WSR 04-20-021

PERMANENT RULES

WASHINGTON STATE PATROL


[ Filed September 28, 2004, 9:01 a.m. , effective October 29, 2004 ]


Purpose: The anticipated effect of the amendments to chapter 204-91A WAC are to clarify procedures for inspections; applying for a letter of appointment; issuance of a letter of appointment; suspension or revocation of a letter of appointment; hearing procedures; business hours; handling personal property; tow truck equipment standards; and to make some necessary changes in wording.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 204-91A-030, 204-91A-040, 204-91A-050, 204-91A-060, 204-91A-070, 204-91A-080, 204-91A-090, 204-91A-120, 204-91A-130, 204-91A-140, and 204-91A-170.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 46.37.005.

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 04-13-040 on June 10, 2004.

Changes Other than Editing from Proposed to Adopted Version: WAC 204-91A-030(20), additional wording was taken in part from WAC 204-91A-140 "The hourly rate for each class of truck shall be the only charge for services performed for initial tows and secondary tows performed during business hours.... The hourly rate shall:... (b) Apply when the call is made by the state patrol, for whatever reason, including but not limited to accidents, incidents, disableds, and impound requests...."

WAC 204-91A-060(1), included that an application for a letter of appointment will be considered if new owners "will keep in place the existing management team/employees for a minimum of one year upon purchasing the businesses." Also added that the owner/operator shall "outline which requirement listed above fits their situation. If the owner/operator doesn't have the two years experience and is granted a waiver, it will be a probationary waiver for a period of one year."

WAC 204-91A-060(2), added that the state patrol may revoke a letter of appointment/contract if the applicant, partner, or any employee who operates a tow truck or assists in vehicle auctions has "within the last three years been convicted or found guilty of driving under the influence for alcohol and/or drug(s), or within the last five years have been found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs two or more times."

WAC 204-91A-070 (3)(c), the twenty-four hour requirement for employees to work for only one company was replaced with a requirement to work for only one company during a "designated shift - must work the entire shift from beginning to end for only one company."

WAC 204-91A-070 (3)(e), added that each business must have its own entrance, "or when the building has one main entrance, the offices must have doors clearly marking and separating each business (not acceptable to walk in the main door and be hit with a counter or one office for the multiple tow companies housed in the building.)"

WAC 204-91A-090(2), reinstated the language that was originally struck out. Also included the option for the chief to authorize a designee to take action. Included the RCW citation for chapter 34.12 RCW.

WAC 204-91A-120(2), left in the thirty minute requirement in order to maintain consistency with the response time for WSP impounds.

These changes were agreed upon by members of the towing industry and other stakeholders.

A final cost-benefit analysis is available by contacting Ms. Christine Fox, P.O. Box 42614, Olympia, WA 98504-2614, phone (360) 753-3697, fax (360) 586-3697, e-mail Christine.Fox@wsp.wa.gov.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 11, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 11, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 11, Repealed 0.

Date Adopted: September 28, 2004.

Lowell M. Porter

Chief

OTS-7219.2


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-07-056, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02)

WAC 204-91A-030   Definitions.   The following definitions shall apply throughout this chapter:

(1) "Patrol" means the Washington state patrol as defined in RCW 43.43.010.

(2) "Chief" means the chief of the Washington state patrol or designee.

(3) "Department" means the Washington state department of licensing.

(4) "Director" means the director of the department of licensing.

(5) "Tow truck permit" means the permit issued annually by the department that has the classification of service the tow truck may provide stamped upon it.

(6) "Registered tow truck operator" or "operator" means any person who engages in the impounding, transporting, or storage of unauthorized vehicles, or in the disposal of abandoned vehicles.

(7) "Tow truck" means a motor vehicle that is equipped for and used in the business of towing or otherwise transporting other vehicles with specific equipment approved by the state patrol.

(8) "Tow truck number" means the number issued by the department to tow trucks used by a registered tow truck operator in the state of Washington.

(9) "Tow truck service" means the towing, moving, transporting, or impounding of vehicles, together with personal effects and cargo, by a registered tow truck operator utilizing equipment approved by the patrol.

(10) "Highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

(11) "Place of business" means a building which the registered tow truck operator occupies, either continuously or at regular times, where tow business books and records are kept and tow business is transacted in each assigned tow zone.

(12) "Vehicle storage area" means the approved yard/buildings (primary and secondary) where stored vehicles are kept. The storage areas and fencing will comply with the requirements as established by the department and all local zoning rules and regulations. Both primary and secondary storage areas must be physically located within tow zone assigned to the operator.

(13) "Special event" means any event which causes an unusually large number of impounded vehicles and/or tow calls in a short period of time and is so declared by the district commander or designee.

(14) "Special event storage area" means an area used for temporarily storing vehicles impounded/towed from special events. Approval for such areas shall be obtained from the department, the patrol, and appropriate city and county jurisdictions.

(15) "District commander" means the commanding officer of an area established by the Washington state patrol.

(16) "Inspector" means a commissioned officer of the Washington state patrol who has been designated as a tow truck inspector by the patrol.

(17) "Tow zone" means that specific geographical area designated by the district commander for the removal of vehicles as defined in Title 46 RCW and this chapter.

(18) "Section" means the section designated by the chief of the Washington state patrol to coordinate the tow truck inspection program, maintain tow truck files, and issue letters of appointment.

(19) "Letter of appointment" means a letter issued by the section that authorizes a registered tow truck operator to tow and store vehicles on a rotational or contractual basis, in a specific area, for the Washington state patrol. The letter of appointment must have an attached valid contractual agreement listing the maximum rates that will be charged by the operator for services provided as a result of state patrol originated calls.

