Home / Montana Highway Patrol – MHP / Tow Truck Laws and Regulations

State Statutes

Tow truck businesses in Montana must operate in accordance with the “Montana Professional Tow Truck Act” found in Title 61, Chapter 8, Part 9 of the Montana Code Annotated.

Other important statutes include:

  • 61-9-416 Commercial tow truck definition – requirements
  • 61-9-411 Certain vehicles to carry flares or other warning devices
  • 61-9-431 Use of warning signs, flares, reflectors, lanterns, and flag persons
  • 61-12, Part 4 Removal and Sale of Abandoned Vehicles
  • 71-3-1201 Who may have lien – agisters’ lien – lien for service – towing and storage lien – extension of lien to certain personal property contained in motor vehicle that is subject to lien
  • 75-10-511 Motor vehicle wrecking facility and motor vehicle graveyard licenses
  • 75-10-531 Crushing and recycling of junk vehicles
  • 75-10-532 Disposition of money collected

Administrative Rules

Tow truck businesses are also regulated by administrative rules – specifically, Chapter 23.6: Tow Trucks – issued by the Department of Justice.

Other important rules to be aware of include:

  • 18.8.408 Tow Cars (Wreckers)
  • 18.8.519 Wreckers and/or Tow Vehicle Requirements
  • 23.6.105 Tow Truck Complaint Resolution Committee – Establishment
  • 23.6.108 Vehicle Tow and Storage Requirements – Insurance
  • 23.6.109 Safety Inspection Process
  • 23.6.110 General Tow Truck Equipment Safety Standards
  • 38.3.712 Commercial Tow Truck Firms – Proof of Required Insurance

Standardized Wrecker Signing

In cooperation with the Montana Department of Transportation, the Montana Tow Truck Association has adopted standardized signs. Warning signs must bear the words “HAZARD AHEAD,” “LANE CLOSED AHEAD,” “ROAD CLOSED AHEAD,” “WRECK AHEAD,” “TOW TRUCK AHEAD” or “WRECKER AHEAD.”

It is highly recommended that Montana tow truck operators follow the wrecker signing guidelines provided in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).

State and national minimum standards for acceptable signs are:

  • color – orange with black legend and border
  • shape – diamond warning sign
  • minimum size – 36″ by 36″ on interstate, primary, secondary and urban routes, with five-inch lettering
  • reflectivity – must meet MUTCD guidelines for visibility both day and night
  • placement- In accordance with MCA 61-9-431 paras (2) and (3)
  • incidents that require total lane closures cannot be safely diverted without following a DOT-approved sign plan involving significant traffic control measures

MHP Tow Truck Inspection Process

  1. HQ MV-5 insurance form submitted by insurance company to MHP for each commercial Tow Company location
  2. MCS inspection completed for all tow truck classifications (A,B,C & D) – contact respective MCS District Captain to arrange for inspection.
  3. MHP Tow Truck Inspection Report completed for all tow truck classifications (A,B,C & D) – Contact respective MHP District office to arrange inspections.
  4. Upon successful MCS & MHP tow truck inspection affix new tow sticker in the windshield and / or remove the respective year corner.
  5. Tow Company will provide the following documents prior to the start of the business inspection.
    • Tow Truck Fact Sheet
    • Tow Company Driver Information
    • Tow Company Equipment Information
  6. MHP will conduct Business Inspection using the Tow Truck Business Inspection Report
  7. All paperwork will be forwarded to the District Captain
  8. All business paperwork will be inspected by the District Captain for accuracy.
  9. Businesses with approved paperwork will be provided a Letter of Appointment by District Captain.
  10. Tow Truck Fact Sheet will be faxed to Helena MHP dispatch upon satisfactory completion.
MHP District MHP Captain MHP Office Email
#1 Missoula Jim Kitchin (406) 329-1500 JKitchin@mt.gov
#2 Great Falls Chad Dever (406) 453-1121 CDever@mt.gov
#3 Butte Gary Becker (406) 533-6620 GBecker@mt.gov
#4 Billings Keith Edgell (406) 896-4360 KEdgell@mt.gov
#5 Glendive Ed Hilbert (406) 377-5238 EHilbert@mt.gov
#6 Kalispell Duane Bowers (406) 755-6688 Dubowers@mt.gov
#7 Bozeman Mark Wilfore (406) 587-4525 MWilfore@mt.gov
#8 Havre Jim Hunter (406) 265-6420 JHunterJr@mt.gov
MCS District MCS Captain MCS Office Cell
#1 Missoula Pat Metzger (406) 523-5814 (406) 544-3736
#2 Butte Mike Poole (406) 533-3692 (406) 490-1658
#3 Great Falls Jeff McLaughlin (406) 455-8330 (406) 431-0806
#4 Glendive Eric Belford (406) 345-8249 (406) 490-8699
#5 Billings Doug Park (406) 657-0208 (406) 698-8286

