QLD Government outlaws tow truck sharks

The Queensland Government has passed legislation to outlaw towing industry sharks and protect motorists from dodgy operators.

 

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the legislation came from recommendations made by the independent investigation into the removal of parked vehicles from private car parks.

 

“We appointed former District Court Judge Michael Forde to lead an investigation in response to community concern about alleged shady practices, intimidating tactics and excessive fees being charged by some towing operators,” Mr Bailey said.

 

“With the passing of this legislation, the Palaszczuk Government is helping Queensland lead the way and implement harsher penalties to crack down on rogue operators.”

 

Mr Bailey said Queensland would be the first state in the country to cap towing fees from private car parks.

 

“We are also increasing the maximum penalty that can be imposed under the Tow Truck Regulation from $2,523 to $10,092,” he said.

 

Signage guidelines and fact sheets for towing operators and drivers, motorists and property owners are also be published.

 

The changes will commence in April to allow time for stakeholders to comply and will:

  • require that private property towing may only be performed in regulated areas by drivers and assistants who have the necessary certificates and are using licensed tow trucks
  • require tow truck licensees to have towing consent evidencing an arrangement with the occupier to remove vehicles from the property and to notify the Queensland Police Service as soon as practicable after removing a vehicle from private property
  • impose conduct requirements on tow truck licensees, drivers and assistants including prohibiting intimidating, abusive or insulting behaviour, and requiring reasonable steps be taken to locate the motorist before loading a vehicle onto the tow truck
  • provide that vehicles removed from private property may only be taken by the most direct route to the licence holder’s nearest holding yard
  • set maximum towing charges for a standard private property tow ($250), the on-site release of a vehicle ($150) and storing a vehicle ($25) and prohibiting the charging of call-out fees and charges for separate activities incidental to the towing service such as administration fees
  • safeguard motorists’ privacy by restricting the disclosure of information about the removal of a vehicle from private property and expressly protecting personal information about a vehicle’s owner, driver or other party connected to a regulated towing service
  • increase the maximum penalty that may be imposed under the Tow Truck Regulation from 20 penalty units ($2523) to 80 penalty units ($10,092), and
  • allow the entire criminal history of an applicant, including any charge for an offence that has not been dealt with by a court or withdrawn or otherwise discontinued, may be considered when determining whether to grant a licence or certificate and whether a person is an appropriate person to continue to hold a licence or certificate.

 

More information about the investigation and legislation changes – https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Business-and-industry/Accreditations/Tow-truck-licensing-scheme.aspx

 

9 March 2018.