(20) "Initial tow" means services provided including, but not limited to, accidents, incidents, disableds, and impound requests, as a result of an original call, on a particular vehicle, that the tow operator receives from the patrol ((as a result of contract or)) using a copy of a current rotational call list for the particular zone. Any vehicles of combination oversized/weight requiring a permit, may only be moved to the nearest safe location agreed upon by all parties involved, until such time a permit is acquired or until the load can be made legal by reducing.

(21) "Secondary tow" means towing services from an operator's storage facility or place of business, to another location designated by the owner/agent of a vehicle that was initially towed as a result of call from the patrol.

(22) "Letter of contractual agreement" means the document, attached to the letter of appointment, that specifies the maximum tow rates that may be charged for services provided as a result of state patrol originated calls.

(23) "Owner/operator" means owner is active in the general management of the towing business.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005, 46.55.050, and 46.55.115. 02-07-056, 204-91A-030, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005 and 46.55.050. 94-18-083, 204-91A-030, filed 9/2/94, effective 10/3/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.61.567. 89-21-044, 204-91A-030, filed 10/13/89, effective 11/13/89. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.35.005 [46.37.005]. 89-14-015 (Order 89-04-ESR), 204-91A-030, filed 6/23/89.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 94-18-083, filed 9/2/94, effective 10/3/94)

WAC 204-91A-040   Inspections.   Upon the request of a registered tow operator or applicant, the patrol shall conduct an inspection of the applicant's place of business, facilities, and equipment to determine if the applicant meets the requirements of chapter 46.55 RCW, or Titles 308 and/or 204 WAC. Verification must be shown to the inspector that the applicant complies with all applicable local laws and regulations as prescribed for the geographical area where the towing business will be established. If local zoning regulations are applicable, a copy of the certification of approval from the local zoning commission will be furnished to the inspector. This certification may be included in the department's application form for license. The certification will become a part of the permanent record maintained on each approved towing firm by the section.

(1) Reinspections will be conducted at least once a year. Unscheduled inspections may be conducted without notice at the operator's place of business by an inspector to determine the fitness of tow trucks, facilities, and business records.

(2) If reinspection of a previously-approved tow truck reveals equipment defects, one of the following procedures shall apply:

(a) In the event of a safety-related defect which would render the tow truck a safety hazard upon the public highway, a red "out-of-service" sticker shall be affixed immediately by the inspector.

(b) In the event of missing or defective equipment that does not constitute a safety hazard but is required, the inspector shall advise the operator of the defect. If after ten days the operator fails or refuses to repair the defect, the red out-of-service sticker shall be affixed.

(c) Upon confirming the satisfactory repair of the defect or defects that caused the tow truck to be taken out of service, the inspector shall remove the red sticker. In the event that the original inspector is not available to reinspect the equipment, another patrol officer appointed by the appropriate supervisor may do so. The reinspection shall be completed as soon as possible after the operator advises the patrol that the defect has been repaired. Whenever practicable this shall be done within three days and may require the operator to bring the truck to the inspector.

(d) Upon sale or other transfer of a tow truck from the business, the operator shall so advise the inspector who will ((obtain)) request the issued cab card permit ((and)) be forwarded to the inspector via U.S. mail or other arrangement agreed upon by the parties involved, within three days of any changes. The operator will remove any decals indicating truck class, district and/or zone. The ((permit will be forwarded to)) inspector will notify the department ((by the inspector who will also advise)) and the section of ((the action taken)) any changes in vehicles.

(e) Upon the purchase or acquisition of any additional or replacement tow truck(s) to be used pursuant to this chapter, the operator shall immediately notify the patrol and request an inspection of the new unit. The new unit shall not be used for public or private impound calls until satisfactory inspection is completed and a cab card permit and/or decals for the vehicle has been issued by the department and/or patrol.

(3) On original inspection, and subsequent reinspection, the inspector shall confirm the identities and status of driving privilege of all persons that operate the tow trucks. The inspector shall notify the operator if any person does not meet the minimum license requirements.

(a) In the event that an operator becomes aware that the driving privilege of an employee, or owner no longer meets the minimum requirements, the operator shall prohibit that person from operating any tow truck.

(b) An operator shall, within three days of employing a new driver, advise the inspector in writing of the identity, including name, address and date of birth, of the new employee. The inspector shall notify the operator if the new employee does not meet the minimum license requirements.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005 and 46.55.050. 94-18-083, 204-91A-040, filed 9/2/94, effective 10/3/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.35.005 [46.37.005]. 89-14-015 (Order 89-04-ESR), 204-91A-040, filed 6/23/89.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 89-04-ESR, filed 6/23/89)

WAC 204-91A-050   Certification.   After inspection of the towing business facilities and equipment, the inspector will certify one of the following:

(1) The towing operation of the applicant ((fully conforms to)) meets the requirements and qualification standards established by ((the Revised Code of Washington)) chapter 46.55 RCW, chapters 204-91A and 308-61 WAC, the department of licensing, master licensing services, and the patrol; or

(2) The towing operation of the applicant does not ((conform to)) meet the requirements and qualification standards established by the Revised Code of Washington 46.55, Washington Administrative Codes 204-91A and 308-61, the department of licensing, master licensing services, and the patrol. The inspector shall state the reasons for failure to qualify in a separate report which shall be attached to the application/inspection form.

