During the now-completed 84th Session of the Texas Legislature, three bills affecting the tow industry were passed and subsequently signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott:
HB 2213 – Relating to the tow rotation list in certain counties. This bill amended Sec. 2308.209(b)(1) of the Texas Occupations Code, adding Montgomery County to the counties that fall within the requirements for tow rotations. Signed by the Governor 5/23/15, effective immediately.
HB 804 – Requires the operator of a VSF to accept each of the following forms of payment for any charge associated with delivery or storage of a vehicle:
(1) cash; (2) debit card; and (3) credit card.
HB 804 also prohibits a VSF from refusing to release a vehicle based on the inability of the facility to accept payment by debit card or credit car for fees or charges associated with delivery or storage of the vehicle, unless the VSF operator, through no fault of their own, is unable to accept the debit card or credit card because of a power outage or a machine malfunction. Effective 9/1/15.
SB 1820 – Clarifies that the term “tow truck” does not include a truck-trailer combination that is owned or operated by a dealer licensed under Chapter 2301 (Sale or Lease of Motor Vehicles) and used to transport new vehicles during the normal course of a documented transaction in which the dealer is a party and ownership or the right of possession of the transported vehicle is conveyed or transferred; or a car hauler that is used solely to transport, other than in a consent or nonconsent tow, motor vehicles as cargo in the course of a prearranged shipping transaction or for use in mining, drilling, or construction operations. Signed by the Governor 5/23/15, effective immediately.
For more information on SB 1820, see the FAQs below.
FAQs: Car Haulers
1. I am a car hauler who only moves vehicles for dealerships. Do I need a license with TDLR?
No, if you use a truck and trailer combination owned by the new car dealer you are hauling for, and you are moving new vehicles as part of a transaction in which the dealer is a party, then you do not need to be licensed by TDLR.
“Transactions” include but are not limited to:
Delivering new cars from the manufacturer or a shipping terminal;
Delivering new vehicles to the new owner or person leasing the vehicle;
Inventory swaps with other new vehicle dealerships.
2. I have a four-car hauler and only pick up vehicles from VSF’s and take them to salvage dealers. Do I need a TDLR license?
No. If you ONLY transport these vehicles as cargo as part of a pre-arranged shipping transaction you do not need a TDLR license.
3. I move trucks to the oil fields on a low boy trailer. Do I need to be licensed with TDLR?
No, because you are moving the vehicles for use in mining, drilling, or construction operations.
4. I have a new car dealership and a tow company license because we have a tow truck we use to pick up cars for repair. When that tow truck is busy, may we use our truck-trailer car hauler on an occasional emergency basis to pick up cars for repair without a truck permit or tow license for the operator?
No. The exemption only applies when a new vehicle is being transported in the course of a transaction in which the ownership or right to possess and use the vehicle, such as in a sale, trade or lease, has been transferred to or from the dealership. Picking up a car and taking it to a repair shop is a tow, and both the truck and truck operator would need TDLR licenses to do so.
5. If I own the truck-trailer combination and the dealership does not, do I need a TDLR tow truck and tow operator license?
No, so long as you are hauling the vehicles as part of a prearranged shipping transaction and have documentation in the truck to show proof of the prearranged shipping transaction.