WSR 04-13-012



[ Filed June 3, 2004, 3:19 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 04-09-067.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Tow trucks--Permitting for oversize/overweight.

The rule has also been written in a question and answer format to facilitate communications with users.

Hearing Location(s): Transportation Building, Commission Board Room, 1D2, 310 Maple Park Avenue S.E., Olympia, WA 98504, on July 28, 2004, at 8:30 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: July 28, 2004.

Submit Written Comments to: Barry Diseth, Commercial Vehicle Services, P.O. Box 47367, Olympia, WA 98504-7367, fax (360) 705-6836, by July 23, 2004.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Angie Collins by July 23, 2004, TDD (360) 705-7796 or fax (360) 705-6808.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: To amend rule in order to implement HB 1589 (chapter 109, Laws of 2004), an act related to tow truck permit fees.

Summary: The amended WAC identifies the classes of tow trucks, permit eligibility for each class of tow truck, and weight and dimension limitations for each class of tow truck relative to the unit itself and the vehicle being towed.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: The rule identifies permit eligibility by class of tow truck and explains size and weight limitations for each permit based on the tow truck class. The rule is necessary to implement a change in law that will allow tow trucks to receive annual permits to move oversize/overweight vehicles on state highways.

This rule is also prepared in a question and answer format to enhance communication.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: The existing rule provides for emergency permitting on a case-by-case basis for the movement of oversize/overweight vehicles. The amended rule provides annual permits for the same activity, allowing for great efficiency and economy to both the department and the tow truck industry.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Necessary for implementation of law.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 46.44.090 and 46.44.0941.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 46.44.0941.

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

Name of Proponent: Washington State Department of Transportation, governmental; and Washington State Tow Truck Association, private.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Barry Diseth, 921 Lakeridge Way, Olympia, (360) 705-7805; Implementation: Tim Erickson, 921 Lakeridge Way, Olympia, (360) 705-7343; and Enforcement: Captain Coral Estes, 210 11th Street, Olympia, (360) 753-0350.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This is a rule change necessitated by a change in state statute.

RCW 34.05.328 applies to this rule adoption. The rule is subject to violation by a nongovernmental agency.

June 3, 2004

John F. Conrad

Assistant Secretary

Engineering and Operations


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-19-026, filed 9/8/03, effective 10/9/03)

WAC 468-38-265   ((Emergency operation of)) Tow trucks -- Permitting for oversize/overweight.   ((The permitting of overweight tow trucks that respond to emergencies shall be governed by the following procedures:

(1) 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 nearest traffic management center (TMC) and be logged in to clear the obstacle. The 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) To log in with the TMC, the tow truck operator/dispatcher shall provide the following: Name of company, name of individual making request, telephone number, tow vehicle license, excess weight needed, the origin and destination, the state route numbers to be used during the tow and 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 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.)) (1) What classes of tow trucks are eligible for special permits?

Special permits may be issued to Class B and Class C tow trucks, including Class E tow trucks with either a Class B or Class C rating.

(2) What is the duration of a special permit issued to tow trucks?

The special permit issued specifically to tow trucks is an annual permit from date of purchase.

(3) Are there size and weight limitations and/or requirements to the special permit for tow trucks?

Permit limits and/or requirements are categorized as follows:

(a) Weight of tow truck: Maximum weights for tow trucks are as follows:

(i) All classes of tow trucks must conform to RCW 46.44.041 when towing a disabled unit by draw bar or tow chain method.

(ii) When any portion of the weight of the disabled unit rests upon a Class B, C or E (with B or C rating) tow truck; the weight must not exceed:

(A) Six hundred pounds per inch width of tire up to twenty-two thousand pounds per single axle; or

(B) Forty-three thousand pounds per tandem axle set; or

(C) The weight allowed for axle groups per formula in RCW 46.44.091(1).

(iii) The tow truck steer axle must carry sufficient weight to maintain safe operation.