Tow Truck Complaint Resolution Committee

Committee members are appointed to three-year terms and may serve more than one term.

Name Representing
Captain Jim Kitchin, Chair Highway Patrol
Bruce Halcro, Vice Chair General Public
Terry Morrison Tow Truck Industry, Western Montana
Joanne Blyton Tow Truck Industry, Eastern Montana
Frank Molodecki Commercial Motor Carrier Industry
Shaun Peterson Insurance Industry

Other Resources


Captain Jim Kitchin
Montana Highway Patrol
2681 Palmer, Suite B
Missoula, MT 59808-1700
Phone: (406) 329-1510
Fax: (406) 329-1549
E-mail: JKitchin@mt.gov

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Division of Criminal Investigation

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Public Safety Officer Standards & Training

The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA. Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.


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The mission of the Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) is to identify and promote efficient, cost-effective programs that benefit the interests, safety, and well-being of Montana citizens through licensing, registering, and regulating the motoring activities of the public. The MVD continuously strives for excellence in customer service. Streamlining the way we do business has allowed us to improve our efficiency and make our services more convenient for our customers.


Natural Resource Damage Program

The Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) was created in 1990 to prepare the state’s lawsuit against the Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) for injuries to the natural resources in the Upper Clark Fork River Basin (UCFRB). Decades of mining and mineral processing operations in and around Butte and Anaconda released substantial quantities of hazardous substances into the Upper Clark Fork River Basin between Butte and Milltown. These hazardous substances extensively degraded the area’s natural resources.


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Through the Gambling Control Division, the Department of Justice regulates all forms of gambling in Montana, except for the Montana Lottery and horse racing. The legislature has charged the division with maintaining a uniform regulatory climate that is fair and free of corrupt influences. The division is also responsible for collecting gambling revenue for state and local governments.


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The Montana Department of Justice has a continued commitment to victims of human trafficking. In partnership with federal authorities, our agency plays a key role in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of crimes related to human trafficking in Montana. This form of modern day slavery does happen here in Big Sky Country.


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Montana’s deadliest drugs aren’t made in secret labs and they don’t always come from dealers on the corner. They’re in our own medicine cabinets. Each year, prescription drug abuse contributes to the deaths of more than 300 Montanans — making prescription drug abuse 15 times more deadly than meth, heroin and cocaine combined. Our kids report the third-highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the country and more than half of them say prescription drugs are easier to get than street drugs.


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When it comes to embracing new technology, kids have rapidly outpaced their parents and teachers. By their early school years, many children are already more comfortable on the Internet than their parents. But just because children are smart enough to know how to navigate the Internet, doesn’t mean they have the experience to make good decisions about some of the possibilities they may face online.


Montana Sexual or Violent Offender Registry

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Drinking and driving has been a chronic – and deadly — problem on Montana’s roadways for decades. In 2008, Montana was ranked as the deadliest state in the nation when it came to per capita DUI-related traffic fatalities.


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Everyday at The Montana Department of Justice, our employees are dedicated to ensuring the well-being and rights of the people of our great state. We’re passionate about what we do because it’s more than a job or a career. It’s about who we are as people. If this sounds like you, your unique experiences, knowledge, and values may be just what the Montana Department of Justice is looking for and needs. In return we can offer a culture that promotes fairness and growth opportunities.