18.8.519 WRECKERS AND/OR TOW VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS
(1) When proceeding to an emergency, a wrecker or tow vehicle which exceeds the weight limits set forth in 61-10-141, MCA, must enter an open weigh station except if the emergency creates highway blockage and/or serious threat to life and property. If this condition exists, the wrecker or tow vehicle must have top lights flashing and may pass by the open weigh station.
(2) If separating a towed power unit combination would create a safety risk to the traveling public or to property on the roadway, a wrecker or tow vehicle may tow the vehicles or vehicle combination from the emergency scene or place of disablement on a public roadway to the operator's place of business or yard or suitable secure facility if it is within 100 miles of the emergency scene.
(3) Combinations, including double and triple saddle mount configurations, nondivisible loads, or unusual combinations not readily separated (including but not limited to loaded fuel semi-trailers, stinger steered combinations, and loaded logging trucks with pole trailer connected to the disabled power unit) may be towed from the emergency scene or place of disablement to the operator's place of business or yard if it is within 100 miles of the emergency scene or place of disablement. If a move exceeds 100 miles, the disabled vehicles may be removed from the emergency scene or place of disablement on a public roadway but must be separated at the first place where the combination can be safely reduced to a single unit.
(4) When returning from an emergency, the wrecker or tow vehicle and load which exceeds the weight limits in 61-10-141, MCA, must enter an open weigh station.
(5) Permit requirements for tow vehicles operating under emergency conditions:
(a) If a tow vehicle or the vehicle being towed exceeds statutory limits, special permits are required and must be carried in the tow vehicle when returning from an emergency. An emergency response does not exempt the tow truck operator from special permit requirements. If the type of special permit cannot be determined, the permits must be obtained at the weigh station when returning from the emergency scene or place of disablement through the use of the Motor Carrier Services (MCS) courtesy weight permit process;
(b) A special permit is valid for both the towing vehicle and the disabled vehicle and load;
(c) Special permits for overweight are valid for both divisible and nondivisible loads, however routing and restrictions on the original permit must be followed unless properly amended by MCS;
(d) An emergency response exempts the tow truck operation from restricted hours of operation within 100 miles of the emergency scene; and
(e) All flag vehicles, light, and signing regulations found at ARM 18.8.510A, 18.8.510B, and 18.8.511A apply to wreckers and/or tow truck vehicles when responding to or returning from an emergency.
(6) A tow vehicle or wrecker may operate during restricted hours of daylight, weekends, holidays, and during restricted or severe weather travel conditions when returning from an emergency scene or place of disablement. A tow vehicle or wrecker may only travel during restricted or severe weather conditions to the first safe place the vehicles may be safely parked until the restricted or severe driving conditions have been removed.
(7) MCS will report violations of this rule to the Department of Justice for appropriate action against the wrecker or tow vehicle operator.
History: 61-10-155, MCA; IMP, 61-10-121, 61-10-122, 61-10-124, 61-10-125, 61-10-141, MCA; NEW, 1988 MAR p. 1704, Eff. 7/29/88; AMD, 1994 MAR p. 1148, Eff. 4/29/94; AMD, 1996 MAR p. 2980, Eff. 7/19/96; AMD, 2000 MAR p. 1075, Eff. 4/28/00; AMD, 2012 MAR p. 1350, Eff. 7/13/12; AMD, 2013 MAR p. 535, Eff. 4/12/13.