Tow Trucks, Operators and Vehicle Storage Facilities

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News and Updates

Your Voice Matters: TDLR Wants Your Input on Proposed Disaster Recovery Rules

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) would like your comments and suggestions regarding proposed new rules to assist with recovery efforts when the Governor declares a disaster under Government Code, Chapter 418. As part of our Core Value of open and free communication we are asking for your feedback on these proposed rules before we file them with the Texas Register as required by the Administrative Procedures Act.

The proposed new Disaster Recovery Rules include provisions for:

Obtaining and renewing an emergency license, and alternative license requirements for the following license types: Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technicians, Electricians, Consent Tow Truck Permits, Consent Tow Operator License, Tow Company License, Temporary Vehicle Storage Facilities, Out-of-State Healthcare Providers, and Mold Assessment and Remediation Companies.

The proposed new Disaster Recovery Rules, among other things, allow Barber, Cosmetology, and Driver Education Schools to relocate during the declared disaster and waive the filing of reports. The proposed new rules address Water Treatment Records required to obtain an extension for boiler inspections and extend the continuing education requirements for Driver Education Instructors. The new proposed rules waive fees and provide for sanctions and administrative penalties.

Comments may be submitted via email to erule.comments@tdlr.texas.gov, via facsimile to (512) 475-3032, or by mail to Dalma Sotero, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, PO Box 12157, Austin, TX 78711. Deadline for receipt of comments is 5:00 pm, September 16, 2019.

TDLR Proposes Amendments to Administrative Rules

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation proposes amendments to the Vehicle Storage Facilities Program rules (16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 85, §85.722). The proposed rule implements House Bill (HB) 1140, 86th Legislature, Regular Session (2019), which amends Occupations Code, Chapter 85.

The proposed rule was published in the August 16, 2019, issue of the Texas Register (44 TexReg 4281). The Department will accept comments on the proposal until September 16, 2019.

The Department encourages anyone interested in the Vehicle Storage Facilities Program to review the rule proposal online. Comments may be submitted by email to erule.comments@tdlr.texas.gov.

Notice of Vacancies on Towing and Storage Advisory Board

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) announces three vacancies on the Towing and Storage Advisory Board (Board) established by Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 2308 and Chapter 2303. The pertinent rules may be found in 16 Texas Administrative Code §85.650 and § 86.650. The purpose of the Board is to advise the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (Commission) and the Department on technical matters relevant to the administration and enforcement of Chapter 2308 and Chapter 2303, including examination content, licensing standards, and continuing education requirements. This announcement is for:

  • one representative of a towing company operating in a county with a population of more than one million,
  • one representative of a vehicle storage facility located in a county with a population of more than one million; and
  • one representative of a vehicle storage facility located in a county with a population of less than one million.

The Board is composed of the following nine members appointed by the presiding officer of the Commission, with the Commission’s approval. Members serve terms of six years, with the terms of two or three members, as appropriate, expiring on February 1 of each odd-numbered year. The Board is composed of the following members:

  • one representative of a towing company operating in a county with a population of less than one million;
  • one representative of a towing company operating in a county with a population of one million or more; 
  • one representative of a vehicle storage facility located in a county with a population of less than one million; 
  • one representative of a vehicle storage facility located in a county with a population of one million or more; 
  • one parking facility representative; 
  • one peace officer from a county with a population of less than one million;
  • one peace officer from a county with a population of one million or more; 
  • one representative of a member insurer, as defined by Section 462.004, Insurance Code, of the Texas Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association who writes automobile insurance in this state; and
  • one person who operates both a towing company and a vehicle storage facility.

Interested persons should complete an application on the Department website. Applicants can also request an application from the Department by telephone (800) 803-9202 or e-mail advisory.boards@tdlr.texas.gov

These are not paid positions and there is no compensation or reimbursement for serving on the Board.

Issued in Austin, Texas on April 24, 2019.

Brian Francis
Executive Director
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation

TDLR Adopts Administrative Rules

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments to an existing rule regarding the Vehicle Towing and Booting program (16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 86, §86.705; and the repeal of existing §86.213).

The adoption justification was published in the February 8, 2019, issue of the Texas Register (44 TexReg 586). The updated rule chapter will be made available upon its effective date of February 15, 2019.

TDLR Adopts Administrative Rules

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments to an existing rule regarding the Vehicle Towing and Booting program (16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 86, §86.705; and the repeal of existing §86.213).

The adoption justification was published in the February 8, 2019, issue of the Texas Register (44 TexReg 586). The updated rule chapter will be made available upon its effective date of February 15, 2019.

Tow Inspections Discontinued

Effective immediately, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) is discontinuing periodic inspections of tow companies. Local jurisdictions have ordinances overseeing tow company and tow truck operations, and the Texas Department of Transportation and Texas Department of Motor Vehicles also inspect tow trucks, depending on their size. Discontinuing these periodic, routine inspections will reduce the redundant regulatory burdens on this industry and allow both TDLR and licensees to more efficiently use their time and limited resources to perform additional time-intensive inspections of massage, cosmetology and vehicle storage facility establishments.

Texas law does not require TDLR to perform periodic inspections of tow companies or tow trucks. Further, there have been no serious health or safety violations identified by TDLR during these inspections. TDLR will continue to investigate complaints received regarding tow companies, check insurance, and perform spot inspections when necessary.

Emergency Consent Tow Licensing: October Severe Weather and Flooding

Under authority of Chapter 86, Texas Administrative Code, TDLR Executive Director Brian Francis has activated emergency consent tow provisions for the 54 Texas counties identified by Governor Greg Abbott in his October 16 and October 19, 2018 disaster declarations. These emergency provisions will help expedite recovery and cleanup efforts and allow more tow operators to assist our fellow Texans in their time of need.

