Tow-truckies predict chaos as police encode radios

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trace1

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Tow-truckies predict chaos as police encode radios

TOW-TRUCK drivers have warned of traffic chaos next week when a new, coded form of police radio will delay their response time to accidents.

From Tuesday, police will encrypt their radio network to exclude criminals and eavesdroppers. But it will also block tow-truck drivers, who rely on the radio to respond to crashes.

The delay will also slow the clearing of roads, resulting in longer traffic jams, especially at peak hour, the drivers warn. One tow-truck driver, who did not want to be named, said there were bad traffic jams when police radio moved from analogue to digital. "If we are not there, it's just gridlock," he said.

A towing company owner, who called himself "just John", warned of major problems on key arterial roads. "About 70 per cent of the accidents you go to are from the police scanner," he said.
Hmm...

No more listening to the "man" down under, huh?
 

AZScanner

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What about FD? Monitoring them should tell you where the serious accidents are at least, and they take the longest to clear anyway.

Here in Arizona we use a towing rotation. A tow truck can't just happen to appear on the scene and get the nod, they have to be specifically requested by the police department. Makes for some frustration for officers if the company who's "turn" it is happens to be really busy or unavailable - they have to give them 90 minutes to respond before they can go to the next company. Talk about gridlock...

-AZ
 

Zaratsu

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AZScanner said:
What about FD? Monitoring them should tell you where the serious accidents are at least, and they take the longest to clear anyway.

Here in Arizona we use a towing rotation. A tow truck can't just happen to appear on the scene and get the nod, they have to be specifically requested by the police department. Makes for some frustration for officers if the company who's "turn" it is happens to be really busy or unavailable - they have to give them 90 minutes to respond before they can go to the next company. Talk about gridlock...

-AZ
which is probably why the scanner is helpfull for the "next" company monitoring. If Ace Towing is taking half an hour to respond and they are the current company in rotation, and Joes Towing hears the call, he can sit off in a nearby parking lot to jump in if Ace cant make it. Sometimes they need more than one towtruck and the attentive owner can jump in.


This also begs the question, how do the Kangaroo roadkill cleanup crew know when to respond?
 

ibagli

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I'd never heard of tow trucks racing to accidents until I saw an accident out of my state with tow trucks practically lurking in the bushes waiting to pounce.
 
D

DaveNF2G

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Tow trucks are the main reason we have the anti-mobile-scanner law in New York. This was a problem way back in 1936, apparently.
 

mikepdx

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AZScanner said:
Here in Arizona we use a towing rotation. A tow truck can't just happen to appear on the scene and get the nod, they have to be specifically requested by the police department. Makes for some frustration for officers if the company who's "turn" it is happens to be really busy or unavailable - they have to give them 90 minutes to respond before they can go to the next company. Talk about gridlock...-AZ
There's towing rotation too, here in Oregon.
The tow companies must be on a list pre-approved by the PD's.
They must comply with a ton of regulations by state law long BEFORE
they're approved for the list, i.e. insurance & equipment minimums, no drivers that are felons,
no drivers with lousy driving records, trucks two way radio equipped,
24/7 availability for releases of vehicles from their tow yard, etc.
Fly-by-nights are non-existent, at least for police tows.

90 minutes? LOL Not here. I've heard a dispatcher give an officer on scene
a tow company ETA of as little as 30-40 mins, and he then directed the dispatcher
to cancel them and go to the next company in rotation because there was such a mess.
 
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RodStrong

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Rotations are good, and chasing wrecks is also good. Depends on one's attitude. The positives of tow trucks having scanners and chasing wrecks are they get there FAST and the faster a wreck is cleared, the safer we all are. The negative is sometimes they drive like crap racing to a wreck, and there is the occasional accident on top of the accident....

Rotations are good because it ensures a response by someone will be made. If a service signs up for the rotation, they must respond within a set time or face revocation of license if problems develop. They are also good because the danger of racing to wrecks by other tow trucks is eliminated.

The bad is, they often take much longer to get to scenes, which increases danger. No one likes to wait for a wrecker. Cops, citizens involved, people sitting in gridlock, no one.

