Higher standards signaled with towing industry reform

By: Chris Smith

Director of Vehicle Management and Safety for VicRoads, Don Hogben, says the introduction of the Accident Towing Services Act 2007

Director of Vehicle Management and Safety for VicRoads, Don Hogben, says the introduction of the Accident Towing Services Act 2007 on January 1, 2009 will reform the accident towing industry and bring a higher standard of customer service to drivers of vehicles involved in crashes on Victorian roads.

While the towing industry in Victoria is well managed, the reforms will improve the safe, efficient and timely provision of accident towing services, explains Hogben.

"The reforms will ensure that licence holders, depot managers and drivers are technically competent, can do their jobs to an acceptable level in a law-abiding way, and when providing a service they do so with integrity and regard to people in vulnerable situations," he says.

"These reforms were the result of the Government taking a fresh look at the needs of the towing industry and its customers and we’re confident the new laws will lead to improved customer service to crash victims."

The Accident Towing Services Act 2007 retains the majority of the tow truck provisions currently contained in the Transport Act 1983, while introducing a new contemporary framework for accident towing services.

A key feature of the Act is the introduction of an accreditation scheme for accident towing operators, depot managers and drivers that will assist in improved service to road accident victims and other road users.

"Whilst the new laws will deregulate normal trade and breakdown towing, accident towing will remain regulated to ensure that people operating in the industry can provide the level of service and care needed by crash victims, and to ensure that accident scenes are cleared promptly and professionally to reduce traffic congestion," Hogben says.

He says the new laws will ensure that operators and depot managers introduce a suitable complaint handling system into their business and that this information is provided to VicRoads for monitoring and compliance.

A series of free industry information sessions will be held around Victoria in the first two weeks of December to assist members of the accident towing industry understand the new laws.

"VicRoads will be running these sessions to provide an overview of the new laws and will be held in Traralgon, Shepparton, Bendigo, Ballarat, Geelong and metropolitan Melbourne," he says.

"I encourage operators, depot managers and drivers to attend one of these sessions, where they will have their chance to ask questions about the new laws and learn what changes they will need to make."

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