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TDLR FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about Tow Trucks, Operators and Vehicle Storage Facilities

History

1. What is the Texas Towing and Booting Act?
2. What does the Texas Towing and Booting Act do?

Licensing and Registration

1. Who must be licensed or have a permit?
2. How much does it cost to register and renew?
3. What are the different types of permits for tow trucks?
4. What are the different types of licenses for tow truck operators (drivers)?
5. What are the different types of tows?
6. What are the different equipment, insurance, and certification requirements for each license or permit?
7. How do I get my tow company license, tow truck permit, and/or vehicle storage facility license for the first time?
8. How do I get my tow truck operator's license and/or VSF employee license for the first time?
9. How do I apply for a Dual Operator/VSF Employee, Expedited Dual Operator, or Tow Operator Training license?
10. How do I get my booting company or boot operator license for the first time?
11. Do you take walk-in registration applications, and how long does it take to process an application?
12. How do I check the status of my application?
13. How do I get my certificate and PIN number?
14. Will a criminal conviction prevent me from getting a license?
15. Where can I find the Criminal History Questionnaire (CHQ)? Do I have to include a CHQ with my application?
16. Where can I find a Disciplinary Action Questionnaire (DAQ)? Do I have to include a DAQ with my application?
17. Can I request a criminal history evaluation before I apply?
18. How do I request a duplicate license for a Tow Operator, VSF Employee, Dual Operator, or Boot Operator?
19. How do I change my address or phone number?

Renewals

1. How do I renew my Tow Truck Company or Vehicle Storage Facility license?
2. How do I renew my Tow Truck Operator or VSF Employee license?
3. How do I renew my Booting Company or Boot Operator license?
4. How do I renew my Dual Tow Operator/VSF Employee license?
5. If my license has been expired for more than 18 months can I still renew it?

Continuing Education and Professional Development Courses

1. Do I have to take Continuing Education (CE) courses to renew my Tow Truck operator license?
2. What is a Professional Development Course?
3. I have an Incident Management (IM) operator license, and I'm renewing for the first time. Do I have to take the Professional Development Course and complete four hours of Continuing Education?
4. Do I have to take Continuing Education (CE) courses to renew my Dual Tow Truck Operator license?
5. When do I have to complete the Continuing Education (CE) courses?
6. How do I submit proof that I have completed a Professional Development Course?
7. Where can I check to see if my completed courses have been reported?
8. I have a Consent Tow (CT) or Private Property (PP) operator license. Do I need to take a Professional Development Course?
9. Can the Continuing Education courses be completed online?
10. Can the Professional Development Courses be completed online?
11. Does my TDLR license renewal fee include the cost of Continuing Education or Professional Development Courses?
12. Do I have to take Continuing Education (CE) courses to renew my Boot Operator license?
13. Are Continuing Education courses required in order to renew every year?

Non-Consent Tow Fee Schedules

1. Is a non-consent tow fee schedule required to be submitted to TDLR?
2. I submitted a tow rate sheet after September 1, 2011 to TDLR, will it be posted?
3. Do tow companies that perform nonconsent tows have to submit a nonconsent tow fee schedule to vehicle storage facilities?
4. What should be listed on a non consent tow rate sheet sent to the vehicle storage facility?

Statewide Maximum Amounts for Private Property Tows

1. Are there rules about the amount I can charge for a private property tow?
2. What are the statewide maximum amounts for private property tows?
3. How do I determine if a tow is Light Duty, Medium Duty, or Heavy Duty?

Drop Fees

1. What is a drop fee?
2. What does the term "hooked up" mean?
3. What does the phrase vehicle owner or representative "attempts to retrieve the motor vehicle" mean?
4. What does the phrase "before its removal from the property" mean?
5. What does the phrase "before its removal from the parked location" mean?
6. Can I charge a drop fee if the owner or operator arrives to move the vehicle before I have it fully hooked up?
7. Can I charge a drop fee if the owner or operator arrives after the car is hooked up but before I've left the property or its parked location?
8. Do I have to offer to unhook the vehicle for a drop fee, if the owner or operator arrives when the vehicle is in tow, but before I've left the property?
9. Do I have to offer to unhook the vehicle for a drop fee, if the owner or operator arrives after I've left the property with the vehicle in tow?
10. What form of payment can an owner or operator use to pay for a drop fee?

