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Vehicle towing 

This information has been prepared to assist consumers of towing services in understanding their rights and responsibilities when using a tow truck after their vehicle has been involved in a crash.

Changes to tow-away only crashes 

As part of the NSW Police commitment to streamline processes for motorists, reduce danger to road users and manage crashes more efficiently, motorists involved in tow-away only collisions can organise their own tow and leave the area if no one is injured, all parties have exchanged particulars and no one is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

However, the crash must later be reported to the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. Drivers no longer need to report minor collisions which do not require a tow away, even for insurance purposes. For more information visit the NSW Police website.

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Rights - owner-driver of towed vehicle 

If you need a tow truck to assist you when you are involved in an accident, you have the right to:

  • decide where your vehicle will be towed
  • decide who will tow your vehicle
  • contact anyone prior to signing the towing authorisation form for assistance on where you would like to tow the vehicle to (some contact numbers for insurers are provided on the towing authorisation form)
  • refuse to accept a tow for any reason (eg if the tow truck is not suitable)
  • receive a copy of the towing authorisation form from the tow truck driver that includes contact details for the tow truck operator who will be towing your vehicle
  • receive a quotation for the cost of the towing work from the tow truck driver.

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Responsibilities - owner/driver of towed vehicle 

As the owner/driver your main responsibility is to authorise the tow truck driver to tow your vehicle and report the accident to the NSW Police Force immediately. Make sure:

  • The place that you want your vehicle towed to is shown on the form and all other details are correct
  • You sign the Towing Authorisation form
  • The tow truck driver has completed all sections of the form and has also signed the form and provided you with a copy to keep
  • All of the costs involved are explained to you (tow fee, excess km, salvage, storage and the surcharge outside business hours).    
  • If your vehicle is covered by a comprehensive insurance policy, the towing fee may be covered in your claim. However, you should check with your insurance provider.

It is your right to choose who will tow the vehicle, where the vehicle will be towed, and to authorise the tow truck driver to tow your vehicle. In certain circumstances where you are unable to give this authorisation, a Police Officer or authorised officer will be able to authorise the towing of your vehicle (an authorised officer will have a photo ID card)

If your vehicle needs to be towed you must contact the police immediately if possible but, in exceptional circumstances, within 24 hours after the crash (Police Assistance Line 131 444).

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Check the tow truck driver’s credentials 

All accredited tow truck drivers in NSW must wear a tow truck drivers certificate whenever they are driving or operating a tow truck. A sample drivers certificate is shown below.

The driver's certificate will show:

  • Name
  • Certificate number and class of certificate
  • Expiry date
  • Photo

Tow truck driver licence example

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Check the tow truck 

A NSW based accident tow truck will have a "TT" number plate with four numbers before the "TT" as shown here.

Tow truck licence plates

Tow trucks with three numbers followed by TT are not authorised to collect vehicles from the scene of an accident.

An interstate tow truck that is authorised to carry out towing work in NSW will have a registration plate issued in their home state and two NSW Fair Trading  interstate tow truck signs in the windows of the truck.

Note: If this is not the case, do not allow the tow truck to tow your vehicle.

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Tow truck charges - heavy vehicle 

The charges are effective from 1 July, 2017.

Equipment/Service

Maximum charge

Notes

 

1st hour

1st hour - Stolen

Each extra hour

 
Class 3 Conventional Tow Truck GCM 18 to 25 tonnes $252 $229 $156 Inclusive of all travelling costs
Class 4(A) Tow Truck GCM 25 to 45 tonnes $272 $250 $179 Inclusive of all travelling costs. Tow Truck must have dual rear axle.
Class 4(B) Tow Truck GCM 45 to 60 tonnes $286 $264 $192 Inclusive of all travelling costs. Tow Truck must have dual rear axle.
Class 4(C) Tow Truck GCM 60+ tonnes $363 $341 $271 Inclusive of all travelling costs. Tow Truck must have dual rear axle.

Equipment/Service

Maximum charge

Notes

2nd Certified Driver $64 Per hour - for the period at the accident site.
For the cost of salvage operations after the first 30 minutes at an accident scene $86 Per hour - excludes the use of a tow truck.
Stand by rate 50% Of the hourly rate applicable to the type of tow truck used.
Administration/Site Coordination rate $64 Per hour - payable for one driver only per accident/incident.
Surcharge for service outside business hours 50% Surcharge payable on labour costs only outside business hours (8am-5pm).
All additional equipment required to complete the tow/salvage/site recovery 10% Above the actual cost. Only applies if arranged and paid for by the tow truck operator.
Locked storage following a tow from the scene of an accident, for the first 72 hours No charge  
Storage after 72 hours $95 Per day - payable only where the vehicle is stored awaiting collection in an authorised holding yard. Not claimable if the vehicle is awaiting repair.

Notes:

  • the above listed charges exclude any applicable GST.
  • this summary document is provided as a quick reference guide only, for full details please refer to Part 4A of the Tow Truck Industry Regulation 2008.

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Tow truck charges - light vehicle 

The charges are effective from 1 July, 2017.

Item

Maximum Charge

Notes

Towing

For any accident towing work $238  
For towing recovered stolen vehicles $157  

For each subsequent tow

$86  
For each tow undertaken in excess of 10km via the most direct route (Defined Sydney Metropolitan Area) $5.17 Per km

For each tow undertaken via the most direct route in excess of 20km (other areas)
$4.26 Per km
Surcharge outside business hours* 20%  

Salvage from an area other than a road or road related area


For the certified driver of the tow truck (after the first 30 minutes)
$61  
For an assistant $61  

For an additional tow truck (including the driver)
$235  
Surcharge outside business hours* 20%           

Storage within an authorised holding yard

For light motor vehicle (not a motorcycle) (Sydney Metropolitan area)   $23 Maximum for each 24 hours or part thereof
For light motor vehicle (not a motorcycle) (outside Sydney Metropolitan area) $14 Maximum for each 24 hours or part thereof
For motorcycle (within Sydney Metropolitan area) $12 Maximum for each 24 hours or part thereof
For motorcycle (outside Sydney Metropolitan area) $7 Maximum for each 24 hours or part thereof
* Business hours defined as 8am to 5pm Mon to Fri excluding public holidays.

Notes:

  • the above listed charges exclude any applicable GST.
  • this summary document is provided as a quick reference guide only, for full details please refer to Part 4A of the Tow Truck Industry Regulation 2008

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More information 

Print this page and keep it in your vehicle along with contact details for your insurance provider.

If you have any questions about tow truck services, or would like to make a complaint, or if you need help in understanding any of your rights and responsibilities, please contact NSW Fair Trading on 1300 131 134 and select option ‘2’.

NSW Fair Trading can assist you by phone between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

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