And most all systems have the same regulations, regardless of which is used.

Pick your poison.
 

mikea7531

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90 min for a response? Good lord, that's a long time. Around here in the central jersey area, most PDs require them to have a 20min or less response time. I know our PD strictly follows that rule, there has been many times when the first one on the list was cancelled after 20min and went to the next tow on the list, and the first tow shows up at the 21min mark and told to go away!
 

mikepdx

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RodStrong said:
they drive like crap...
There's a particular independent that I've witnessed twice use his red
overhead light bar to bully himself into heavy traffic without having to
wait at the stop sign for the right of way.
Of course, all three lanes of 40+ MPH bumper-to-bumper traffic buried their brakes to halt for him.
He flipped the light bar off as soon as he got in.
The same driver, the same stop sign, both times. I wish I'd had a dash-cam.
Granted, it's often a very long wait to get in at that stop sign, but such is life.

This is NOT legal in my state.
Tow truck drivers may only use their red light privilege
at the scene of a tow to warn motorists for safety.

One of the times, I happened to be going in the same direction as he was.
About four blocks further on, I see him backing up to hook an evidently disabled
vehicle in a parking lot.

Jerk!
 
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Raven95150

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Around here, towing companies are contracted on a city by city basis. In some of the larger cities, they are contracted to a specified portion of the city. This eliminates confusion as to who is next in the rotation. If that company is not able to respond in a reasonable amount of time, they just call the next closest one.

Another interesting thing....the State Patrol often calls out tow trucks for accidents and stalled vehicles at the same time they dispatch a trooper. This allows incidents to be cleared out of the road faster, especially on the freeways. Many times the tow trucks arrive on the scene before the troopers do.
 

rabidjade

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This would not affect the tow operations here. E911 Dispatches the tow trucks via the tow dispatch or cell phone directly. People responding solely off of "eavesdropping" just to help are discouraged around here.
 

Raccon

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Why do tow truck drivers need a scanner to know where to go - can they not remember where they dropped the nails?
 

mfn002

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In Houston (and surrounding areas) there are simply too many wrecker companies to do a rotation list. That's why if you ever see a wrecker from Houston, they have a GAZILLION scanner antennas on the roof. They monitor DPS, Houston Police, Harris County Sherriff, etc. The officer requests a wrecker, and the dispatcher repeats it (Officer: fourteen-frank-thirty, need a wrecker 610 Loop at Bellaire. Dispatcher: Need a wrecker, 610 Loop at Bellaire, need a wrecker, 610 Loop at Bellaire). DPS Houston does the same thing, as does Harris County SO/Constables.
 

scanfan03

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mfn002 said:
In Houston (and surrounding areas) there are simply too many wrecker companies to do a rotation list. That's why if you ever see a wrecker from Houston, they have a GAZILLION scanner antennas on the roof. They monitor DPS, Houston Police, Harris County Sherriff, etc. The officer requests a wrecker, and the dispatcher repeats it (Officer: fourteen-frank-thirty, need a wrecker 610 Loop at Bellaire. Dispatcher: Need a wrecker, 610 Loop at Bellaire, need a wrecker, 610 Loop at Bellaire). DPS Houston does the same thing, as does Harris County SO/Constables.
Yup, and I think that's the best way to do it. It's fair for the wrecker companies and the law enforcement officers. Only I hate the safe clear program, it takes away from my business!!
 

mikepdx

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mfn002 said:
...if you ever see a wrecker from Houston, they have a GAZILLION scanner antennas on the roof. They monitor DPS, Houston Police, Harris County Sherriff, etc. The officer requests a wrecker, and the dispatcher repeats it ...
Interesting.

On the surface, one might think that this would be a violation of the Communications Act
prohibiting the use of information received for financial benefit.

However, if the PD's are specifically intending for the transmission to
be received by the wreckers monitoring, presumably the wreckers are covered with respect to federal law.

LOL - As I write this post, I'm monitoring the local state troopers.
One just reported that he was rear-ended on the freeway by a big-rig.
No injuries. Oooops...
 
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