.

wheel damages can occur when an operator does not pay attention to the hydraulic powered wheel retainers and closes the wheel retainers when the wheel lift is not properly aligned to the wheels. This is most common when tow truck operators perform the hydraulic functions from inside the cab when they don’t have an unobstructed view of the wheel lift wheel retainers and the wheel of the vehicle being towed.

TIME TO RETIRE

The best way to avoid tire issues like punctures, tires pushed off the rim and wheel damage, is to watch the positioning of the wheel retainer to ensure it is aligned properly to avoid contact with easily damaged components. Hub caps are often damaged when a standard L-arm wheel retainer is adjusted too close to the outside of the tire. When a lasso-style strap is applied, the ratchet or the metal ring on the wheel strap may make contact with the hubcap during the tow and cause damage to the hubcap. Make sure there is adequate space between hubcap and the ratchet or wheel strap metal ring. You may need to adjust

86 • October 2021 | Towman.com


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AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 87


the crossbar width to move the L-arm away from the wheel. When towing with the wheel lift you must pay attention to transmission guidelines. Whenever possible vehicles should be towed with the drive wheel off the ground. Front-wheel drives should be towed from the front, and rear-wheel drives should be towed from the rear.

88 • October 2021 | Towman.com

TRANSMISSION TIPS

Since the drive wheels are off the ground should the automatic transmission be placed in neutral or be left in park? This is a common question I get in classes. To those who say you should leave it in park, please note that the wheels will not roll out of the wheel lift and if the vehicle breaks loose from the tow truck,

the vehicle would stop and not roll away. They are relying on the parking pawl in the transmission. However, the forces that can be applied during towing may cause the parking pawl to fail. Even raising and lowering the wheel lift may cause the wheels to rotate enough to damage the parking pawl. In the event a vehicle breaks loose from the wheel lift during the tow, the force applied when the drive wheels hit the roadway will most likely break the parking pawl and not prevent the vehicle from rolling away. I recommend that the transmission be placed in neutral, even if the drive wheels are lifting off the ground to avoid damage to the parking pawl. The other potential for transmission damage during wheel lift towing is exceeding the transmission guidelines. Manufacturers publish maximum speed and distance guidelines to prevent transmission


Whenever possible vehicles should be towed with the

drive wheels off of the ground. damage. This guideline assumes that the transmission is in good condition from the start. One of the problems with towing vehicles with the drive wheels on the ground is that you won’t know the current condition of the transmission. You may stay within the transmission guideline and still generate a complaint of transmission damage. It may be difficult to prove if the damage was from towing or from previous damage. Also, keep in mind that some distance restrictions are cumulative miles, in which case you need to trust the customer to know how many miles the vehicle has been previously towed with the drive wheels on the ground. Many all-wheel-drive (AWD) and four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicles are more susceptible to transmission damage. Transmission guidelines can sometimes be found in the vehicle manufacturers owner’s manual, or at towspec.com. This article is not intended to cover all potential damages that can be caused by wheel lift towing. In my experience, these are the most common damages and easiest to avoid. The best way to avoid wheel lift towing damages is for properly trained operators to operate the equipment in a way that follows industry standards and manufacturers recommendations.

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AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 89


News Flash Trucker Protest on Australia’s Gold Coast

A group of truck drivers in Queensland, Australia, along the Gold Coast on the far eastern part of the country, protested lockdowns and mandatory vaccinations, resulting in road delays on a major roadway during Monday peak hours. The group’s protest was supported by Australian Senator Pauline Hanson, who dismissed the drivers once she heard of the threat of being towed by police. The demonstration comes one day ahead of a planned national protest against a vaccine mandate for drivers from 12 local government areas in Sydney, and for any essential workers traveling into Queensland. Roadside protestors were rallying with drivers against mandatory vaccination. Around the country, truck drivers must be tested every few days. However, drivers say they have a right to choice and the freedom to work without the mandates. An anti-lockdown protestor held a sign reading, “Freedom is not a privilege. It’s a right.” One driver stated on a Tik Tok livestream, “End all lockdowns. People can go back to work and kids can go back to school … We’ve had enough of it. It’s all about choice at the end of the day. If you don’t want to get the

90 • October 2021 | Towman.com


vax, don’t. If you do want to get it, get it. But don’t keep locking up people.” The protest came after drivers last week urged Australians to stock up on food for “the next week or two” ahead of the planned protests. Organizers of the protests vowed to shut the country down with supply disruptions. Source: theaustralian.com.au

Tow Truck Procession Honors Missouri Tower

Floyd Martin Sawyer, the owner and founder of Floyd’s Towing of Springfield, MO, was honored on August 28, with a tow truck procession. Along with family and friends, dozens of trucks from area wrecker companies participated. According to his obituary, Floyd bought his first tow truck in 1979 and a business was born. “I think Floyd would be proud,” observed Mick Maggard, a friend of Sawyer. “He’d be proud of his kids. His boys. He’d be proud of everyone showing their respect for him. When he started this wrecker service, there weren’t but two or three. And now look. Everybody comes together to support the man. 40 years he was in the wrecker service. And he’ll be with us for another 40.” Source: ozarksfirst.com

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AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 91


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AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 93


My Baby

The custom tool boxes behind the sleeper cab have a similar shape so they blend in with the truck’s lines.

