Chapter 4901:2-22 Towing Safety Standards

4901:2-22-01 Definitions.

(A) "Advertisement" means any written communication to the public in connection with an offer or sale of any towing service but does not include a listing of a carrier name, address, and telephone number in a yellow or white pages listing, if that is the only information provided in the listing.

(B) "Boom" means a structural member of a tow truck that extends from a mast to support the load and to hold, extend, or lift a load free of the ground and clear of the tow truck body, and may be operated mechanically or hydraulically.

(C) "Breaking strength rating" means the maximum weight or load, as established by the manufacturer of the equipment, that equipment can bear under ideal laboratory conditions, without breaking or being damaged.

(D) "Certificate number" means the identification number issued to a for-hire motor carrier by the commission pursuant to the rules in Chapter 4901:2-21 of the Administrative Code.

(E) "Commission" means the public utilities commission of Ohio.

(F) "For-hire motor carrier" has the same meaning as in section 4923.01 of the Revised Code.

(G) "Front axle weight" means that gross axle weight of the front axle.

(H) "Gross axle weight means the weight, in pounds, that an individual axle actually weighs. The curb weight of an individual axle.

(I) "Gross axle weight rating" means the value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum load carrying capacity of a single axle.

(J) "Mast" means a structure that houses the boom and winches.

(K) "Motor vehicle" has the same meaning as in section 4921.01 of the Revised Code.

(L) "Overhang" means the distance, in inches, from the center of the lift point to the center of the rear axle of the tow truck.

(M) "Safe towing capacity" means the maximum load that does not cause more than a fifty percent loss of a tow truck's original unloaded front axle weight. Safe towing capacity shall be determined by multiplying one-half of a tow truck's front axle weight by its wheelbase divided by the overhang (one-half times front axle weight, times wheelbase/overhang).

(N) "Safety device" means a device used as a secondary coupling system to connect the tow truck and towed motor vehicle and to help prevent separation of a towed motor vehicle from the tow truck.

(O) "Storage facility" means any place to which such a for-hire motor carrier delivers a motor vehicle towed pursuant to section 4513.601 of the Revised Code.

(P) "Thimble" means a shield to protect a cable at a hook assembly.

(Q) "Tow bar" means a device used to tow a motor vehicle that allows all four wheels to remain on the ground.

(R) "Tow dolly" means a carriage used to support the wheels of the trailing end of a towed motor vehicle whenever it is necessary to keep the wheels of the towed motor vehicle from touching the road.

(S) "Tow sling" means a device used to lift and tow a motor vehicle with part of the load supported on rubber belts.

(T) "Tow truck" means a motor vehicle that is equipped with towing equipment and used in the business of recovering or transporting a disabled, illegally parked, or abandoned motor vehicle, or a motor vehicle involved in an accident.

(U) "Towing device" means any item including but not limited to a wire rope, chain, cable, hook, or strap used in support of a piece of towing equipment to pull, lift, support, suspend, secure or tow a motor vehicle.

(V) "Towing equipment" means any mechanism including but not limited to a boom, winch, wheel lift, under lift, tow sling, or tow bar affixed to a tow truck to pull, lift, support, suspend, secure, or tow a motor vehicle.

(W) "Towing service" has the same meaning as in section 4513.67 of the Revised Code.

(X) "Under lift" means a device used for towing a motor vehicle by lifting with forks one end of the towed motor vehicle from under the axle or other structural member.

(Y) "Wheelbase" means the distance, in inches, from the centerline of the front axle to the centerline of the rear axle.

(Z) "Wheel lift" means a device extending from a tow truck and fitted under one set of wheels of a towed motor vehicle to cradle and lift one end of the towed motor vehicle by the wheels.

(AA) "Winch" means a device used to wind or unwind cable that is used to pull, hoist, raise or lower a load.

(BB) "Working load limit" means the maximum weight or load, as established by the manufacturer of the equipment, that equipment can bear under normal operating conditions.

Effective: 12/18/2016
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 12/18/2021
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 4921.25
Rule Amplifies: 4921.25

4901:2-22-02 Purpose and scope.