Compliance and Enforcement

1. How does TDLR conduct inspections?
2. Will a criminal conviction prevent me from getting a license?

Drug Testing Policy

1. What options do I have for the drug testing requirements?
2. Where can I find the list of TDLR-approved drug testing consortiums?
3. How do I comply with the TDLR Model Policy?
4. What types of tests are required?
5. What types of drugs are included in the testing?
6. Is the company required to notify TDLR of a positive test result?
7. Do I need to send TDLR our negative test results?
8. What happens if an employee or applicant tests positive for illegal drugs?
9. What type of information do I need to give my employees about drugs and drug testing?
10. Can we file our own drug policy with TDLR?
11. I own a tow company and a vehicle storage facility that is a member of a TDLR-approved drug testing consortium. How many of my employees are required to be randomly drug tested every year?

Vehicle Storage Facility Practices

1. What forms of payment must a VSF accept?
2. When must a VSF send out a second notice?
3. Can a homeowner who charges a parking fee have a vehicle towed that is parked illegally?
4. I do not charge for parking in my driveway, but someone parked in it without my permission. Can I have them towed or do I have to call the police?

Tow and/or Boot Company Practices

1. I am a towing and/or booting company. Can I install the signs prohibiting unauthorized vehicles required by Section 2308.301?

Information and Staying Informed

1. How will I be notified of administrative rule changes?
2. Where can I get a copy of the administrative rules?


History

1. What is the Texas Towing and Booting Act?

The Texas Towing Act was passed by the 80th Texas Legislature and created new licensing requirements for tow truck operators, towing companies, vehicle storage facilities, and employees of vehicle storage facilities. The Act took effect September 1, 2007. Licenses for tow truck operators and vehicle storage facility employees were required as of September 1, 2008.

In 2009, the 81st Texas Legislature amended the Act to include dual tow operator licenses, booting companies, boot operators, and tow trainees, and the Act became the Texas Towing and Booting Act effective September 1, 2009.

2. What does the Texas Towing and Booting Act do?

The Act moved the licensing of tow truck companies, tow trucks and vehicle storage facilities from the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) effective September 1, 2007, and all of the functions and activities performed by TXDOT relating to tow trucks, towing operations, or vehicle storage facilities were transferred to TDLR on January 1, 2008.

The Texas Towing Act created some additional requirements for towing companies:

  • Licensing requirements for tow operators and vehicle storage facility employees;
  • Applicants for licensure must submit evidence that they are in compliance with certain specified drug testing requirements; and
  • Periodic and risk-based inspections must be made.

The Act also created a Towing and Storage Advisory Board, and established three types of towing permit: Incident Management, Private Property, and Consent Towing.

In 2009, the 81st Texas Legislature added new requirements for booting companies, boot operators, tow trainees, private property non-consent tow fees, dual licenses, and criminal background checks for all controlling persons of a company applying for licensure. The Act was hereafter known as the Texas Towing and Booting Act, and the advisory board was changed to the Towing, Storage, and Booting Advisory Board.

Licensing and Registration

1. Who must be licensed or have a permit?

Tow truck companies, tow truck vehicles, and vehicle storage facilities must be licensed or have a permit. Tow truck drivers, employees of vehicle storage facilities, booting companies, and boot operators must also be licensed.

2. How much does it cost to register and renew?

Type of Registration New Application Annual Renewal 1-90 days late 91 days to 18 months late
Tow Truck Company $350 $350 $525 $700
Tow Truck Permit (each truck) $75 $75 $112.50 $150
Tow Truck Operator (driver) $100 $100 $150 $200
Vehicle Storage Facility (VSF) $250 $250 $375 $500
VSF Employee $75 $75 $112.50 $150
Dual Tow Operator / VSF Emp. $150 $150 $225 $300
Expedited Dual Tow Operator* $75 $150 $225 $300
Booting Company $250 $250 $375 $500
Boot Operator $75 $75 $112.50 $150
Towing Operator Trainer $25 n/a n/a n/a

*The Expedited Dual Tow Operator license is available only to currently licensed tow operators in good standing.

NOTE: All new application and renewal fees are non-refundable

To stay informed of any fee or rule changes, please subscribe to our email notification system at http://www.license.state.tx.us/newsletters/TDLRnotificationLists.asp.

3. What are the different types of permits for tow trucks?

Each tow truck is required to have a permit in one of the following areas:

Incident Management (IM) Permit is required for a tow truck used to perform a non-consent tow initiated by a peace officer. IM tow trucks may also perform Private Property and Consent Tows.

Private Property (PP) Permit is required for a tow truck used to perform a non-consent tow authorized by a parking facility owner. PP tow trucks may also do Consent Tows.

Consent Tow (CT) Permit is required for a tow truck used to perform a consent tow authorized by the owner of the vehicle. CT tow trucks may only do Consent Tows.

