The tow truck driver salary depends on the skills and the knowledge of the truck driver. However, there are a lot of segments in the trucking industry that need to be fulfilled when you are getting in the trucking business. Every trucking service requires specific knowledge especially when the trucking service is the tow trucking service.
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Another factor that can influence is the employment status. The tow truck driver salary is different if the tow driver works for a company or for himself, however, every tow driver is faced with the US DOT mandate with having a commercial drivers license in case he drive a truck over 26,001 pounds or tow more than 10,000 pounds.
The commercial driver license (CDL) that a tow truck driver needs to have is the Class A. This CDL license is required to ensure that the tow driver is qualified to drive a tow truck and that he/she is ready to face the issues on the road.
How Tow Trucks Work
When you are a truck driver you know that everything can happen on the open road. No matter how careful you were with the maintenance of the truck or how careful you are driving your truck, simply bad thing sometimes happens when you less expect.
Most of the drivers or at least the best ones are trained to perform some small repairs on the truck to fix the problem and go back on the route. That is really a good skill that every truck driver need to have but sometimes the power is not in your hands sometimes the power is in the hands of the towmasters.
They are there to tow your truck to the nearest repair service and not just that they will tow your vehicle covering all Towing Administrative Rules to ensure the safety of your truck and safety of all other participants on the highway no matter how dangerous the road is. These qualities make the tow truck driver salary higher.
The tow trucks are also known as:
- Recovery trucks
- Wreckers or
- Breakdown trucks
The tow trucks are using special equipment to ensure the safety during the towing such as:
- Special security equipment for truck securing and fixing
- Special towing equipment for pulling heavy vehicles
The tow truck is equipped with all the special equipment to cover the FMCSA safety regulations which mean that your truck will be safely towed to the required place. The knowledge of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA or State Traffic Lows and regulations together with the ability to honor and respect them, definitely affects the tow truck driver salary.
Tow trucks are specially designed to transport vehicles that are stacked in some place without the possibility to move by their own power. When the truck driver faces a truck defect or accident the tow truck is there to tow the vehicle to the nearest repair shop or wherever you want.
Here is an explanation how the tow trucks work:
- Boom Tow Truck – the equipment of this truck consist boom winch is used to pull the damaged trucks or other vehicles from little more unreachable places.
- Hook and chain/Belt lift Tow Truck – This tow truck consist heavy-duty chain and hook. The boom that is on the back of the boom tow truck is attached to the underside of the vehicle that needs to be towed and ones it is secured, the boom is raised which makes the wheels lifted from the ground. In this way, the vehicle is ready for towing.
- Wheel-lift tow trucks – this truck use the metal yoke to transport the vehicle from the place where the defect occurs to the place where the vehicle needs to be repaired. How does this work? The yoke is lowered to the ground and placed under the back or the front wheels of the vehicle. Then the vehicle is attached and lifted using a pneumatic or hydraulic device. Only front or the rear wheels are lifted ensuring the other wheels are on the ground and in good condition ready for towing. With this type of towing the only touching area are the wheels and this is the way to prevent unnecessary damage to the truck.
- Flatbed tow trucks – This is the lattes version of a tow truck and there are no chains or hooks that need to be attached to the vehicle. So how this truck tows vehicles? The truck bed is lowered to the ground point and the defected vehicle is pulled by a winch to the flatbed direction until it is totally placed on the truck bed. There is almost zero chance of vehicle damaging.
- Integrated Trucks – These tow trucks are a combination of boom and chain tow truck.
As you can see being a tow truck driver is different from being a truck driver of a dry van truck because it requires a lot of attention, concentration, and skills to make sure that everything is connected and secured by the safety rules and regulations. Being able to fulfill all of those federal requirements entails higher tow truck driver salary.
How To Become a Tow Truck Driver
The tow truck driver is tows vehicles from the place where were disabled, parked or part of an accident. Since the tow truck drivers need to operate a tow truck, prepare the vehicle for towing and clean up the road in case of an accident you need to meet these requirements:
1. You Need To Meet The Education And Age Requirements
- Be at least 18 years old – I am saying at least because most of the towing companies will not hire a tow truck driver that is younger than 21 or 25.
- Have a high school diploma or GED
2. Have a Clean Criminal Background
Many states require a clean criminal record for the tow drivers. The person that has a criminal record is considered as risky and not reliable. Since the tow truck driver needs to be responsible every sign of risky behavior is taken into consideration.