WSR 00-21-026

PROPOSED RULES

WASHINGTON STATE PATROL


[ Filed October 11, 2000, 9:16 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 00-16-101.

Title of Rule: Chapter 204-91A WAC, Towing businesses.

Purpose: To update and clarify the WAC and add some safety features.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 46.37.005, 46.55.050, and 46.61.567.

Summary: This WAC chapter contains the tow truck business rules. The purpose of the rules is to regulate the towing industry. The anticipated effect the amendments will clarify hearing procedures for applicants, business hours, storage, and add some needed amendments for safety for the tow operators and the motoring public.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Will clarify hearings for applications, clarify business hours and storage, and add some needed amendments for safety for the tow operators and motoring public.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting and Implementation: Ms. Carol Morton, P.O. Box 42614, Olympia, WA 98504, (360) 753-3697; and Enforcement: Commander Tom Robbins, P.O. Box 42600, Olympia, WA 98504, (360) 586-2340.

Name of Proponent: Tow Truck Industry, private.

Agency Comments or Recommendations, if any, as to Statutory Language, Implementation, Enforcement, and Fiscal Matters: Approve of the amendment.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: This WAC chapter contains the tow truck business rules. The purpose of the rules is to regulate the towing industry. The anticipated effect of the amendments will clarify hearing procedures for applicants, business hours, storage, and add some needed amendments for safety for the tow operators and the motoring public.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: Allows for letter of appointment to be revoked if operators failed to cooperate with WSP, concealed material facts, or violated any state or federal rules for the tow industry within the last ten years. If revoked, operators can only reapply once a year. Answering services may not be used during normal business hours. Tows must be registered to and belong to the particular tow business called and assigned to that tow zone only. Class B tow trucks (rates at 30,000 gvm +) with air brakes shall have a minimum of 150 feet of 7/16 inch continuous XIP wire rope. Trucks shall carry three gallon minimum buckets. Vehicles stored over twelve hours shall constitute a full day's storage fee. Any vehicles stored less than twelve hours shall be charged the twelve hour rate. Tow operators may not remove or damage any vehicle parts (i.e. ignition or trunk locks). Keys shall be made at tow company's expense. WSP will use brief adjudicative proceedings, pursuant to RCW 34.05.482, to include denial of application for letter of appointment or revocation of same. Tow operators shall not solicit tow services by patrolling public roads. Operators shall wear work vests of highly visible material or other distinguishing apparel pursuant to labor and industry standards.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. No small business impact made from amendments.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption.

Hearing Location: General Administration Building, Auditorium, 210 11th Avenue S.W., Olympia, WA 98504, on December 8, 2000, at 9:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Ms. Gretchen Dolan by December 6, 2000, TDD (253) 536-4270, or (360) 753-0655.

Submit Written Comments to: Ms. Carol Morton, Washington State Patrol, P.O. Box 42614, Olympia, WA 98504-2614, fax (360) 586-8233, by December 6, 2000.

Date of Intended Adoption: December 11, 2000.

October 6, 2000

Annette M. Sandberg

Chief

OTS-4236.2


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

WAC 204-91A-010
Authority.

This chapter is adopted pursuant to RCW 46.37.005((, 46.55.050, and 46.61.567)) and 46.55.115 which require rules, regulations and equipment standards for tow trucks be made and to provide for the removal from the highway ((of)) disabled, abandoned, or damaged motor vehicles, or the removal of vehicles when the driver is intoxicated or otherwise incompetent.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005 and 46.55.050. 94-18-083, 204-91A-010, 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-010, filed 6/23/89.]


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

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. ((Effective October 15, 1989,)) 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 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 rotational call list.

(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.

[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 97-08-021, filed 3/25/97, effective 4/25/97)

WAC 204-91A-060
Application for letter of appointment.

(1) An application for a letter of appointment will not be considered or approved until the applicant is qualified as a licensed and registered tow truck operator with at least one approved "A" or "B" class tow truck. Additional trucks are optional.

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 employee ((has)) within the last ten years has misrepresented or concealed a material fact in obtaining a letter of appointment, violation of any state or federal statute or rule regulating the tow industry, failure to cooperate with state patrol personnel or in the last ten years been convicted of any class "A" felony((, or has within the last ten years been convicted of any lesser felony)) involving assault, sexual abuse, or theft as defined in RCW 9A.56.030. 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 calendar 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.

(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.

(((4))) (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.

(((5))) (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 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 Order 89-04-ESR, filed 6/23/89)

WAC 204-91A-090
Hearing procedure.

((The provisions of chapter 1-08 WAC shall govern the conduct of any hearing held pursuant to this chapter.)) 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 letter of appointment or revocation of letter of appointment. 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. The chief, 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. Oral proceedings shall be recorded on tape and such tape shall become part of the hearing record.

[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 89-21-044, filed 10/13/89, effective 11/13/89)

WAC 204-91A-120
Business office hours and records.

Business hours for purposes of inspection of records, place of business, and towing equipment shall 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 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 operator will have personnel at the place of business during business hours to answer phone calls. Phones may not be forwarded to an answering service during normal business hours. Lunch hours will be posted and will be consistent on a monthly basis.