4. What are the different types of licenses for tow truck operators (drivers)?

All tow truck operators (drivers) are required to have one of the following licenses:

Incident Management (IM) License is required for Incident Management, Private Property, or Consent Tows. This must be certified by the National Drivers Certification Program of TRAA or another approved program.

Private Property (PP) License is required for Private Property or Consent Tows. This must be certified by the National Drivers Certification Program of TRAA or another approved program.

Consent Tow (CT) License is required for Consent Tows only. Certification by the National Drivers Certification Program of TRAA or another approved program is not required.

Each of the above license types can also be paired with a VSF Employee registration for a Dual Tow Operator/VSF Employee License. The requirements for each dual type are the same.

5. What are the different types of tows?

Incident Management tow? Any tow of a vehicle in which the tow truck is summoned because of a traffic accident or to an incident. (Example: a tow instigated by law enforcement after a car crash, arrest, etc.)

Private Property tow? Any tow of a vehicle authorized by a parking facility owner without the consent of the owner or operator of the vehicle. (Example: apartment building parking lots, restaurants, paid parking lots, etc.)

Consent Tow? Any tow of a motor vehicle in which the tow truck is summoned by the owner or operator of the vehicle, or by a person who has possession, custody, or control of the vehicle. (Examples: your car breaks down and you call a tow truck; your mechanic or body shop tows your vehicle for repair; or a vehicle that has been repossessed by the owner). The term does not include an incident management tow or a private property tow.

6. What are the different equipment, insurance, and certification requirements for each license or permit?

For tow trucks:

Incident Management (IM) - must be equipped for light or heavy duty according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Amount of Insurance Required: Liability - $500,000, On-Hook Cargo - $50,000

Private Property (PP) - must be equipped for light or heavy duty according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Amount of Insurance Required: Liability - $300,000, On-Hook Cargo - $50,000

Consent Tow (CT) - must be equipped for light or heavy duty according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Amount of Insurance Required: Liability - $300,000, On-Hook Cargo - none

For tow operators:

Incident Management (IM) - must be a licensed Texas driver and certified by the National Drivers Certification Program of TRAA or another approved program. At first renewal, an Incident Management towing operator must complete a professional development course relating to towing that is licensed or certified by the National Safety Council or other course approved by TDLR.

Private Property (PP) - must be a licensed Texas driver and certified by the National Drivers Certification Program of TRAA or another approved program.

Consent Tow (CT) - must be a licensed Texas driver but certification by the National Drivers Certification Program of TRAA or another approved program is not required.

7. How do I get my tow company license, tow truck permit, and/or vehicle storage facility license for the first time?

Call (800) 803-9202 to speak with a Customer Service Representative and request a new set up. A member of the TOOLS Licensing Team will contact you to set up your application over the phone, and provide you with a certificate and PIN number. This certificate and PIN number will allow you to complete the application online at your convenience, and pay the registration fees by credit or debit card. Please note that all fees are non-refundable.

After your application is completed and the fees are paid, you will need to contact your insurance company and provide them with your certificate number, and they will file your insurance information online with TDLR. As part of the application process, all controlling persons of your company must successfully pass a criminal background check conducted by TDLR.

Once your insurance is active in the TOOLS system, and the application has been successfully completed, you will be able to print cab cards and / or your company license.

8. How do I get my tow truck operator’s license and/or VSF employee license for the first time?

Visit our Online Licensing Services to complete your application and pay the required fees. Please note that 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, or another certification program approved by TDLR, before they are eligible for an IM or PP license. To view a list of approved certification programs go to www.license.state.tx.us/towing/towing.htm#certification.

All applicants must successfully pass a criminal background check conducted by TDLR before their license can be issued.

9. How do I apply for a Dual Operator/VSF Employee, Expedited Dual Operator, or Tow Operator Training license?

Applications are available from our web site. All first-time applicants must submit a paper application along with the required fee. Please note that all fees are non-refundable.

Dual Operator/VSF Employee Application Fee: $150 - The Dual Operator/VSF Employee license is available for all Incident Management, Private Property, and Consent Tow Operators who are also Vehicle Storage Facility Employees. This license is offered as a convenience for those that require both licenses, and at a slight discount ($25 off). The requirements for Dual Tow Operators are the same as they are for a regular Tow Operator license.

Expedited Dual Operator/VSF Employee Application Fee: $75 - This license is only available once to Tow Operators or VSF Employees who currently hold a tow operator license in good standing. Upon renewal, your license will be the same as a Dual Operator/VSF Employee license, with the same on-time renewal fee of $150.

