Consumer rights & responsibilities
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 an accident.
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.
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.
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). See a summary of the current maximum towing fees
- 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 Roads and Maritime 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).
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 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 Roads and Maritime 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.
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 Roads and Maritime on 1300 131 134 and select option ‘2’.
Roads and Maritime can assist you by phone between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Friday. After hours you can leave a voice message and you will be contacted as soon as possible the next business day.