In the event the applicant fails to meet the established requirements for approval, the applicant may, after correcting all deficiencies, request a reinspection for certification.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.35.005 [46.37.005]. 89-14-015 (Order 89-04-ESR), 204-91A-050, filed 6/23/89.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-07-056, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02)

WAC 204-91A-060   Application for letter of appointment.   (1) An application for a letter of appointment to be placed on the rotational tow list, will not be considered or approved unless the ((operator/))owner/operator of the towing company can demonstrate that he/she has been a registered tow truck operator for a minimum of two years prior to the date of application with at least one approved "A" or "B" class tow truck((.)), additional trucks are optional; or has worked as an employee of a tow company on the state patrol's rotational tow list and gained experience within the towing industry including, but not limited to, the operation of vehicles, complying with the state and federal standards and regulations, and processing of paperwork for auditing and other purposes; or will keep in place the existing management team/employees for a minimum of one year upon purchasing the business. The owner/operator shall submit a letter with the application outlining their experience within the towing industry and outline which requirement listed above fits their situation. If the owner/operator doesn't have the two years experience and is granted a waiver, it will be a probationary waiver for a period of one year.

Note: An exception may be made if an operator desires a letter of appointment for class "C" tows only. In such situations, only a class "C" truck is required.


Upon request, the section shall advise the applicant of the contents of the department's regulations and of the standards established for the issuance of a letter of appointment.

(2) An application for a letter of appointment to provide towing service for the patrol shall be filed by the applicant with the local state patrol district office on a form prescribed by the patrol. The state patrol may refuse to approve or may revoke a letter of appointment/contract if the applicant, partner, or any employee who operates a tow truck or assists in vehicle auctions has within the last ten years has misrepresented or concealed a fact in obtaining a letter of appointment, violated any state or federal statute or rule regulating the tow industry, or ((in the last ten years)) been convicted of any class "A" felony, or in the last ten years been convicted or found guilty of any lesser felony or misdemeanor involving assault, sexual abuse, ((or)) theft, burglary, stealing, embezzlement, fraud, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drug(s), or any violent or sexual act toward a man, woman, or minor child, or within the last three years been convicted or found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drug(s), or within the last five years have been found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs two or more times as defined in the criminal code ((under which the conviction would have been a felony in the state of Washington at the time of conviction)) as they existed at the time of the violation, as they now exist or may later be amended in the state of Washington. In the case of a partnership, each partner shall apply on the form prescribed. In the case of a corporation, the patrol may require that each of the present and any subsequent officers, managers, and stockholders holding ten percent or more of the total issued and outstanding stock of the applicant corporation complete an application form. A signed "letter of contractual agreement" listing the maximum tow rates to be charged for services resulting from state patrol originated calls will be attached to the application.

(3) Only one application per year to tow on the Washington state patrol rotational tow list will be accepted and considered for an applicant who has had their previous application denied or had their letter/contract of appointment revoked. The year shall run from the date of application denial or the date of the letter of appointment's revocation.

(4) The district commander or designee shall complete tow zone portion of the form. He/she will enter "approved" or "disapproved" and will sign the form next to the zone designation. The application and "letter of contractual agreement" will be forwarded to the section.

(5) The application form will be assigned a docket number, by the section, which shall be its permanent identification number for all matters relating to appointments, granted or denied, and any other correspondence with the section thereafter.

(6) The filing of an application for a letter of appointment does not in itself authorize the operator to provide towing services pursuant to this chapter until a letter of appointment has been issued by the section. However, nothing herein shall prohibit the patrol from calling the towing business upon the specific request of a person responsible for a vehicle or his agent.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005, 46.55.050, and 46.55.115. 02-07-056, 204-91A-060, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005 and 46.55.050. 97-08-021, 204-91A-060, filed 3/25/97, effective 4/25/97; 94-18-083, 204-91A-060, filed 9/2/94, effective 10/3/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.61.567. 89-21-044, 204-91A-060, filed 10/13/89, effective 11/13/89. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.35.005 [46.37.005]. 89-14-015 (Order 89-04-ESR), 204-91A-060, filed 6/23/89.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 94-18-083, filed 9/2/94, effective 10/3/94)

WAC 204-91A-070   Issuance of a letter of appointment.   (1) No towing operator shall be called to perform a towing service at the request of the patrol unless such operator has a letter of appointment as described in this chapter. No such letter of appointment will be issued unless all qualifications set out in this chapter have either been met by the applicant, or a waiver of those qualifications not met has been granted by the section.

(2) The section commander shall have the authority to issue letters of appointment upon request after receiving certification from the inspector, an application for a letter of appointment endorsed by the district commander, and notice from the department that the requestor has been licensed as a registered tow truck operator.

If the section shall find the requestor does not or will not meet all requirements and is not qualified for a waiver of the requirements, then such request shall be denied. The section shall notify the requestor of its decision in writing, stating the reasons. If the request is approved, the section commander will issue the letter of appointment and forward it to the tow operator. The tow company will be admitted to the patrol's call list for the appropriate tow zone on the effective date of the letter.

If the district commander recommends denial of a request for a letter of appointment, the section commander shall notify the applicant and provide an opportunity for applicant to have a hearing as provided in chapter 34.05 RCW.

(3) A letter of appointment will be valid for one business, in a single tow zone, assigned by the district commander. Requests for additional letters of appointment in the same or another zone must be based on a complete and separate place of business capable of independent operation within the appropriate zone.

(a) Each business must be operated independently. One company cannot be dependent upon another for any required operation.

(b) If an individual, partnership, corporation, or other business entity owns more than one business, each business must have a different identifiable name, address, and telephone number, which are answered at the business location during normal business hours. There may, however, be a central dispatch center for multiple companies.

Note: A different identifiable name may include the parent company name but must also have an additional name to identify and separate that company. Example: Joe's Towing and Joe's Towing South. Joe's Towing I and Joe's Towing II will not be adequate for this purpose.

(c) There must be separate personnel for each company. Employees of that company must adequately staff each business office during normal business office hours to answer all incoming phone calls and to release impounded vehicles. Each business must be staffed by a sufficient number of drivers for twenty-four hour day operation. Employees and drivers cannot work for more than one company at a time during a designated shift - must work the entire shift from beginning to end for only one company and there must be a separate time card for each business for an individual working for more than one company.