Tow Operator Training Application Fee: $25 - The Tow Operator Training License is available to those who are engaged in the process of learning and assisting in the operation of a tow truck under the supervision of a licensed tow truck operator. To be eligible, you must hold a valid state driver’s license (U.S. only) and successfully pass a criminal background check conducted by TDLR. The Tow Operator Training license is only valid for 90 days from the date of issuance.

All applicants must successfully pass a criminal background check conducted by TDLR before their license can be issued.

10. How do I get my booting company or boot operator license for the first time?

For a booting company: submit a paper application with certificate of insurance and $250 registration fee. Include background information (Attachment A) for all controlling persons.

For a boot operator: submit a paper application with the $75 registration fee.

All booting company controlling persons and boot operators must successfully pass a criminal background check conducted by TDLR before a license will be issued. Please note that all fees are non-refundable.

For more information on Vehicle Booting, please see the Vehicle Booting and Immobilization Administrative Rules.

11. Do you take walk-in registration applications, and how long does it take to process an application?

Yes, we accept walk-in registration applications. A tow company or vehicle storage facility application can be completed online using the kiosk in our first floor lobby the same day if you are paying by credit card, and will be active once your insurance company files their information online and a criminal background check is completed. Incomplete applications, or applications that require an extensive review of criminal background information, may take longer.

All other paper applications with check or money order can be brought to the lobby, but require a minimum of three business days for processing, in addition to any time required for review of criminal background information (if applicable).

Visit our lobby at 920 Colorado St. (next to the Governor’s Mansion) in downtown Austin, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

12. How do I check the status of my application?

You can check the status of your Tow Company of VSF Company application using our online TOOLS system, or by calling Customer Service at (800) 803-9202. You must have a certificate and PIN number to use the TOOLS system.

For questions about your Tow Operator (single or dual), VSF Employee, Boot Operator, or Booting Company application, please call Customer Service at (800) 803-9202.

13. How do I get my certificate and PIN number?

See #7 above.

14. Will a criminal conviction prevent me from getting a license?

Criminal convictions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Licenses may be denied based on the nature of the conviction and how long prior to the application the conviction occurred. Currently, very few license applications are denied due to an applicant’s criminal history. More detailed information on our criminal conviction guidelines is on our web site.

15. Where can I find the Criminal History Questionnaire (CHQ)? Do I have to include a CHQ with my application?

The CHQ is available to download and print on our web site at http://www.license.state.tx.us/MISC/lic002.pdf.

TDLR must review your criminal history to determine if you are eligible to obtain or retain a license. Depending on your criminal history, a review can take from one to six weeks to complete. Complete this form only if you have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, other than a minor traffic violation, or pleaded guilty or no contest (resulting in a deferred adjudication) to any criminal offense. Be specific and provide exact details. Attach a separate form for each crime. Questions regarding this form may be addressed to TDLR’s Enforcement Division at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (512)539‐5600.

16. Where can I find a Disciplinary Action Questionnaire (DAQ)? Do I have to include a DAQ with my application?

The DAQ is available to download and print on our web site at http://www.license.state.tx.us/misc/Disciplinary Action Questionnaire.pdf.

If you have had an occupational license revoked, suspended, probated or denied in any state, county, or municipality, TDLR must review your disciplinary action history to determine if you are eligible to obtain a license. (This does not include revocation of a driver’s license). Please provide specific information and exact details. Questions regarding this form may be addressed to TDLR’s Enforcement Division at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (512) 463-2906.

17. Can I request a criminal history evaluation before I apply?

Yes. Every individual who applies for a license with TDLR is subject to a criminal background check to determine his or her suitability for the license. A potential applicant may find out before applying whether he or she would likely be denied a license due to his or her criminal history.

You may request a Criminal History Evaluation Letter (CHEL) by filling out a request form, completing a criminal history questionnaire for each crime for which you were convicted or placed on deferred adjudication, and paying the $25.00 request fee. TDLR will not process a request form that is submitted without a criminal history questionnaire attached, or submitted without payment of the fee.

The request forms and more information are available at the Criminal History Evaluation Letter section of our website. Download the form for the specific license type for which you are applying.

18. How do I request a duplicate license for a Tow Operator, VSF Employee, Dual Operator, or Boot Operator?

Please send a written request with a processing fee of $25 to:

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
P.O. Box 12157
Austin, TX 78711-2157

Please include your full name, license number, and current address.

19. How do I change my address or phone number?

- Tow Companies: From your TOOLS page, select “Update Form” from the blue menu on the left side of the screen, and click “Change Address”. There is a $25 processing fee for this service. You may change your address during renewals for no charge.

