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Tow truck driver and assistant certificates

Tow truck driver certificate holder

The holder of a tow truck driver certificate is authorised to drive a tow truck attending:

  • the scene of an incident,
  • a police vehicle seizure under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000
  • from 16 April 2018 to remove vehicles from private property.  

For crash towing, the role includes the preparation of a motor vehicle for towing, and to clean up the scene of the incident efficiently and safely. 

The Tow Truck Act 1973 defines incident as a collision or impact, however caused:

  1. that happens on a road and results in damage to a motor vehicle 
  2. that happens off a road and results in damage to a motor vehicle, if immediately before the collision or impact the motor vehicle was travelling on the road.

The responsibilities of a certified tow truck driver and tow truck assistant are set out in the Tow Truck Act 1973 and the Tow Truck Regulation 2009. This legislation can be found on the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website.

For private property towing, the tow truck licence holder must have entered into a contract with a property owner or occupier authorising the removal of vehicles parked on the property.  Once a written contract is in place a Towing consent form must also be completed.  This form is proof that the contract exists.

A certified tow truck driver must comply with strict requirements as set out in the Tow Truck Act 1973 and the Tow Truck Regulation 2009.

How do I become a certified tow truck driver?

To become a certified tow truck driver you must:

Competency requirements

The following competency requirements must be met to show you have the ability to drive a tow truck:
  • Have held an Australian driver licence authorising you to drive a motor vehicle of the class for which the certificate is sought for a continuous period of 3 years immediately before an application for the certificate is made.
    or 
  • Demonstrate by a practical driving test that you have the ability to drive and properly control a tow truck of the class for which the certificate is sought. This includes:
    • demonstrating competence in driving the tow truck whilst towing a motor vehicle
    • having the ability to position a tow truck and correctly prepare a motor vehicle for towing
    • having a thorough knowledge of the correct procedures for towing.

Mutual recognition

A current New Zealand driver licence with a vehicle recovery endorsement may be recognised and transferred to the equivalent Queensland Tow Truck Driver Certificate for the same vehicle classes. Applicants must make application to the Department of Transport and Main Roads for recognition of their existing New Zealand licence and pay the applicable fee.

What is the cost involved to become a certified tow truck driver?

Application fees for a tow truck driver certificate must be paid when the application is lodged.

How long does a certificate for a tow truck driver last?

A tow truck driver certificate is issued for a period stated in the industry authority card or interim industry authority issued when the tow truck driver certificate is granted.

Classes of certificate

New or renewal applications for tow truck driver certificates are considered against the driver licence class that the authorisation is to be granted.

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Tow truck assistant certificate holder

The holder of a tow truck assistant certificate is authorised to travel in a tow truck while the tow truck is attending a scene of an incident, a police seized vehicle and from 16 April 2018 when removing a vehicle from private property. They provide assistance to the tow truck driver when preparing a motor vehicle for towing and loading the vehicle.  They also assist in cleaning up the scene of an incident efficiently and safely.

A certified tow truck assistant must comply with strict requirements as set out in the Tow Truck Act 1973 and the Tow Truck Regulation 2009.

How do I become a certified tow truck assistant?

To become a certified tow truck assistant you must:

What is the cost involved to become a certified tow truck assistant?

Application fees for a tow truck assistant certificate must be paid when the application is lodged.

How long does a certificate for a tow truck assistant last?

A tow truck assistant certificate is issued for a period stated in the industry authority card or interim industry authority.

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Certificate holder conditions of use

  • The certificate issued may take the form of an industry authority card or interim industry authority document. An interim industry authority is evidence that you are authorised to perform the role until your industry authority card arrives in the mail.
  • Tow truck drivers and assistants must carry their industry authority card or interim industry authority at all times while operating a licensed tow truck at or near the scene of an incident, police seizure or when towing a vehicle from private property.The industry authority card or interim industry authority must be produced upon request to an authorised officer and to the authorising person of a damaged vehicle at the scene of an incident).
  • Tow truck drivers must carry a copy of the Towing Consent (evidencing the written contract between the tow truck licence holder and private property owner/occupier) when towing a vehicle from private property and produce the Towing Consent to a vehicle owner or authorised officer on request.
  • Tow truck drivers must take reasonable steps to locate the vehicle owner before loading a vehicle onto the tow truck. Reasonable steps includes, for example, asking other people (at the carpark or nearby shops) if they know where the driver went; looking around the immediate area to see if the vehicle owner is nearby or approaching the carpark; looking for contact or business name details on the vehicle.
  • If the owner returns when the vehicle is in the process of being loaded and secured on the tow truck, the vehicle must be released immediately without charge. If the owner returns after the vehicle has been loaded onto the tow truck (including secured in every way necessary) but has not yet left the property, the vehicle must be released immediately if the owner pays the on-site release fee – see Maximum regulated towing charges. It is recommended that tow truck drivers have appropriate alternative on-the-spot payment mechanisms available for motorists to pay the on-site release fee (EFTPOS or credit card facilities).
  • If, after taking reasonable steps you are not able to locate a vehicle owner or driver, you may tow the vehicle by the most direct route to the tow truck licence holder's nearest TMR approved holding yard.
  • If the vehicle is unlocked any property found in the vehicle must be given to the licence holder for safe keeping until the property can be returned to the vehicle owner or agent. A locked vehicle must not be unlocked without the consent of the owner or their agent.
  • You must not disclose to another person any personal information about the owner of a vehicle that you gained through towing of the vehicle unless it is to be disclosed to the vehicle owner, their agent or to an authorised officer.
  • You must not allow a person to travel in the tow truck from the private property parking area unless the person has a driver’s or assistant’s certificate or they are the owner of the vehicle being towed, the owner’s agent or they were a passenger in the vehicle.
  • You must not tow a vehicle while there is a person inside it.
  • You must not directly or indirectly cause or threaten wilful injury to a person or their property; intimidate, harass, abuse or insult a person or prevent or hinder the delivery of first aid or medical treatment.
  • You must take all reasonable precautions to prevent loss or damage to a motor vehicle and any personal items left in the vehicle while it is being towed and while it is in the holding yard.
  • Tow truck drivers and tow truck assistants must notify the Department of Transport and Main Roads within 14 days of a change of name or address.
  • Tow truck drivers and tow truck assistants must give the Department of Transport and Main Roads written notice if they are charged or convicted of an offence under the Criminal Code. The notice must be provided within 14 days, after the charge or conviction occurs.

Note: The certificate takes the form of an industry authority card or interim industry authority document. If you are signed up for e-reminders we will email you:

  • an interim industry authority as evidence that you are authorised to perform the role until your industry card arrives in the mail
  • when your industry card is posted
  • 3 days before your industry authority is due to be renewed.

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The Tow Truck Act 1973 defines incident as a collision or impact, however caused:

  1. that happens on a road and results in damage to a motor vehicle
  2. that happens off a road and results in damage to a motor vehicle, if immediately before the collision or impact the motor vehicle was travelling on the road.

The responsibilities of a certified tow truck driver and tow truck assistant are set out in the Tow Truck Act 1973 and the Tow Truck Regulation 2009. This legislation can be found on the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel website.

Last updated
07 September 2018