STANDOVER tactics by rogue tow truck
operators will be banished from the industry under legislation
to be introduced into State Parliament today.
The crackdown comes after the Herald Sun
reported in December that outlaw bikie gangs stand accused of using
standover tactics in the heavy haulage towing industry, to force
other operators to flee from crash scenes.
Under current laws tow trucks picking up cars can
only operate in designated areas under an allocation system.
The rules were introduced by the Cain Government
in the 1980s to outlaw tow truck operator turf wars.
But under a loophole in the current rules there is
no allocation system for the heavy haulage industry.
Transport Minister Terry Mulder said closing this
loophole in road legislation will prevent rogue operators from
trying to muscle in on other operators' areas.
"By confirming that towing companies are
restricted to specific areas of operation, we can crack down on
standover tactics and conflicts stemming from multiple tow trucks
arriving at crash scenes and causing major disruption to the
travelling public," he said.
"Motorists involved in a collision will no longer
be subjected to the tough guy tactic of a few rogue operators who
have been giving the industry a bad name."
In December the Herald Sun reported truck
drivers and industry figures have allegedly been intimidated by the
Hells Angels East County Sgt-at-Arms Peter "Skitzo" Hewat, who owns
a towing company and uses club members wearing colours to attend
Under the new law tow truck operators will be
banned from holding onto personal property left in towed cars until
their bill has been paid.
"However, they are entitled to retain the damaged
vehicle until all outstanding fees have been paid," Mr Mulder said