A general definition of a tow recovery vehicle is a vehicle used to transport motor vehicles to another location or to recover motor vehicles that are no longer on a drivable surface.
To operate a tow/recovery vehicle as a business in Oregon, the owner of each tow vehicle needs:
- A tow/recovery business certificate issued by DMV;
- A tow/recovery vehicle registration; and
- If the vehicle has a combined weight of 26,001 or more (the empty weight of all vehicles in a combination plus the total weight of the load carried on that combination of vehicles), or is registered on a prorate basis, registration issued by the Motor Carrier Transportation Division (MCTD), or if the combined weight is 26,000 pounds or less, registration issued by DMV.
Vehicles subject to weight-mile tax through the Motor Carrier Transportation Division (MCTD) must be registered with MCTD. This applies primarily to vehicles with a registration weight of 26,001 pounds or more. This also applies to tow/recovery vehicles hauling property for-hire. In addition, all tow/recovery vehicles with a combined weight of 26,001 pounds or more must obtain a tow business certificate, with tow plates, through DMV at the same time.
A tow/recovery business certificate and registration are needed (ORS 822.200
) if the owner:
- Engages in the towing or recovering of vehicles by any means for any direct or indirect compensation when the vehicle being towed or recovered is owned by a person other than the person performing the towing or recovery activity; or
- Engages in the towing or recovering by any means, as a part of any business operation of the person, vehicles that are wrecked, damaged, disabled, or abandoned or replacement vehicles; or
- Purports, in any way, to be engaged in the business of towing and recovering vehicles. "Purports ...to be engaged in..." means to solicit or advertise towing services through the telephone book, business directory, newspaper, radio, television, posting on vehicles, signs, business, billboards, or by any other means (OAR 735-154-0000).
A person does not
need a tow/recovery business certificate and registration if the person is providing assistance to another motorist, whether or not they are compensated, as long as they are not providing assistance as part of their business. Note: In using the ORS or OAR link above, you will need to scroll down to find the correct ORS reference.