2012 — A Year in Review

Dec 31st, 2012 | By | Category: Spotlight

To recap the past year — notes from 2012 issues of Tow Times magazine

The Tow Times January issue announced the passing of Harold Shipp (Shippy) of Australia and veteran towing company owner Maynard Hadley, who was also treasurer of the Towing and Recovery Association of America.

In the February issue article “A Look at Light-Duty Towing,” of the readers surveyed, light-duty towing made up 70 to 89 percent of call volume. Of the total light-duty calls reported by our respondents, motor club calls comprised almost half of the total calls.

In the March issue article “A Current Affair — Towing and Recovering Electric Vehicles” by Wendy Black, readers had more questions than answers on how to handle electric vehicles, and training was named the key to addressing safety and damage concerns. Safety concerns of first responders and towing operators is a continuing topic as evidenced by the recent finding of a report by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

The April 2012 issue looked at 2012 towing industry buying trends, learning that of the readers we surveyed, a very slight majority chose a car carrier as the equipment choice for 2012 over a conventional towing unit (boom and wheel-lift). It was also a close race as to whether readers would purchase new equipment, used, owned or leased. Buying new equipment won out, with a 10 percent edge over used. Optimism about the economy was up, with 44.2 percent of companies responding that they would be adding employees.

The May issue named the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame Class of 2012 inductees: Robert G. Birrell Jr., Paul M. Bressi, Darrell H. Mansfield, Michael P. McGovern, Nicholas J. Ovenden, Alex Robb, Jeffrey P. Roskopf, James Satterfield, Robert E Schatzman Jr., and Robert Sommers. The May issue also announced the passing of Val Reich, III, a well-known industry figure involved in the Towing and Recovery Association of Ohio, Friends of Towing and International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame among other organizations.

The June issue noted the passing of Tow Times stockholder Kelly McKnight of Kelly McKnight Wrecker Service in Arlington, Texas. He was a long-time member of the Texas Towing and Storage Association and the Towing and Recovery Association of America.

The July issue’s 2012 Fleet Analysis noted that the average number of trucks in the fleets of those surveyed was 15. The most common piece of equipment was a light-duty tow truck, with car carriers coming a close second. What was the most common piece of fleet equipment that was not a tow truck or car carrier? A forklift.

The August issue article “Adapt and Improvise: The Evolution of Light-Duty Technology” asked towing equipment manufacturers “How is current light-duty towing equipment adapting to meet the towing requirement of today’s automobiles and light trucks?” The most common response of how their equipment is designed: feedback from customers and end-users.

In the September issue guest Legaleze column “Are You Sounding the Battle Cry?”, Alexis Steinberg of Mosser Law PLLC in Dallas, Texas, advised readers to watch closely the petition to the United States Supreme Court by Dan’s City Used Cars. The outcome could significantly impact how local regulations affect towing operations across the U.S.

In the October issue feature article “Winter-proofing Alaskan Style,” Tow Times maintenance writer AP McDonald warned that at temperatures under minus 50 degrees, cold-soaked tires can shatter, and he advised to use extreme care when touching anything inside a vehicle in ultra-low temperatures as everything is susceptible to breaking — such as seat covers, dashboards and levers.

The November issue revealed the 2012 Tow Times Shine ‘n Star Contest Winners. The Grand Prize winner: a light-duty Ford F-350 equipped with a Jerr-Dan Element self-loader belonging to Hawks Towing and Recovery of Trenton, New Jersey.

The December issue contained a report on the 2012 Wall of the Fallen Ceremony at the Tennessee Tow Show held in Chattanooga in September. Thirty-four names of towing operators who lost their lives in the line of duty were added to the memorial wall.

Best wishes for a safe and prosperous New Year from the Tow Times staff.