WSR 03-15-041



[ Filed July 10, 2003, 1:07 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 03-11-075.

Title of Rule: WAC 468-38-265 Emergency operation of tow trucks.

Purpose: A rule change is necessary to provide a process for making approved emergency moves by tow trucks after business hours.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 46.44.090.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 46.44.015.

Summary: The current rule provides a process for emergency moves that involves the 24/7 operation of the ports of entry. Effective July 1, 2003, the ports of entry will not be available for this service. An alternate process has been developed that incorporates the WSDOT traffic management centers, which are available 24/7. The process, in short, logs overweight emergent move requests, reviews and approves routes, and provides a mechanism for an after-the-fact acquisition of a permit.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The revision maintains a system for making overweight emergent moves while a better legislative solution is working through the 2004 legislature. The rule has been adopted on an emergency basis.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Barry Diseth, Olympia, Washington, (360) 704-6346; Implementation: Tim Erickson, Olympia, Washington, (360) 704-6346; and Enforcement: Capt. Fred Fakkema, Olympia, Washington, (360) 753-0350.

Name of Proponent: Washington State Department of Transportation, governmental.

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

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: The rule is intended to implement RCW 46.44.015 Tow truck exemptions. The law exempts tow trucks from specific oversize and overweight criteria, however, it still requires that a permit be obtained, and the availability of the permit be 24/7. The rule provides for this availability by using the Washington State Patrol (WSP) staffed ports of entry as contact points during after-hour periods. Effective July 1, 2003, the WSP staff will no longer be performing this function. An alternate rule is developed that will still provide the route overview and approval needed for overweight moves on state infrastructure, and obtain a permit, albeit after the fact. This is intended to be an interim solution while a better solution is worked through the 2004 legislature.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: The revision replaces the ports of entry as contact points with the WSDOT transportation management centers (TMC). The TMCs will log requests, review routes, provide authorization, and notify the WSDOT motor carrier services office. Permits will be acquired on the next business day, after-the-fact.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. Not required.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption.

Hearing Location: Washington State Department of Transportation, Commission Board Room, 310 Maple Park Avenue S.E., Olympia, WA 98501, on September 3, 2003, at 8:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact TDD (800) 833-6388.

Submit Written Comments to: Barry Diseth, Motor Carrier Services, P.O. Box 47367, Olympia, WA 98504-7367, fax (360) 704-6350, by August 1, 2003.

Date of Intended Adoption: September 3, 2003.

July 7, 2003

John F. Conrad

Assistant Secretary

Engineering and Regional Operations


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 95-24-074, filed 12/4/95, effective 1/4/96)

WAC 468-38-265   Emergency operation of tow trucks.   The permitting of overweight tow trucks that respond to emergencies shall be governed by the following procedures:

(1) ((Emergency situations are limited to those instances in which a vehicle is disabled on the public streets or highways)) An emergent tow is defined as the movement of a disabled vehicle(s) from any public roadway, including ramps and shoulder, and due to the necessity for an immediate response (referred to as the "initial tow truck service" in RCW 46.44.015), the appropriate overweight permit cannot be determined until the operator arrives at the disabled vehicle.

(2) When a tow truck operator/dispatcher has been called to respond to an emergent situation, the operator/dispatcher will telephone the ((Ridgefield Port of Entry)) nearest traffic management center (TMC) and ((request a permit)) be logged in to clear the obstacle. The ((commercial vehicle enforcement officer)) TMC employee on duty shall consult the map "Washington State Highways Tow Truck Restrictions: For Emergency Use Only (as last revised)." Bridges that may be crossed by tandem axle loadings estimated by the tow truck operator may be approved for the emergency move.

(3) ((In requesting the permit)) To log in with the TMC, the tow truck operator/dispatcher shall ((state)) provide the following: Name of company, name of individual making request, telephone number, tow vehicle license, excess weight needed, ((list)) the origin and destination, the state route numbers ((required)) to be used during the tow and ((an estimate of miles to be traveled. The operator will advise the officer of his credit card number to which the permit fee can be charged and be issued)) description of vehicle being towed. The TMC employee on duty, after verifying the requested route with the map, will issue an identification or clearance number for the ((trip being permitted)) tow. This approval is for state routes only and gives no authorization for movement on county roads or city streets.

(4) If the map showing tow truck restrictions does not indicate that the routes can safely tolerate the weight being requested, the tow truck operator is limited to moving the vehicle off the road to the nearest place of safety. When the weight is too heavy to be moved on some bridges or highways, a request during regular working hours for a permit and a bridge analysis will be required before the load may be transported.

(5) The tow truck operator/dispatcher shall apply for and acquire the appropriate permit on the next business day from the department's motor carrier services office.

(6) Permits for routine movements other than emergency tow truck moves shall be requested through available DOT permits offices, agents or facsimile services.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.44.090. 95-24-074, 468-38-265, filed 12/4/95, effective 1/4/96.]

Legislature Code Reviser 


Washington State Code Reviser's Office