SoCal Style

Giving a Holmes DTU Some Kustom Kulture By Steve Temple

Photos by Steve Temple and Eddie Vasquez

S

Steve Temple has many years of experience as an automotive photojournalist and editor of numerous magazines, both consumer and trade. He has a passion for diesel engines, and one of his personal rigs is a one-ton Dodge dually with an upgraded Cummins turbodiesel, often used for both towing and hauling.

outhern California’s “Kustom Kulture” refers to all sorts of things, but it especially applies to cars born out of the hot rod scene of the Sixties. Names like Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Dean Jeffries and the Barris brothers (Sam and George), were creative and influential designers and builders. The movie American Graffiti and TV shows like The Monkees and The Munsters also helped to promote a distinctive automotive look that endures to this day. Capturing some of this flavor is “Blood Diamond” owned by Chino’s Towing in San Bernardino, California. This crimson customized rig started life as a Peterbilt 389 with a Holmes DTU (Detachable Towing Unit) from Miller Industries. The manufacturer points out that its second-generation setup is designed to decrease rear overhang, increase front axle

94 • October 2021 | Towman.com

weight, and offer better towing ability, due to an improved center of gravity and weight transfer. Front legs allow the unit to be quickly removed so the truck is multifunctional, for both recoveries and pulling trailers. Adding form to functionality, VTTR (Vasquez Tow Truck Repair) gave this rig an impressive SoCal style. “I’ve always been creative and into the car scene,” explains VTTR’s Eddie Vasquez. “Joe Martinez from Today’s Towing is the one that got us into doing the truck this way. It’s a mix between a hot rod and a low rider. But our twist is we put in a luxury look and interior as well.” For instance, the overall shape has a smoother, more even flow, with an uninterrupted belt line from the cab to the sleeper section to the tool-storage boxes. (Normally the sidesteps to the cab break up


Loads of lights give this Peterbilt a brilliant presence.

this belt line, but VTTR cut down the top one to eliminate that.) In addition, note how the fenders wrap over extra-large rubber. These tires, called “floaters”, typically roll under cement mixers.

Pin stripes, airbrushed graphics, and dozens of marker lights accent the blood-red paint scheme. Also, the top of the cab sports a jaunty visor with extra lights from Whelen. “There was a lot of extra money in

It’s a mix between a hot rod and a low rider. But our twist is we put

in a luxury look and

interior as well.

A handheld Miller remote makes for easier and safer towing operations.

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the lighting,” Eddie admits. No area of the truck has been left untouched, including the Holmes DTU mechanicals. The fifth-wheel aluminum hitch was polished, and custom-fabricated panels conceal the hydraulic valve body for the boom. The lines and body were relocated to the front of subframe, and the manual controls are concealed underneath for a cleaner treatment.

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • 95


Tech Highlights Chassis: Peterbilt 389

Wrecker body: Holmes DTU Engine: Cummins X15

Truck Name: Blood Diamond

Equipment: Dual-steering box and custom airbag suspension

The cab has dark wood flooring to match the dash panel, along with an extended shift lever.

Lift up the hood, and instead of leaf springs you’ll find air bags with an extra pair of shocks. They provide a smoother ride and load leveling for better braking and handling. VTTR also enhanced the Cummins X15 diesel engine for more pulling power and a higher top end. Inside the cab, wood flooring provides a rich finish, and matches the wood trim on the dash and in the sleeper section, which allows drivers to take breaks on long-haul tows. “This truck is made to go far,” Eddie points out. Custom touches in the cockpit area include starry lighting for the headliner. “If you’re gonna build a Rolls Royce truck, you gotta have galaxy lights in the headliner,” he laughs. An elongated gear shift lever is positioned right at arm height, and there’s a chromed handle next to the driver’s seat for the train horn. Indicator lights for the PTO and the Miller remote control are precisely fitted into the dash without the need for bezels. Ditto for an electronic load gauge that replaces the factory unit, so the operator knows how much he’s 96 • October 2021 | Towman.com

towing at a glance without having to do the math. Once all these mods were completed, no SoCal ride would be complete without a cruise down Hollywood Boulevard. The crew from VTTR hit the streets in a convoy of rigs that lit up the night, with Blood Diamond’s audio system’s subwoofers blasting out tunes. “People in Porsches and Ferraris were jumping out of their cars to check us out,” Eddie recalls

Built by: Miller Industries and VTTR

with a grin. “That was something else man!” VTTR’s staffers also made the scene at the American Towman ShowPlace Las Vegas event this past September where they took home trophy for “Best HeavyDuty Wrecker Tandem Axle (among other awards at other shows as well). So all told, Chino’s Towing handles customers not only with a capable rig, but also with some SoCal style.

