Tow Truck Regulations

On February 5, 2008, a change to Arizona Administrative Code Title 13, Chapter 3 involving the tow truck regulations was approved by the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council. The approved changes took effect on April 5, 2008. The following is a synopsis of the rules changes:

The Department of Public Safety will continue to conduct tow truck inspections, but with some changes. Annual inspections by the Department will no longer be required for existing tow trucks. The Department will be required to inspect new company tow trucks as well as tow trucks added to any existing company’s fleet. The Department has the authority to conduct “unannounced, in-service inspections of a tow truck at the roadside, at the company’s place of business, or any reasonable time and place to determine condition of the tow truck.”

The Department has set a May 1, 2008 implementation date for the changes to the inspection process. On and after that date, tow companies will no longer be required to have their current trucks annually inspected by the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Only new trucks added to a fleet or new companies with trucks will need to be inspected by DPS. Tow companies will be required to be in compliance with the tow truck regulations at all times in anticipation of unannounced inspections. The requirement for tow trucks to possess and maintain the inspection decal and report with the vehicle at all times still remains. Any company requiring an inspection for a new truck or a re-inspection after a truck is place out of service, will need to contact DPS to schedule the inspection appointment. If you have questions, please call Commercial Vehicle Enforcement at 602-223-2522.

The following tow truck regulation documents are available for download:

Obtaining a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Number

The following is the result of an amendment to Arizona Administrative Rule R17-5-203, Motor Carrier Safety: 49 CFR 390 - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; General Applicability and Definitions; General Requirements and Information:

In conjunction with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), the Division has amended R17-5-203, effective July 10, 2007, to require CMVs identified under R17-5-203(B)(3) to obtain a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration registry for intrastate travel within Arizona. This amendment is made in an effort to facilitate the tracking and identification of those CMVs with a poor safety rating. Additional amendments were made to R17-5-203(D) and (E), Marking of CMVs.

The new regulations requiring the USDOT# for intrastate travel by a CMV, and Markings of CMVs are administered and enforced through DPS.

You can obtain an intrastate USDOT number by applying online, see instructions below:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Registration and Updates. This will take you to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) web site.
  3. Click the Step-By-Step instruction link and follow the instructions. Please read each page carefully.
  4. You will be required to fill out an MCS150 form online which follows the initial questions.
  5. You will also be required to provide a credit card number. Nothing will be charged to your card. This is strictly for validation purposes.
  6. Complete the form and follow the instructions and you will be given your company’s USDOT number at the end of the process.

After you obtain the number you must display it on the power units of your vehicles per Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation 390.21 which can be viewed at

Please contact us with any questions.

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