Tow Trucks, Operators and Vehicle Storage Facilities

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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 Towing, Storage and Booting Advisory Board met February 10 in Austin. The agenda is available online. The meeting was archived and is available for viewing via RealPlayer.

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 May 20!

TDLR's East Region Inspectors conducted a Tow Truck Round-Up in Northwest Houston on Wednesday, May 20,.  The first truck showed up bright and early at 6:45 a.m. and inspections took place until 5:30 p.m. By the end of the day, the team had inspected 218 tow trucks and 146 companies, for a total of 364 inspections, the biggest Round-Up event ever hosted by TDLR. 

In addition, this was all accomplished under rainy, windy, and muddy weather conditions, including a destroyed tent! Congratulations and thank you to all of the East Region team, the drivers, operators and companies on a hugely successful Round-Up.

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.