NSW Consulting On Draft Tow Truck Industry Regulations 2019

Tuesday 13 August 2019 @ 12.30 p.m. | Legal Research

On 1 August 2019, the NSW Government released the draft Tow Truck Industry Regulation 2019 (NSW) (‘the draft Regulation’) along with its regulatory impact statement, for public consultation. The draft Regulation is proposed by the Hon Kevin Anderson MP, Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation.

The current Tow Truck Industry Regulation 2008 (‘the 2008 Regulation’) is scheduled for automatic repeal on 1 September 2020. The 2008 Regulation supports the operation of the Tow Truck Industry Act 1998 (‘the Act’), and aimed to improve the effectiveness of the licensing and certification scheme for tow truck drivers and operators and the regulation of towing work. In 2014, both the Act and the 2008 Regulation underwent review by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (‘the Tribunal’) in regards to tow truck fees and licensing. In December 2014 the Tribunal published its final report with a number of recommendations for improvements. The draft Regulation repeals and remakes the 2008 Regulation and contains a number of changes in order to reflect these recommendations.

Amendments under the Draft Regulations

The purpose of the draft Regulation is to continue to provide the details on how the tow truck industry regulatory framework in NSW is to operate and monitor compliance with the Act. The draft Regulation also sets out to maintain the integrity of the regulatory framework whilst balancing the interests of consumers with tow truck operators and drivers. 

In regards to licensing and driver’s certificates, the draft Regulation notably inserts additional provisions in regards to offences that disqualify licence applications. These offences include consorting with convicted felons, contravention of a firearms prohibition order and supply or possession of a prohibited drug. This amendment was introduced in order to protect consumers and reduce the amount of unlawful behaviour within the industry. Additionally, tightening these provisions is aimed to improve the reputation of tow truck operators in order to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the industry.

The draft Regulation also amends the requirements for towing authorisations. Under the new amendments, tow truck operators will now be obligated to complete the quotation for the services and provide it to the motorist. The operator will also have to explain to the owner or driver of the towed vehicle their rights in regards to:

  • Where the vehicle will be towed
  • Who will tow the vehicle
  • Contacting anyone prior to signing the form regarding where the vehicle should be towed
  • Refusal to accept a tow
  • Receiving and completing a signed copy of the towing authorisation form containing the contact details of the tow truck operator and the quotation for the services

These additional provisions were made taking into account that motorists are in a vulnerable position after accidents and that protections need to be in place in order to appropriately protect their rights.

Some of the other key changes under the draft Regulation include:

  • Removing unnecessary automatic licence cancellation in the instance of medical reasons or failure to renew and expiring licence
  • Exempting vehicles, such as recreational vehicles and caravans, licensed mechanics and multi-deck car carriers from licensing requirements
  • Extending standard business hours to 7am to 7pm in the Sydney metropolitan area
  • Updating penalties to reflect the nature of the offence and for an escalated compliance response
  • Strengthening provisions regarding false or misleading information
  • Streamlining fee structures
  • Updating the Consumer Price Index to be in line with the Fair Trading regulation practices

Some of the questions posed for consultation from the regulatory impact statement include:

“1. Do you think it is appropriate to exclude multi-deck car carriers from the definition of a tow truck?

4. Do you agree that a tow truck drivers certificate should only be suspended and not revoked for medical reasons or for failure to renew a drivers licence? If so, why?

5. Do you think there are any other crimes that should prevent a licensee or driver certificate holder from holding a license? If so, why?

12. Do you think that scrap metal operators should be required to keep clean-up equipment in their tow truck? If so, why?

18. Do you agree that the penalty should match the crime? Do you think a maximum a $550 penalty amount is too low to act as a deterrent?”

Consultation on the draft Regulation and regulatory impact statement is currently open. Further details on the consultation and progress can be found on the NSW Fair Trading website.

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Draft Tow Truck Industry Regulation 2019 (NSW) and regulatory impact statement available from TimeBase’s LawOne Service

Tow Truck Industry Regulation (NSW Fair Trading, 01 August 2019).

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