If you are a driver of a tow truck, you must hold a tow truck driver certificate issued by Fair Trading. A maximum fine of $5,500, 6 months imprisonment or both may be imposed for driving a tow truck without a current driver certificate.
The driver certificate allows motorists to easily identify that you are authorised to tow their vehicle.
Criteria for granting a driver certificate
When you apply for a driver certificate, you must hold an unrestricted driver licence. You must also satisfy Fair Trading that you are fit and proper to be the driver of a tow truck, are responsible and can drive a tow truck safely and legally.
Driver licence requirements
You must hold an unrestricted driver licence to apply for a driver certificate. A provisional licence cannot be accepted.
As part of the standard assessment of your eligibility for a driver certificate, you must give permission for Fair Trading to check whether you have a criminal record and to check your driving record.
If you have lived outside NSW, or overseas within the past 10 years, you must provide an original printout (dated within 6 weeks of the application being made) of a National Criminal History Record check (NCHRC) confirming that you have no record for that period in that jurisdiction.
If you have held a driver licence in another Australian state or territory or overseas within the past 3 years, you must provide an original statement of your driver licence details and traffic history from the relevant licensing authority in that jurisdiction for that period. (Both documents to be dated within 6 week of the application being made).
Refusing to grant permission for these checks will result in your application not being accepted and the application, payment and accompanying documents will be returned to you.
Applying for a driver certificate
When you apply for a certificate to drive a tow truck, you must answer all questions and sign the declaration on the application form. If you are found to have made false or misleading statements or falsified any documentation, your application may be refused.
Once you have completed the application form, you must attach the following documents:
- a photocopy of your current driver licence (front and back)
- two current photographs (passport size) of your head and neck without a hat or sunglasses on a pale background
- interstate or overseas criminal history and traffic record (if applicable) issued within the last 6 weeks
- correct payment of the application fee.
Before proceeding with any application, Fair Trading must receive correct payment in the form of a credit card, cheque or money order, payable to ‘NSW Fair Trading’. Payments by cash or EFTPOS can also be made over the counter at some Service NSW service centres. More information can be found on the application form.
Fair Trading will examine your application to ensure that all the relevant information and documentation has been provided. Incomplete applications will not be accepted and will be returned to you for completion.
At times we may seek further information from you or another agency about your application. Your application may be refused if the results of the checks are not satisfactory.
Three-year driver certificate
Three-year terms for driver certificates reduce administrative costs for businesses and individuals. Make sure you understand and can meet the eligibility requirements below before making your application to avoid delays.
A driver certificate may be granted for a period of 3 years if you:
- have requested a driver certificate for 3 years and meet the eligible criteria
- held a driver certificate for a continuous period of at least 5 years in which your driver certificate was not suspended, revoked and did not lapse.
- are not, at the time of preparing the application, under investigation by Fair Trading in relation to any breach of a condition of a driver certificate or any other breach of the Act or regulations
- have not, in the last 5 years, been subject to any prescribed disciplinary action under the Act or engaged in any prescribed conduct.
If you are eligible for a 3-year certificate, it will be indicated on the renewal form that is provided prior to your driver certificate expiring.
If you are still not sure whether you are eligible, call 1300 131 134 and select option 1 to speak with the Licensing team before submitting your application.
What happens if I am subject to any disciplinary action after I am granted a three-year certificate?
If your driver certificate is revoked you may not be eligible for any refund on your certificate fee and will have to make a new application when eligible to do so. You will also be ineligible to apply for a 3-year certificate on your next application.
Refusal of an application for a driver certificate
There are mandatory and discretionary grounds for the refusal of a driver certificate application. Visit the Driver certificate refusal provisions page for more information.
If your application is refused, you will be notified in writing. Fair Trading will also advise you of any rights you might have to appeal against a refusal.
You may apply for a review if you disagree with the decision made. If you still disagree with the decision following the review, you may apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal within 28 days of being notified.
Important things to remember if your application is successful
You must hold a current tow truck driver certificate and a driver licence at all times when driving or operating a tow truck. If at any time your driver licence is suspended, disqualified, cancelled or expires, your driver certificate will be revoked.
If you are convicted of a criminal offence in a court, your driver certificate may be affected. Contact Fair Trading if this happens. You must wear your driver certificate so that it is clearly visible while you are:
- at, or in the vicinity of a motor vehicle accident
- driving or standing a licensed tow truck on a road or road-related area
- carrying out, or attempting to obtain, any towing work
- travelling in a tow truck as a passenger
- using or operating a tow truck in any way.
You must produce your driver certificate on demand to an authorised officer or police officer. You must notify Fair Trading in writing of any proposed change in the particulars specified in your driver certificate. We must receive your notification 7 days before the proposed change occurs.
Changing your address with Roads and Maritime Services does not automatically update the details of your tow truck driver certificate.