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The California Highway Patrol

Commercial Vehicle Section - Rotation Tow Program - Frequently Asked Questions

Q:   Where does the California Highway Patrol (CHP) obtain the authority to enter into agreements with the towing industry?
A:   Section 2424 of the California Vehicle Code (CVC) allows the Commissioner of the CHP to enter into agreements with members of the towing and emergency road service providers.

  • Area commanders are acting as facilitators for the Commissioner of the CHP when they administer rotation tow programs within their respective Areas.

Q:   Why can't the CHP enter into a low bid contract system which would allow the Department to limit the number of tow service and emergency road service providers to a manageable number?

A:   CVC Section 2424 states the CHP shall enter into agreements which are mutually beneficial to the public, the towing industry, and the Department. The tow industry?s position is: A low bid system would restrict the number of towing and emergency road service providers used by the CHP. This policy would not be beneficial to the tow industry and would be in violation of CVC 2424.

Q:   When a rotation tow company owner has a question regarding the Tow Service Agreement (TSA) who should they contact?

A:   The owner should contact the rotation tow officer at their respective CHP Area office they are providing service for.

Q:   Can the Department restrict the number of tow companies within a tow district?

A:   No. However, an Area commander may realign a tow district or create additional tow districts to better manage the growing number of tow companies within each tow district.

Q:   Do the tow district boundary lines have to be the same for each class of tow truck?

A:   No. Area commanders may elect to create different physical boundaries for each class of tow truck to better utilize the resources (number of tow trucks) available within a given area.

Q:   Can a scene manager call for a rotation tow company which is not at the top of the rotation tow list if the company possesses the necessary resources to clear a hazard as expeditiously as possible?

A:   Yes. In such an instance, the tow company selected would be the next tow company on the list with the necessary resources to provide the required service.

Q:   May an operator provide service in more than one CHP Area?

A:   Yes, with the approval of both Area commanders and the Division commander?s concurrence.

Q:   May a "B, C, or D" class tow truck maintain a place on a lighter rotation list?

A:   Yes, if the vehicle is equipped with the proper equipment for the lighter rotation list.

Q:   May a tow company with one flatbed tow truck maintain a place on rotation?

A:   No. The company shall have a tow vehicle equipped with a boom, wheel lift and recovery capabilities meeting the specifications contained in the TSA. The flatbed is an additional unit.

Q:   Are rotation tow drivers required to attend tow driver training?

A:   Yes. Rotation tow drivers are required to have completed a tow truck driver training program from a Tow Service Agreement Advisory Committee (TSAAC) approved training program within the last five (5) years. All drivers, whose training documentation is over five (5) years, shall submit current proof of training documentation only from a TSAAC-approved program.

Q:   If a submitted rate is found to be excessive may the operator re-submit?

A:   Yes, the operator is allowed to re-submit one time.

Q:   When may an operator begin tow charges?

A:   Chargeable time begins at the place of business or the point of dispatch, whichever is closer.

Q:   When may a gate fee be assessed?

A:   Outside posted business hours, after 6 p.m. on business days, weekends and holidays. Normal business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Q:   What is an example of collusion?

A:   Conspiracy by any operator to establish artificially high rates.

Q:   Who determines maximum response times for an Area?

A:   The Area commander.

Q:   Are tow operators required to accept checks and/or bank cards?

A:   They are not required to accept checks but are required by law to accept a valid bank card.

Q:   Is it a violation of the agreement when a tow driver is unable to properly release a vehicle after hours?

A:   Yes, employees shall be trained to conduct transactions regarding towing/storage and the release of vehicles and property.

Q:   May a tow operator attach a lien to personal property in or on a vehicle?

A:   No. All personal property shall be released upon demand to the registered owner or agent without charge during normal business hours.

Q:   If a tow company?s insurance policy is canceled, will the TSA be nullified?

A:   Yes. The operator will be removed from the rotation list and may be subject to an additional suspension for failure to notify the CHP prior to the policy cancellation.

Q:   Is it acceptable for the operator to provide a copy of the insurance policy?

A:   No. Only a certificate of insurance is accepted.

Q:   When may the CHP inspect tow trucks?

A:   The Area must hold an inspection once a year but may inspect unannounced during business hours. Additionally, all new tow trucks are required to be inspected prior to use in the Rotation Tow Program.

Q:   Are Areas required to honor inspections by other CHP Areas?

A:   No. All tow trucks shall be inspected by the Area in which they are designated to provide service.

Q:   How long must an operator maintain business records?

A:   Two years plus the current term.

Q:   If a previously terminated company applies for rotation is the Area required to accept the application?

A:   If a terminated operator's business is sold and the Area commander is convinced the terminated operator has no financial interest or involvement in the business the Area commander has the discretion to accept or deny the new operator?s application.

Q:   Is it mandatory for an operator to attend the annual meeting?

A:   Yes. New applicants and operators presently on rotation are required to attend.

Q:   Who investigates a tow complaint from an incident which occurred out of the parent Area?

A:   The parent Area.

Q:   May an Area run a criminal history on a tow operator/driver to check or verify information provided on the CHP 234F, Tow Operator/Driver Information sheet?

A:   Yes, All those applying to participate in the Rotation Tow Program shall have their fingerprints submitted to the Department Of Justice in order to verify information provided on the CHP 234F, Tow Operator/Driver Information, form.

Q:   May an Area make exceptions to the criminal disqualification guidelines?

A:   Yes, however, it is on a case by case basis, only if the individual can demonstrate they are not a threat to public safety and not a liability to the Department.

Q:   May an Area take action on a violation of the TSA which occurred while performing a non-CHP call?

A:   No, unless the operator, employee/employees are involved in felonious activity; acts of Moral Turpitude, or misdemeanor crimes which would cause a person to fear for his/her safety. Any action taken must have the concurrence of Division.

Q:   Must an Area honor disciplinary action taken in another Area?

A:   Yes.

Q:   If an operator is suspended from rotation, may the operator continue to perform evidence tow duties?

A:   Yes, the rotation tow program and the evidence contract are separate.

Q:   Do the time lines for hearings and appeals described in the Code of Civil Procedure supersede the time lines within the TSA?

A:   No. CVC Section 2424, states that the Department shall confer with the towing industry, as necessary, to reach agreements mutually beneficial to the public, the towing industry, and the Department. The time lines are described within the TSA.

Q:   May the operator have access to the investigation?

A:   Yes, a sanitized copy.

Q:   Should the Area/and or operator tape the proceeding?

A:   Yes, the Area should and the operator may.

Q:   How is the agreement cancelled?

A:   By the operator providing written notification to the CHP.


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