1Why should I use an NTA member towing company?
Because our members are all KwaZulu-Natal Professionals all NTA Member Companies operate ethically to a strict code of conduct and agreed high standards so you can be assured of great service and that your vehicle is always safe and secure whilst in their care.
2What should I do and not do if I am involved in a collision?
3What should I do if I am insured (or not insured)
4What should I do about repairs to my car ?
5I was recently involved in motor vehicle accident, and several breakdown operators arrived, all of them offering to tow my vehicle away. I didn't know which one to select - how does a motorist tell the "good guys" from the "bad guys" ?
If your vehicle is insured, your insurer should have issued DO NOT TOW stickers to you. Ensure these are on your vehicle, close to your licence disk. Contact your insurer's call centre and they will despatch a service provider to your location and they could give you advice. (It would be preferable to make the call yourself as it has happened that the breakdown operator pretends to call the insurer when in fact he is faking the call or calling a friend.) Most insurers have agreements with breakdown operators, which include price arrangements such as free storage for few days - all this keeps your costs and premiums controllable. If you are not insured, look for decals on the breakdown vehicle which tell you that the operator is a member of an association, like the Natal Towing Association for example. Operators who belong to an association will be bound by a code of conduct and can be investigated if they misbehave. This gives motorists confidence that the operator is one of the "good guys".
6At the scene of a motor vehicle accident, who decides which breakdown operator may tow my vehicle ?
If the driver is not badly injured or in shock, and is able to carry on a sensible conversation, it is the driver who selects the breakdown operator and who negotiates the arrangements with the operator. If the vehicle is insured, the insurer should be consulted. If the driver is not in a fit state to make such decisions, the law enforcement authority on scene, either Traffic or SAPS may make reasonable arrangements to have accident vehicles towed away to a storage facility pending repairs.
7At the scene of a motor vehicle accident, if a traffic officer instructs a breakdown operator to tow my vehicle away, who pays for the towing costs ?
The owner of the vehicle is liable for any expenses which are reasonably incurred by the traffic authorities in arranging for vehicles to be removed from the scene to a safe storage facility. If your vehicle is insured, your insurer should have issued DO NOT TOW stickers to you. Ensure these are on your vehicle, close to your licence disk.
8At the scene of a vehicle collision, a breakdown operator offered to tow my vehicle for free - is he for real ?
A breakdown operator is a business, and like any other business it needs to generate income to cover expenses and make a profit. In this situation, in all probability the breakdown operator is part of a motor body repair business or is linked to a body repair business, and the motorist will be expected to give the vehicle to the body repairer for repairs in which case the towing fees will be absorbed into the costs of the body repairs, ultimately. Make sure the operator writes FREE TOW on the job card or invoice.
9I was recently involved in a motor vehicle accident, and when I asked the breakdown operator how much it would cost to tow my car away, he said that it would not be much as his storage yard is nearby. I did not get a specific figure from him. When I went to collect my car, he gave me an invoice for R5000-oo but he towed the car only a few kilometres. How can he charge so much?
The motorist should preferably get a written quotation at the scene of the accident, to include all costs, such as towing, salvage, call-out, storage etc. A competent breakdown operator should have little difficulty doing the calculations.
10I was recently involved in a motor vehicle accident, and when I asked the breakdown operator how much it would cost to tow my car away, he said that it would be about R2000-oo. Due to my injuries, it was a few weeks before I could go to his storage yard to pay and remove my vehicle to a body repairer. He then presented me with an invoice for the R2000-00 plus storage at R350-00 per day which increased the total to over R7000-00. He also said that he has a lien on my car until I pay what's a lien ?
This is a knotty problem to untangle. Did you clarify with the operator that R2000-00 was "full and final" ? Did the operator tell you that if there is a delay in collecting and paying for your vehicle that storage charges would be levied ? The towing contract is entered into at the accident scene when the terms are agreed to, and in general the terms of the contract cannot be amended thereafter without the consent of both parties. If storage was not included in the original contract, then the operator cannot (lawfully) unilaterally add in storage at a later stage. A related issue is the daily storage rate. There is no prescribed or regulated storage rate yet. If the motorist is willing to pay something to the operator for keeping the vehicle safe, the motorist could try and negotiate a lower rate.
A lien is a device available in law which allows a repairer (or breakdown operator) to retain possession of a customer's vehicle until the repairer (or breakdown operator) has been compensated for reasonable costs and expenses incurred for work done on the vehicle or for services provided. For the motorist, the dilemma here is that there is little choice but to pay the costs demanded by the operator in order to release the vehicle failing which the storage charges will continue to increase. There is a procedure in law which allows the motorist to "break" the lien, but it requires the guidance of a legal practitioner.
11If I happen to be involved in a vehicle collision, what advice can you give me regarding breakdown services ?
If the vehicle is insured, contact the insurer : Get the trading name, driver name and contact details of the operator : Know where your vehicle will be taken for repairs or storage : Get a written estimate on the costs to move and store your vehicle : If practicable, remove personal possessions and other loose items from the vehicle prior to towing : If possible, do not allow a breakdown operator to hitch or lift your vehicle until you have dealt with the previous items.
12How long has the NTA been established ?
The NTA was originally set up in 1978