WSR 97-04-056



[Filed February 3, 1997, 1:55 p.m.]

Date of Adoption: January 31, 1997.

Purpose: Amend requirements regarding letters of appointment to provide towing services for the Washington State Patrol. Amend the standard length of vehicles used to calculate basic storage fees for tow businesses.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 204-91A-060 and 204-91A-140.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 46.37.005 and 46.55.050.

Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.

Reasons for this Finding: Changes will ensure that only persons of good moral character may apply to provide towing service for the state patrol, thereby safeguarding the general public. The amendments will allow the towing industry to store more vehicles in their present impound yards and bring the rule into line with standard vehicle lengths.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, amended 2, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, amended 2, repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, amended 2, repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, amended 0, repealed 0.

Effective Date of Rule: Immediately.

January 31, 1997

Annette M. Sandberg


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

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

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. 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; and

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

(c) For vehicles or combinations exceeding ((twenty-five)) twenty feet shall be computed by multiplying each ((twenty-five)) 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 46.61.567. 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.]

Legislature Code Reviser


Washington State Code Reviser's Office