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Australia’s largest transport and logistics specialist, NTI has welcomed new Western Australian tow truck legislation which better protects drivers involved in an accident.

Previously, tow truck drivers could attend the scene of an accident, tow away a vehicle and keep it at their premises, only releasing it back to the driver once an uncapped fee had been paid.

NTI’s Head of Claim Services Tim Pontifex said now, as of 7 November, a tow truck operator must provide a statement that includes details around maximum fees, and this must be signed by the driver or authorised representative before a vehicle is removed.

“This statement must include name and contact details of the tow truck driver, the vehicle owner and the person authorising the tow (for example a police officer). It also includes the make and model of the vehicle, where the incident took place and where the vehicle will be towed to,” Mr Pontifex said.

“Crucially, it must also show a maximum fee charged for the tow, salvage or storage of a vehicle. Tow truck drivers may not remove any vehicle until that statement has been signed, with a date and time, by the person authorising that tow.”

Mr Pontifex said the new legislation would help to stop unscrupulous operators holding owners to ransom with exorbitant fees.

“One driver was recently charged $35,000, when a reasonable price would be about a tenth of that, at $3,500,” he said. 

“These drivers are already dealing with the emotional trauma of having been in an accident. They don’t need the additional stress of dealing with unreasonable and unjust towing costs.

“This change in legislation has come into effect after years of government consultation with industry and NTI is proud to have been part of that consultation process, providing recommendations on legislative change.”

Mr Pontifex warned drivers to remain vigilant.   

“There may still be instances where drivers are pressured to authorise a tow without the signed statement as the industry adjusts to the new legislation,” he said.

“Know your rights and stand firm. If you’re an NTI customer or broker, let NTI arrange a tow by contacting our 24/7 Accident Assist call centre which provides accident scene towing, driver transportation, trauma counselling support and site clean-up.”

More information on the new legislation can be found here.

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