The NSW Government is cracking down on rivalries between “rogue tow truck companies” it says have resulted in anti-social behaviour in Western Sydney streets.
Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, said the turf war has drawn the attention of NSW Fair Trading and NSW Police, with operators of 35 tow trucks from the Blacktown, Mt Druitt and Penrith regions in Western Sydney recently issued ‘present for inspection’ notices.
The operators of several trucks were issued with breaches for offences under the Tow Truck Industry Act. NSW Police identified issues relating to work diaries and vehicle defects, and NSW Transport issued 23 minor and two major defects for mechanical issues.
“We have strong laws to regulate this industry and we won’t hesitate to use them,” said Anderson.
“These inspections are a warning to any tow truck company or driver thinking of engaging in anti-social or criminal behaviour, that we are watching and will call them in if we have to. The party’s over.
“I intend to keep these operations running for as long as they are needed to remind these rogue operators that bad behaviour will not be tolerated.
“The Tow Truck Investigation Unit will continue to closely monitor this situation and, if needed, will team up with law enforcement to come down hard on anyone doing the wrong thing.”
The government said criminal behaviour has pervaded the tow truck industry for decades, with the Tow Truck Industry Act introduced in 1998 following an escalation of violence among companies.
“Motorists who’ve broken down or been in an accident don’t deserve to be harassed or pressured by operators looking [to] get their car onto the back of a tow truck,” said Anderson. “And they shouldn’t be put in the middle of a stoush between rival operators looking to be first to the scene.
“We have worked hard to push out rogue operators in the last decade and to build a safer and stronger NSW, and I won’t allow this type of behaviour to creep back into the industry.”
In addition to holding tow truck drivers and operators accountable, NSW Fair Trading is also warning motorists to be aware of the following when their vehicle requires towing:
- Do not be bullied or pressured to sign a towing authorisation form and always remember that you, as the customer, can refuse a tow for any reason.
- Always contact your insurance company before signing a towing authorisation.
- Never be pressured by a tow truck driver to have your car towed to a particular smash repairer.
- Never accept a hire or rental car from a tow truck driver without first contacting your insurance company as you may be liable for the cost.