Light Up The Sky For Fallen Tow Operators (6/24/20)

Last night (6/23/20), we received the heartbreaking news that the towing industry lost yet another operator due to a motorist failing to slow down and move over in Woodside, CA. Mr. Mark Alarcon, a beloved and well-known operator from Atlas Tow out of San Francisco, was assisting a motorist on the side of the freeway when another motorist failed to heed the Move Over Law and struck the tow truck, which in turn struck Mr. Alarcon and took his life. This is the eighth tow operator that has been killed in the line of duty just this year.

It is our mission to promote safety and motorist awareness regarding the law. We celebrate “Move Over Day” each October with tow truck processions and events across the state, but we need to do more. We ask that tonight, wherever you are, that you help us LIGHT UP THE SKY for Mark, and for all the tow operators we’ve lost to these senseless tragedies. Please get in your truck and turn on your lights at 9:00 pm tonight. If you have “Slow down, move over” signage, please display it proudly.

We appreciate your dedication to the towing industry. It is our sincere hope that increased awareness will result in a decreased loss of life. Thank you for serving your communities, and stay safe.




-Quinn Piening, CTTA President

DMV Waives Late fees, Delays Registration Requirements and Extends Permits and IDs

From the DMV announcement:

Sacramento – The California Department of Motor Vehicles today announced it is waiving late fees and penalties for vehicle registration, extending expiring identification cards, temporary operating permits and motor carrier permits.

With authority granted under today’s executive order signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, the DMV is:

•    Waiving late fees and penalties for vehicle registration renewals due between March 16 and May 31, 2020, and paid within 60 days of the original expiration date. The requirement to have current license plate stickers is also waived for vehicles with registration expiring between March 4 and June 30, 2020.

  • Extending identification cards expiring on or after March 4, 2020, to be valid through June 22, 2020 (60 days from today).
  • Temporarily suspending for 60 days the requirement to submit a transfer of ownership within 10 days for vehicle transfers occurring on or after March 4, 2020, and the requirement to register a vehicle acquired or previously based outside of California within 20 days once registration becomes due.
  • Allowing temporary operating permits that expire on or after March 4, 2020, to be valid another 60 days from today.
  • Lengthening motor carrier permits expiring in March, April and May 2020 to June 30, 2020. A motor carrier permit is required for numerous transportation and commercial activities in California, including transporting property for compensation, hauling with a commercial vehicle weighing more than 10,000 pounds, and transporting hazardous materials.

“These measures can help lighten the burden many Californians are experiencing during this difficult time,” DMV Director Steve Gordon said.

The DMV continues to encourage customers to renew their vehicle registration and complete vehicle transfers online or by using the DMV Virtual Field Office. Customers can also get replacement registration cards and license plate stickers online or at the hundreds of DMV kiosks across the state. Replacement cards and stickers at the DMV kiosks cost $22 and print on the spot.

The DMV continues to provide essential services via mail, online, kiosks, call centers, available business partners and virtually to process critical transactions, including eligible driver license and vehicle registration renewals, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers can use the Service Advisor on the DMV website to learn their options to complete DMV tasks.

The relief measures are the latest DMV actions during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • Temporarily closing field offices. Following deep cleaning, expansion of virtual services and development of new protocols, the DMV soon will offer in-person services in each region. Information on office openings will be announced by DMV in the near future.
  • Extending all driver licenses that expire between March 1 and May 31, 2020. Drivers 70 years and older are receiving a 120-day temporary paper extension in the mail, and drivers 69 and younger can request a free temporary paper extension online.
  • Keeping expiring commercial driver licenses, endorsements and certificates valid through June 30, 2020.
  • Temporarily waiving required in-person renewals for eligible driver license and identification cardholders with expirations in March, April, and May 2020. Individuals who meet the criteria are able to renew online or by mail.
  • Launching the DMV Virtual Field Office to create new digital options for transactions that previously required an in-person office visit.
  • Canceling all behind-the-wheel drive tests to honor social distancing guidelines.
  • Suspending extended office hours and Saturday service.

Using Zoom for CTTA Meetings

Getting Started


  • Download the Zoom application for your device of choice
  • Once downloaded, it is not required that you create an account, but we recommend doing so to assure that your settings are ready to go when you join a meeting.
  • Be sure to test your video and audio before joining a meeting. After you download and install, you can start a test call with just yourself to familiarize yourself with Zoom HERE.
  • If you are unable to join from your chosen device, you can join via telephone as a last measure. You will need the teleconferencing number provided in the invite. This information will be sent via email after registration.

Joining a Meeting 

All scheduled CTTA/TROC Meetings will be through a registration process:

  1. You will receive an email from CTTA or CTTA Staff inviting you to register for an upcoming meeting. The email will include a registration link and information on the meeting. You must click the registration link, enter your name, company, email, and position in Board/TROC. 
  2. After you submit your info through the registration link you will receive an email with the join link and password. 
  3. Provided that you’ve already set up the app on your computer or phone, all you’ll have to do when it comes time for the meeting is click the link you’ve received post registration and enter the password.