(d) There must be adequate equipment for each company to operate independently. Tow trucks must only be used for the company for which they are registered. All trucks must be clearly marked with the company's identity.

(e) Separate businesses in the same tow zone may be housed in one building; however, there must be a solid wall from floor to ceiling physically separating each business. Each business must have its own outside entrance, or when the building has one main entrance, the offices must have doors clearly marking and separating each business (not acceptable to walk in the main door and be hit with a counter or one office for the multiple tow companies housed in the building), with a sign at the front door and a sign plainly visible from the street indicating the company's name, phone number, and office hours. Companies currently not meeting these standards will have twelve months from July 1, 2004, to comply.

(f) Each business must maintain their own set of required records and books as outlined in RCW 46.55.150 including, but not limited to, a master log, vehicle transaction file, and billing invoices at its place of business. If there is a corporate accountant/bookkeeper for more than one company, all records and/or files for each company, other than those records, which are required to be maintained at the business location, must be maintained separately.

(g) Impound/storage areas must meet the requirements of WAC 308-61-026(2) at all times, including proper segregation.

All registered tow truck operators providing service to WSP must be in compliance with these requirements. Failure to comply will result in the cancellation of your letter of appointment to tow on the patrol's rotational tow list.

(4) A tow operator (or a district commander) may petition the section in writing for a waiver of one or more requirements. The section may grant a waiver if it finds that:

(a) The towing service available to the patrol without the waiver is inadequate to meet the needs of the public;

(b) The request is otherwise reasonable; and

(c) The request has the district commander's approval.

In the event a qualified tow operator meeting all requirements and qualifications receives a letter of appointment in the same zone as a tow operator that had earlier been granted a waiver, the tow operator with a waiver will have the letter of appointment rescinded by the section and after notification will not be called for patrol-initiated tows.

(5) Every letter of appointment shall be issued in the name of the applicant and the holder thereof shall not allow any other person or business to use the letter of appointment.

(6) The letter of appointment will only be valid for the place of business named on the application and will not apply to any other place of business.

(7) A letter of appointment shall be valid until suspended, superseded, or revoked by the section.

(8) The holder of each letter of appointment must maintain at least one tow truck meeting the minimum class "A," "B," or "C" standards as listed in WAC 204-91A-170.

(9) All storage areas, primary and secondary, for each place of business must be in the tow zone assigned to that place of business.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005 and 46.55.050. 94-18-083, 204-91A-070, filed 9/2/94, effective 10/3/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.61.567. 89-21-044, 204-91A-070, filed 10/13/89, effective 11/13/89. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.35.005 [46.37.005]. 89-14-015 (Order 89-04-ESR), 204-91A-070, filed 6/23/89.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 94-18-083, filed 9/2/94, effective 10/3/94)

WAC 204-91A-080   Suspension or revocation of letter of appointment.   (1) Upon receiving evidence that any appointee has failed to comply or no longer complies with any requirement or provision of law or this chapter, the section may deny, suspend, or revoke the letter of appointment. The appointee shall be given notice of the action and an opportunity to be heard as prescribed in chapter 34.05 RCW, prior to denial, suspension, or revocation of the letter of appointment.

(a) Upon receiving notice of the action, the appointee may request a hearing on the denial, suspension or revocation of the letter of appointment. Such request must be made in writing within twenty days from the date of the notice. An adjudicative proceeding will be commenced within ninety days of the receipt of a hearing request. Failure to request a hearing, or failure to appear at a requested hearing, a prehearing conference, or any other stage of an adjudicative proceeding, shall constitute default and may result in the entry of a final order under RCW 34.05.440.

(b) Upon receiving a hearing request, the section may, at the request of the appointee, or on its own initiative, schedule an informal settlement conference which shall be without prejudice to the rights of the parties.

(c) The holder of a letter of appointment may voluntarily relinquish the letter. The section and the district commander will be advised in writing of this voluntary relinquishment. After receiving written notice, the district commander will cause the inspector to physically obtain the original letter of appointment and forward it to the section.

(2) The section may summarily suspend a letter of appointment without prior notification if it finds that there is danger to the public health, safety, or welfare which requires immediate action. In every summary suspension of a letter of appointment, the section shall enter an order, signed by the chief, which is in compliance with the provisions of RCW 34.05.479. Administrative proceedings consistent with chapter 34.05 RCW for revocation or other action shall be promptly instituted and determined. The section shall give notice as is practicable to the appointee.

(3) A tow company may be immediately removed from the state patrol's rotational tow list for the following - revocation or cancellation of their registered tow truck operator license by the department or cancellation of the tow company's insurance certificate or bond.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005 and 46.55.050. 94-18-083, 204-91A-080, filed 9/2/94, effective 10/3/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.35.005 [46.37.005]. 89-14-015 (Order 89-04-ESR), 204-91A-080, filed 6/23/89.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-07-056, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02)

WAC 204-91A-090   Hearing procedure.   ((Pursuant to RCW 34.05.482 through 34.05.494, the patrol will use brief adjudicative proceedings where not violative of the law and where protection of the public interest does not require the patrol to give notice and an opportunity to participate to persons other than the parties. The brief adjudicative proceedings may include: Denial of application for a letter of appointment, suspension, or revocation of letter of appointment.)) Hearings under this chapter shall be pursuant to chapters 34.05 RCW, 446-08, and 10-08 WAC.

(1) The presiding officer shall conduct the hearing and any prehearing conference(s).