(iv) A Class B tow truck steer axle must carry a minimum of three thousand pounds at all times.

(v) A Class C tow vehicle steer axle must carry a minimum of three thousand five hundred pounds at all times.

(vi) A Class E tow truck with B or C rating must meet the requirement for minimum steer axle load for the rating.

(vii) The special permit does not allow a tow truck to exceed legal weight limits when not in tow or haul status.

(b) Weight of disabled unit: Maximum weight for disabled units towed under an annual special permit are as follows:

(i) When being towed by a Class B, C or E (with B or C rating) tow truck, using a draw bar or tow chain method, the weight of the disabled unit must conform with weight limits in RCW 46.44.041, or to the limits of any special permit issued to the disabled unit.

(ii) When a Class B, C or E (with B or C rating) tow truck carries a portion of the weight of the disabled unit, the first load bearing axle(s) of the disabled unit must not exceed:

(A) Six hundred pounds per inch width of tire;

(B) Twenty-two thousand pounds per single axle;

(C) Forty-three thousand pounds per tandem axle set; and

(D) Weight limits for axle groups per formula in RCW 46.44.091.

(iii) A load recovery vehicle configured as a truck-tractor/semi-trailer, or solo vehicle may carry either a divisible or nondivisible load. The recovery vehicle is limited to weight limits in RCW 46.44.041 when carrying divisible loads, or to the weight limits in (a)(ii) of this subsection when carrying nondivisible loads. The recovery vehicle must be rated as either a Class B or Class C tow truck in order to be issued the annual special permit.

(c) Height and width: No disabled unit, including load, shall exceed fourteen feet in height or eight feet six inches in width, except:

(i) When the disabled unit is authorized under a special permit allowing a greater height or width. The allowances granted under the special permit shall apply only to the route identified on the special permit; or

(ii) Where an accident or collision has caused a disfigurement of the disabled unit resulting in a width greater than eight feet six inches, but not exceeding ten feet in width. In this event, during daylight hours the disabled unit must be flagged per WAC 468-38-155, and during the hours of darkness the extreme width must have clearance lights that comply with the requirements of Code of Federal Regulation, 49 CFR 393.11.

(iii) Rear view mirrors may exceed the width authorized in the special permit to a point that allows the driver a view to the rear along both sides of the vehicle(s) in conformance with Federal National Safety Standard 111 (49 CFR 571.111).

(d) Length: All classes of single unit tow vehicles may not exceed forty feet in length. The length of the disabled unit shall not exceed the length for such vehicle established in statute or as allowed by a special permit issued to the disabled unit. The towing of a vehicle combination (i.e., tractor/trailer or truck/trailer) is not authorized, except during an emergent situation when directed by the state patrol or the department to remove the disabled combination to the nearest safe location off the highway.

(e) Restrictions and postings: An annual special permit must not be used to exceed published road and bridge restrictions, or posted bridges. Restrictions and postings should be reviewed on-line daily for changes, each permit will contain this instruction. It is the operator's responsibility to remain current with bridge restriction and posting information.

(f) Exceptions: Exceptions to the rules provided in this section will be handled on an individual basis by separate special permit, after the disabled unit has been moved to the nearest safe location.

(4) Is there ever a time when a Class A or D tow truck is authorized to exceed legal weight?

Class A and D tow trucks are not eligible for special permits. In an emergent situation, when no other class of truck is available, either class truck may make or assist in making short moves, at the direction of the state patrol or the department, to the nearest safe location off the highway.

(5) What constitutes an emergent situation?

An emergent situation, for purposes of this section, is defined as a disabled vehicle on any public highway, including shoulders and access ramps.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 46.44.090 and 46.44.015. 03-19-026, 468-38-265, filed 9/8/03, effective 10/9/03. Statutory Authority: RCW 46.44.090. 95-24-074, 468-38-265, filed 12/4/95, effective 1/4/96.]

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