Oversized tires, called “floaters”, were a special-order item, normally seen on cement mixers.



Lowdown

Eye in the Sky By Steve Calitri

Steve Calitri Editor-in-Chief scalitri@towman.com

L

ike an eye in the sky, American Towman is aware of what towers do down on the roads; the amazing feats of recovering cars and trucks, the rescues of drivers and passengers, the selfless acts toward stranded motorists, and the tragedies by the white line when fate strikes with its cruel and swift passing hand. You could say that seeing one of you, for us, is like seeing a knight in shining armor…the armor being the tower’s brave heart. God has given this magazine, and the people who put it out, the honor of serving a great lot that is the towing industry. If but for one week out of the year, you have a fleeting sensation during the Exposition of what a tower’s paradise can be, and you feel grateful to be alive, then we feel good. We feel blessed to be able to make our living helping you make yours. May sound corny to some, but probably not to most of our dedicated readers. We’ve set up American Towman Exposition XXXII to get you to network and celebrate, learn something along the way, and even do business with an industry supplier or two. We’ve brought in well over 200 of them to make your trip worth the while. Like the effect it had on most towers, 2020 put a hurt on our business. Indeed, the Pandemic’s politicians shut down our shows. They cut down highway traffic and tried to shut your doors. But you hung tough and rebounded. We hung tough too.

98 • October 2021 | Towman.com

Now we’re coming back. Our shows in San Antonio and Las Vegas surprised exhibitors with a strong turnout of attendees and their purchasing activity. The shows proved that tow business owners and industry suppliers still want and need face to face engagement. The Great Comeback will wrap up with the finale in Baltimore and American Towman will honor all the towing companies who hung tough and worked through 2020, never ceasing to provide their essential services. Throughout its thirty-one years, no obstacles could hold tow bosses back from going to Baltimore, not 9/11, not the depression of ‘08, and not the riots of ‘15. Towers, no strangers to adversity, would not be held back from any call, and certainly not the call to Baltimore and the industry’s Main Event. Like other legendary events that are looked toward as something not to be missed (Sturgis and Mardi Gras for bikers and revelers come to mind) the American Towman Exposition is in a league all by itself among trade events. Worldwide, no other event has an industry core of bravery and dedication to compare with towing and recovery 24/7. No other event reflects that core with the music, artistry, monuments, ceremony and celebration, and the intense training and education that marks AT Expo. And oh baby, the booms will be raised to the Convention Center ceiling as never before. See you in Baltimore!



Case Closed

Show Me the Money!

Protecting Your Tow Bill From Challenges By Josh Brown

Josh Brown is an attorney at Cassone Law Offices, LLC. where he represents dozens of small businesses throughout Ohio as business counsel and litigator.

I

n today’s world, a lot of people think of themselves as authorities on just about anything. They accuse people without any idea of what they are talking about. Including helpful, hardworking tow operators, as we’ll see. I came across such a person here in Ohio. She works for an insurance company and is a former police officer. According to her, she knows an overpriced recovery and tow bill when she sees one. And of course, she’s not letting anybody take advantage of her insurance company! This lady decided to complain about my client’s recovery and tow bill. We alleged that she had no knowledge of what happened. My client received a call out of the blue, from the police, who informed my client that a complaint was made. Next thing we knew, the checks were being cancelled and my client was not getting paid for their work. Unfortunately, all industries have bad actors among their ranks. These bad players give the honest companies a bad reputation. This makes it even more important that you are able to prove that you are a good actor when the time comes. There is not much you can do about the fact that some people will treat you unfairly. But you can prepare your response. Recovery and tow billing is nuanced. Most companies simply want fair pay for their work and investment. They are not looking to gouge anybody.

North 100 • October 2021 | Towman.com

In Ohio, as in most states, an insurance company has to pay the undisputed amount of the bill and there is a process for the disputed portion. For non-payment of the non-disputed portion, a simple demand and collection is in order. When an insurance company or vehicle owner alleges that your bill is too much, what should you do? And what should you do to prepare for such a challenge? There are no nationwide “industry standards” in billing for recovery and towing. However, there are several generalized standards that form a legitimate basis for a recovery and/or tow bill. First, you will want to have internal polices that are as objective as possible and based on standards set by credible thirdparties. It is difficult to get billing rates from competitors, but that would help. Keep that policy updated and readily


available. In addition, record your amendments as you make them, so that when the time comes, you will be able to show the progress of your standards.

in billing. Make sure they understand also, that if they do not write good logs which explain these facts in a way relatable to the standards, it

When an insurance company or vehicle owner alleges that your bill is too much, what should you do? Second, you should keep good employee logs and pictures of all work. Then make sure all recovery/tow employees know and understand the standards so that they know how to write their logs. The logbooks should explain the facts that justify any increases