(2) The burden of proof in any hearing before the chief shall be on the applicant seeking a letter of appointment, or the person or agency seeking the suspension or revocation of a letter of appointment, or other action by the chief or designee. The chief or designee, after having heard and considered all pertinent evidence, or if the hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge, after having considered a record of a hearing conducted by an administrative law judge duly appointed pursuant to chapter 34.12 RCW, shall make written findings of facts and conclusions based on evidence presented.

(3) Oral proceedings shall be recorded on tape and such tape shall become part of the hearing record.

(4) This section is intended to supplement the procedures contained in the Administrative Procedure Act, chapter 34.05 RCW, the model rules of procedure, chapter 446-08 WAC, and chapter 10-08 WAC.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005, 46.55.050, and 46.55.115. 02-07-056, 204-91A-090, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.35.005 [46.37.005]. 89-14-015 (Order 89-04-ESR), 204-91A-090, filed 6/23/89.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-07-056, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02)

WAC 204-91A-120   Business office hours and records.   Business hours for purposes of inspection of records, place of business, and towing equipment ((shall)) must be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding weekends and holidays.

(1) When an operator is not open for business and does not have personnel present at the place of business, the operator ((shall)) must post a clearly visible telephone number at the business location for the purpose of advising the public how to make contact for the release of vehicles or personal property.

The owner/operator will have personnel at the place of business during business hours to answer phone calls and to release vehicles and/or personal property. Persons from adjoining businesses or neighboring businesses may not be used to meet this requirement. Phones may not be forwarded to an answering service during normal business hours, with the exception of the lunch hour. Lunch hours will be posted and will be consistent on a monthly basis.

(2) The owner/operator ((shall)) must maintain personnel who can be contacted twenty-four hours a day to release impounded vehicles within a thirty-minute period of time. The personnel must be identifiable as representing the company.

(3) All billing invoices shall be ((consecutively)) numbered and shall contain the following information:

(a) Date of service and tow truck operator's name.

(b) Time of departure in response to the call.

(c) Time service completed.

(d) Class of tow truck.

(e) If the towing call is for a Washington state patrol request, another police agency, a private impound, or the result of a private citizen request.

(f) All fees for service shall be itemized.

(g) The date and time the vehicle was released.

Note: Yard cards containing the above information may be used for internal control of vehicles by the operator until the vehicle is released, sold, or otherwise disposed of. Yard cards shall be supplemental to, and shall not replace the invoice required above.


A copy of the invoice shall be filed by invoice number at the business location and a copy of any voided invoice shall be retained in this same file. Another copy of the invoice shall be included with the transaction file items identified in RCW 46.55.150.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005, 46.55.050, and 46.55.115. 02-07-056, 204-91A-120, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.61.567. 89-21-044, 204-91A-120, filed 10/13/89, effective 11/13/89. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.35.005 [46.37.005]. 89-14-015 (Order 89-04-ESR), 204-91A-120, filed 6/23/89.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-07-056, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02)

WAC 204-91A-130   Personal property handling procedures.   All personal belongings and contents in the vehicle and not permanently attached, shall be kept intact, and shall be returned to the vehicle's owner or agent during normal business hours upon request and presentation of a driver's license or other sufficient identification. ((Personal property not being held for evidence purposes by the impounding agency, shall be released to the vehicle's owner or agent by the tow operator without charge, upon demand,)) The tow operator without charge, upon demand, shall release personal property not being held for evidence purposes by the impounding agency, to the vehicle's owner or agent during normal business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for weekends and legal holidays. Release procedures will also follow guidelines as set forth in chapter 308-61 WAC and chapter 46.55 RCW.

The vehicle and contents within, less items listed in WAC and RCW, and personal property not picked up prior to the vehicle going to auction, stays with the vehicle. Personal property will be sold with the vehicle at auction, unless arrangements with the legal/registered owner are made for pick-up of items. The items may not be sold at auction to fulfill a lien against the vehicle.

(1) The items of personal property which the state patrol will not accept in response to RCW 46.55.090 include but are not limited to the following:

(a) Tire chains;

(b) Spare tire/wheels;

(c) Used auto parts and/or accessories;

(d) Seat covers;

(e) Fuel containers;

(f) Jacks, lug wrenches;

(g) Radios, stereos, and other items attached to the vehicle by bolts, screws, or some other manner which incorporates them to the vehicle shall remain with the vehicle;

(h) Refuse;

(i) Trash;

(j) Garbage;

(k) Open alcohol containers;

(l) Soiled or mildewed clothing, shoes, blankets, tarps, etc., having no actual value;

(m) Miscellaneous unofficial papers and other items having no actual value.

(2) Items which must be turned over to the patrol and inventoried include but are not limited to:

(a) Money;

(b) Wallets or purses;

(c) Bank or check books;

(d) Bank or credit cards;

(e) Official identification cards, operator's license, or passports;

(f) Jewelry items;

(g) Firearms and any type weapon;

(h) Contraband and/or controlled substances;

(i) Stocks, bonds, money orders, bank certificates, travelers checks, postage stamps, food stamps, etc.;

(j) Other items of obvious value.

(3) The tow operator shall not remove or damage any vehicle parts permanently affixed to the vehicle, i.e., trunk locks or door locks.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005, 46.55.050, and 46.55.115. 02-07-056, 204-91A-130, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.35.005 [46.37.005]. 89-14-015 (Order 89-04-ESR), 204-91A-130, filed 6/23/89.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-07-056, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02)

WAC 204-91A-140   Fees.   (1) All towing fees shall be based on a flat, hourly rate only and shall apply without regard for the hour of day, day of the week or whether the service was performed on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday. The hourly rate for each class of truck shall be the only charge for services performed for initial tows and secondary tows performed during business hours. Charges for secondary tows performed during nonbusiness hours, on weekends or holidays, if different from the hourly rate, shall be negotiated and agreed upon with the vehicle owner/agent before the tow is made.

