A tow truck driver hauls damaged, abandoned, or illegally parked vehicles away from roads and parking lots. He or she operates a specialized truck that is equipped with a mechanism for lifting and pulling other vehicles. Public safety, efficiency, and communication are major aspects of the job, and drivers are usually required to keep careful logs of their daily work and dealings with car owners. Most professional tow truck drivers are employed by private towing and impound companies, automobile service stations, salvage yards, and car dealerships.
Many private companies and parking enforcement organizations have a relationship with one or more towing companies to provide services on an on-call basis. When a car has been left unattended or abandoned in a parking structure for a long period of time, the business owner can call a tow truck driver to remove the vehicle. Automobiles that are parked in illegal zones on the street are also subject to towing if parking enforcement officials or police officers recommend it. At an impound lot, tow truck drivers record the cars they bring in, contact owners, and explain why their vehicles were towed. They often deal with customers in person to collect impounding fees and return vehicles to their owners.
A tow truck driver who works for a service station, dealership, or insurance provider might be called if a person is stranded on the road. The driver will inspect the vehicle and make small repairs if possible, to get it back in working condition. If the car cannot be repaired, the driver brings it along with the owner to a servicing station for more detailed work. After a particularly bad accident involving one or more cars, a tow truck driver rushes to the scene to clear the roadway. The damaged vehicles are then delivered to police evidence lots or salvage yards.
There are generally no strict educational or training requirements to become a tow truck driver. An able-bodied individual with a high school diploma and a standard driver's license can apply for positions at towing companies, salvage yards, or service stations. Most new employees receive on-the-job training from other drivers, accompanying them on jobs to learn about the various equipment and techniques involved with the job. Some companies offer up to 40 hours of classroom instruction for new drivers so they can become familiar with laws and corporate policies. Specialized certification is not typically required, though some individuals choose to take written exams offered by national associations to improve their credentials.