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Impound hero

MEDIA RELEASE 1 December 2022

Industry Must Be Heard on New Law

Law changes giving police greater power to impound vehicles need careful consultation and evaluation, the Motor Trade Association says.

Under the changes announced today, the owner of a car could have their vehicle impounded if they choose not to help police track down the driver of a fleeing vehicle.

But MTA says the implications of that for tow companies need to be considered.

“We all support efforts to keep our roads safe for everyone, and keep dangerous drivers off them,” says MTA spokesman Larry Fallowfield.

“But many tow operators are already storing dozens of vehicles that have been impounded.

“In a lot of cases, these cars are low value, often unwarranted and unregistered, and the owners don’t bother to pick them up.

“That leaves the company with the unwanted problem of being stuck with a car that’s in poor condition.

“Even if they do sell it, it’s often for peanuts as it’s going to the wreckers.”

MTA says there also needs to be appropriate enforcement of fees owed by car owners to the two companies, as MTA estimates there could be a 30% increase in impound requests.

“Businesses shouldn’t out of pocket, either because of criminals or Government policy,” Larry says.

“MTA has members owed hundreds of thousands of dollars for unpaid impound fees for collection, storage, and disposal.”

MTA also says impound fees have not been reviewed since 1999, and calls for the Land Transport (Storage and Towage Fees for Impounded Vehicles) Regulations 1999 to be updated.

MTA has been told by the Ministry of Transport that Government officials will be consulting with MTA on the law change.

“We appreciate the chance to work on this,” Larry says.

“We will be listening to what our members in the industry have to say, and channelling their advice and feedback to Government.

“At the end of the day, they’re the ones in the front line and they will know better than anyone the potential pitfalls and problems that need to be addressed.”