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becomes more likely they may have to go to court and explain what they wrote. Third, once you have a good standard and employees are writing their logs in a way that relates the facts to the standards, then make sure you are adhering to

the policies you set. If you do not adhere to your internal policies, attorneys may take advantage of that fact. When they write their briefs, lawyers will always include expressions like, “The company did not even adhere to their own standards.” Once you get a complaint related to your billing, you should have logs and standards that you can pull down. Those materials should provide an objective case of what the standards are, where you got them, how they evolved and why, and the facts of each incident that justify the standards applied. By doing so, you can make your lawyer’s job much easier. This information gives an attorney the ammunition needed to shoot down complaints about your billing from people who don’t know what they are talking about.

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • North 101



News Flash

Bribery Investigation at Detroit’s City Hall

The FBI raided the homes of several Detroit City Council members, including their offices in Detroit City Hall, on August 25, over a public corruption investigation focused on Detroit towing operations and bribery allegations. The City Council members being investigated are Janeé Ayers and Scott Benson, in addition to their chiefs of staff Ricardo Silva and Carol Bank. The investigation represents the latest development in a scandal that has led to charges against Councilman André Spivey. FBI agents have been focused on municipal towing operations and accusations that city officials received bribes, according to two sources. The searches come three weeks after Spivey was arraigned in federal court on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery over claims he accepted more than $35,000 to be “influenced and rewarded” for votes. The investigation also involves towing magnate Gasper Fiore, who was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison in 2018, and Nicholas Primus, as they allegedly tried to funnel money to Councilwoman Ayers for advertising billboards. This transaction was revealed in a 2016 phone exchange involving a sealed FBI wiretap and affidavit by FBI Special Agent Robert Beeckman. Ayers has told The News she doesn’t know Primus, and campaign finance records show no payments from Primus or Fiore to Ayers. Source: detroitnews.com

Tow Company Dropped from Police Rotation

A tower caught on video using foul and racist language during a dispute with a customer in the presence of police led the town of Parsippany, N.J., to terminate the company from its rotation and all municipal operations. “Earlier this morning the township was made aware of an incident

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • North 103


News Flash occurring at Ajaco Towing Recovery, a business contracted with the Parsippany Police Department,” noted the local administration and police August 17 in a joint statement. “After reviewing the video, [we have] decided to no longer use Ajaco Towing, effective immediately.” The statement was released shortly after a Parsippany man posted a video of the incident on Instagram. In the video, the tow company employee can be heard using explicit language and a racial slur. The man recording the incident said at that point he felt threatened and believed he had been racially profiled. A manager at Ajaco said they were aware of the incident and were, “looking to make it right.”That employee is currently suspended pending further investigation into everything,” said the manager. “We don’t condone any of the actions that the employee is being accused of.” Source: dailyrecord.com

North 104 • October 2021 | Towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • North 105


News Flash Tow Company Sticks Up for Tow Law Creating New Board

Lori Anton, general manager of Consolidated Towing in Bend, OR, supports a new law (Senate Bill 300) signed by Gov. Kate Brown creating the Oregon Board of Towing. The law will establish a state towing board that operates under the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and will comprise industry and non-industry people. “These are people that care about the quality of the towing companies and can take reactive measures against fly-by-night companies or those that engage in predatory practices,” Anton said. “It allows the industry as a whole to do a self-policing, or self-regulation. So we 100 percent support it.” The law specifies that the board will have nine members, four of which are representatives from certified tow companies. The latter members consists of a tower in an Oregon city of 100,000 or more; a tower in a municipality of less than 100,000; a tower who has specialized knowledge of towing equipment over 40,000 pounds; a tower with specialized knowledge of gross vehicle weighting of 26,000 pounds or less. Other members will include a representative from the insurance industry, a member of a tow program within the state police, a chief of police, a public member and a consumer advocate. Anton made clear that the offenses are typically caused by small tow companies that act unfairly, which include not having the right accreditation and charging whatever prices they like. “There are lawsuits, there are complaints to the Better Business Bureau, complaints to the Oregon Tow Truck Association,” Anton said. “Hopefully, (the new board is) going to go after the towing companies that are not licensed, insured, qualified, and who are just taking advantage of people out there, just because they have a tow truck on the road.” Source: ktvz.com North 106 • October 2021 | Towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • North 107


North 108 • October 2021 | Towman.com


Episode 6

Copyright©2021 American Towman Magazine. Characters and stories are fictitious; no resemblance to real life characters is intended.


Send your thoughts/suggestions on the Adventures to scalitri@towman.com or American Towman, 2 Overlook Dr #5, Warwick NY 10990



Case Closed

Show Me the Money!

Protecting Your Tow Bill From Challenges By Josh Brown

Josh Brown is an attorney at Cassone Law Offices, LLC. where he represents dozens of small businesses throughout Ohio as business counsel and litigator.

