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August 12, 2021
Fleet Focus: Eagle Towing
Every day, hundreds of thousands of emergency responders and workers do critical life-saving work on roads and highways across the country. Our Fleet Focus series highlights just some of the day-to-day experiences of these workers and what they see and experience while working in the field. This month’s Fleet Focus features Andrew Heykoop from Eagle Towing in Michigan.
About Eagle Towing
My name is Andrew Heykoop, I'm a tow operator. I'm the operations manager for Eagle Towing. We do towing and recovery for just about every kind of vehicle in Western Michigan. We do a lot of responding on highways, but we also see a lot of incidents on the rural roads. In a normal week, we tow several hundred disabled vehicles that have either broke down or wrecked, along with a couple large incidents a month like semi truck wrecks. We also provide the towing and road service for the Electric Forest Music festival. That alone is 1700 calls in a five-day period, and those travelers are coming from all across the country to our small town in Rothbury.
On Incidents and Close Calls
Every day our staff works along the roadways and heavy congested areas, and then also on rural farm roads. Our near-misses and vehicle strikes have happened in both type of those environments. I've had my truck struck, I've had several personnel near-hits, a couple incidents with myself that were within inches, and I've been at the very front of a 40-car pileup from a disabled driver who wasn't paying attention that caused a chain reaction.
The majority of incidents of near misses and strikes have happened during our inclement weather events. In Michigan, weather can change very quickly, and go from clear sunny day to zero visibility.
On Safety Cloud
As a TIMS instructor for the state of Michigan and as an industry advocate for safety, it just makes sense to utilize all the tools we have, and HAAS Alert is just one of those that just makes sense. Why wouldn't you want to reach into the passenger compartment where the driver is, and be like, "Hey, Eagle Towing's ahead. Please slow down and move over." We've been on HAAS Alert now for about six months and we can already see that vehicles are preemptively already moved over, and that's given us the space to work safely.
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