Tow truck consumer advice
The WA Government is reforming the tow truck industry in WA.
About 90% of more than 6000 respondents engaged during community consultation supported the reform of the tow truck industry to protect people involved in traffic crashes and combat bad behaviour and price gouging by some members of the industry.
The Government has tasked the Department of Transport (DoT) with developing a regulatory strategy for the towing industry based on the outcomes of the community consultation.
In the meantime, DoT is progressing amendments to the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014 to update tow truck technical vehicle standards and improve price transparency.
A public information campaign will be implemented by DoT to advise drivers of their rights after a collision or breakdown on the roads and keep the tow truck industry abreast of the regulatory changes and amended technical standards as they occur.
Know before you’re towed
While DoT develops options for Government, drivers can be prepared in the event they are involved in a traffic crash or breakdown on WA roads.
Take the following advice on board so you can make better decisions under pressure.
Your insurance company can help
Contact your insurer to clarify what your insurance policy covers and get clear instructions on what to do after an accident.
Save your insurance company’s number in your phone and keep a copy of your policy in your car, in case of emergencies.
You can choose your tow truck
If you have been in a crash, you have the right to decline the first tow truck on the scene and choose who tows your vehicle.
You can decide where your car is towed, including a repairer, your home, to a storage yard or as instructed by your insurer.
Having your car towed to your home is an option to consider as it will give you time to talk to your insurer and make decisions without being under pressure.
Agree on fees before you’re towed
Towing and storage fees are not yet regulated in WA, so towing companies can set their own prices.
It’s important you confirm the total cost of towing and storage with the driver before you sign any agreement or allow your vehicle to be towed when you are satisfied with the price.
MainRoads WA towing service
Main Roads can deploy a tow truck or an Incident Response Service vehicle to move a crashed or broken-down vehicle that is obstructing traffic or causing a hazard to a safer location.
This service is provided free of charge.
Contact the Main Roads Customer Information Centre on 138 138 to report an incident unless there is a need to phone emergency services.
Once in a safer location, the driver can make their own arrangements to be towed to their home, repairer, or storage location at their own cost.
Read the fine print before signing
By law, tow truck drivers must give you a completed standard Authority to Tow form to sign before they tow your car after an accident.
They must also give you a copy of the signed form and keep a copy for their records for 12 months.
The Authority to Tow form must include specific information, such as:
- where your vehicle is being moved from and to;
- your name and address;
- number plate and make of your vehicle;
- the tow truck driver’s details; and
- the tow truck’s number plate.
Although not currently required by law, make sure the form includes the total cost of towing and storing your vehicle, and ask for it to be included if it hasn’t been included.
Tow truck drivers are not allowed to intimidate you or use unfair tactics to get you to sign an Authority to Tow form.
Some consumers have been caught out by signing Authority to Tow forms locking them into having their car repaired by a particular repairer or giving lawyers permission to act on their behalf.
If your car is towed to a storage yard tell the tow truck operator your car is not to be repaired without the authorisation of you or your insurer.