Accident towing: towing a vehicle damaged in an accident. This may only be done by a licensed tow truck.
Trade towing: non-accident towing undertaken for hire or reward, eg. breakdown towing. This may be done by anyone with a vehicle capable of performing the towing function, including tow trucks licensed to attend accident scenes.
Vehicles performing accident towing services must be licensed. These vehicles will be issued with a 'TOW' or 'HTT' number plate. Drivers and passengers (except customers) in tow trucks who attend accident scenes must be accredited. Operators of accident towing licences and their depot manager (where applicable) must also be accredited.
The accident towing industry in Victoria is regulated by the Accident Towing Services Act 2007 and the Accident Towing Services Regulations 2008, which contain requirements to ensure safe and responsible accident towing in Victoria.
Trade towing has been deregulated. While trade towing operators are no longer required to be licensed, they are still required to comply with other laws, such as road safety laws, consumer protection laws, occupational health and safety laws, and so on.
Melbourne Controlled Area
Accident tow trucks in the Melbourne Controlled Area (including Mornington Peninsula) are formally allocated on a roster basis to attend accident sites within this area. Tow trucks may only attend accident scenes in this Controlled Area if they have an allocation number.
Self-management Area of Geelong
Accident tow trucks within the Self-management Area of Geelong are approved by VicRoads to perform accident towing services in this area. Accident tow trucks outside this area are not allowed to provide accident towing services within the Self-management Area.
In other areas of Victoria, tow trucks may attend an accident scene without a formal allocation. An accident scene extends for two kilometres from the scene of the accident.
Accident towing licences
Accident towing licences are issued to the vehicle, not the driver. Accident towing licences issued in Victoria are shown below:
Regular Tow Truck Licences in Victoria
Heavy Tow Truck Licences in Victoria
Total number of accident tow truck licences in Victoria770