If you're caught committing certain driving offences, the vehicle you're driving can be impounded by the police. This page explains when your vehicle can be impounded, what happens at the roadside and the actions you need to take to get it back.
The vehicle you're driving will be impounded if you're caught driving when:
Your vehicle can also be impounded if:
The police will give you an impoundment notice and will call for a tow truck to take the vehicle away to a storage facility.
You'll have to pay the towing and storage fees before you can get the vehicle back.
The vehicle will be impounded for 28 days.
After that, you have 10 days to claim the vehicle and pay the fees (or make arrangements to pay the fees).
If the vehicle was impounded because you were racing or doing street car stunts, you must get a new warrant of fitness before the vehicle may be driven again. This means you have to take the vehicle straight from the storage facility to a garage or testing station for a warrant of fitness inspection.
The person registered in respect of the vehicle has an obligation to make sure that only licensed drivers use their vehicles, and that drivers use their vehicles responsibly. However, there are some circumstances where the registered person can appeal against a roadside vehicle impoundment.
As the registered person, you can make an appeal only on the grounds that:
You can't appeal on the grounds that vehicle impoundment will cause undue hardship. The appeal won't be accepted.
As the registered person for the vehicle, you may appeal to the Commissioner of Police within 14 days. If that appeal is unsuccessful, you can appeal to a district court.
If your appeal is successful, the vehicle will be returned. You don't have to pay the costs of the impoundment if it's shown that the police didn't have reasonable grounds to impound the vehicle or didn't follow the correct procedure.
If the vehicle was stolen or converted, you don't have to pay the storage fee, but you must pay the towing fee.
At the end of the 28 days, go to the storage provider. Take:
When you've paid the towing and storage fees and shown your documentation, the storage provider will release the vehicle.
If you've received a summons you must still go to court. Impoundment doesn't replace any legal action the police may take.
This depends on:
|Gross vehicle weight||Time/day||Towage fees
|3500kgs or less||Between the hours of 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday (not including public holidays)||$53.67|
|Any other time (eg Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday)||$71.56|
|More than 3500kgs||Between the hours of 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday (not including public holidays)||$132.89|
|Any other time (eg Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday)||$204.44|
|Fee for additional kilometres towed in excess of 10 kilometres (per km or part of a km)||$3.07|
|Gross vehicle weight||First 28 days (incl. GST)||Each additional day (incl. GST)|
|Gross vehicle weight is 3500kgs or less||$306.67*||$12.27|
|Gross vehicle weight is more than 3500kgs||$715.56*||$28.62|
* As the storage fee isn't charged for the first three days, this fee is the daily fee multiplied by 25.
Note: towing and storage fees are set in regulations made by the government. However, the current regulations that describe these fees were last updated when GST was set at 12.5%.
Now that GST is set at 15%, we've calculated the fees in the tables above at 15% GST, to show you what you'd pay today.
You should contact the storage provider to discuss what options the provider may offer for paying it off.
The tow truck company is responsible for any damage to the vehicle while it's being towed to storage. The storage provider is responsible while the vehicle is being stored.
If a vehicle isn't claimed within 10 days from when the impoundment finishes, the storage provider can ask the police for approval to dispose of the vehicle.
After the police give their approval, the storage provider can dispose of the vehicle subject to any terms or conditions the police may impose.
Rental companies are responsible for making sure they only rent vehicles to licensed drivers.
Employers are responsible for checking that their employees' driver licences are valid before allowing them to drive company vehicles (see below).
It's the company's responsibility to recover the impoundment fee from the driver.
Employers can subscribe to Driver Check, a secure internet site that allows them to confirm that only licensed drivers are driving their company vehicles. The employer registers the names of their drivers (with the drivers' consent) and the NZ Transport Agency then advises the employer of any change to a driver licence status.
Visit the Driver Check website(external link)
Download Factsheet 63: Impoundment of your vehicle at the roadside [PDF, 65 KB]