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Can a Felon Drive a Tow Truck?

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Following release from prison, felons want to return to society and resume their lives.

Many who have served a long sentence may not have the best job skills or job history.

Those who are released, after being locked up for so long, spending most of their time inside a confined space, often think of pursuing a job that allows them freedom and the chance to be on the go.

For many, they think of truck driving with the opportunity to hit the road.

This blog post will cover the question of whether a felon can drive a tow truck.

  • Requirements to Become a Truck Driver
  • Reasons for Driving a Truck
  • Reasons for Not Driving a Truck
  • Job Description
  • Challenges in Being a Tow Truck Driver
  • Supporting a Felon in Becoming a Tow Truck Driver


Requirements to Become a Truck Driver

There is always a shortage of qualified truck drivers.  The transportation industry has many job openings.

There are no specific requirements to become a truck driver.

The training is not set, but there are a number of truck driving schools that teach the skills necessary to become a good truck driver.

It is generally recommended to attend a school to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).  This required for most truck driving jobs.

Getting a CDL consists of training to be able to pass a written test as well as a road test.

Those who obtain a CDL have a much better chance of finding a job.

There are restrictions on obtaining a CDL.

In applying to obtain a CDL, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will conduct a background check on their driving record.

If there is a felony conviction for vehicular manslaughter, or trafficking or distribution of controlled substances, materials, or weapons they will be prohibited from receiving a CDL at the federal level.

Other felonies that could prevent obtaining a federal CDL are bribery, extortion, arson, treason, kidnapping, assault with intent to murder.

Other than these restrictions, each driving school sets its own standards.

Reasons for Driving a Truck

There are many reasons why felons might want to become a truck driver.

First, truck drivers’ school lasts between three and seven weeks, depending on the particular school.

This is certainly a much shorter time than attending college or even a trade school.

Then, the pay, even starting out, is good, better than many other beginning jobs.

Due to the constant shortage of qualified truck drivers, jobs are always available.  This is true even for those who have just completed training without experience.

There are a number of options as a truck driver, working locally, statewide, or federally.  For those federal positions, not having a felony driving record is important.

Those who find a job as a truck driver receive benefits, such as health insurance.

One reason many felons are attracted to truck driving is that they have the opportunity to work outside, move around, and work on their own a lot.

Reasons for Not Driving a Truck

There are also reasons for not becoming a truck driver.

The work involves long hours, with up to 12 hours per day being standard.

Working as a truck driver requires being able to stick with a tight schedule.  There are typically specific times that must be met.

Then, truck drivers often drive alone, making for loneliness and a tendency to take more time for deliveries, taking too much time on the drive.

Those who drive trucks must have the discipline to be able to handle the schedule and demands.

For some felons, this is an area that may have been challenging to them in the past, and it won’t be any easier now.

Truck driving can also be dangerous.  Driving larger trucks is dangerous.  Then drivers may be exposed to hazardous materials or chemicals.

For those who are aware of these drawbacks and still want to pursue a truck driving career, they should make certain to give themselves the best chance possible to succeed.

Succeeding means setting themselves up for their best chance.  This may mean, checking their work history.

Trucking companies want to look at an applicant’s job history.  That makes getting a job even more important before applying to truck driving school.  There are employers who will hire felons.

It is important to approach the interview with a clean appearance, being polite and respectful.

They may want to know if they have attended a re-entry program, and if they are connected in their community.

Having their record expunged can be a benefit for those wanting to become a truck driver.

Job Description

Tow truck drivers work in different settings.  Drivers deal with disabled vehicles or those in an accident.  They repossess vehicles or remove them from a prohibited area, moving them to a different location.

Requirements for tow truck drivers vary from one city, state, or federal district.

A CDL is mandatory for those who drive trucks and cargo weighing more than 26,001 pounds.  In some areas, all tow truck drivers must have a CDL.

Felons seeking to become a tow truck driver can have an application for a tow truck driver’s license turned down for a conviction of theft, possession, or interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle.

They can also have a license denied for crimes against people, including assault, or in some locations for any felony.  Checking with the city and state where they reside is important to felons wanting to become a tow truck driver.

Challenges in Being a Tow Truck Driver

Those who drive tow trucks must be constantly aware of what is happening around them and anticipate the worst, especially with the challenge of safely towing another vehicle with their large tow truck.

Regardless of the situation, the hours of a tow truck driver will be long, often at night or in poor weather.

Depending on the company, the pay could be commission or a combination of salary and commission.

Tow truck companies are concerned with the appearance and demeanor of their drivers.  They don’t want drivers whom they don’t trust.

Drivers will be handling payment from customers, and they don’t want a driver they think would steal from them.  They don’t want those with credit problems.

Currently, the only nationally recognized certification course for tow truck drivers is the Towing and Recovery Association of America’s (TRAA) Driver Certification Program.

Supporting a Felon in Becoming a Tow Truck Driver

Families of felons who want to become a tow truck driver should be supportive but also be honest with their loved one.  If they aren’t the type to deal well with emergency situations, to be on a tight schedule, and have the discipline to make those demands, then maybe driving a tow truck isn’t for them.

Let them know you are there for them, but encourage them to do what is best for themselves and for their family.  Driving a tow truck is an answer for many felons though.

What do you think about this blog post?  Have you or someone you know with a felony tried to become a tow truck driver?  What was it like for them, and were they successful?  Please tell us in the comments below.

1 thought on “Can a Felon Drive a Tow Truck?”

  1. I try to work for Fred’s towning here in Reedsport ,Oregon he said, I couldn’t work for him because the insurance would cover me because of my felony.


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