Tow truck industry news

Information on changes to laws, operating conditions and reviews of the towing industry.

Accident Towing Review - Issues Paper released

The Essential Services Commission is undertaking an inquiry into the economic regulation of regular and heavy vehicle accident towing in Victoria. 

On 24 October 2014, the Commission announced the start of the review with the release of its issues paper. The issues paper provides you with an opportunity to contribute to the review. Some of the key issues being considered by the review are:
  • the regulation of fees;
  • the need for, and location of, boundaries which have different regulatory approaches such as the Melbourne controlled area and the Self-management area of Geelong; and
  • the allocation of accident towing jobs, including whether jobs should be allocated or operators should be free to compete for towing jobs.

A copy of the issues paper and how you can provide input into the review is available from the Commission's website (External link). Submissions on the issues paper should be made in writing to the Commission by 28 November 2014.


Services Covered by Accident Towing Fees 

In its 2013 final report, 'Periodic Review of Accident Towing and Storage Fees', the Essential Services Commission noted that all relevant costs of an accident towing business are accounted for in the regulated fees. However, the Commission was of the view that clarifying what is covered by the regulated fees in legislation would help minimise any confusion over what 'additional' services can or cannot be charged by operators.

Accordingly, a notice was published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 31 October 2014 [PDF 381 Kb]

In the notice, the Minister for Roads specifies that the base fee of $207.30 covers the costs of the first 8 kilometres of travel and all other relevant costs of an accident towing business including, but not limited to, the costs of:
  • removing debris (including any spills);
  • cleaning the tow truck, tools and equipment;
  • waiting time at the road accident scene;
  • taking photos of the road accident scene;
  • telephone calls and completing documentation relating to the towing of an accident damaged vehicle; and
  • releasing the stored vehicle, which may include moving the vehicle to a location at the specified depot to enable it to be collected by the vehicle's owner or another towing operator on the owner's behalf and loading it onto another towing operator's tow truck for the purpose of that collection.

The base fee also includes an allowance for non-commercial (unpaid) tows, which are accident jobs for which a towing operator has not been paid.

The notice clarifies that the base fee and the additional charge for travel beyond the first 8 kilometres cover all towing undertaken by the tow truck until the accident damaged vehicle is delivered to the place specified in the authority to tow.

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