(2) The operator shall maintain personnel who can be contacted twenty-four hours a day to release impounded vehicles within a thirty-minute period of time.

(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 46.61.567. 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 Order 89-04-ESR, filed 6/23/89)

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 without charge, upon demand, 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.

(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 46.35.005 [46.37.005]. 89-14-015 (Order 89-04-ESR), 204-91A-130, filed 6/23/89.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 97-08-021, filed 3/25/97, effective 4/25/97)

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. Keys are made at the registered tow truck operator's expense, and shall not be charged on the lien.

(d) Be considered to include one person (the driver) per truck. 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 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:

(a) Shall be calculated on a twenty-four-hour ((basis and shall be charged to the nearest half day from the time the vehicle arrived at the secure storage area)) clock. 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 given 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 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 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 94-18-083, filed 9/2/94, effective 10/3/94)

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.


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, 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** trucks are rated at 30,000 GVWR (or more) with air brakes. 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 ((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 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.

(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 "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.

(5) 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.

(6) 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.

(7) 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 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.]


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

WAC 204-91A-180
Vehicle towing/operator qualifications, restrictions, and requirements.

In addition to the requirements contained in WAC 204-91A-170, tow truck operators appointed pursuant to this chapter shall conform to all laws and administrative rules pertaining to the tow industry and shall observe the following practices and procedures:

(1) When called by the patrol, the tow truck operator will dispatch a tow truck, from within the assigned zone, within five minutes during normal business hours. Tow trucks must be registered to and belong to the particular tow business that is called and assigned to that tow zone only.

(2) Tow trucks dispatched at the request of the patrol after normal business hours will be on the move within the assigned zone within fifteen minutes after receiving the call.

(3) The tow truck that is dispatched will arrive at the stated location within a reasonable time considering distance, traffic, and weather conditions.

(4) If for any reason a tow operator is unable to dispatch a tow truck within the stated time or if the dispatched truck will be delayed for any reason, the operator shall so advise the patrol stating the reason and estimated time of arrival. In the event the tow truck fails to arrive at the scene within a reasonable time, the patrol will contact another tow operator to respond to the scene and will cancel the original tow.

(5) A tow operator on rotation who is unable to dispatch or arrive within the times stated in subsections (1), (2), (3), and (4) of this section will forfeit his turn and be placed at the bottom of the rotation list as if he had responded.

(6) Consistent refusal or failure of the appointee to respond to calls from the patrol for towing services and/or to provide the requested services may result in the suspension or revocation of the tow operator's letter of appointment.

(7) The tow operator shall advise the appropriate patrol office when the tow company is temporarily unavailable to respond to rotational calls with a class "A," "B," or "C" tow truck. Unavailability may occur due to conditions such as, but not limited to, other tow truck commitments, tow truck disabled and/or under repair, unforeseen driver shortage due to illness, etc. The period of unavailability may last less than an hour or much longer. The tow operator will give the reason for unavailability and approximately when the company will be available to respond to calls.

The tow company will be removed from the rotational list and will not be called until the operator advises the patrol that the company is once again able to respond to calls with an "A," "B," or "C" class truck. In all such cases, the tow company will resume its normal position on the rotational list without regard to any missed calls or its position prior to being unavailable.

(8) The tow operator will advise the patrol whenever a private call is received for a tow with circumstances that indicate that the tow is for a vehicle which has been involved in an accident, incident, or equipment breakdown on the public roadway. The tow operator also will advise the patrol of all private calls to motor vehicle accidents on private property resulting in bodily injury or death.

(9) The tow operator will notify the patrol before moving any vehicle involved in an accident on a public highway under the jurisdiction of the patrol as defined in the motor vehicle code, Title 46 RCW, or where it appears that the driver of the vehicle to be moved is under the influence of intoxicants or drugs, or is otherwise incapacitated.

A tow operator shall not solicit tow services by patrolling the public roadways searching for disabled vehicles or vehicles involved in a traffic accident.

(10) When the patrol is in charge of an accident scene or other such incident, a tow operator shall not respond to such scene unless his services have been specifically requested by the patrol, the driver/owner, or his agent.

(11) The tow operator shall be available, or will ensure that specific employees are available, twenty-four hours a day for the purpose of receiving calls or arranging for the release of vehicles. Business hours will be posted conspicuously at the operator's place of business so they can be seen during business hours and nonbusiness hours. A copy will also be sent to the section and patrol district commander of the district in which the tow operator does business. Changes of business hours will be sent to the department, the section, and the patrol district commander ten days before their effective date.

(12) The tow operator will notify the appropriate patrol office of the release of stored vehicles within five working days after the release of such vehicle. Notification to the patrol will be made in such a manner as prescribed by the section commander.

(13) The operator shall post a current copy of tow and storage rates, on a form approved by the department and the patrol, in the following locations:

(a) At the entrance to the place of business, in a conspicuous location, plainly visible and readable by members of the public, whether the business is open or closed. If, in order to meet this requirement, the rate sheets must be placed in a location, exposed to the elements, they shall be protected so as to remain legible.

