Being a tow truck driver isn’t an easy job, in fact, it requires extensive training and knowledge. The job entails hauling broken down, totaled, or illegally-parked vehicles at all times of the day. Not to mention, these duties are crucial and you’re responsible for following safe practices on the road.
Therefore, not just anyone can be a tow truck operator. Firstly, you’ll have to complete several licensing programs and tests before you’re legally allowed to operate a tow truck. So, if you plan on starting a career in the towing industry then you may have some questions.
In this article, we’ll discuss who’s eligible to operate a tow truck and what the training requirements are.
Basic Qualifications and Eligibility
First, you must see whether you meet the basic qualifications needed to perform the duties of a tow truck driver. This mainly involves two things: your age and health. These two factors help determine whether someone has enough experience and is physically fit enough to perform the tasks required of them.
To operate a tow truck you must be 18 years or older. However, many towing companies prefer their first-timers to have more driving experience behind them than that. So, the ideal age for beginners is between the ages of 21 to 25. This way they have several years of driving experience under their belt and a good understanding of the rules of the road.
To be a tow truck driver you must pass a vision and physical ability test. After all, this job is very labor-intensive and you must be able to physically handle it. Tow truck drivers often have to operate and lift heavy machinery, as well as drive in various weather conditions. This can be both physically and mentally demanding.
Apart from physical strength to perform such duties, you must have adequate hearing and vision. This way you can see both long and short distances as well as hear what’s going on in your surroundings.
Navigating a busy area or a crash site can be overwhelming; therefore, you need to have strong senses to be aware of what’s going on around you.
Licensing, Certifications, and Training
As mentioned earlier, tow truck drivers operate large heavy-duty commercial vehicles. According to federal law, if the tow truck’s gross vehicle weight rating (the weight of your truck plus what you’re hauling) is more than 26,001 pounds then you need a CDL.
However, this may vary from state to state, some even require commercial drivers to have a CDL regardless of their GVWR. To obtain this license you must go through extensive training that includes a driving test, a written exam, and in-person classes.
Also, most states require drivers to obtain a towing certificate. This certification can be earned through an online course managed by your state’s safety council.
Once you start your career as a tow truck driver you can expect to be enrolled in various training programs throughout your career to keep your knowledge of safety procedures up to date.
So, if you want to start your career as a tow truck driver then you must participate in training and obtain the required licenses and certifications. You also must fit the basic eligibility criteria for the job, such as age and physical fitness.