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Tow-away Crashes (NSW)

Drivers involved in tow-away crashes can organise towing and leave the area if no-one is injured, parties have exchanged details and no-one is affected by drugs or alcohol. The crash must be later reported to police, however. The duties of a driver involved in a traffic crash are contained in the Road Rules 2014.

Driver duties

Regulation 287 sets out the duties of a driver involved in a crash. The driver must stop at the scene of the crash and give their “required particulars” within the “required time” to:

  • any other driver (or driver’s representative) involved in the crash;
  • any other person involved in the crash who is injured (or their representative);
  • the owner (or their representative) of any property, including any vehicle, damaged in the crash, unless the particulars are given to the driver of the vehicle (or their representative).

The driver must also give their particulars to a police officer if:

  • anyone is killed or injured in the crash;
  • the driver does not, for any reason, give their particulars to those required;
  • the particulars for any other driver involved in the crash are not given to the driver;
  • a vehicle involved in the crash is towed;
  • the officer asks for the particulars.

“Required particulars” means:

  • the driver’s name and address;
  • the name and address of the owner of the driver’s vehicle;
  • the vehicle’s registration number;
  • any other information needed to identify the vehicle.

“Required time” means as soon as possible but, except in exceptional circumstances, within 24 hours after the crash.

“Crash” is defined as a collision between 2 or more vehicles; or any other accident or incident involving a vehicle in which a person is killed or injured, property is damaged, or an animal in someone’s charge is killed or injured.

If a driver does not comply with the regulation, a maximum penalty of a fine of 20 penalty units ($2200) applies.

A driver involved in a crash is also required by law to stop and help anyone who is injured.

Police attendance

Police will attend a crash only if:

  • someone is trapped or injured;
  • the crash creates a road hazard which needs to be managed, such as a fuel spill or damage to a power pole;
  • a driver appears to be affected by alcohol or drugs, or is aggressive;
  • a bus or truck needs to be towed;
  • anyone involved in the crash has failed to provide their details.

Police have the discretion to investigate and take action if they believe a traffic and/or criminal offence has been committed.

If the driver crashed into a structure such as a parked car or a fence, and the owner is not available, the driver should call police.

Data collected about crashes is used by police and other road safety agencies to inform decision making on road safety strategies and infrastructure planning.


The towing of damaged vehicles from the scene of a crash is regulated by the Tow Truck Industry Act 1998 and Tow Truck Industry Regulation 2020. This is to ensure a crash site is cleared in an orderly, safe and controlled way. If a tow truck is required after a crash, drivers should be aware of their rights, including the signing of a towing authority before a vehicle is moved.

Under the Regulation, the maximum charge for any accident towing work (of light vehicles, up to 4.5 tonnes) is $256. A 20% surcharge applies outside business hours. The maximum charge for cleaning glass and debris at the scene of an accident (outside the Sydney Metropolitan Area), on a road with a speed limit of more than 80km/h, is $63 for each hour or part of an hour.

The maximum fee for storage of a motor vehicle in an authorised holding yard is $15 for each 24 hours or part thereof, or $27 in the Sydney Metropolitan Area. The maximum fee for storage of a motorcycle is $7 for each 24 hours or part thereof, or $13 in the Sydney Metropolitan Area.

For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Sally Crosswell

This article was written by Sally Crosswell

Sally Crosswell has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Bachelor of Communication and a Master of International and Community Development. She also completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the College of Law. A former journalist, Sally has a keen interest in human rights law.

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