Tow Trucks, Operators and Vehicle Storage Facilities

Military Service Members, Veterans, and Spouses - For more information about applying as a military spouse please go to the Military Spouse FAQs page.

The Towing, Storage and Booting Advisory Board met August 27, 2015 in Austin. The agenda has been posted. The meeting was archived and is available on TDLR's YouTube page or with RealPlayer.

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amended rules regarding the Vehicle Towing and Booting program (16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 86, §86.455).  The effective date of the rule adoption is March 1, 2015. The adoption justification and updated rule chapter are available online.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation withdraws proposed amendments to the Vehicle Storage Facilities program rules (16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 85, §85.10 and §85.719). The rule amendments were proposed in the October 17, 2014, issue of the Texas Register (39 TexReg 8120).

Houston-area tow inspection round-up September 9!

Houston-area Tow Truck and Tow Company Round-Up September 9! TDLR will host Tow Company and Tow Truck inspections on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 from 8am to 5pm at Universal Shopping Center (back parking lot) in Southwest Houston. Universal Shopping Center is located at 11360 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, Texas 77072 (On Bellaire between Belle Park Drive and Boon Road, behind suite 900 – back parking lot).

To arrange for inspection, please leave voicemail, email, or text to one of the following TDLR Inspectors with the Tow Company license number and the number of trucks that will attend the Tow Truck Round-Up:
• Donnis Estelle 832-752-8867, 
• Ulises Ossio 281-389-0275, 
• Quy Tran 281-734-2013,

Please note the requirements for inspection:

Consent Tow Company:
1. Proof that the company is following the adopted drug test policy
2. Tow Operator’s License (If owner, is a driver)

Private Property and Incident Management Tow Company: 
1. Proof that the company is following the adopted drug test policy 
2. Tow Operator’s License (if owner is a driver) 
3. At least 10 Non-Consent Tow Tickets for the months of March 2015 and July 2015 (if you do not have 10 for each month, we will need to inspect 20 tow tickets from the last 6 months)

Tow Truck:
1. Tow Operator’s License 
2. Cab Card 
3. Proof of Liability Insurance

Equipment that will be inspected includes: 
1. Legible manufacturer’s data plate or document from manufacturer stating the capacity of boom, winch or carry mechanism 
2. Winch in good condition (must not exceed capacity of boom or leak oil) 
3. Hydraulic lines free of leaks and in good condition 
4. Cables meeting manufacturer’s specifications and in good condition

The most common violations found at Tow Round-Ups are:
• Lack of the required drug testing for all tow operators (16 Tex. Admin Code 86.710)
• Required Tow truck signage missing or improperly displayed (16 Tex. Admin Code 86.701)

Sample Towing and Booting Signs - examples of TDLR-approved towing and booting signs:

Statewide Maximum Charges for Private property towing went into effect on September 1, 2010 - The 2009 Legislature passed HB2571 to amend the Towing and Booting Act. The bill requires TDLR’s Commission to adopt rules to establish the maximum amount that may be charged for private property tows in Texas. The bill also requires the Commission to specify the type and amount of any fee that may be charged in connection with a private property tow, other than the tow fee. After months of review and input from the public and industry, the Towing and Booting Advisory Board made recommendations to TDLR’s Commission. On August 9, 2010, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation established the statewide maximum amounts for private property tows and specified that a drop fee may also be charged. The private property statewide maximum tow charges went into effect on September 1, 2010. A tow company performing private property tows may not charge more than the private property statewide maximum tow amounts on or after that date. Please review these Frequently Asked Questions for further information.

All tow truck operators must be licensed. There are three different types of tow operator licenses: the Incident Management Tow Operator License, the Private Property Tow Operator License, and The Consent Tow Operator License. Tow truck operators need to choose only one designation. The Incident Management License allows a driver to perform incident management towing, private property towing and consent towing. The Private Property License allows private property towing and consent towing. The Consent Towing License only authorizes consent towing.

Incident Management (IM) and Private Property (PP) Towing Operators are required to be certified by the National Drivers Certification Program of the Towing and Recovery Association of America, AAA-Texas, Towing and Recovery Association of America, Texas Towing and Storage Association, Southwest Tow Operators Association, TOWS (Training of Wrecker Services), or the proctored program from WreckMaster, Inc. Currently these programs are the only acceptable certification programs. TDLR does not provide certification classes or certifications. Additional certification programs may be approved in the future. Certification must be obtained before drivers are eligible for an IM or PP license. Applicants for the Consent Towing License do not need to be certified.

The Incident Management Feasibility Study (734kb PDF) has been completed by Morningside Research and Consulting, Inc. The study includes information about:

· the fees charged for motor vehicle towing services;
· the feasibility and effects of the implementation of a fee schedule or establishment of a maximum fee for motor vehicle towing services;
· the terms and timing of payment to incident management towing companies including payment for the release of semitrailers and other motor vehicles; and
· evaluate any other aspect of the towing of motor vehicles that the agency determines necessary.

We would like to thank everyone who participated in the study. The agency has the study online for you to review.

REMINDER: The requirement to submit non-consent tow fee schedules to TDLR was repealed September 1, 2011.

Tow companies that perform non-consent tows are no longer required to submit their non-consent tow fee schedules to the Department.

Tow companies that perform non-consent tows must still provide a non-consent tow fee schedule to all vehicle storage facilities to which the tow company delivers vehicles for storage. Upon request, vehicle storage facilities must provide a copy of the non-consent tow fees. Please note that for private property tows, tow companies that perform non-consent tows may not charge a fee that is greater than the statewide maximum private property fees set by the Department. Tow companies may not charge more than private property tow and drop fees set by a municipality, if those fees are less than the statewide maximum private property fees.

For incident management tows, tow companies that perform non-consent tows may not charge a fee greater than the tow fees authorized by the municipality or local government where a tow originated.

Sample tow tickets now available

Reporting Abandoned Nuisance Vehicles

Number of Days a Vehicle Storage Facility Has to Send Second Notice - Effective September 1, 2011, a licensed vehicle storage facility now sends the second notice 15 days after the first notice to the registered owner/lienholder. For a vehicle accepted by the licensed vehicle storage facility before September 1, 2011, the vehicle storage facility must wait 41 days before sending the second notice.