The Week's Features
Oil spill, overturned tanker provides challenges
Calif. Towers can now get certified online
Truck gets returned to on-leave serviceman
System reduces blind spots with advanced HD monitor and camera
Sometimes help comes a place you'd never expect
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AT Exposition
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 18-20, 2016
AT ShowPlace
Las Vegas, NV.
May 11-13, 2016
Tow Expo Int'l
Dallas, TX.
August 4-6, 2016
Don't Miss It!
Most companies put policies in place with the idea of curtailing some sort of behavior that they don't want to continue. A Policies and Procedural Manual creates a better working environment and can decrease damages, driver turn-over, improve communication and attitudes and ultimately attract more customers. Don Archer, Tow Industry Week's Business Editor, examines this very important topic in his seminar, "Manual-ly" Growing Your Business, during the American Towman Show Place at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., May 11-13.

Roundtables Highlight WreckMaster Convention

The men and women of WreckMaster will be very busy at Tow Industry Week at the American Towman ShowPlace—Las Vegas.

Besides offering up 12 rigorous hours of conventional heavy-duty and rotator training, WreckMaster will be holding its convention in Las Vegas.

The convention will introduce new equipment critical to recovery work, along with the new WreckMaster app, which calculates load and force factors on the job.

Sessions will include Billing, Leveraging Your WreckMaster Certification, Networking with Trucking and Insurance Agents, and In-house Training Initiatives.

WreckMaster President Justin Cruse feels the opportunity to bring together towers from all over North America will provide a unique and beneficial opportunity to broaden knowledge.

"We're looking forward to a great turnout," Cruse said. "We have some very interesting roundtable discussions set up for our convention. The opportunity to have these breakout sessions with WreckMasters from all over North America will prove to be a beneficial training experience. It's our expectation to draw some solid numbers and have a great event."

It's not going to be all recovery training for the WreckMasters, as there will be ample opportunity to socialize and trade war stories. Hospitality includes the Meat Carver WreckMaster Welcome taking place May 12 at 6 p.m. and the Box Lunch on May 13 at noon. In addition, the WreckMaster Passport will be good for all Tow Industry Week Conference seminars and conventioneers will be welcomed at all Tow Industry Week activities.

"We feel that Las Vegas is an opportunity to draw from our audience WreckMasters all over the nation," Cruse stated. "With Las Vegas being a hot spot for people to travel to and in conjunction with American Towman's Tow Industry Week, it was an opportunity we wanted to take advantage of."

The WreckMaster Convention is open to all certified WreckMasters. Cost to be a part of the festivities is $195 through advance registration and $350 on-site. Registration is available at

FMCSA Allows Rechargeable Lights

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has granted an exemption to allow motor carriers to use rechargeable wireless temporary stop, turn and tail lights during towing situations.

The exemption was requested in August by TowMate. Under current regulations, all required lamps, with the exception of battery-powered lamps used on projecting loads, have to be powered by the electrical system of the truck.

FMCSA said using these wireless systems during towing "will reduce time tow operators spend at the side of the road connecting wired lighting systems between vehicles, thereby reducing their risk of injury and increasing safety."

In its exemption request, TowMate said that with the improvements in LED technology, coupled with advancements in battery technologies, rechargeable wireless tow lighting systems will meet or exceed the current level of safety achieved without the exemption.

The exemption is good for two years from the date of its publication in the Federal Register, which was scheduled on Feb. 9.


Sea Crest Insurance Agency

SeaCrestInsurance 274e7Sea Crest Insurance Agency has over 25 years of experience in the towing and recovery field. They offer several A-rated programs that are recognized by Automobile Club of Southern and Northern California, California Highway Patrol, sheriff's departments, auto auctions, auto clubs and municipalities. Sea Crest offers fair but competitive pricing and are able to service large to small size business.
By Don Lomax
My competitor's shop burned down. I would:
offer him some equipment and lot space
attempt to get his customers to become my customers
service his customers for him and split the revenue
do nothing

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

Tow Industry Today Starts Next Week!

At Tow Industry Week, we're always looking for exciting and creative ways to keep the towing industry informed.

Starting next week, we'll be launching a new feature of Tow Industry Week called Tow Industry Today. With it, the industry will be informed on a daily basis on what is happening in the industry. News features, product information and updates on AT Expo shows will be a part of this exciting endeavor.

So be sure to check in daily to keep abreast of what's making news in the industry. If there's something you think we should cover, please feel free to email me.

We know you'll enjoy staying in the loop with Tow Industry Today.
--Charles Duke
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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WreckMaster President Justin Cruse said that the WreckMaster Convention will bring together towers from all over North America to provide a unique and beneficial opportunity to broaden knowledge.
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