-Tow Operator, VSF Employee, Dual Operator, or Boot Operator: You can update your address and other personal information during your renewal. For any changes outside of the renewal period, please send us the information by mail, fax, or email:

Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation
P.O. Box 12157
Austin, TX 78711-2157
FAX: 512-463-5984

EMAIL: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please include your TDLR license or permit number, previous address and new address, name of the person making the request, and a daytime phone number where we can reach you.

- Vehicle Storage Facility: A Vehicle Storage Facility cannot change their physical address. Any change of location requires a new license. To change the mailing address only: from your TOOLS page, select “Update Form” from the blue menu on the left side of the screen, then click “Change Address”. There is a $25 processing fee for this service. You may change your mailing address during renewals for no charge.

Renewals

1. How do I renew my Tow Truck Company or Vehicle Storage Facility license?

All licenses and permits must be renewed annually, and tow truck companies and vehicle storage facilities can be renewed quickly and easily online.

Tow truck companies may use the online TOOLS system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to renew their company license and tow truck permits, and add or delete tow trucks as needed.

Vehicle Storage Facilities also use the online TOOLS system to renew their licenses, or make changes to their information.

Please note: in order to renew, you must have current, active insurance information filed in the TOOLS system by your insurance underwriter. You cannot renew your license unless you have active insurance on file. It is the responsibility of the licensee to maintain current insurance information. Failure to renew on time due to inactive insurance will result in late fee penalties.

In addition, all controlling persons associated with the company must successfully pass a criminal background check conducted by TDLR at each renewal.

2. How do I renew my Tow Truck Operator or VSF Employee license?

Tow Truck Operator (driver) licenses and VSF Employee licenses can be renewed using TDLR’s Online Licensing Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Prior to your first renewal, Incident Management (IM) operators must complete a Professional Development Course relating to towing that is licensed or certified by the National Safety Council, or complete another course approved by TDLR. Private Property (PP) and Consent Tow (CT) operators must complete a total of four (4) hours of continuing education through TLDR-approved courses in order to renew their license.

If you choose not to renew online, return the renewal postcard to TDLR to receive a paper renewal form.

3. How do I renew my Booting Company or Boot Operator license?

Booting Company – Complete and return the renewal form which will be mailed to you approximately 60 days prior to your license expiration.

Boot Operator - Licenses can be renewed using TDLR’s Online Licensing Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Boot Operators: you must complete a total of 2 hours of continuing education through TDLR-approved courses. The continuing education hours must include 1 hour in Texas law and rules that regulate the conduct of booting operators, and 1 hour in any course in driver safety, booting techniques, equipment operation and safety, and/or customer service and documentation.

If you choose not to renew online, return the renewal postcard to TDLR to receive a paper renewal form.

4. How do I renew my Dual Tow Operator / VSF Employee license?

Dual Tow Operator/VSF Employee licenses can be renewed using TDLR’s Online Licensing Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dual Tow Operators have the same continuing education requirements as a regular Tow Operator – see #2 above.

If you choose not to renew online, return the renewal postcard to TDLR to receive a paper renewal form.

5. If my license has been expired for more than 18 months can I still renew it?

If your license has been expired for more than 18 months but less than 3 years, you may submit for approval a written request stating the reason your license should be renewed or “Request to Executive Director for Expired Renewal” form with a fee in the amount of two times the normal renewal fee.

If your license has been expired for more than 3 years you may not renew your license. You must re-apply for a new license.

You may be subject to enforcement actions, including administrative penalties and sanctions, for operating with an expired license (expired less than 18 months) or operating without a license (expired 18 months or more).

Continuing Education and Professional Development Courses

1. Do I have to take Continuing Education (CE) courses to renew my Tow Truck operator license?

Yes. Private Property (PP) and Consent Tow (CT) operators must complete a total of four (4) hours of continuing education (CE) through TDLR-approved courses to renew their license.

Dual Incident management (IM) operators must complete an eight (8) hour professional development course before renewing for the first time. After the first renewal, IM operators must complete four (4) hours of continuing education (CE) prior to every other subsequent renewal.

2. What is a Professional Development Course?

The Professional Development Course is a required course that IM operators must complete before they renew their license for the first time. The course has at least 8 hours of training, including:

  • at least 2 hours of live demonstration and hands-on training; and
  • at least 2 hours of classroom training.

The course must be taken through a TDLR-approved provider.

Here is a list of TDLR-approved providers and their contact information

3. I have an Incident Management (IM) operator license, and I’m renewing for the first time. Do I have to take the Professional Development Course and complete four hours of Continuing Education?

No. If you are an Incident Management (IM) operator renewing for the first time you must take the required 8 hour Professional Development Course.

