Amendments to the Road Traffic Vehicles Regulations 2014 have been made as part of the Western Australian Government’s ongoing tow truck industry reform.
These have introduced consumer protections for vulnerable road users involved in an accident, along with updating technical standards and inspection requirements for tow trucks.
From 7 November 2022, WA tow truck drivers will be required to declare the maximum fees that will be charged for the towing, salvage, and storage of a vehicle before the vehicle is towed.
The maximum fee must be displayed on the written statement a tow truck driver provides to the person authorising the tow.
The amendments also prohibit the charging of any additional fees other than for the towing, salvage, or storage of a vehicle from the scene of an accident.
Drivers are reminded that they have the right to refuse a tow from the scene of an accident if the maximum fees to be charged have not been disclosed on the tow truck driver’s statement, or if they are asked to sign a statement that has not been completed in full by the tow truck driver.
Tow truck technical standards have also been brought up to date to reflect current industry practices and contemporary vehicle standards.
From 7 November 2022, tow trucks will be required to meet these updated technical standards before a vehicle licence can be granted.
To allow the industry time to ensure that currently licensed tow trucks can meet the updated technical standards, the requirement for tow trucks to be inspected annually will not commence until 7 November 2023. After this date, all tow trucks will require an inspection before a licence can be renewed, and annually thereafter.
The State Government is now in the process of developing a second tranche of tow truck industry reforms, which will further strengthen protections for consumers.
Western Australia Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said progress had been made by the State Government on its commitment to reform the WA tow truck industry and better protect drivers involved in a crash.
“The requirement to include maximum fees for the towing, salvage, and storage of a vehicle in the tow truck driver’s statement intends to provide price transparency for road users, while the State Government works on further reforms to the industry,” she said.
“Drivers have the ability to refuse a tow from the scene of an accident if the tow truck driver has not declared the maximum fees to tow and store the vehicle, and should not sign a tow truck driver’s statement authorising the towing of the vehicle if it has not been completed and provided to the driver,” said Saffioti.
“Amendments to technical tow truck standards will bring them up to date with contemporary industry practices to improve safety and roadworthiness.”