(A) This chapter governs the establishment of safety standards and other requirements applicable to the operations of for-hire motor carriers engaged in the towing of motor vehicles.

(B) The commission may, upon an application or a motion filed by a party, waive any requirement of this chapter, other than a requirement mandated by statute, for good cause shown.

Effective: 12/18/2016
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 12/18/2021
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 4921.25
Rule Amplifies: 4921.25

4901:2-22-03 Safety standards.

(A) Operation of a tow truck

(1) A tow truck may not be used to tow a motor vehicle that weighs in excess of that tow truck's safe towing capacity.

(2) Any towing equipment utilized to lift a portion of a motor vehicle off the ground so it may be towed shall be installed on the appropriate chassis as recommended by the towing equipment manufacturer and shall not be used in a manner in which the gross axle weight rating of the tow truck's rear axle is exceeded.

(B) Use of towing equipment and towing devices

(1) All towing equipment and towing devices used in conjunction with such towing equipment, shall not be used in a manner that causes the working load limit of such equipment and devices to be exceeded.

(2) All towing equipment and towing devices must have permanently affixed, durable, factory identification stating the equipment's working load limit, or must otherwise be readily ascertainable by the operator of a tow truck and enforcement personnel. Equipment may be re-inspected by a recognized re-certification company and if acceptable may be re-certified with a working load limit and a re-certification company identifier. In such instances, the recertified equipment will be deemed acceptable if the operator maintains a copy of the certification of equipment provided the serial number on the equipment corresponds with the certification provided by the manufacturer.

(3) All towing equipment and towing devices shall be in proper working order and shall:

(a) Be designed for, and capable of, performing the task for which it is being used.

(b) Not be damaged, weakened, or used in a manner that compromises its ability to perform properly.

(c) Only be used in accordance with any manufacturer's recommendations related to its use.

(4) All wire rope eye loops used on a tow truck shall be protected by a thimble.Thimbles may not be cracked, deformed, worn, loose, or have a strand of wire that slips.

(5) Cable clamps are prohibited for use on a wire rope.

(6) Use of a come-a-long, chain, or other similar device may not be used as a substitute for a winch and cable.

(7) Any towing equipment or towing devices shall be used in a manner that will not damage the towed motor vehicle.

(C) Securement of towed motor vehicles

(1) The securement regulations of the U.S. department of transportation adopted under rule 4901:2-5-03 of the Administrative Code shall apply to any tow truck when securing a towed motor vehicle in a manner consistent with those regulations.

(2) Motor vehicles being towed by a wheel-lift, under-lift, tow bar, tow sling, tow dolly, or similar apparatus shall be secured to such apparatus by appropriate load securement devices of adequate strength and design to safely couple the motor vehicle to the apparatus.

(3) Every motor vehicle towed by a tow truck that is not subject to the securement requirements of paragraph (C)(1) of rule 4901:2-22-03 of the Administrative Code, shall be joined by at least two safety devices spaced as far apart as practical to the forward portion of the towed vehicle, with a combined breaking strength rating equal to or greater than the gross weight of the towed vehicle. Acceptable securement devices are chains, cables, or synthetic webbing customarily used for securing a vehicle or load. Safety devices shall be attached in such a way as to prevent vehicle separation upon failure of the primary towing attachment and shall be anchored to both the tow truck and the towed motor vehicle with only enough slack to permit free turning of the towed motor vehicle.

(D) The provisions of this rule and rule 4901:2-22-04 of the Administrative Code, shall not apply to a tow truck engaged in the recovery of a motor vehicle if compliance with such provisions would be impossible, impractical, inefficient, or unduly burdensome under the circumstances. For purposes of this rule, recovery shall mean:

(1) The initial towing or removal of a motor vehicle involved in an accident from the site of the collision; or

(2) The extraction of a motor vehicle from a hazard that has rendered the motor vehicle unable to be moved under its own power; or

(3) The removal of a disabled, illegally parked, or abandoned motor vehicle which is an obstruction to the normal movement of traffic on any roadway or poses a significant threat to public safety.