(2) The chief of the state patrol shall, prior to October 15 of each year, establish maximum hourly towing rates for each class of tow truck and maximum daily storage rates that tow operators may charge for services performed as a result of state patrol calls. The maximum rates shall be determined after consulting with members of the towing industry, review of current private towing rates, and such other economic factors as the chief may deem appropriate.

When signed by the chief (or his/her designee) and the tow operator, a contractual agreement to charge no more than the maximum rates shall become part of the operator's letter of appointment. The tow operator may, however, adopt a rate schedule charging less than the maximum rates established by the chief.

The hourly rate shall:

(a) Be the only basis used to compute total charges for towing services.

(b) Apply when the call is made by the state patrol, for whatever reason, including but not limited to accidents, incidents, disableds, and impound requests.

(c) Include all ancillary activities such as, but not limited to, removal of glass and debris from the roadway and any other area referred to as the "scene or incident," necessary winching, dolly service, drive line removal, installing chains on the tow truck, installation of portable lights, vehicle hookup for towing or transporting, tire replacement (on vehicle to be towed) and standby time.

(d) Be considered to include one person (((the driver))) per truck. When responding with a class "C" or a S-1 rotator truck to major collisions and incidents, a second person is allowed at the hourly labor rate per contract for an extra RTO employee. Any charges for additional labor and/or ancillary vehicles (trailers, pickups, etc.), for removing debris, cargo, etc., must have prior authorization from the legal or registered owner/agent, or a member of the patrol at the scene.

(e) Be computed from the actual time the truck departs in response to a call until ((it returns to the starting location or it begins responding to another call minus any down time.*)) the truck returns to its normal area/zone, responds to another call, or the tow yard. The hourly rate shall be applied to the resulting net time and, after the first hour, shall be rounded to the nearest fifteen minutes. The operator may charge the hourly rate for the first hour or any portion thereof. After the first hour, no more than one-quarter of the hourly rate may be charged for each fifteen minutes of tow or service work performed.

((* Down time includes coffee or meal breaks, personal errands by the operator, and/or any mechanical failure on the truck or equipment.))

(3) The basic storage fee: (Vehicles shall be measured bumper to bumper; trailers shall be measured tongue to bumper.)

(a) Shall be calculated on a twenty-four-hour basis clock and shall be charged to the nearest half day from the time the vehicle arrived at the secure storage area. Vehicles stored over twelve hours on any given day within the twenty-four-hour clock shall constitute a full day's storage. Vehicles stored for less than twelve hours on any give day, shall be charged for twelve hours of storage; and

(b) Shall be the same for all three and four-wheel vehicles less than twenty feet in length; and

(c) For vehicles or combinations exceeding twenty feet, the storage fee shall be computed by multiplying each twenty feet of vehicle length, or any portion thereof, by the basic storage fee;

(d) For two-wheel motorcycles shall be one-half the basic storage fee for three and four-wheel vehicles.

(4) After hours release fee. If an operator or employee is already present, for other reasons, at the storage facility after business hours when a customer arrives, the vehicle and/or property shall be released as if it were during business hours. No "after hours fee" may be assessed. If the operator or employee is called to the place of business specifically for the purpose of releasing the vehicle and/or property, an "after hours fee," equivalent to one-half of the maximum Class "A" hourly rate, may be assessed.

(5) Any tow operator who charges the general public (i.e., private citizens) rates lower than those identified in the contractual agreement for services listed below shall charge the same lower rate for similar services performed as a result of state patrol originated calls.

(a) Roadside mechanical service, including fuel transfer, tire and belt changes, etc.;

(b) Disabled vehicle tow/transportation;

(c) Storage;

(d) After hours release fees.

Any such price requirement shall not be imposed for unoccupied vehicle situations in which the owner/operator has had no prior contact with either the state patrol or the tow operator.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005, 46.55.050, and 46.55.115. 02-07-056, 204-91A-140, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005 and 46.55.050. 97-08-021, 204-91A-140, filed 3/25/97, effective 4/25/97. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.61.567. 89-21-044, 204-91A-140, filed 10/13/89, effective 11/13/89. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.35.005 [46.37.005]. 89-14-015 (Order 89-04-ESR), 204-91A-140, filed 6/23/89.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 02-07-056, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02)

WAC 204-91A-170   Minimum tow truck equipment standards.   All tow/recovery trucks used by a registered tow operator for public or private impounds or in response to patrol requests shall meet the minimum standards as listed in this section.

Note:
Equipment standards will be effective one year from the date of adoption.

(1) Minimum standards:

(a) All equipment used in conjunction with the tow truck winching system shall have a working load limit at least twenty-five percent more than the working load limit of the wire rope being used. All equipment shall comply with the Washington safety and health administration (WSHA) regulation if applicable.

Note:
Industry standards set the working load limit of wire rope at 1/5 of its nominal or breaking strength.

(b) Each wire rope shall be capable of being fully extended from and fully wound onto its drum. Each wire rope shall meet the industry standards for type of use with equipment.


Note:
OSHA (1410.179 (h)(2iiia)) requires no less than two wraps of rope remain on drum when rope is "fully extended." This is to ensure the full load never bears on the rope to drum connection.

(c) All wire rope shall be 6 X 19 or 6 X 37 classification graded "extra improved plow steel" (XIP).


Notes:
Documentation from the supplier must be kept on file showing the type of wire rope installed and the date of installation for each truck.

6 X 19 wire rope classification includes wire ropes with six strands having wire combinations from fifteen through twenty-six wires per strand but not more than twelve outer wires in each strand.

