Monday, August 4, 2008

New reality show - Wrecked on Speed Channel

I flipped through the channels earlier today and found this reality show about towing companies based in Chicago called Wrecker on the Speed channel. It was basically about the other end of accidents - towing and clean up. I never knew that towing companies were required to perform clean up of the incident. I always thought that was up to the firemen.

The show featured some conflict between long time wrecker and flatbed drivers and a new female safety supervisor or coordinator. The good old boys (long time male wrecker drivers and operators) liked to do things their way and didn't like being told how to do things. But there can be some very dangerous moments when lifting and pulling wrecked cars and trucks at an accident scene. I have personally seen what can happen when a tow line snaps and it could easily rip your head off! So regardless of personal issues, safety is very important.

It was a very interesting show as it showed the operation of several rigs. Some well known (like typical wreckers and flatbeds) and lesser known like the little special lifts and Bobcat like equipment and the huge rotating boom trucks. Did you know these huge rotating boom trucks cost over $600,000 and only last about 5 years before they need replacing? I didn't know that myself and I have spent over 15 years in the automotive business.

Later in the show the business owner and his daughters were introduced and, apparently the daughters like to park at the front entrance blocking some of the service bays at the repair facility and their uncles (it's a family owned and operated business) have told them numerous times not to park their brand new SUV and Dodge car (typical spoiled owner's kids as with many businesses) out front. So they used the lifting equipment to relocate the girls' vehicles. Of course, the girls then went to see daddy and complain and daddy couldn't get a word in and was left frustrated (more evidence of typical spoiled owner's kids).

I wouldn't say it was the most interesting reality show I have ever seen, but it was quite interesting and there were a lot of little interesting tidbits they revealed every now and then - like these:

1) There are over 300 car accidents per day in Chicago and over 250,000 cars get in an accident per year there.

2) Many times the length of time it takes to clear up an accident has nothing to do with the wrecker operators - they can't even start until the police give them the go ahead. Manytimes they must wait for accident or crime scene photographers, power company workers, etc...

3) In continuation of # 2 above, once the wrecker crew is given the go ahead the clock starts and the police manytimes only give them ten minutes or so to fully remove the vehicles and have the lanes open. So the police can take their time, but not the wrecker guys (or gals as is sometimes the case).

4) There is a lot of maintenance and much of it can easily be traced back to improper storage and care of the equipment. Daily maintenance logs help, but as evidenced in the show many drivers do not use them.

5) Wrecker drivers and operators have a 24 hour on call or standby job and can get called away at any time.

6) All wrecker calls are dangerous - lines could snap, toxic chemicals are ever present (gas, antifreeze, blood, etc...), and they work within feet or even inches of fast moving traffic - just like construction workers.

So, please respect wrecker drivers and operators as they have a tough, gruelling and dangerous job. Please slow down and drive safely around them - they are just doing their job as quickly as they can - they have to.

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Jeff Brown said...

Well it's good to see that someone has something positive to say about the Towing industry as most of the time all you read about on here is how bad of people we are.

Burt. S. said...

Well, damn straight. Damn towers darn took my car and disapeered with it. They stole it and I don't know why. I only missed a few payments and that don't give em the right to come by my house and steel my car out from my carport. They is lucky they did it while I was busy with my girlfreind. Else I woulda filled em full of buckshot.