Commissioner's Blog: Tow truck reform on its way

This announcement is for: 
ConsumerMotor industry

Keeping your wits about you following a car accident or breakdown is not always easy – you may be in shock, the traffic behind you is probably piling up and your vehicle needs to be moved off the road to somewhere safe. 

The last thing any motorist needs in a stressful situation like this is to be threatened, misled or harassed by unscrupulous tow-truck drivers looking to get their business.

Views expressed in a recent consultation led by Consumer Protection indicated widespread concern from the community and ethical operators about the tow truck industry in Western Australia, with the consensus being that price gouging and bad behaviour needs to be stamped out.

With 90 per cent of those surveyed agreeing the industry should be regulated, the State Government has agreed to reform the tow truck industry in order to protect people involved in traffic accidents.

Among the suggested reforms receiving strong support was a proposal to address the issue of excessive towing and storage costs by introducing price caps and registering storage depots.

There was also strong support for tow truck businesses and drivers to be licensed, with criminal background and association checks to be done as part of the application process. Licenses could then be suspended or cancelled for breaches of road laws, safety and fees.

Responsibility for executing changes has now moved to the Department of Transport, which will present reform options to the State Government by mid-year.

While this work is ongoing, the Department of Transport is also preparing amendments to the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014 to require maximum tow and storage fees to be recorded on the 'tow truck driver's statement', which is given to the person authorising the tow at the roadside.

The consultation report that summarises the feedback can be viewed on the Consumer Protection website.

In the meantime, it is important to know the total cost of the service before agreeing to have your car towed.  Consumer Protection has further towing tips at www.dmirs.wa.gov.au/towing  

Until the reforms come into effect, complaints about the behaviour of tow truck drivers can continue to be lodged with Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 or email consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au 

trish_blake_2021_high_1.jpg
trish_blake_2021_high_1.jpg, by CP Media

Trish Blake

Executive Director for Consumer Protection

 

Consumer Protection
Media release
21 Apr 2022

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