Tow Trucks, Operators and Vehicle Storage Facilities
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Military Service Members, Veterans, and Spouses - For more information about obtaining a TDLR license or renewing a TDLR license that expired while serving on active duty, please go to the Military Outreach home page.
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.
Senate Bill 1501 deregulates statewide licensing of vehicle booting starting on September 1, 2018.
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News and Updates
TDLR proposes Administrative Rules
October 5, 2018
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation proposes amendments to the Vehicle Towing and Booting program (16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 86, §86.705; and proposed repeal of §86.213). The proposed amendments and repeal implement changes from Senate Bill 1501 and Senate Bill 2065, 85th Legislature, Regular Session (2017), for the Vehicle Towing and Booting program. Collectively, these bills eliminate the towing operator training license and establish standards of conduct for tow operators engaging in the non-consent relocation of vehicles from one area on a parking facility to another area on the same parking facility.
The proposed rules are published in the October 5, 2018, issue of the Texas Register (43 TexReg 6522). The Department will accept comments on the proposal until November 5, 2018.
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.
Advisory Board Meetings
Next Meeting - November 14, 2018
The Towing and Storage Advisory Board is scheduled to meet Wednesday, November 14, 2018 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. When the agenda and staff reports are available, they will be posted online. The meeting will be broadcast on TDLR's YouTube channel.
Previous Meeting - June 18, 2018
Archived News and Updates
Forms of Payment that a Vehicle Storage Facility Must Accept
SEPTEMBER 4, 2015
House Bill 804 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature, amended Occupations Code, Chapter 2303, relating to the forms of payment that the operator of a vehicle storage facility must accept. House Bill 804 and the changes to Chapter 2303 became effective September 1, 2015. TDLR encourages all persons interested in the Vehicle Storage Facilities program to review the updated Occupations Code, Chapter 2303.
Sample Towing Signs
JUNE 24, 2014
Examples of TDLR-approved towing signs:
- Patron Parking Towing Sign with descriptions (115KB PDF)
- Patron Parking Towing and Booting Sign with descriptions (120KB PDF)
- Resident and Visitor Parking Towing and Booting Sign with descriptions (119KB PDF)
- Resident Only Parking Towing Sign with descriptions (113KB PDF)
- Resident Only Parking Towing and Booting Sign with descriptions (121KB PDF)
- Resident and Guest Parking Towing Sign with descriptions (115KB PDF)
Statewide Maximum Charges for Private Property Towing
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.
Non-Consent Tow Fees
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.
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.