I need a tow truck

There are different tow trucks for different reasons, whether it be trade towing or crash towing.

Trade Towing

Trade Towing is non-crash towing for hire or reward, e.g. if a vehicle breaks down and needs to be towed.

Trade towing can be performed by:

  • tow trucks that are ‘Trade Only’ trucks, have ordinary number plates or number plates that end in ‘TT’ (these may only perform trade towing)
  • tow trucks that have number plates that begin with ‘TOW’ (these may perform trade towing and crash towing)
  • anyone with a vehicle capable of performing a towing function and that meets the regulated requirements for a tow truck.

Heavy vehicles may need a heavy tow truck.

If you need a trade tow, it does not matter whether the tow truck is a trade only or a TOW tow truck. Both types must comply with Victoria's road safety laws, consumer protection laws, and other relevant laws (such as the Australian Design Rules, which set out safe design standards).

Accident towing

A crash damaged vehicle must be moved so that it does not cause a road safety hazard. If your vehicle cannot be driven from the crash, arrangements must be made to have the vehicle towed.

Only certain tow trucks are permitted to tow a vehicle involved in an crash. These tow trucks will have 'TOW' or 'HTT' (heavy vehicles only) number plates.

The drivers, operators and depot managers of these tow trucks must be accredited. Accreditation ensures that the person providing crash towing services is technically competent, of appropriate character, acts with integrity, and provides a safe, efficient and timely service.

A crash allocation system operates for light vehicles (vehicles with a gross vehicle mass of less than four tonnes) involved in an crash in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula (Melbourne Controlled Area), and the Geelong area (Self-management Area of Geelong). The allocation centre is responsible for arranging a tow truck to tow your vehicle. The driver of the tow truck will also be issued with an allocation number.

To arrange to have your crash damaged vehicle towed in the Melbourne Controlled Area call 13 11 76. If you have a crash in the Self-management Area of Geelongcall (03) 5277 2111.

There is no crash allocation system for heavy vehicles or light vehicles needing a tow truck in regional and rural Victoria. In these circumstances, you are responsible for arranging a tow truck by either calling your insurer or 000.

Tow Truck Accreditation Certificate Front viewTow Truck Accreditation Certificate back view




Example of tow truck driver allocation licence

Towing from an accident scene

Before signing any documentation to have your vehicle towed, the tow truck driver must give you, as the owner or driver of the crash damage vehicle, a copy of the leaflet Towing from an accident scene [PDF 293 Kb], and explain your rights to have the vehicle towed to a destination of your choice. 

Your vehicle cannot be towed until you have signed an Authority to Tow [PDF 204Kb]. The Authority to Tow sets out the towing and salvage services to be provided and the costs associated with these services. If you are unable to sign the Authority to Tow, a police or VicRoads officer may sign the form on your behalf.

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