4. Do I have to take Continuing Education (CE) courses to renew my Dual Tow Truck Operator license?

Yes. Private Property (PP) and Consent Tow (CT) Dual operators must complete a total of four (4) hours of Continuing Education (CE) through TDLR-approved courses to renew their license.

Dual Incident management (IM) operators must complete an eight (8) hour professional development course before renewing for the first time. After the first renewal, IM operators must complete four (4) hours of continuing education (CE) prior to every other subsequent renewal.

Dual Incident management (IM) operators must complete an eight (8) hour professional development course before renewing the first time. After the first renewal, IM operators must complete four (4) hours of continuing education (CE) prior to every subsequent renewal.

5. When do I have to complete the Continuing Education (CE) courses?

You must complete the CE courses within the previous year of the license being renewed. For example, if your license expires August 1, 2011, the CE courses must be completed between August 1, 2010 and August 1, 2011.

For a late renewal, the courses must have been completed within the one year period immediately prior to your expiration date.

If you find that the hours for your completed courses have not been reported, please contact the education provider – it is their responsibility to report the hours to TDLR. If there is a dispute and the reporting issue is not resolved, you may file a complaint online.

6. How do I submit proof that I have completed a Professional Development Course?

The information must be submitted electronically by the education provider. If your information has not been submitted to TDLR, you must contact the education provider. Do not send your certificates or paperwork to TDLR.

7. Where can I check to see if my completed courses have been reported?

Check your completed courses online.

8. I have a Consent Tow (CT) or Private Property (PP) operator license. Do I need to take a Professional Development Course?

No, CT and PP operators are not required to complete a Professional Development Course to renew their license. CT and PP operators are only required to complete four hours of Continuing Education for each renewal period.

9. Can the Continuing Education courses be completed online?

Yes, most of the education providers offer online courses. The courses are self-paced, and can be completed at your convenience.

10. Can the Professional Development Courses be completed online?

No. The Professional Development Courses include live demonstration, hands-on training, and classroom training. They must be completed in person.

11. Does my TDLR license renewal fee include the cost of Continuing Education or Professional Development Courses?

No. The fees for the courses are separate, and are established by and paid to the continuing education provider, not to TDLR.

12. Do I have to take Continuing Education (CE) courses to renew my Boot Operator license?

Yes, you must complete a total of 2 hours of CE through TDLR-approved courses. The CE hours must include 1 hour in Texas law and rules that regulate the conduct of booting operators, and 1 hour in any course in driver safety, booting techniques, equipment operation and safety, and/or customer service and documentation.

13. Are Continuing Education courses required in order to renew every year?

Yes, this is an annual requirement for all Tow Operators and Boot Operators.

More information about continuing education requirements

Non-Consent Tow Fee Schedules

1. Is a non-consent tow fee schedule required to be submitted to TDLR?

No. Effective September 1, 2011, tow companies that perform nonconsent tows are no longer required to submit their nonconsent tow fee schedules to the Department.

2. I submitted a tow rate sheet after September 1, 2011 to TDLR, will it be posted?

Non consent tow rate sheets will not be posted and will be disposed of in accordance with department policy.

3. Do tow companies that perform nonconsent tows have to submit a nonconsent tow fee schedule to vehicle storage facilities?

A towing company must provide its nonconsent towing fees schedule to all vehicle storage facilities to which the towing company delivers vehicles for storage.

4. What should be listed on a non consent tow rate sheet sent to the vehicle storage facility?

· Clearly separate and label fees charged for private property towing from fees charged for incident management towing;

  • Clearly separate and label fees assessed in areas without a towing ordinance from those fees assessed in political subdivisions (such as cities) with towing ordinances;
  • If you only perform one type of towing, you must label the fees on your non-consent tow fee schedule as either incident management or private property;
  • For incident management towing, only list fees directly related to towing a vehicle; and
  • For private property towing, you may only list light duty, medium duty, and heavy duty tow fees and drop fees.

Statewide Maximum Amounts for Private Property Tows

1. Are there rules about the amount I can charge for a private property tow?

Yes. A tow company performing private property tows may not charge more than the private property statewide maximum tow amounts.

2. What are the statewide maximum amounts for private property tows?

For a Light Duty Private Property Tow, the Maximum Tow Fee is $250 and the Maximum Drop Fee is $125.

For a Medium Duty Private Property Tow, the Maximum Tow Fee is $350 and the Maximum Drop Fee is $175.

For a Heavy Duty Private Property Tow, the Maximum Tow Fee is $450 per unit, maximum $900 total and the Maximum Drop Fee is $225 per unit, $450 total.

