Tow Trucks, Operators and Vehicle Storage Facilities
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News and Updates
Private Property Towing for Expired Registration
March 26, 2020
Question: Can I perform a private property tow for a vehicle with an expired registration?
Answer: No. On March 13, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation, declaring a state of disaster for all counties in Texas due to the threat of COVID-19. Governor Abbott also issued a statement on March 16, 2020, granting a temporary extension to obtain an initial registration and renewal of registration for a vehicle. Tex. Occ. Code § 2308.253 (d) and (e) prohibit the towing of vehicles from private property on the basis of an expired license plate or registration unless certain requirements are met. Due to the extension granted for obtaining the initial registration or renewal of registration for a vehicle, tow companies may not tow vehicles from private property for expired registration or renewals until further notice.
COVID-19: Continuing Education Waived
March 24, 2020
TDLR continuing education requirements are waived for all individual licenses expiring in March, April, and May 2020. Licensees still need to submit their renewal applications, pay the required fees, and TDLR will check their criminal histories, but they will not need to complete any TDLR-required continuing education this licensing cycle. (§51.405, Occupations Code)
Note: TDLR is not authorized to waive continuing education requirements imposed by a certifying or credentialing entity other than TDLR. If a certifying entity requires continuing education to maintain certification, and certification is required for Texas licensure, then that continuing education must be completed. If the certifying entity waives continuing education or allows it to be completed on a delayed basis due to COVID-19, then you may follow the certifying entity’s policy.
Please check the TDLR COVID-19 webpage for the most up-to-date information.
Updates to Tow Trucks, Operators and Vehicle Storage Facilities Law(s)
February 19, 2020
This message is provided to notify you of changes to the Vehicle Towing and Booting law(s).
House Bill 1140 passed by the 86th Texas Legislature, amended Occupations Code, Chapter 2303, relating to fees for vehicles stored at vehicle storage facilities; authorizing fee increases and decreases; eliminating a fee; eliminating a minimum fee. House Bill 1140 and the changes to Chapter 2303 became effective June 14, 2019.
House Bill 4170 passed by the 86th Texas Legislature, amended Occupations Code, Chapter 2308, relating to nonsubstantive additions to, revisions of, and corrections in enacted codes, to the nonsubstantive codification or disposition of various laws omitted from enacted codes, and to conforming codifications enacted by the 85th Legislature to other Acts of that legislature. House Bill 4170 and the changes to Chapter 2308 became effective September 1, 2019.
The updated rate are available in the rules and can found in Texas Administrative Code 85.722
Impoundment and Storage Fees Update
The 86th legislative session gave the Commission of Licensing and Regulation the ability to adjust the impoundment and storage fees based on the Consumer Price Index for all Urban Workers (CPI-U) by an amount equal to the fee in effect on December 31 of the preceding year. As of January 1st, 2020, vehicle storage facilities may charge the following rates for storage and impoundment.
Daily storage fee:
Per the 2019 biennial adjustment, starting January 1st, 2020 the maximum amount that a VSF may charge for a daily storage fee is as follows:
(A) Vehicle that is 25 feet or less in length: $20.64.
(B) Vehicle that exceeds 25 feet in length: $36.11.
Per the 2019 biennial adjustment, starting January 1st, 2020 the maximum amount that a VSF may charge for an impoundment fee is $20.64.
Justification for Adoption of Administrative Rules
October 29, 2019
The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation adopted amendments to an existing rule regarding the Vehicle Storage Facilities Program (16 Texas Administrative Code Chapter 85, §85.722). The adopted rule implements House Bill 1140, 86th Legislature, Regular Session (2019).
The adoption justification was published in the October 25, 2019, issue of the Texas Register (44 TexReg 6365). The updated rule chapter will be made available upon its effective date of November 1, 2019.
Your Voice Matters: TDLR Wants Your Input on Proposed Disaster Recovery Rules
September 5, 2019
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
Notice of Vacancies on Towing and Storage Advisory Board
April 25, 2019
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 email@example.com.
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.
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
TDLR Adopts Administrative Rules
February 12, 2019
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
February 12, 2019
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
October 27, 2018
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 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
August 10, 2018
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
September 6, 2017
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.