Tow Trucks, Operators and Vehicle Storage Facilities
On this page:
- Houston area Overdue Tow Truck and Tow Company Round-Up scheduled for Saturday, August 5th, 2017
- Guidance on processing “Licensed Vehicle Storage Facility Lien Foreclosures”
- Advisory Board Meetings
- Fake Inspector Reported at VSFs in Montgomery County
- Vacancies on Towing, Storage and Booting Advisory Board
- Sample Towing and Booting Signs
- News and Updates
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.
Houston area Overdue Tow Truck and Tow Company Round-Up scheduled for Saturday, August 5th, 2017
Mark your calendar: TDLR is hosting another Overdue Tow Round-Up inspection for tow companies and tow trucks that were last inspected on May 2015 or before. Inspections are required every 2 years. The Overdue Tow Truck Round-Up will take place on Saturday, August 5th, 2017 from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM for Harris County and surrounding Counties at Parking Lot D on Polk Street and Lansing Street (across the street from Elias Ramirez State Office Building – 5425 Polk Street, Houston TX 77023).
It is necessary that all Tow Companies update its contact information in TOOLS to include telephone numbers, email, and mailing/physical addresses. Tow Round-Ups provide a convenient way to satisfy the required bi-annual inspection. To arrange for inspection, please text, leave a voicemail or e-mail one of the following TDLR Inspectors:
Donnis Estelle (832)752-8867 - Donnis.Estelle@tdlr.texas.gov
Jose Canizales (832) 453-3244 - Jose.Canizales@tdlr.texas.gov (Spanish)
There are no fees associated with this inspection.
Please note the below requirements:
Tow Truck and Equipment Inspection Includes:
- Tow operator’s license (TDLR license and driver’s license) for all drivers including owners
- Cab Card
- Proof of liability insurance
- Legible manufacturer’s data plate or document from manufacturer stating the capacity of boom, winch or carry mechanism
- Winch in good condition (must not exceed capacity of boom or leak oil)
- Hydraulic lines free of leaks and in good condition
- Cables meeting manufacturer’s specifications and in good condition
- Tow truck signage
Additional Required Information:
For Consent Tow Companies
- Documentation that drug tests have been performed – not the actual results of the test.
- Active tow company insurance
For Private Property and Incident Management Tow Companies
- Proof the company is following the adopted drug test policy for all employees and the owner if applicable (Documentation that drug tests have been performed – not the actual results of the test).
- Five (5) non-Consent tow tickets from each of the following months, November 2016, March 2017, and July 2017 (15 tickets total) (if you do not have 5 for each month, we will need to inspect 15 tow tickets from the last 6 months).
- Active tow company insurance
The Three 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)
- Data plate not legible or no manufacturer's documentation indicating the capacity of the boom, the winch or the carry mechanism (16 Tex. Admin. Code Ch. 86.1000(a)(1)(2))
** TDLR WILL NOT CHECK FOR TOW TRUCK EQUIPMENT (fire extinguishers, broom, shovel, etc...) **
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) has provided guidance on processing “Licensed Vehicle Storage Facility Lien Foreclosures” to county tax assessor-collectors across the state through the Registration and Title Bulletins (RTB) offered below. On behalf of the TxDMV, we are sending you links to these bulletins for your review.
- RTB #002-17: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/TXDMV/bulletins/1a69d81
- RTB #003-17: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/TXDMV/bulletins/1a827b2
If you have additional questions, please contact your local county tax assessor-collector’s office or your TxDMV Regional Service Center. Contact information for these outlets can be found on the TxDMV website at http://www.txdmv.gov/contact-us under the “Find Your Local Office” tab.
Advisory Board Meetings
July 14, 2017 Meeting
Previous Meeting - January 12, 2017
Fake Inspector Reported at VSFs in Montgomery County
Attention Vehicle Storage Facilities (VSFs): TDLR received reports of a man posing as a TDLR inspector to gain access to VSFs and collect fees in Montgomery County (Conroe).
The fake inspector was described as Caucasian, six feet tall, with slicked-back dark hair and no facial hair. He was dressed in a polo shirt with khaki pants and wore an ID on a chain around his neck. He was driving a white Ford Crown Victoria with a spotlight on the driver’s side of the car. The car may also have a red light on top of its dashboard.
NOTE: A real TDLR inspector will never request or accept money under any circumstance while visiting a VSF.
Please contact the police immediately if you encounter this individual. If you believe this individual has visited your VSF or you have any concerns, please contact TDLR customer service at 800-803-9202 or CStowing@tdlr.texas.gov.
Real TDLR inspectors visiting a facility cannot and will not:
- charge for performing an inspection;
- accept payment of license fees;
- request money for violations; or
- charge for copies of an inspection.
Real TDLR inspectors will:
- introduce themselves;
- show their State of Texas employee ID card;
- provide their contact information upon request; and
- provide their TDLR business card upon request.
Scams like this one can happen anywhere. Please use the info above to identify suspicious or potentially illegal activity. Impersonating a public servant is a third-degree felony under the Texas Penal Code. Please contact the police immediately if you encounter this individual.
Notice of Vacancies on Towing, Storage and Booting Advisory Board
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) announces four vacancies on the Towing, Storage and Booting 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 Towing, Storage and Booting Advisory 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: (1) a towing company representative operating in a county with a population of less than one million; (2) a vehicle storage facility representative located in a county with a population of less than one million; (3) a representative of a booting company; and (4) law enforcement officer from a county with a population of less than one million.
The Board is composed of the following ten members appointed by the presiding officer of the Commission, with the Commission’s approval:
(1) one representative of a towing company operating in a county with a population of less than one million;
(2) one representative of a towing company operating in a county with a population of one million or more;
(3) one owner of a vehicle storage facility located in a county with a population of less than one million;
(4) one owner of a vehicle storage facility located in a county with a population of one million or more;
(5) one parking facility owner;
(6) one law enforcement officer from a county with a population of less than one million;
(7) one law enforcement officer from a county with a population of one million or more;
(8) one representative of property and casualty insurers who write automobile insurance in this state;
(9) one representative of a booting company; and
(10) one public member.
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.
Interested persons should submit an application on the Department website at: https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/AdvisoryBoard/login.aspx. Applicants can also request an application from the Department by telephone (800) 803-9202 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Issued in Austin, Texas on December 27, 2016.
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
Sample Towing and Booting Signs
Examples of TDLR-approved towing and booting signs:
- Paid Parking Booting Sign with descriptions (125KB PDF)
- Patron Parking Booting Sign with descriptions (115KB PDF)
- Patron Parking Towing Sign with descriptions (115KB PDF)
- Patron Parking Towing and Booting Sign with descriptions (120KB PDF)
- Resident and Visitor Parking Booting Sign with descriptions (115KB PDF)
- Resident and Visitor Parking Towing and Booting Sign with descriptions (119KB PDF)
- Resident Only Parking Booting Sign with descriptions (115KB 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 Booting Sign with descriptions (115KB PDF)
- Resident and Guest Parking Towing Sign with descriptions (115KB PDF)
News and Updates
Forms of Payment that a Vehicle Storage Facility Must Accept
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.
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.
Operator Licensure and Certification
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.
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.