The Queensland Government’s new towing laws came into force this week.
Transport 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.
“Mr Forde delivered 22 recommendations to overhaul the industry including changes to licence requirements, fees, signage, privacy, education and enforcement,” he said.
From Monday the maximum towing charge for a tow from private property is $250 and the maximum price that can be charged for on-site release of the vehicle is $150.
Mr Bailey said the maximum penalty that can be imposed under the Tow Truck Regulation has been increased from 20 penalty units ($2523) to 80 penalty units ($10,092).
“Information is now available on the Transport and Main Roads website to assist Queenslanders understand the changes,” Mr Bailey said.
“Signage guidelines and fact sheets for towing operators and drivers, motorists and property owners are all available.
“I encourage all Queensland motorists to visit my department’s website and read these materials to ensure you are protected against dodgy tow truck operators,” he said.
“Tow truck operators should also take a close look to make sure they are doing the right thing.”
The changes coming into effect include:
– 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
– Tow truck licensees must have towing consent evidencing an arrangement with the occupier to remove vehicles from the property and to notify the police as soon as practicable after removing a vehicle from private property
– 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
– 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.