Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA) has improved the quality of its roadside assistance service with the provision of on-scene, specialized response technicians, certified in light duty towing and recovery.The Association recently completed the training of eight response technicians in the discipline at its office at 7 Central Avenue in St. Andrew which is close to the Motor Vehicle Examination Depot. They were certified last month by the American Automobile Association (AAA).
“We are now the only roadside assistance entity that has response technicians certified to offer this service,” says Emile Spence Jamaica National Building Society Executive in charge of the JAA. JAA is a subsidiary company of the JNBS and a member of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile.
“It puts us in a position to be better able to meet the needs of our members and to ensure even greater protection of their property.”
Duane Ellis, JAA Operations Manager, who is also a certified trainer and specialist in the area, says these specialized technicians will help guarantee that tow truck operators uphold best practices when carrying out their duties. The JAA provides light duty towing services to its members through contracted tow truck operators island wide.“With our new expertise we will be able to identify when contractors are using the incorrect techniques and we can guide them so that only the safest practices are employed when towing vehicles,” he states.
Mr. Ellis says the towing practices often employed by some wrecker operators are faulty, and frequently results in damage to the motor vehicles. The damage, Mr. Ellis says, sometimes goes undetected until the vehicle is returned to the owner. He points to the method of loading vehicles onto the bed of the tow truck as one of many procedures operators fail to do properly.“Many times vehicles are incorrectly loaded onto the tow trucks. One common practice is to hook the vehicle using a large J hook over the control arm,” he explains. “This method very often damages the control arm which forces the owner to make repairs thus resulting in additional expenses.”
Another major rule that operators fail to follow, he says, is the four point tie down.
“All four wheels of the vehicle should be independently strapped to the truck bed,” he states. “The common practice is to use the chain and J hook in the chain notch on the tow truck bed, while the winch holds the vehicle in front. This damages the winch of the tow truck and may cause the vehicle that is being transported to become loose and slam into the tow truck’s cab. This can result in serious injury to the truck driver.
“So with this certification, JAA will ensure that our members receive the best care and also that our contractors themselves avoid damage to their trucks,” Mr. Ellis says.
The training workshop, entailed 40 hours of lectures, demonstrations, practical activities and research.
Mr. Ellis says the JAA will train its contracted tow operators next to ensure the highest standards are maintained. Training of the first batch of operators is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter next year.
“We are currently the only company that boasts this high level of certification and we want to improve upon our commitment to employ only the best practices by ensuring that our contractors also have a clear understanding of what these standards are,” says Mr. Ellis.
“JAA’s aim is to offer its members peace of mind and there is no better way to do so than to guarantee that the most qualified technicians are on call to offer our members the best service.”