The Week's Features
Tower donates time on service call
Bright lights increase hi-vis wearables
A touch of fear keeps you alert on the road
Swapping chrome for steel makes sense for paint
Repo agent hit by car as suspect flees in vehicle
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJuly 27 - August 02, 2016
Heavies No Longer Required
An Albany, Ga., tow business owner said he's upset over a "surprise" change that hurts his wrecker company. Jack Futrill said he saved for a year to buy a heavy-duty wrecker for his business to get on the city's towing rotation. “But … the two (companies) before me didn't have to, or the two after me, by the way. So it's pretty hard to stomach that," said Futrill. On Tuesday night, city commissioners voted to allow companies without heavy-duty equipment on the list to handle normal tows.
From the American Towman News Bureau
Two Rotators Stolen in Pa.
Pennsylvania State Police are looking for two Jerr-Dan rotators worth $1.2 million that were taken between noon Saturday and 1 a.m. Sunday from the Rush Truck Center in Guilford Township. The trucks stolen were: a 2017 Peterbilt 389/JFB with black body, orange accents, and last eight digits of VIN is HD368714; and a 2017 Peterbilt 567/JFB with white body, green accents, and last eight digits of VIN is HD368677. Anyone with information is asked to call Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers toll-free at 800-472-8477.
Booted Cars Accumulating
The Reading (Pa.) Parking Authority hasn't been towing vehicles since October. The number of vehicles that have been booted or abandoned has been growing in city neighborhoods. Reimundo Encarnacion, acting director, said the former towing contract was terminated because of a state police investigation into the business. Encarnacion said that the parking authority must put together a formal RFP before it can award a new contract, which could take up to six months.
Two Rotators Stolen in Pa.
Two new Peterbilt/Jerr-Dan heavies stolen from distributor
Heavies No Longer Required
Commission implements two-tier rotation system
Booted Cars Accumulating
City terminated one contract without new tower in place

AAA: Modern Cars, More Tows

Last year the American Automobile Association responded to more calls for help than ever before, as reported in Fortune. AAA dispatched roadside service to assist 32 million drivers in 2015, a record for the company. The numbers are up due to a mixture of new design, new tech and drivers ignoring dashboard warnings, according to AAA.

Another roadside service call pattern reported by AAA is the higher frequency of towing. One in five calls for late model vehicles results in towing to a dealer or other service facility. The complexity of newer vehicles more commonly rules out roadside repairs, so towing is more frequent.

"Vehicles today are advanced more than ever, yet are still vulnerable to breakdowns," said Cliff Ruud, AAA's managing director of automotive solutions. "Sleek, low profile tires are highly susceptible to damage, electronic keyless ignitions can zap battery life, and, despite advanced warning systems, more than half a million drivers ran out of gas last year."

AAA points to tires and keys above all else. The organization stated that cars less than five years old were responsible for a disproportionate number of calls, largely due to a lack of spare tires and the keyless ignitions.


Savatech High-Pressure Bags

HTechBags d204bSavatech's high-pressure lifting bags lift up to 92 tons (with one bag) with working pressure up to 145 psi. See all that Savatech has to offer at Tow Expo Dallas/Ft. Worth, taking place at the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, Texas Aug. 4-6.
By Don Lomax
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If I had my way, industry trade shows would take place:
Five-day event (Monday - Friday)
Middle of the week (Tues., Wed., Thurs.)
Weekends (Sat., Sun.)
End of the week (Fri., Sat.)

Winching a Car Down a Hill

Winchingdownhill b75d5By Don Archer

I was out of breath and running to help my little brother when my wife's hand slapped me in the face, waking me from my dream. The phone was ringing and she was telling me to GET UP!

I was on-call and it was the Highway Patrol needing a wrecker.

I jumped up, put on my uniform and boots, and headed out the door on a cold December night.

When I arrived, the Trooper pointed me in the direction of the crumpled Ford Focus. It was up an embankment about 30 feet, lodged between some trees.

