In Montana there are a number of legal requirements that tow truck operators must abide by in order to be considered operating in accordance with the law. A tow truck is any motor vehicle that has specialized equipment installed that is to be used for towing other motor vehicles that are either disabled or wrecked. It is bigger in size than a passenger car, and a truck crash involving a tow truck and car is likely to cause more damage to the car and its passengers than to the truck. Thus, regulation to ensure safety and proper operation of tow trucks is important.

In fact, if the installed equipment can also be used to remove or clear away objects other than abandoned, disabled or wrecked cars that can block traffic on roads and highways, then the truck can also be considered a tow truck. In order for a tow truck to be considered a commercial tow truck, the truck operator must use the tow truck for compensation, for profit or for a business benefit.

A commercial tow truck operator must make sure that he or she equips the tow truck with at least two red flares and two red lanterns. In lieu of the flares and lanterns, they can elect to equip the tow truck with two warning lights or reflectors, if that is preferable. However, if reflectors are to be utilized then they must be department approved.

The tow truck must also carry a minimum of two highway warning signs, as well as a dry chemical fire extinguisher. The extinguisher must have, at a minimum, no less than a 5 pound capacity. An alternative to the chemical fire extinguisher can be used, as long as it is approved by the department.

The tow truck must also carry a lamp that can emit either a flashing red or amber light, or both red and amber lights simultaneously. The lamp must be mounted on top of the cab of the tow truck or on the top of the crane, if the light is visible from the front end of the tow truck.

Though there are specific laws that govern a tow truck’s operations and safety, accidents can still happen. Anyone involved in a car and truck accident should consider contacting a personal injury law firm for more information.

Source: Montana Department of Justice, “Tow Truck Laws and Regulations,” Accessed December 8, 2014