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Accident towing

Being involved in a traffic accident can be a traumatic experience, especially when physical injury or death has occurred.

The department regulates accident towing to ensure the orderly, controlled clearing of the crash site and the safe management of the accident scene. This includes clearing the scene of debris to reduce any road safety risk to other road users, and to minimise emotional trauma to crash victims in addition to protecting their property.

Prior to a vehicle being towed, a document known as a towing authority must be signed by the vehicle operator, approving the tow. This is a written agreement between the vehicle operator and tow truck driver outlining the terms of the tow, such as delivery destination and scheduled fees.

If incapacitated, the vehicle operator’s agent or a police officer can sign the towing authority on their behalf.

Note: it is against the law for a tow truck driver or assistant to force a vehicle operator to sign a towing authority if they are unwilling or are incapable of making an informed decision.

Towing destination

A vehicle operator can request their vehicle be towed to a variety of destinations. These may include a private residence, a mechanics workshop or the towing companies own holding yard.

If a holding yard is utilised, a towing company cannot charge storage fees for the first 72 hours. Nor may they impose a charge to view the vehicle during normal business hours or to retrieve the vehicle from the holding yard. After the initial 72 hour period, a towing company may charge holding fees. Notice of these fees must be presented to the customer in writing 2 days prior to commencement of fees.


The maximum amount a tow truck operator can charge for a ‘standard tow’ is regulated by the department.  

A ‘standard tow' includes:

  • 60 minutes working time at accident scene (e.g. loading vehicle on truck, cleaning up broken glass) 
  • transportation of vehicle from the accident to the agreed destination 
  • 72 hours storage in holding yard.

Maximum regulated towing fees can be found on our Tow truck licensing scheme - Maximum regulated towing charge page.

Remote areas

Due to Queensland’s considerable size and dispersed population, it is impractical for these rules to apply state wide. As such, some remote areas are not regulated by the tow truck licensing scheme.

Tow truck licensing scheme regulated areas

  • The Shires of - Beaudesert, Boonah, Caboolture, Esk, Gatton, Kilcoy, Laidley, Maroochy, Noosa, Pine Rivers and Redland.
  • The Cities of - Brisbane, Bundaberg, Cairns, Caloundra, Gold Coast, Hervey Bay, Ipswich, Logan, Mackay, Maryborough, Redcliffe, Rockhampton and Toowoomba.
  • The areas made up of the parishes of:
    • Clement and Hinchinbrook in the county of Gray
    • Beor, Bohle, Coonambelah, Ettrick, Halifax, Hervey, Lansdowne, Magnetic, Margenta, Rokeby, Ross, Stuart and Wyoming in the county of Elphinstone.

Note: For the purpose of the scheme the above pre-15 March 2008 local government areas (pre-amalgamation) are taken as the current regulated areas.

Last updated
10 January 2019