The tow truck industry in Western Australia (WA) is being reformed to protect people involved in traffic collisions and combat bad behaviour and price gouging, according to the Government.

Consumer Protection invited more than 6,000 stakeholders to engage in consultation on reforms for the industry, which received 37 formal submissions and more than 400 survey responses from industry participants, consumers, insurers and government agencies.

About 90 percent of survey respondents agreed the industry should be regulated.

The following suggested reforms have received strong community support:

  • tow truck businesses and drivers to be licensed, with criminal background and association checks as part of the application process;
  • control access to the road network with powers to suspend and cancel licences for breaches of road laws, safety and fees;
  • setting price caps and registering depots being used for storage to manage the issue of excessive towing and storage fees being charged; and
  • additional requirements on ‘Authority to Tow’ forms signed by consumers before a vehicle is towed to increase transparency about what the consumer is authorising.

“Western Australia and Tasmania are the two States with the least regulation of the towing industry,” said Transport Minister Rita Saffioti. “Regulation in WA is long overdue and is essential to ensure that consumers are properly protected whilst improving safety and confidence in the industry.”

Responsibility for executing changes has moved to the Department of Transport, who will present reform options to the State Government by the middle of this year. While this work is ongoing, the Department of Transport is also preparing amendments to the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014 to update technical standards and begin rolling out a communications campaign to advise drivers of their rights.