If you’re invited to an impromptu meeting that does not require registration (rare):

  1. Once you’ve installed the application, you can join a meeting by clicking the meeting link or going to and entering in the meeting ID & password. Learn more about joining a meeting. 
  2. On most devices, you can join computer/device audio by clicking Join Audio, Join with Computer Audio, or Audio to access the audio settings. Learn more about connecting your audio.


Can I Use Bluetooth Headset?

Yes, as long as the Bluetooth device is compatible with the computer or mobile device that you are using.

Do I have to have a webcam to join on Zoom?

While you are not required to have a webcam to join a Zoom Meeting or Webinar, you will not be able to transmit video of yourself. You will continue to be able to listen and speak during the meeting, share your screen, and view the webcam video of other participants. 

CTTA President on Insurance Policy Premium Refunds

Attention Fellow Towers,

I am hearing from some of you regarding the press release from the insurance commissioner regarding the refund of several months of insurance policy premiums due to the COVID-19 crisis. The CTTA recommends that you continue to pay your premiums and do not expect the refunds. If you do receive the refund, think of it as a bonus. Regardless of refund status, you should be prepared for an audit. We strongly suggest that you contact your insurance broker and stay in constant communication regarding the subject. Keep in mind that our industry has very few insurance carriers that are willing to work with us.

Stay proactive and check the California Department of Insurance’s website periodically for updates. You can find the Department’s bulletin HERE and a copy of my message HERE.

– Quinn PieningCTTA President

UPDATE: A Letter to CA Tow Operators from the CTTA President

Tow Operators & ERS Providers,

On behalf of the entire Board of Directors at the California Tow Truck Association, I want to thank you all for continuing your important work in the face of current uncertainty. Today, I’m reaching out to emphasize and reiterate the critical importance of PERSONAL SAFETY

Since our last update, we’ve heard lots of stories in person and on social media that concern me. It’s understood that companies have set policies right now regarding passengers in the cab, etc., but there are further steps you need to take to protect yourself and the family you go home to. As CTTA has stood for the safety of CA operators for over 50 years, we urge you to practice caution when performing your work, use personal protective equipment (PPE), and review the guidelines below. While there is a serious shortage of PPE currently, there are ways to fashion protection for yourself:

CTTA strongly recommends following all governmental recommendations regarding hygiene and social distancing and the following:

  • Strongly consider wearing a facemask while dealing with the public.
  • Wear latex protective gear on your hands in addition to regular work gloves.
  • Wash your hands constantly. Did you just touch a surface you’re not familiar with? Wash up and wash well!
  • Try your hardest to be aware of your hands. Do not touch your face, hair, beard, mouth, or nose as much as possible.

    Jerome Z. of Thomas Towing, image courtesy of Tracy Lehr/KEYT

  • Wipe down any surfaces you are about to touch.
  • After you touch a surface, wipe it down for the safety of others.
  • Pay special attention to door handles, steering wheels, turn signals or other high frequency touch areas within any vehicle. Don’t forget keys, key pads and writing utensils such as pens and pencils.
  • When providing service, get in and out of the customer’s vehicle as quickly as possible. Remember your checklist and be sure to complete all safety requirements, but try to limit the amount of time you’re inside.
  • Practice 6-ft. (or even more) social distancing
  • If you’re feeling unwell and exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus, do not go to work and put yourself in contact with others.

Outside of protection for you and your family, your customers have a right to know what precautions you are taking to assure them you are doing your very best fight against this pandemic and keep them from getting sick. You can access more information about your classification here and at, we’ve got some helpful links and financial information for owners, which you may find useful. As your acting CTTA President, I appreciate your time and attention to this manner and wish you & your family a safe and healthy month- take care.

Quinn Piening, CTTA President


Dear Tow Operator/ERS Responder:

The California Tow Truck Association has felt it necessary to provide you with a communication regarding the current and on-going Covid-19 virus pandemic.  On Thursday March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom ordered a state wide shelter in place directive effective March 20, 2020.  The executive order mandates that all citizens of the state of California remain at their homes until further notice.  There are 16 exemptions for those who are considered “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers”.  As tow operators or road service responders you are considered an essential service under the “Transportation Systems” heading.  It is the wish of the state to have people continue to access their vehicles to carry out essential functions such as procuring food and caring for others.  You may be asked to modify your business practices in the future to accommodate the crisis.