3. How do I determine if a tow is Light Duty, Medium Duty, or Heavy Duty?

· If the towed vehicle is 10,000 lbs or less, it is a light duty tow.

· If the towed vehicle is between 10,001 and 24,999 lbs, it is a medium duty tow.

· If the towed vehicle is 25,000 lbs or more, it is a heavy duty tow.

Drop Fees

1. What is a drop fee?

A drop fee is a charge offered instead of a towing fee that allows the vehicle operator to stop the tow without paying the full tow charge and additional storage charges.

2. What does the term "hooked up" mean?

Hooked up means the vehicle is fully prepared for transport by attachment to a tow truck, lifted in tow position, with tow lights and safety chains attached and, if required, placed on a dolly in a raised position and the only thing remaining is for the tow operator to drive away.

3. What does the phrase vehicle owner or representative "attempts to retrieve the motor vehicle" mean?

For purposes of paying the drop charge, the terms vehicle owner or representative means any person who offers to pay the drop charge to stop the tow. Attempt to retrieve the motor vehicle means any verbal request that a reasonable person would understand to mean, "Do not tow my car."

4. What does the phrase "before its removal from the property" mean?

The phrase "before its removal from the property" refers to vehicles parked on property other than a public roadway. Until the tow truck enters a public street, road or highway, the vehicle owner or operator has an absolute right to regain possession of the vehicle by payment of the drop charge.

5. What does the phrase "before its removal from the parked location" mean?

The phrase "before its removal from the parked location" refers to vehicles parked on a public roadway. Until the vehicle is hooked up, as described in the definition of hooked up, and the tow operator drives away, the vehicle has not been moved from its parked location.

6. Can I charge a drop fee if the owner or operator arrives to move the vehicle before I have it fully hooked up?

No. You must allow the owner or operator to move the vehicle.

7. Can I charge a drop fee if the owner or operator arrives after the car is hooked up but before I've left the property or its parked location?

Yes. You must tell the owner or operator that they can pay you on the spot to drop the vehicle.

8. Do I have to offer to unhook the vehicle for a drop fee, if the owner or operator arrives when the vehicle is in tow, but before I've left the property?

Yes. If the vehicle is fully hooked up and you are in transport, but you are still on the property, you are required to tell the owner or operator that they may pay a drop fee.

9. Do I have to offer to unhook the vehicle for a drop fee, if the owner or operator arrives after I've left the property with the vehicle in tow?

No, once you are in transport on a public roadway off the property, you may proceed to a licensed vehicle storage facility.

10. What form of payment can an owner or operator use to pay for a drop fee?

You must accept cash, debit cards and credit cards.

Compliance and Enforcement

1. How does TDLR conduct inspections?

TDLR conducts periodic and risk-based inspections of tow truck companies and vehicle storage facilities to ensure compliance with the law.

Periodic inspections occur at least once every two years. TDLR may conduct additional risk-based inspections if a company is found to be not in compliance with the law. TDLR may inspect a vehicle, a facility, business records, or any other place or thing reasonably required to determine compliance with the law. The company may be required to pay for risk-based inspections.

2. Will a criminal conviction prevent me from getting a license?

Criminal convictions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Licenses may be denied based on the nature of the conviction and how long prior to the application the conviction occurred. Currently, very few license applications are denied due to an applicant’s criminal history.

Drug Testing Policy

1. What options do I have for the drug testing requirements?

You can choose one of three options:

  • Select the TDLR Model Drug Testing Policy
  • Choose a TDLR-approved drug testing consortium
  • Mail, fax, or e-mail a copy of your drug testing policy to us for review and approval.

2. Where can I find the list of TDLR-approved drug testing consortiums?

The TDLR-approved drug testing consortiums are listed in the drop-down menu under “Drug Policy Update” in the TOOLS system.

3. How do I comply with the TDLR Model Policy?

By selecting the TDLR Model Policy on your application, you are confirming that your company drug testing policy will follow these general guidelines:

  • You must have at least one scheduled drug test every year for each towing operator or employee, and random, unannounced drug testing annually.
  • Employees must not engage in the manufacture, sale, distribution, use, or unauthorized possession of illegal drugs at any time.
  • Employees must not take or be under the influence of any drugs, unless prescribed by the employee's licensed physician.
  • If an employee is convicted of violating a criminal drug statute, they must inform their supervisor within five days of the conviction. If the employee fails to notify the employer, the employee can be fired.
  • The company must notify TDLR of the conviction (including pleas of guilty and nolo contendere).
  • Before taking a drug test, all employees must sign a drug testing procedures consent form. This form is available on our website at http://www.license.state.tx.us/towing/drugtesting.pdf. This consent form should be kept on company premises at all times. Do not send this form to TDLR.