The disaster area includes the following Texas counties: Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bandera, Bastrop, Baylor, Bee, Bexar, Blanco, Brazoria, Brazos, Brooks, Brown, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Calhoun, Callahan, Cameron, Chambers, Coleman, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, DeWitt, Dimmit, Duval, Eastland, Edwards, Ellis, Erath, Fannin, Fayette, Fort Bend, Frio, Galveston, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hamilton, Harris, Haskell, Hays, Hidalgo, Hill, Hood, Hopkins, Houston, Jackson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Jones, Karnes, Kenedy, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Kleberg, Knox, Lampasas, La Salle, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Live Oak, Llano, Madison, Mason, Matagorda, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Mills, Montgomery, Nolan, Nueces, Palo Pinto, Parker, Polk, Real, Refugio, San Jacinto, San Patricio, San Saba, Shackelford, Somervell, Starr, Stephens, Sutton, Tarrant, Taylor, Throckmorton, Travis, Trinity, Uvalde, Val Verde, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Webb, Wharton, Willacy, Williamson, Wilson, Zapata, and Zavala counties.

Emergency consent tow operator license applications are now available from TDLR:

To be eligible, you must:

  • complete the online application;
  • hold a valid driver’s license issued by a state in the United States;
  • pass a background check; and
  • pay the consent tow operator license fee of $100.

The emergency consent tow operator license may ONLY be used for consent tow services performed in the 54 counties in the Governor’s October 16 and October 19, 2018 disaster declarations.

An emergency consent tow operator must carry this license at all times when performing tow operations, and must allow TDLR and law enforcement personnel to inspect their tow truck at any time.

Emergency Consent Tow Truck Permit. Call 800-803-9202. To receive an emergency consent tow truck permit, your tow truck must be affiliated with a TDLR-licensed tow company. See Requirements for Emergency Consent Tow Truck Permit.

If your tow truck is already affiliated with a TDLR-licensed tow company, the company can simply add your vehicle information to their account online using the online TOOLS system and print out the permit (also referred to as a “cab card”). If your tow truck is not affiliated with a TDLR-licensed tow company, you must apply for an emergency consent tow company license in order to receive the emergency consent tow truck permit.

Emergency Consent Tow Company License. Call 800-803-9202. TDLR’s licensing team will expedite your emergency consent tow company license application over the phone. You can also add your tow truck(s) during this process to get your emergency consent tow truck permit (cab card). Note: the tow company application process requires that your insurance company file your insurance information using TDLR’s online TOOLS system. See Requirements for Emergency Tow Company License.

Notice to all Vehicle Storage Facilities in a declared disaster area: All emergency consent tow licenses must be accepted as identification for vehicle pick-up or drop-off at your facility, just as any regular consent tow license would.

For questions or help, please email CStowing@tdlr.texas.gov or call TDLR at 1-800-803-9202 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Justification for Adoption of Repealed Administrative Rules

The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopts the repeal of existing rules effective September 1, 2018, regarding the Vehicle Booting and Immobilization program (16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 89, §§89.1, 89.10, 89.21 - 89.30, 89.40, 89.45 - 89.48, 89.65 - 89.73, 89.75 - 89.80, 89.90, 89.91, 89.100 - 89.103).

The adoption justification may be viewed on TDLR’s web site.

Emergency Suspension of Certain VSF Technical Requirements: Hurricane Harvey

To assist with the ongoing recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Governor Greg Abbott has temporarily suspended all necessary statutes and rules related to the physical requirements for establishing a licensed Vehicle Storage Facility (VSF). This suspension allows currently licensed VSFs to utilize additional temporary lots beyond those now in use, on which to store flooded and abandoned vehicles. This suspension applies only in counties within Governor Abbott’s August 27, 2017 Disaster Declaration (see below) and is in effect until the Office of the Governor terminates it or until the Hurricane Harvey disaster declaration is lifted or expires.

Licensed VSF owners or controlling persons must call TDLR at (800) 803-9202 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. CDT to notify the agency of their need to use additional lots and to receive further assistance. Please have the following information ready:

  • TDLR VSF license number
  • Temporary lot address and location

The specific technical requirements in suspension are:

85.1000 Technical Requirements—Facility Fencing Requirements;

85.1001 Technical Requirements—Storage Lot Surface;

85.1002 Technical Requirements—Storage Lot Lighting;

85.1003 Technical Requirements—Storage Lot Signs

The suspension is effective in the following counties (updated September 6, 2018):

Angelina, Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Bexar, Brazoria, Brazos, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Colorado, Comal, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kerr, Kleberg, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Live Oak, Madison, Matagorda, Milam, Montgomery, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Refugio, San Jacinto, Sabine, San Augustine, San Patricio, Trinity, Tyler, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Wharton, Willacy, and Wilson.

Licensed VSFs are advised to check first with their local law enforcement agency, motor vehicle division, and/or health department about location and placement of additional temporary lots.

Questions about additional temporary lots can also be sent to CSTowing@tdlr.texas.gov

For questions or help, please email CStowing@tdlr.texas.gov or call TDLR at 1-800-803-9202 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.


Advisory Board Meetings

Next Meeting - September 23, 2019

The next Towing and Storage Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 23, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in the 1st Floor Public Meeting Room of TDLR's North Campus, located at 1106 Clayton Lane, Suite 125E, in Austin. The agenda and staff reports (PDF) are available online. The meeting will be broadcast live on TDLR's YouTube channel.

Previous Meeting - July 30, 2019

The Towing and Storage Advisory Board met Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in the 1st Floor Public Meeting Room of TDLR's North Campus Building, located at 1106 Clayton Lane, Suite 125E, in Austin. The agenda and staff reports (PDF) are available online. The meeting was archived and is available on TDLR's YouTube channel.