Operations of a tow truck shall be brought into conformance with the requirements of this rule as soon as the condition necessitating non-compliance has been abated. All operations of a tow truck shall be conducted in a manner that ensures the safe operation at all times, including those situations when compliance with the rules would be impossible, impractical, inefficient, or unduly burdensome under the circumstances.

Effective: 12/18/2016
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 12/18/2021
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 4921.25
Rule Amplifies: 4921.25

4901:2-22-04 Out-of-service criteria.

In addition to the provisions contained in rule 4901:2-5-07 of the Administrative Code, a tow truck may be declared "out-of-service" for the following reasons:

(A) Towing a motor vehicle or vehicles that weighs in excess of the tow truck's safe towing capacity.

(B) Use of towing equipment or towing devices in a manner that causes the working load limit of such equipment and devices to be exceeded.

(C) Use of towing equipment or towing devices that are not in compliance with the requirements of paragraph (B)(2) of rule 4901:2-22-03 of the Administrative Code.

(D) Use of a come-a-long, chain, or other similar device as a substitute for a winch and cable.

(E) Failure to secure a towed vehicle as required by paragraph (C) of rule 4901:2-22-03 of the Administrative Code.

(F) Installation or use of any towing equipment or towing devices in a manner not prescribed by the manufacturer.

(G) Use of a damaged or defective towing device where such damage or defect meets the "North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria", as adopted and disseminated by the "Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Alliance", for tie downs, regardless of whether the towing device is being used to pull, lift, support, suspend, secure or tow a motor vehicle.

Effective: 12/18/2016
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 12/18/2021
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 4921.25
Rule Amplifies: 4921.25

4901:2-22-05 Adoption of regulations by counties and townships.

(A) A county or township may adopt, pursuant to a resolution, public safety regulations applicable to a for-hire motor carrier engaged in the towing of motor vehicles under sections 4513.60, 4513.601, and 4513.61 of the Revised Code that:

(1) Do not address any subject matter for which the commission has jurisdiction pursuant to Title 49 of the Revised Code as it relates to the regulation of motor carriers operating in the state of Ohio, including but not limited to:

(a) Registration of a for-hire motor carrier engaged in the towing of motor vehicles;

(b) Safety standards or requirements related to a tow truck, towing equipment, and towing devices;

(c) The securement of a motor vehicle being towed by a tow truck; and

(d) The qualifications of a driver of a tow truck.

(2) Prescribe standards for the storage of motor vehicles at a storage facility, and retrieval of motor vehicles from a storage facility, that are not in conflict with standards and requirements established in Title 45 or 49 of the Revised Code.

(3) Are in accordance with any applicable police powers of that county or township, and not otherwise barred by paragraph (A)(1) of rule 4901:2-22-05 of the Administrative Code, that facilitate the safe and orderly removal of a vehicle towed pursuant to sections 4513.60, 4513.601, and 4513.61 of the Revised Code.

(B) Upon the adoption of a resolution seeking to implement public safety regulations applicable to a for-hire motor carrier engaged in the towing of motor vehicles under sections 4513.60, 4513.601, and 4513.61 of the Revised Code, a county or township shall provide a copy of the final resolution to the director of the commission's transportation department.

Effective: 12/18/2016
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 12/18/2021
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 4921.25
Rule Amplifies: 4921.25

4901:2-22-06 After-hours retrieval fee.

Any after-hours fee charged by a storage facility pursuant to section 4513.69 of the Revised Code shall not exceed the storage facility's reasonable costs of complying with the requirements of that section, but in no instance shall the after-hours retrieval fee exceed one hundred fifty dollars.

Effective: 12/18/2016
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 12/18/2021
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 4921.25
Rule Amplifies: 4921.25

4901:2-22-07 Advertising.

A towing service must include its certificate number on all written advertisements that could reasonably be used by a consumer to determine whether to hire the towing service. It is not required to be displayed on any promotional items, or when the towing service's name is being used in connection with the sponsorship of an activity or event.

Effective: 12/18/2016
Five Year Review (FYR) Dates: 12/18/2021
Promulgated Under: 111.15
Statutory Authority: 4921.25
Rule Amplifies: 4921.25