4. What types of tests are required?

There are three types of drug tests required:

  • Pre-employment – must be taken before a final offer of employment.
  • Annual – all employees must complete at least one scheduled drug test each year.
  • Random - in addition to annual testing, employees are subject to random urine drug testing.

5. What types of drugs are included in the testing?

Marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP), and opiates.

6. Is the company required to notify TDLR of a positive test result?

Yes, the company must notify us within 3 days of receipt of a confirmed positive test result. Fax a copy of confirmed results to (512)463-2951. The notification must include:

  1. employee’s name;
  2. employee’s license number;
  3. date of the positive test;
  4. substance detected by the drug test; and
  5. disciplinary action imposed.

Please include a cover sheet with your contact information.

7. Do I need to send TDLR our negative test results?

No, do not send in negative test results. Keep them for your records.

8. What happens if an employee or applicant tests positive for illegal drugs?

  • Applicants will be denied employment if they test positive on the pre-employment test.
  • Once a positive drug test result has been confirmed, employees must stand down from all duties and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
  • In determining the appropriate disciplinary action, the company may consider the employee’s work history, length of employment, current work assignment, current job performance, and any past disciplinary actions.
  • No disciplinary action may be taken against employees who voluntarily identify themselves as drug users, obtain counseling, rehabilitation, and comply with return to duty and follow-up drug testing.

9. What type of information do I need to give my employees about drugs and drug testing?

Employers must display and distribute the following information to their employees:

  1. company policy regarding the use of prohibited drugs and/or alcohol;
  2. consequences or disciplinary action that may be imposed for violating the drug policy;
  3. informational material on the physical and mental effects of drugs; and
  4. an existing community services hotline number, available drug counseling, rehabilitation, and assistance program.

10. Can we file our own drug policy with TDLR?

Yes, you may submit your own independent drug testing policy for our review and approval. An independent policy must be at least as stringent as the TDLR Model Policy.

11. I own a tow company and a vehicle storage facility that is a member of a TDLR-approved drug testing consortium. How many of my employees are required to be randomly drug tested every year?

You must make sure that the consortium performs random drug testing on at least 25% of all the tow operators employed by or under contract with your tow company and 25% of all the vehicle storage facility employees employed by or under contract with your vehicle storage facility.

For more specific information on Drug Testing Policy rules and regulations, please see Section 86.710 (tow company) and Section 85.725 (VSF) of the Administrative Rules at www.license.state.tx.us/towing/towing.htm

Vehicle Storage Facility Practices

1. What forms of payment must a VSF accept?

A vehicle storage facility must accept at least one of the following forms of payment:

- electronic check;

- debit card, or

- credit card.

In addition, a vehicle storage facility must post a sign that reads:

“This vehicle storage facility must accept payment by an electronic check, credit card, or debit card for any fee or charge associated with delivery or storage of a vehicle.”

2. When must a VSF send out a 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.

3. Can a homeowner who charges a parking fee have a vehicle towed that is parked illegally?

If the homeowner posts signs that meet the requirements of Sec. 2308.252, then yes, the homeowner may have an unauthorized vehicle towed from the home without notifying law enforcement.

4. I do not charge for parking in my driveway, but someone parked in it without my permission. Can I have them towed or do I have to call the police?

If a homeowner does not charge to park vehicles on his or her property, then yes, under state law an unauthorized vehicle may be towed from the property without having posted “no parking” signs. However, since some cities also regulate the towing of vehicles, you should also check with local authorities.

Tow and/or Boot Company Practices

1. I am a towing and/or booting company. Can I install the signs prohibiting unauthorized vehicles required by Section 2308.301?

Yes. The Towing and Booting Act states a parking facility owner may not receive financial gain from a towing or booting company. However, the signs prohibiting unauthorized vehicles are not considered a financial gain.

Information and Staying Informed

1. How will I be notified of administrative rule changes?

The easiest way to stay informed of rule changes and proposals for rule changes is to subscribe to our email notification system at http://www.license.state.tx.us/newsletters/TDLRnotificationLists.asp. Rule changes and proposals for rule changes are also published in the Texas Register.

2. Where can I get a copy of the administrative rules?

Administrative rules are available for viewing and downloading on our website at http://www.license.state.tx.us/towing/towing.htm.

 

Contact Info

  • Southwest Tow Operators
  • 811 S Central Expwy Suite 200
  • Richardson, Texas, 75080
  • Toll Free: (866) 320-9300

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