I

n today’s world, a lot of people think of themselves as authorities on just about anything. They accuse people without any idea of what they are talking about. Including helpful, hardworking tow operators, as we’ll see. I came across such a person here in Ohio. She works for an insurance company and is a former police officer. According to her, she knows an overpriced recovery and tow bill when she sees one. And of course, she’s not letting anybody take advantage of her insurance company! This lady decided to complain about my client’s recovery and tow bill. We alleged that she had no knowledge of what happened. My client received a call out of the blue, from the police, who informed my client that a complaint was made. Next thing we knew, the checks were being cancelled and my client was not getting paid for their work. Unfortunately, all industries have bad actors among their ranks. These bad players give the honest companies a bad reputation. This makes it even more important that you are able to prove that you are a good actor when the time comes. There is not much you can do about the fact that some people will treat you unfairly. But you can prepare your response. Recovery and tow billing is nuanced. Most companies simply want fair pay for their work and investment. They are not looking to gouge anybody.

South 100 • October 2021 | Towman.com

In O h i o , as in most states, an insurance company has to pay the undisputed amount of the bill and there is a process for the disputed portion. For non-payment of the non-disputed portion, a simple demand and collection is in order. When an insurance company or vehicle owner alleges that your bill is too much, what should you do? And what should you do to prepare for such a challenge? There are no nationwide “industry standards” in billing for recovery and towing. However, there are several generalized standards that form a legitimate basis for a recovery and/or tow bill. First, you will want to have internal polices that are as objective as possible and based on standards set by credible third-parties. It is difficult to get billing rates from competitors, but that would help. Keep that policy updated and readily


available. In addition, record your amendments as you make them, so that when the time comes, you will be able to show the progress of your standards.

in billing. Make sure they understand also, that if they do not write good logs which explain these facts in a way relatable to the standards, it

When an insurance company or vehicle owner alleges that your bill is too much, what should you do? Second, you should keep good employee logs and pictures of all work. Then make sure all recovery/tow employees know and understand the standards so that they know how to write their logs. The logbooks should explain the facts that justify any increases

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

becomes more likely they may have to go to court and explain what they wrote. Third, once you have a good standard and employees are writing their logs in a way that relates the facts to the standards, then make sure you are adhering to

the policies you set. If you do not adhere to your internal policies, attorneys may take advantage of that fact. When they write their briefs, lawyers will always include expressions like, “The company did not even adhere to their own standards.” Once you get a complaint related to your billing, you should have logs and standards that you can pull down. Those materials should provide an objective case of what the standards are, where you got them, how they evolved and why, and the facts of each incident that justify the standards applied. By doing so, you can make your lawyer’s job much easier. This information gives an attorney the ammunition needed to shoot down complaints about your billing from people who don’t know what they are talking about.

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • South 101


News Flash Bribery Investigation at Detroit’s City Hall

The FBI raided the homes of several Detroit City Council members, including their offices in Detroit City Hall, on August 25, over a public corruption investigation focused on Detroit towing operations and bribery allegations. The City Council members being investigated are Janeé Ayers and Scott Benson, in addition to their chiefs of staff Ricardo Silva and Carol Bank. The investigation represents the latest development in a scandal that has led to charges against Councilman André Spivey. FBI agents have been focused on municipal towing operations and accusations that city officials received bribes, according to two sources. The searches come three weeks after Spivey was arraigned in federal court on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery over claims he accepted more than $35,000 to be “influenced and rewarded” for votes. The investigation also involves towing magnate Gasper Fiore, who was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison in 2018, and Nicholas Primus, as they allegedly tried to funnel money to Councilwoman Ayers for advertising billboards. This transaction was revealed in a 2016 phone exchange involving a sealed FBI wiretap and affidavit by FBI Special Agent Robert Beeckman. Ayers has told The News she doesn’t know Primus, and campaign finance records show no payments from Primus or Fiore to Ayers. Source: detroitnews.com

FBI Investigation

Tow Company Sticks Up for Tow Law Creating New Board

Lori Anton, general manager of Consolidated Towing in Bend, OR, supports a new law (Senate Bill 300) signed by Gov. Kate Brown creating the Oregon Board of Towing. The law will establish a state towing board that operates under the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and will comprise industry and non-industry people. “These are people that care about the quality of the towing companies and can take reactive measures against fly-by-night companies or those that engage in predatory practices,” Anton said. “It allows the industry as a whole to do a self-policing, or self-regulation. So we 100 percent support it.”