6 X 37 wire rope classification includes wire ropes with six strands having wire combinations from twenty-seven through forty-nine wires per strand but not more than eighteen outer wires in each strand.

(d) All wire rope shall be in good working order. The following industry standards for out-of-service criteria shall apply:

(i) No more than six randomly distributed broken wires in one rope lay, or more than three broken wires in one strand in one rope lay.

(ii) Excessive abrasion causing the loss of more than one-third the original diameter of an outside individual wire.

(iii) Evidence of rope deterioration from corrosion.

(iv) Kinking, crushing, or other damage that results in detrimental distortion of the rope structure.

(v) Any evidence of heat damage.

(vi) Any marked reduction in diameter either along the entire main length or in one section.

(vii) Unlaying or opening up of a tucked splice.

(viii) Core protrusion along the entire length.

(ix) End attachments that are cracked, deformed, worn, or loosened.


Note:
Hooks must be replaced if the throat opening has increased beyond manufacturer recommendations, the load bearing point has been worn by ten percent, or the hook is twisted by more than ten degrees.

(x) Any indication of strand or wire slippage in end attachments.

(xi) More than one broken wire in the vicinity of fittings.

(e) Wire rope end connections shall be swaged or, if clamped, shall have a minimum of three forged clamps spaced a minimum of six rope diameters apart and attached with the base or saddle of the clamp against the longer or "live" end of the cable. The "U" bolt will be placed over the short or "dead" end of the rope and will be of the proper size for the cable being clamped.


Note:
Wire rope clamps must be installed and torqued per manufacturer specifications.

(f) All wire rope related equipment, sheaves, etc., must conform to the diameter of the wire rope being used or to the original tow truck equipment manufacturer specifications.

(g) All winching equipment, booms, snatch blocks, etc., shall have permanently affixed durable factory identification, stating working load limit (WLL). If this identification has been removed or is no longer readable, it is criteria for placing the item out-of-service. Equipment may be reinspected by a recognized recertification company. If the equipment is acceptable, it may be reidentified with a working load limit (WLL) and a recertification company identifier.

(h) All block and tackle equipment used in the winching system which shows signs of permanent deformation, significant wear or damage is criteria for placing the item out-of-service.

(i) All "J" hook chain assemblies must ((only be used with a sling lift system and)) be grade "7" chain or better.

(j) Safety chains must only be used for the securing of vehicles to the truck. Must be minimum grade "4" chain or meet the original manufacturer's recommendations ((and be permanently attached to the truck)).

(k) Comply with legal lighting, equipment, and license requirements.

(l) Portable tail, stop, and turn signal lights for vehicles being towed.

(m) Have department of licensing registration and truck numbers painted or permanently affixed to both sides of the truck. Have firm's name, city of address, and phone number permanently affixed to both sides of the vehicle. Letters must be a minimum of three inches high with one-half inch strokes.

(n) Have a revolving/intermittent red light with three hundred sixty degrees visibility. May also be equipped with flashing amber and/or white lights which may be used in conjunction with the red lamps. Must also be equipped with a warning light visible from the driver seat which is energized when the red revolving light or flashing amber lights are activated.

(o) Have a broom, minimum twelve inches wide, handle four feet long.

(p) Have a scoop type shovel, minimum seven inches wide, overall length minimum three feet long and a minimum of a three-gallon bucket for debris.

(q) Be maintained in a reasonably clean condition.

(r) Have two tempered steel pinch bars or equivalent devices, one tapered and one flattened; one at least three feet long and one at least four feet long, with a minimum diameter of three-quarters of an inch.

(s) Have a two-way radio or mobile telephone system capable of communicating with a base station. A citizen band radio does not suffice. A mobile telephone system is acceptable if:

(i) The equipment is of a recognized and established manufacture and is properly installed.

(ii) The equipment is in proper working order and functions correctly throughout the assigned tow areas.

(iii) The equipment does not utilize a siren to signal incoming calls.

(iv) The equipment is used in a correct and lawful manner.

(t) Have one 20 BC rated or two 10 BC rated fire extinguishers.

(u) Axle weight must comply with the requirements of RCW 46.37.351.

(2) Class "A" tow trucks: Trucks that are capable of towing and recovery of passenger cars, pickup trucks, small trailers, or equivalent vehicles. Class "A" tow trucks shall meet the requirements of subsection (1)(a) through (u) of this section and in addition shall have:

(a) A ten thousand minimum manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating.

(b) Dual tires on the rear axle.

(c) A minimum of one hundred feet of three-eighths inch continuous length XIP wire rope on each drum, measured from the point of attachment at the drum to the hook.

(d) A minimum six-ton boom rating with single or dual booms. Dual winches to control a minimum of two service drums.

(e) A minimum of two snatch blocks.

(f) A tow sling or other comparable device made of material and used in such manner so as to protect vehicles being towed or recovered.

(g) A portable dolly or its equivalent for hauling vehicles that are not otherwise towable.

(h) If equipped with a wheel lift system, it must have a fully extended working load rating of at least three thousand pounds and a seven thousand pound tow rated capacity.

(i) A minimum of one ten-foot or two five-foot recovery chains used in the winching system and must be minimum grade "7" chain with matching fittings.

(3) Class "B" tow trucks: Trucks that are capable of towing and/or recovery of medium size trucks, trailers, motor homes, or equivalent vehicles. Class "B" tow trucks shall meet the requirements of subsection (1)(a) through (u) of this section and in addition shall have:

(a) Seventeen thousand pounds minimum manufacturer's gross vehicle rating.

(b) Minimum ten-ton boom rating, single or dual booms, with two independent winches and drums.

(c) A minimum of one hundred feet of seven-sixteenths inch continuous length XIP wire rope on each drum, measured from points of attachment at the drum to the hook.