(b) Inside the business location, where business is commonly transacted. The rate sheets shall be posted in such manner as to be clearly and plainly visible and readable at all times by customers of the business.

(c) A copy of the current rates will be sent to the department, the section, and the patrol district commander of the district in which the tow operator has applied for a letter of appointment. Notice of any change(s) in service rates will be forwarded to the department, the section, and the district commander of the area ten days before the effective date of the changes. Charges made for towing services arising from calls initiated by the patrol shall be consistent with current posted towing rates and shall be based only upon services listed on the prescribed form.

(d) In the event that an operator has only a class "B" truck and utilizes it for class "A" and "B" type tows, the operator shall file a rate sheet that specifies the rates charged for the different types of tows.

Whenever any operator utilizes a larger truck than the towed vehicle warrants, the operator shall charge fees based on the size of the towed vehicle not the size of the truck used.


Example: A class "C" truck is used, at the operator's discretion, to tow a class "B" size vehicle. The fees charged shall be those for a class "B" truck NOT a class "C."

(14) Charges made for towing services arising from calls initiated by the patrol shall not exceed the maximum rates established by the chief.

(15) Unless other arrangements are made with commissioned patrol personnel at the scene, all impounded vehicles shall be taken to the tow operators nearest approved storage location.

(16) The tow operator will maintain, for three years, records on towed and released vehicles which were towed at the request of the patrol. This record will include, but not be limited to:

(a) An itemized receipt of all charges for the services provided.

(b) An inventory sheet or copy thereof made out by the trooper at the scene of the tow and signed by the operator.

(c) All other records required by the department.

Such records will be available for inspection by the patrol during normal business hours at the operator's place of business.

(17) The tow operator will sign an inventory sheet made out by the patrol officer at the scene.

(18) Tow operators will obtain and maintain current registration as a licensed tow truck operator pursuant to RCW 46.55.020.

(19) Tow operators shall perform towing tasks competently. The standard of competence shall be that quality of work which is accepted as efficient and effective within the towing industry.

(20) No tow operator, employee, or agent shall misappropriate, wrongfully convert to his/her own use, or abuse property belonging to another and entrusted to his/her care or storage.

(21) Tow truck operators will use emergency lights to warn other motorists only when at the scene of accidents, disabled vehicles, and/or recoveries. Such lighting shall not be used when traveling to or from the scene.

Tow truck operators shall wear work vests of highly visible materials, or equivalent distinguishing apparel as outlined in department of labor and industries WAC 296-24-07501 and 296-155-200(5).

(22) Tow truck operators shall be responsible for cleaning accident/incident scenes of all vehicle glass and debris.

(23) Specific operating restrictions and/or requirements, by truck class, are as follows:

(a) The standard air brake release tools (caging stud assemblies) required to be carried in the class "B" and "C" trucks shall be used, whenever necessary, to preserve potential evidence involving brake equipment or adjustment settings. When an operator is attempting to move a vehicle equipped with locked spring parking brakes that cannot be released by external air supply, the caging assemblies shall be used to release the brake tension. Under no circumstances shall the towed vehicle's brake assemblies or adjustments be moved or disturbed in any way that will prevent later determination of the preaccident or incident settings.

(b) Class "B" trucks in excess of twenty-three thousand pounds gross vehicle weight rating need not carry dollies when towing or recovering heavy vehicles.

(c) Class "D," "E," and "S" trucks shall not be used to respond to initial calls unless specifically authorized by patrol personnel at the scene or by local written policy approved by the district commander.

(d) Class "E" trucks shall:

(i) Have, when used for multiple vehicle towing/recovery (one on bed, one in tow) from the same location, all invoice charges evenly divided between the vehicles so transported;

(ii) Not be operated in excess of either gross vehicle weight rating or purchased tonnage weight limits;

(iii) Be required to carry its portable lights only when used in a towing mode.

(24) Whenever a "special event or overflow" storage lot is approved by the department, the patrol and appropriate city/county jurisdictions, the operator shall maintain personnel at the lot twenty-four hours per day for security and vehicle and/or personal property release. If necessary, reimbursement for such labor shall be part of the contract for the "special event" if appropriate or by amended storage rates with a waiver of the ten-day rate change notice requirement approved by the department and the patrol.

At the conclusion of a "special event or overflow" situation, all vehicles not reclaimed by the owner shall be towed to the operator's regular storage facility and processed in the normal fashion. No additional fee shall be charged for towing the vehicle from the overflow lot to the regular facility.

(25) All work performed by the operator and/or employee shall be in the most professional and expeditious manner. All invoices and other required forms shall be completed accurately and promptly.

(26) Tow operators shall, when required by the patrol or the department, cause to be displayed on each approved truck, decals indicating truck class, patrol district, and/or assigned tow zone.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.37.005 and 46.55.050. 94-18-083, 204-91A-180, filed 9/2/94, effective 10/3/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.61.567. 89-21-044, 204-91A-180, 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-180, filed 6/23/89.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office