South 102 • October 2021 | Towman.com

The law specifies that the board will have nine members, four of which are representatives from certified tow companies. The latter members consists of a tower in an Oregon city of 100,000 or more; a tower in a municipality of less than 100,000; a tower who has specialized knowledge of towing equipment over 40,000 pounds; a tower with specialized knowledge of gross vehicle weighting of 26,000 pounds or less. Other members will include a representative from the insurance industry, a member of a tow program within the state police, a chief of police, a public member and a consumer advocate. Anton made clear that the offenses are typically caused by small tow companies that act unfairly, which include not having the right accreditation and charging whatever prices they like. “There are lawsuits, there are complaints to the Better Business Bureau, complaints to the Oregon Tow Truck Association,” Anton said. “Hopefully, (the new board is) going to go after the towing companies that are not licensed, insured, qualified, and who are just taking advantage of people out there, just because they have a tow truck on the road.” Source: ktvz.com


Tow Company Dropped from Police Rotation

A tower caught on video using foul and racist language during a dispute with a customer in the presence of police led the town of Parsippany, N.J., to terminate the company from its rotation and all municipal operations. “Earlier this morning the township was made aware of an incident occurring at Ajaco Towing Recovery, a business contracted with the Parsippany Police Department,” noted the local administration and police August 17 in a joint statement. “After reviewing the video, [we have] decided to no longer use Ajaco Towing, effective immediately.” The statement was released shortly after a Parsippany man posted a video of the incident on Instagram. In the video, the tow company employee can be heard using explicit language and a racial slur. The man

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

recording the incident said at that point he felt threatened and believed he had been racially profiled. A manager at Ajaco said they were aware of the incident and were, “looking to make it right.”That employee is currently suspended pending further investigation into everything,” said the manager. “We don’t condone any of the actions that the employee is being accused of.” Source: dailyrecord.com

Tow License of Md. Company Suspended Amid Violations

A resort commission in Ocean City, MD, upheld an action initiated by its Chief of Police to suspend the tow license of 1st Street Towing due to numerous violations. Police Chief Ross Buzzuro, who issued the suspension August 4, said, “There have a number of violations that we’ve uncovered that resulted in a combination of 49

criminal and civil violations.” The tower’s license was suspended for the rest of the year and came amidst an ongoing investigation arising from a complaint against the company. Violations included incomplete tow slips and affidavits, illegible signatures, unauthorized tow drivers and missing contracts between the tow company and property representatives. Cpl. Ryan Flanagan requested the commission uphold the police chief’s suspension. He noted that he’s had a working relationship with the company for years and was involved in a criminal investigation against 1st Street Towing in 2019. “After several times of me educating, trying to get compliance with these laws at every turn, they let us down,” he said. Abu-Zaid, the lawyer for First Street, requested the commission modify or reverse the chief’s

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • South 103


1st Street Towing

suspension. “He’s looking at a suspension that’s essentially half of a full year of a license,” he said. “So there’s substantial financial hardship as-

sociated with that. Not to mention the drivers, who could potentially be out of work.” Abu-Zaid also argued against some of the alleged violations in-

South 104 • October 2021 | Towman.com

volving incomplete affidavits. “The deficiencies, nine out of 10 times, are rectified by the tow slip that is right on top of it,” he pointed out. Abu-Zaid added the only documentation required for a tow in the town’s ordinance was a tow slip. “There’s no requirement in the code that there should be an affidavit,” he noted. “In fact, the word affidavit doesn’t appear anywhere in the code. I would suggest in the event the city wants to use a form affidavit, mandate a form affidavit and complain about deficiencies in the affidavit, somewhere in the code should say there should be an affidavit.” Tow owner Maath Salem urged the commission to reconsider his suspension. He said his company followed the law. “We love this town and have been in this town for over 30 years,” he said. “We do respect the law.” Source: mdcoastdispatch.com


Episode 6

Copyright©2021 American Towman Magazine. Characters and stories are fictitious; no resemblance to real life characters is intended.


Send your thoughts/suggestions on the Adventures to scalitri@towman.com or American Towman, 2 Overlook Dr #5, Warwick NY 10990



Case Closed

Show Me the Money!

Protecting Your Tow Bill From Challenges

By Josh Brown

Josh Brown is an attorney at Cassone Law Offices, LLC. where he represents dozens of small businesses throughout Ohio as business counsel and litigator.

I

n today’s world, a lot of people think of themselves as authorities on just about anything. They accuse people without any idea of what they are talking about. Including helpful, hardworking tow operators, as we’ll see. I came across such a person here in Ohio. She works for an insurance company and is a former police officer. According to her, she knows an over-priced recovery and tow bill when she sees one. And of course, she’s not letting anybody take advantage of her insurance company! This lady decided to complain about my client’s recovery and tow bill. We alleged that she had no knowledge of what happened. My client received a call out of the blue, from the police, who informed my client that a complaint was made. Next thing we knew, the checks were being cancelled and my client was not getting paid for their work. Unfortunately, all industries have bad actors among their ranks. These bad players give the honest companies a bad reputation. This makes it even more important that you are able to prove that you are a good actor when the time comes. There is not much you can do about the fact that some people will treat you unfairly. But you can prepare your response. Recovery and tow billing is nuanced. Most companies simply want fair pay for their work and investment. They are not looking to gouge anybody.

