THE IMPORTANCE OF SIGNALING
IN THE TOWING INDUSTRY

Sean McShea, Headquarters Account Manager

In Chattanooga TN you will find a memorial dedicated to Towing Operators who were killed in the line of service. This memorial was started by the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and created in September of 2006. While a lot of focus has been on the line of service deaths stemming from Fire and Police, little focus has been on that of the Towing Operators who succumb to injuries sustained on the side of the roadway.

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While many factors can be attributed to the deaths of our Tow Operators, being struck by another vehicle on the side of the road has been prevalent while reading about the tragedy of loss. According to CFOI data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “CFOI data from 2011 to 2016 reported 191 deaths in the motor vehicle towing industry. This number translates to an annual average fatality rate of nearly 43 deaths per 100,000 workers, more than 15 times the rate of 2.8 deaths per 100,000 workers for all US private industries combined.” In a AAA Magazine published for September 2020, they reference 341 tow trucks were hit in a single year according to Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). More specifically, AAA mentions a tow truck driver is killed every 6 days.

Because of this, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has created a strategic plan for years 2020-2029 in an effort to implement different safety protocols in 3 strategies depending on the type of hazardous duty performed. With the help of this strategic plan and strategies, more light and focus will be drawn on the risk of our towing and commercial operators endure.

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While not one system, product, or strategy can wholly eliminate line of service deaths on the side of the road, TOMAR understands the importance of signaling in an effort to warn drivers effectively while approaching a scene. More specifically, TOMAR has a line of signaling products that are dedicated to the Towing Industry that include advanced engineering and robust design. Each module in our Scorpion or Black Widow Light Bars uses our Clear Vision optics which feature a hybrid Total Internal Reflector (TIR) collimator to collect more of the LED’s lumens and direct them where you need them: down the road.  This means Scorpion™ can be extremely efficient and seen from a further distance, giving first responders a safer response, and allowing traffic to see an emergency scene from farther away with more time to react.

Recently, TOMAR partnered with Midco Sales in Chandler AZ to produce a light bar that not only would be effective in its warning capability but also withstand the harsh environments our Tow Operators face every day. TOMAR values Midco Sales as a preferred partner as Midco has been considered the largest in-stock dealer in the southwest part of the United States and builds tow-trucks for nationwide delivery. With Midco Sales and TOMAR Electronics both being a family run company and having the customer’s satisfaction in mind, a partnership seemed nothing but natural. 

Pete Colantoni, Sales Manager for Midco Sales, said “I use TOMAR Electronics on all of my builds due to their effectiveness for warning and signaling. Not only do I get a light bar that I know will last, I get a light bar that pushes warning light down the road effectively, helping in the advanced warning of oncoming drivers.”  Pete continued “with TOMAR’s modularity in design, I have found a great advantage over other light bars as I can replace a damaged warning module with a single hex key and get my truck back up and running, instead of waiting for the light bar to repaired, which takes away from time on the road. TOMAR’s customer service is unparalleled and that is paramount when it comes to custom builds or unexpected lighting demands and I have had nothing but a great experience!”

For years in our great industry we have struggled with the need for an “Envelope of Safety” for our Tow Operators, and EVRT (Emergency  Vehicle Recovery Technicians) and now after years of trial and error, we are one step closer to our goals!

TOMAR Electronics, along with Midco Sales and ERSCA continue our efforts to help provide every safety tools available to produce “The Envelope of Safety.

TOMAR’s slogan, “Envelope of Safety” includes the most cutting edge emergency lighting from TOMAR Electronics that are brighter at a distance but become less blinding up close for the operator and motorists alike creating a safer emergency scene. ERSCA is very dedicated to supply the operator training in scene management and awareness as well as the last line of defense by how to load without taking your eyes of oncoming traffic. Midco is very dedicated in pulling all of the best quality emergency lighting, tools, education and awareness together and providing this all to our Industry Professionals! Whether you purchase new equipment from us or have the need to retrofit your current equipment to provide the best possible safety solutions for your employees, we all are here with one goal in mind, Saving Lives!!!”

PETE COLANTONI, SALES MANAGER FOR MIDCO SALES

For more information on our TW01 series and advantages of TOMAR lighting on your Tow Truck build, be sure to check out https://tomar.com/towing/

“Wall of the Fallen | International Towing Museum.” International Towing Museum,
internationaltowingmuseum.org/wall-of-the-fallen/. Accessed 20 July 2022.

“AAA, Partners Launch Move over Video.” AAA Magazine, Sept. 2020, p. 4,
ohio.aaa.com/content/dam/aaa-oac-web/pdfs/home-and-
away/AAAMagazineOACSep2020v2.pdf. Accessed 20 July 2022.

NIOSH [2020]. NIOSH Center for Motor Vehicle Safety Strategic

Plan, 2020–2029. By Pratt S, Retzer K, Rodríguez-Acosta R,
Olsavsky R, Fosbroke D. Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2020-126‌

Colantoni, Pete. TOMAR Lighting on Tow Trucks. 20 July 2022.