My job that night was to winch a car—down a hill. Unless the plan was to just cut her loose and let her roll, it wasn't going to be easy. I first needed to dislodge it from the trees; then, without losing control, bring it down the hill and land it safely on the shoulder. The trick was keeping it from running me over or rolling out into traffic.

As I surveyed the casualty, I stepped back for a minute just out of sight of the patrolman and scratched my head ... I couldn't have him thinking I was stumped. As I stood there scheming for a solution, I was reminded of the dream I was having only moments earlier of a somewhat similar dilemma I'd been up against years ago.

I was 10 and my little brother Troy was in trouble with the neighborhood boys. He'd retreated to as high a spot as he could get up an old oak tree. I ran to the sound of his yelling and found Kevin, Marty and Darrel gathering wood and placing it at the base of the tree. Their plan was to smoke him out.

Being a year older than the oldest of the boys, my first inclination was to run up yelling and threatening to "Kill them all," but since Marty had his BB rifle I decided against it.

I suppose I could have just let them do what they were gonna do; but I was responsible for my little brother. Since I'd already seen and heard the commotion, I had a stake in whatever happened next.

I assessed my options. I could try and take the BB gun from Marty and scare them all away but where would that leave us tomorrow? I looked for another solution.

I tried reasoning with the kids; that didn't work. I tried bargaining, "We'll rebuild your club house." But each solution offered was just dismissed with a wave of their hands.

And just when they were convinced I was out of options, I lunged at Marty and knocked the BB gun out of his hands.

All eyes on me, the gun fell at our feet. I kicked it and jumped on it. Marty jumped on me and we scrambled for control. Right when I was about to wrench his prized Red Rider free, twisting it from his grimy little hands, they made a move I didn't expect.

One would pull on my arm while the other would yank on the gun. When nothing seemed to work, Kevin stood up, reared his foot back like he was going for a homerun in kickball and kicked me in the face.

That's the bad news.

The good news is all that blood and hollering scared the living daylights out of 'em, and they ran off. Troy didn't get smoked out and we didn't have to fight again the next day. Of course I had a bloody nose and a sore upper lip for a couple of days but sometimes going backwards works.

Back to the present. I noticed a sturdy oak tree almost 20 feet up from the wrecked Focus.

Could this be the solution I was looking for?

I walked it out, did a little math, added in a splash of geometry and decided it'd work. All that was left was the implementation. I snatch-blocked off the tree and used two winch lines, one pulling against the other. I first pulled the car backwards toward the tree and maneuvered it so that I had the control to not only dislodge the car, but also swing it free and slowly lower it to the shoulder, avoiding additional problems.

I thought I'd been stymied, but everything worked as planned and I walked away victoriously and gained a little something from the whole ordeal: a new perspective.

I couldn't immediately see the solution when I arrived. But the reason wasn't because it was too dark, or too cold or I was too tired. It was because I was stuck—I didn't want to see the bigger picture. I wanted to recover a vehicle that was wrecked down an embankment not up one.

Just like that day and this casualty, sometimes the best solution to a problem is something you can't plan for. You get lucky, and it simply appears.

Don G. Archer and his wife, Brenda, own and operate Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, MO. Don is also multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at Want to learn more email him direct at

Towmen Doing Good

Just lucky, I guess. In my week subbing in for TIW Editor Charles Duke, I was able to find some good news about towmen for the News page.

In one case, we had a towman donate his time on a tire change instead of taking money from state troopers trying to help a stranded motorist.

In another, tow companies waived storage fees in a miscommunication between owners and the DNR on where to park.

In yet another, a tow supervisor paid for a hotel room for a stranded couple who were strapped for cash in the middle of the night.

Keep up the good work!

--Brendan Dooley

ATTV Oz Reports
July 27 - August 02, 2016
Editor: Charles Duke
Managing Editor: Brendan Dooley
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales: William Burwell
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
ATTV Technical Production: OMG National
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Don Archer
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
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