Midwest 100 • October 2021 | Towman.com

In O h i o , as in most states, an insurance company has to pay the undisputed amount of the bill and there is a process for the disputed portion. For non-payment of the non-disputed portion, a simple demand and collection is in order. When an insurance company or vehicle owner alleges that your bill is too much, what should you do? And what should you do to prepare for such a challenge? There are no nationwide “industry standards” in billing for recovery and towing. However, there are several generalized standards that form a legitimate basis for a recovery and/or tow bill. First, you will want to have internal polices that are as objective as possible and based on standards set by credible thirdparties. It is difficult to get billing rates from competitors, but that would help.


When an

insurance company or

vehicle owner alleges that your bill is too much,

what should you do?

Keep that policy updated and readily available. In addition, record your amendments as you make them, so that when the time comes, you will be able to show the progress of your standards. Second, you should keep good employee logs and pictures of all work. Then make sure all recovery/ tow employees know and

Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • Midwest 101


understand the standards so that they know how to write their logs. The logbooks should explain the facts that justify any increases in billing. Make sure they understand also, that if they do not write good logs which explain these facts in a way relatable to the standards, it becomes more likely they may have to go to court and explain what they wrote. Third, once you have a good standard and employees are writing their logs in a way that relates the facts to the standards, then make sure you are adhering to the policies you set. If you do not adhere to your internal policies, attorneys may take advantage of that fact. When they write their briefs, lawyers will always include expressions like, “The company did not even adhere to their own standards.” Once you get a complaint related to your billing, you should have logs and standards that you can pull down. Those materials should provide an objective case of what the standards are, where you got them, how they evolved and why, and the facts of each incident that justify the standards applied. By doing so, you can make your lawyer’s job much easier. This information gives an attorney the ammunition needed to shoot down complaints about your billing from people who don’t know what they are talking about.

Find us on Facebook Read more towing news at towman.com

Midwest 102 • October 2021 | Towman.com




Episode 6

Copyright©2021 American Towman Magazine. Characters and stories are fictitious; no resemblance to real life characters is intended.


Send your thoughts/suggestions on the Adventures to scalitri@towman.com or American Towman, 2 Overlook Dr #5, Warwick NY 10990



Case Closed

Show Me the Money!

Protecting Your Tow Bill From Challenges By Josh Brown

Josh Brown is an attorney at Cassone Law Offices, LLC. where he represents dozens of small businesses throughout Ohio as business counsel and litigator.

I

n today’s world, a lot of people think of themselves as authorities on just about anything. They accuse people without any idea of what they are talking about. Including helpful, hardworking tow operators, as we’ll see. I came across such a person here in Ohio. She works for an insurance company and is a former police officer. According to her, she knows an overpriced recovery and tow bill when she sees one. And of course, she’s not letting anybody take advantage of her insurance company! This lady decided to complain about my client’s recovery and tow bill. We alleged that she had no knowledge of what happened. My client received a call out of the blue, from the police, who informed my client that a complaint was made. Next thing we knew, the checks were being cancelled and my client was not getting paid for their work. Unfortunately, all industries have bad actors among their ranks. These bad players give the honest companies a bad reputation. This makes it even more important that you are able to prove that you are a good actor when the time comes. There is not much you can do about the fact that some people will treat you unfairly. But you can prepare your response. Recovery and tow billing is nuanced. Most companies simply want fair pay for their work and investment. They are not looking to gouge anybody.

West 100 • October 2021 | Towman.com

In O h i o , as in most states, an insurance company has to pay the undisputed amount of the bill and there is a process for the disputed portion. For non-payment of the non-disputed portion, a simple demand and collection is in order. When an insurance company or vehicle owner alleges that your bill is too much, what should you do? And what should you do to prepare for such a challenge? There are no nationwide “industry standards” in billing for recovery and towing. However, there are several generalized standards that form a legitimate basis for a recovery and/or tow bill. First, you will want to have internal polices that are as objective as possible and based on standards set by credible thirdparties. It is difficult to get billing rates from competitors, but that would help. Keep that policy updated and readily



available. In addition, record your amendments as you make them, so that when the time comes, you will be able to show the progress of your standards. Second, you should keep good employee logs and pictures of all work. Then make sure all recovery/ tow employees know and understand the standards so that they know how to write their logs. The logbooks should explain the facts that justify any increases in billing. Make sure they understand also, that if they do not write good logs which explain these facts in a way relatable to the standards, it becomes more likely they may have to go to court and explain what they wrote. Third, once you have a good standard and employees are writing their logs in a way that relates the facts to the standards, then make sure you are adhering

West 102 • October 2021 | Towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • West 103


to the policies you set. If you do not adhere to your internal policies, attorneys may take advantage of that fact. When they write their briefs, lawyers will always include expressions like, “The company did not even adhere to their own standards.” Once you get a complaint related to your billing, you should have logs and standards that you can pull down. Those materials should provide an objective case of what the standards are, where you got them, how they evolved and why, and the facts of each incident that justify the standards applied. By doing so, you can make your lawyer’s job much easier. This information gives an attorney the ammunition needed to shoot down complaints about your billing from people who don’t know what they are talking about.

