Safety reminder about motor vehicle recovery straps

Published: 
15 Jul 2010

Fair Trading Minister Peter Lawlor said motor vehicle recovery straps were attached between two vehicles so the immobilised vehicle could be pulled free.

“The straps, which are supplied in different lengths and load bearing capacities, stretch with the momentum of the towing vehicle and release built-up tension to dislodge the bogged vehicle,” Mr Lawlor said.

“People have been killed or seriously injured when these straps have broken or when components on vehicles have ripped off and struck the person with great force.

“There were two deaths reported in 2003 and 2005 in Queensland which were caused by the uncontrolled release of recovery straps.

“This has happened mainly because people have unknowingly used the wrong capacity strap or misused the straps by attaching them to parts of vehicles that are not engineered to withstand the tremendous forces involved.”

Queensland’s mandatory safety standards require motor vehicle recovery straps to be marked with key product information and safety warnings.

Recent checks by OFT product safety officers found non-compliant products in Aldi and Anaconda stores.

“Both retailers stopped all sales of the non-compliant straps nationally and organised recalls of their products in Queensland (see www.recalls.gov.au),” Mr Lawlor said.

‘Consumers who purchased motor vehicle recovery straps from the stores should stop using the straps and check with these traders to verify if the products they purchased are subject to the recalls so they may be returned for a refund.”

Consumers using motor vehicle recovery straps should: 

  • always read and obey the product’s instructions and warnings.
  • ensure the strap’s stated breaking strength is appropriate for the gross vehicle mass (GVM), including load weight, of the individual vehicle being recovered (the minimum breaking strength of the strap should be between two and three times the vehicle’s GVM).
  • ensure the strap is suited to the GVM rating of the lighter vehicle in the recovery
  • never attach the strap to a standard tow-bar, tow-ball or standard vehicle tie-down point (they are not designed for this purpose and may result in the strap or a vehicle component detaching and striking a person).
  • only attach a strap to a suitable rated vehicle recovery point or device
  • ensure the strap is undamaged and in a usable condition
  • drape something like a heavy bag or blanket over the strap during use to reduce any unintentional rebound of the strap.
  • ensure that any people outside the vehicles stand far enough from the vehicles - at least 1.5 times the non-stretched length of the strap. They must never stand in the line of recovery.
  • do not use the strap for lifting or conventional towing.
  • For more information visit http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au/motor-vehicle-recovery-straps-for-consumers.htm

Contact details

Media contact:
Minister’s office - (07) 3225 1005