It is our recommendation to follow all of the governmental recommendations regarding hygiene and social distancing.  In addition to these measures one should consider the following:

  • Consider wearing latex protective gear on your hands in addition to regular work gloves
  • Wipe down any surfaces you are about to touch
  • After you touch a surface wipe it down for the safety of others
  • Pay special attention to surfaces such as door handles, steering wheels, turn signals or other high frequency touch areas within any vehicle. Don’t forget key pads and writing utensils such a pens and pencils
  • It would be a good idea to create a policy with the governmental recommendations and socialize the policy with your employees and customers. Your customers have a right to know what precautions you are aware of and that you are taking action to assure them you are doing your very best fight against this pandemic

You can access more information about your classification at the following web site:

As usual you will be called upon to provide valuable and lifesaving services to the general motoring public.  Please do so safely.  As your the acting CTTA president I am proud our industry and those who own, operate and make it happen out on the road.





Quinn Piening, CTTA President

CTTA Training Classes Are Postponed with CHP Offering a 6-Month Certificate Extension for Those Affected

CTTA Member,


On the morning of 3/13, we sent out an announcement that CTTA Training Certification classes would continue as scheduled amid current virus concerns. We also mentioned that the situation is fluid and that we would update the Membership as appropriate. Here’s our first update:

After in-depth discussions between CTTA and the California Highway Patrol, along with review of new guidance issued by the state of California, we have decided to postpone three (3) scheduled CTTA training classes between now and April 15. The following scheduled Light Duty classes are affected: Fresno (3/21-22), Santa Rosa (3/28-29), and Azusa (3/28-29). In light of this, CTTA has confirmation from CHP that an extension of up to six (6) months will be offered on all currently valid certificates that are affected by this cancellation. The Association will, of course, continue its dialogue with CHP and address further extensions if needed. Our Members should know that the CTTA Board of Directors and Staff will be working diligently to schedule replacement classes as soon as possible.

CTTA Staff will be directly contacting affected enrollees in the Education Program beginning on Monday, 3/16. They will be taking either A) refund requests or B) postponement slots for when the classes are rescheduled. If you have any questions regarding this update, please send an email to Thank you.

– Quinn Piening, CTTA President


Accuracy When Sharing Tow Operator Deaths

As we enter a new decade, it’s worth remembering the keys to consuming journalism and social media in this new information age. Increasingly, misinformation is shared across the internet, which can lead to some unfortunate consequences. We’re not here to talk about politics, influencers, or deep-fakes, rather, we want to focus in on one thing: the reporting of tow operator deaths.

In the first 48 hours of 2020, our industry was hit with two losses of life. First, on New Year’s Eve, an operator was killed while working in Kentucky. After initial reports, the death was ruled accidental, as the truck he was hooking up allegedly rolled back on him. Absolutely tragic, but not an effect of failure to slow down/move over. Next, on New Year’s Day, an operator from O’Hare in Chicago was killed by a passing motorist while hooking up. Andrew Dove-Ferdere, 23, was standing outside his truck when he was hit by a sedan. This was the result of a motorist’s failure to slow down/move over. Finally, there were reports circulating in the afternoon of January 1st that an operator was killed in the line of duty in Truckee. After a few hours and many shares/likes/retweets later, it became clear that this was not the case and the death had nothing to do with the gentleman’s line of work.

Let us be clear: each of these deaths is absolutely tragic, senseless, and a massive loss for the respective communities. However, it is vital that we are accurate and specific when it comes to tow operator deaths. These three deaths were each very different: the first was an accident due to either equipment failure or operator error; this is not something we should be tagging with #SlowDown #MoveOver and *angry face*. If we do, it undercuts when a motorist actually fails to follow the law and ends someone’s life. The death in Chicago is a perfect example of when to shout about the Move Over Law from the rooftops. The other death in question from Truckee is an example of why we need to exercise patience, skepticism, and critical reading before sharing online.

It’s tempting to do a knee-jerk share when we see something online that stirs our emotions (we’ve all done it), but it’s important to read critically. Here are some tips on doing so:

  • Be Skeptical
    • Take any new information you see online or from a friend with a hint of doubt. You must expect the source to provide proof of their information and also show how they came to their conclusion. If you’re skeptical of something you read, seek out the same story from a different source to compare the information.
  • Be Patient
    • News stories often unfold over the course of hours, days, or even weeks. If details are fuzzy, it’s a good idea to wait for them to come more into focus before sharing.
  • Know the Information Landscape
    • Misinformation has been around since the dawn of civilized society, but the internet has really muddled the waters. Ask yourself whether the platform you’re reading the news on has any financial obligation to tell the truth, or whether their business model is predicated upon getting clicks. Those outlets will post just about anything to get you to click.
  • Investigate the Info
    • Being skeptical means investigating the things being told to you. It’s always good to check the date on the article. If the date is old, it’s probably not a good idea to share, as people will think this is new If there’s no date at all, that’s a big indication that you should proceed with caution.

These tow operator deaths are most certainly NOT how we wanted to start 2020, but we can be clear about what our industry wants and needs from lawmakers and the public: we just have to be CLEAR and ACCURATE when making those demands. Thank you all for your passion, time, and efforts- wishing you all a safe and prosperous New Year.