West 104 • October 2021 | Towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • West 105


News Flash

Bribery Investigation at Detroit’s City Hall

The FBI raided the homes of several Detroit City Council members, including their offices in Detroit City Hall, on August 25, over a public corruption investigation focused on Detroit towing operations and bribery allegations. The City Council members being investigated are Janeé Ayers and Scott Benson, in addition to their chiefs of staff Ricardo Silva and Carol Bank. The investigation represents the latest development in a scandal that has led to charges against Councilman André Spivey. FBI agents have been focused on municipal towing operations and accusations that city officials received bribes, according to two sources. The searches come three weeks after Spivey was arraigned in federal court on one count of conspiracy to commit bribery over claims he accepted more than $35,000 to be “influenced and rewarded” for votes. The investigation also involves towing magnate Gasper Fiore, who was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison in 2018, and Nicholas Primus, as they allegedly tried to funnel money to Councilwoman Ayers for advertising billboards. This transaction was revealed in a 2016 phone exchange involving a sealed FBI wiretap and affidavit by FBI Special Agent Robert Beeckman. Ayers has told The News she doesn’t know Primus, and campaign finance records show no payments from Primus or Fiore to Ayers. Source: detroitnews.com

Tow License of Md. Company Suspended Amid Violations

A resort commission in Ocean City, MD, upheld an action initiated by its Chief of Police to suspend the tow license of 1st Street Towing due to numerous violations. Police Chief Ross Buzzuro, who issued the suspension August 4, said, “There have a number of vio-

lations that we’ve uncovered that resulted in a combination of 49 criminal and civil violations.” The tower’s license was suspended for the rest of the year and came amidst an ongoing investigation arising from a complaint against the company. Violations included incomplete tow slips and affidavits, illegible signatures, unauthorized tow drivers and missing contracts between the tow company and property representatives. Cpl. Ryan Flanagan requested the commission uphold the police chief’s suspension. He noted that he’s had a working relationship with the company for years and was involved in a criminal investigation against 1st Street Towing in 2019. “After several times of me educating, trying to get compliance with these laws at every turn, they let us down,” he said. Abu-Zaid, the lawyer for First Street, requested the commission modify or reverse the chief’s suspension. “He’s looking at a suspension that’s essentially half of a full year of a license,” he said. “So there’s substantial financial hardship associated with that. Not to mention the drivers, who could potentially be out of work.” Abu-Zaid also argued against some of the alleged violations involving incomplete affidavits. “The deficiencies, nine out of 10 times, are rectified by the tow slip that is right on top of it,” he pointed out. Abu-Zaid added the only documentation required for a tow in the town’s ordinance was a tow slip. “There’s no requirement in the code that there should be an affidavit,” he noted. “In fact, the word affidavit doesn’t appear anywhere in the code. I would suggest in the event the city wants to use a form affidavit, mandate a form affidavit and complain about deficiencies in the affidavit, somewhere in the code should say there should be an affidavit.” Tow owner Maath Salem urged

West 106 • October 2021 | Towman.com

the commission to reconsider his suspension. He said his company followed the law. “We love this town and have been in this town for over 30 years,” he said. “We do respect the law.” Source: mdcoastdispatch.com

Tow Company Dropped from Police Rotation

A tower caught on video using foul and racist language during a dispute with a customer in the presence of police led the town of Parsippany, N.J., to terminate the company from its rotation and all municipal operations. “Earlier this morning the township was made aware of an incident occurring at Ajaco Towing Recovery, a business contracted with the Parsippany Police Department,” noted the local administration and police August 17 in a joint statement. “After reviewing the video, [we have] decided to no longer use Ajaco Towing, effective immediately.” The statement was released shortly after a Parsippany man posted a video of the incident on Instagram. In the video, the tow company employee can be heard using explicit language and a racial slur. The man recording the incident said at that point he felt threatened and believed he had been racially profiled. A manager at Ajaco said they were aware of the incident and were, “looking to make it right.”That employee is currently suspended pending further investigation into everything,” said the manager. “We don’t condone any of the actions that the employee is being accused of.” Source: dailyrecord.com

Find us on Facebook Read more towing news at towman.com


Work the non-traffic side - Stay Safe!

AmericanTowman.com | October 2021 • West 107


West 108 • October 2021 | Towman.com


Episode 6

Copyright©2021 American Towman Magazine. Characters and stories are fictitious; no resemblance to real life characters is intended.


Send your thoughts/suggestions on the Adventures to scalitri@towman.com or American Towman, 2 Overlook Dr #5, Warwick NY 10990