Tow truck industry

This page offers information for the tow truck industry, including how to licence tow trucks, technical standards, annual inspections, and the Authority to Tow declaration.

From 7 November 2022, new consumer protection measures have been introduced requiring the driver of a tow truck to declare the maximum tow/salvage and storage fees payable on the Authority to Tow statement. 

At the same time, updated technical standards for tow trucks will be introduced in WA, improving the safety and roadworthiness of vehicles. Tow Truck vehicle owners should familiarise themselves with these changes to understand how it impacts the licensing of their vehicle.

Here you can find information about the rules, regulations, and vehicle standards for tow trucks.

Tow Truck Driverís Statement

From 7 November 2022, the information required on a tow truck driverís statement must include the maximum fee that will be charged for the tow, salvage or storage of the vehicle.

The driver of a tow truck must not tow or salvage any vehicle from the scene of an accident until the tow truck driver has completed, in duplicate, a written statement containing the following particulars and the driver of the vehicle/person authorising the tow has signed the statement.

A tow truck driverís statement must include:

  • Tow truck driver and vehicle details:
    • Name and address of the person licensed to operate the tow truck.
    • Name and address of the tow truck driver.
    • Tow truckís number plate details.
  • Vehicle owner details:
    • Name and address of the owner of the vehicle to be towed or salvaged (if known).
  • Authorisation to tow:
    • Police officerís name and number assigned for official purposes, if the removal of the vehicle to be towed or salvaged is authorised by a police officer.
    • Name and address of the person (other than a police officer) authorising the vehicle to be towed or salvaged.
  • Towed vehicle details:
    • Make and number plate details of the vehicle to be towed or salvaged.
  • Towing details:
    • Location where the vehicle currently is.
    • Location where the vehicle is to be moved to.
    • Date and time at which the authority to tow or salvage is signed.
    • Signature of the person authorising the tow or salvage to, both copies of that statement when completed.
  • Fees:
    • Declared the maximum fees for the tow, salvage, and storage of a vehicle

The Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014 prohibit the charging of a fee, other than the fees for the tow, salvage or storage of a vehicle from the scene of an accident and those fees must not exceed the fee stated on the tow truck driverís statement.

Drivers are reminded that they have the right to refuse a tow from the scene of an accident, if the maximum fees to be charged have not been disclosed on the tow truck driverís statement or they are asked to sign a statement that has not been completed in full by the tow truck driver.

If the removal of the vehicle to be towed or salvaged is authorised by a police officer, the police officer must sign the statement.

The driver of a tow truck must not tow or salvage a vehicle unless the original of the signed completed statement has been given to the person authorising the tow or salvage.

The driver of a tow truck must give a copy of a signed completed statement to a responsible person for the vehicle.

A responsible person for a tow truck must ensure that each copy of a signed completed statement is kept for a period of 12 months. 

Each driver of a tow truck that is the subject of a statement must produce a copy of the statement to a police officer, if required by that officer to do so.

This process is subject to r.420 of the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014 which states the driver of a tow truck may tow or attempt to tow away a vehicle from the scene of an accident or breakdown, or from the place of the vehicleís abandonment, if that particular tow has first been authorised orally by the Commissioner of Main Roads on behalf of the driver, owner or person in charge of the vehicle.

A proforma Tow Truck Driverís Statement has been developed as a sample to assist industry in understanding the prescribed information that must be included on a statement to meet the legislative requirements.  The use of the proforma is not prescribed in legislation and is not mandatory. 

License a tow truck

Before a tow truck vehicle licence can be granted, the vehicle must be inspected for roadworthiness and compliance with the current technical standards. 

Vehicle owners should familiarise themselves with the standards prior to presenting a tow truck for inspection. 

All new and unlicensed tow trucks must be inspected at the Kelmscott Vehicle Examination Centre (VEC). 
To book an inspection call 1300 776 065. Inspection fees apply. 

For more information on the vehicle inspection process and vehicle licensing fees, visit the Department's website. 

Technical standards

The technical standards apply to tow trucks and tilt tray tow trucks. 

A tow truck is a motor vehicle that is equipped with a crane, winch, ramp or other lifting or loading device and used or intended to be used for the towing or salvaging of a vehicle. This includes a motor vehicle combination consisting of a prime mover towing a semi-trailer that is equipped with a crane, winch, ramp or other lifting or loading device and used or intended to be used for the towing or salvaging of a vehicle. 

A tilt tray tow truck is a motor vehicle that is equipped with a fixed or tilting platform or tray for the carriage of a vehicle and a winch for loading a vehicle onto the platform or tray. 

A person must not use or drive a tow truck or a tilt tray tow truck or operate a vehicle as a tow truck\tilt tray tow truck unless the vehicle licence or vehicle allows it to be used as a tow truck\tilt tray tow truck. 

The tow truck, tilt tray tow truck and the vehicle being towed must comply with each standard that applies.

Tow truck and tilt tray tow truck standards include:

  • General equipment 
    • Fire extinguisher 
    • Spill kit requirements 
    • Vehicle signage 
    • Rear underrun protection
  • Lights and warning devices 
  • Classification and limitation
  • Lifting requirements
  • Towed vehicle brakes 
  • Construction of tow trucks 
  • Heavy Vehicle Standards 

Detailed information on the standards is available in the Requirements for Tow Trucks in WA guide. 

Vehicle compliance

To ensure that all tow trucks comply with the updated standards, all tow truck owners will be required to present the vehicle for an inspection. 

To enable industry time to ensure that currently licensed tow trucks can meet the updated technical standards, the requirement for tow trucks to be inspected will not commence until 7 November 2023. After this date all tow trucks will require an inspection before the licence can be renewed and annually thereafter.

Metropolitan based tow trucks must be inspected at the Kelmscott Vehicle Examination centre i.e., vehicles with a garaging address within a 100km radius of Perth CBD. Inspection bookings can be made by calling 1300 776 065. Inspection fees apply. 

Regionally based tow trucks must book their inspection at the nearest suitable Authorised Inspection Station to their vehicles garaging address. 

Annual inspections

In order to maintain your tow truck vehicle licence, from 7 November 2023 you will be required to have the vehicle inspected every year.

Go to Get a vehicle inspected for more information on locations.

Tow truck industry documents

The Department of Transport has developed the Requirements for Tow Trucks in WA guide to assist tow truck owners and drivers. The guide outlines the vehicle standards and requirements of tow trucks and the obligations of tow truck drivers and operators when towing vehicles in Western Australia (WA). 

Page last updated: Thu Nov 24 2022 9:39:33 AM