(d) Minimum of four standard release tools (caging stud assemblies).

(e) A minimum of two snatch blocks.

(f) A tow sling or other comparable device made of material and used in such manner so as to protect vehicles being towed or recovered.

(g) A portable dolly or its equivalent for hauling vehicles that are not otherwise towable when the class B tow truck is being used for class A tows.

(h) If equipped with a wheel lift system, it must have a fully extended working load limit of at least six thousand pounds and a twenty thousand pound tow rated capacity when operating as a class B truck. May be equipped with a three thousand pound fully extended working load wheel lift system with a seven thousand pound tow rated capacity if operating as a class A truck.

(i) A minimum of one ten-foot or two five-foot recovery chains used in the winching system and must be grade "8" chain with matching fittings.

(4) Class B** trucks are rated at 30,000 GVWR (or more) with air brakes. Class B** trucks shall meet the requirements of subsection (1)(a) through (u) of this section and in addition shall have a minimum of one hundred fifty feet of seven-sixteenths inch continuous length XIP wire rope on each drum, measured from points of attachment at the drum to the hook.

Class B** trucks shall also meet the requirements of subsection (3)(b), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), and (i) of this section.

(5) Class "C" tow trucks and class "C" rotator trucks: Are trucks that are capable of towing and/or recovery of large trucks, trailers, buses, motor homes, or similar vehicles. Class "C" trucks shall meet the requirements of subsection (1)(a) through (u) of this section and in addition shall have:

(a) A forty thousand pound manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating or equivalent.

(b) Tandem rear axle truck chassis (both drive axles).

(c) A minimum of twenty-five-ton boom rating with single or dual booms. Dual winches to control a minimum of two service drums.

(d) A minimum of one hundred fifty feet of nine-sixteenths inch continuous length XIP wire rope on each drum measured from the point of attachment at the drum to the hook.

(e) Air brakes and a system capable of supplying air to towed vehicles.

(f) A minimum of four standard release tools (caging stud assemblies).

(g) If equipped with a wheel lift system, it must have a fully extended working load limit of at least twelve thousand pounds.

(h) A minimum of one ten-foot or two five-foot recovery chains used in the winching system and must be grade "8" chain with matching fittings.

(i) A tow sling or other comparable device used in such a manner as to protect the vehicle being towed or recovered.

(j) A minimum of two snatch blocks.

(6) Class "D" tow trucks: Trucks that are equipped for and primarily used as "wheel lift" trucks.

Class "D" trucks shall meet the requirements of subsection (1)(a) through (u) of this section and in addition shall have:

(a) A wheel lift assemble with a fully extended manufacturer's working load limit of three thousand pounds and a seven thousand pound tow rated capacity.

(b) One winch and drum with one hundred feet of three-eighths inch XIP wire rope meeting class "A" requirements.

(c) One snatch block.

(d) A minimum of one five-foot recovery chain for use in the winching system and must be a minimum of grade "7" chain with matching fittings.

(7) Class "E" tow trucks: Trucks that are primarily designed and intended to transport other vehicles by loading the vehicle entirely onto the truck. These vehicles may be a flatbed, slide back, tilt bed, or rail design truck. Class "E" trucks shall meet the requirements of subsection (1)(a) through (u) of this section and in addition shall have:

(a) Four securing devices with a minimum working load limit of three thousand nine hundred pounds. The devices may be chain (minimum grade "4"), wire rope, nylon strap, or steel strap. The tie downs shall be attached to the axle or frame member of the transported vehicle both front and rear. All ends shall be secured to the truck bed or rail in a manner that will prevent movement of the transported vehicle. Factory style "T" hook tie-downs may also be used (front and rear).

(b) One snatch block.

(c) Dual tires on the rear axle.

(d) If used in a towing mode (as opposed to carrying), a sling, tow bar, and/or wheel lift assembly can be used and must have a manufacturers' rating appropriate to the vehicle being towed.

(e) Additional minimum requirements include:

(i) Gross vehicle weight rating 14,500
(ii) Purchased tonnage 14,500
(iii) Winch rating 4 ton
(vi) XIP wire rope 50 feet 3/8 inch
(v) One five-foot chain use in the winching system and must be a minimum of grade "7" chain with matching fittings.
(v) Car carrier (bed) 17 feet
Note:
Bed may be shorter in a collapsed mode, but must be capable of telescoping to a minimum of seventeen feet.

(8) Class "S" tow/recovery trucks: Tow/recovery trucks that cannot meet the requirements of class "A," "B," "C," "D," or "E" and are not eligible for appropriate waiver as outlined in WAC 204-91A-070(4), may be approved as class "S" (special).

To have a truck designated as class "S" the tow operator must submit a request for approval through the district commander to the section. The written request shall indicate why the truck is needed, what it will be used for, its size, purchased tonnage (if appropriate), capability, and the equipment carried or used with the truck. Gross vehicle weight rating of the class "S" truck will determine the appropriate equipment required.

If the district commander approves the request, the request will be forwarded with recommendations for equipment and/or operation instructions or limitations to the patrol for review and final approval. If approval is granted, the equipment shall be inspected as outlined in WAC 204-91A-040 with reports forwarded in the normal manner.


Note:
If the provisions of this section require a change in classification for a previously approved tow truck, such change may be made upon the next annual reinspection. In any case, all tow trucks shall be correctly classified within one year of adoption of these rules.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005, 46.55.050, and 46.55.115. 02-07-056, 204-91A-170, filed 3/15/02, effective 4/15/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005 and 46.55.050. 94-18-083, 204-91A-170, filed 9/2/94, effective 10/3/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.35.005 [46.37.005]. 89-14-015 (Order 89-04-ESR), 204-91A-170, filed 6/23/89.]

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