It is not often that we repeat a blog post but this is a caution to everyone. You should know your rights when you need a tow truck after a car crash.
Aggressive and questionable ethical practices have long been a concern in the two truck industry in Ontario, particularly in the GTA. Tow truck drivers are now a predatory business aggressively competing to be first on the scene. Reports of lying to victims, intimidating them, accepting only cash payments and insisting vehicles be towed to preferred repair shops are also common.
Violence between the businesses and links to organized crime are also concerns in the industry. In the last year, there have been 4 drivers killed, 30 tow trucks set on fire, bombing and threats made. In response to these issues, the province is again tightening the rules that the companies must abide by. In May of 2020, nineteen people were arrested for defrauding insurance companies and violence.
Ontario is implementing the new rules for towing in the province beginning in the summer of 2021 when four sections of 400 series highways in the GTA will have restricted tow zones. These zones will only allow a single company to operate within them. It’s hoped this will help reduce accident chasing by the competing companies. To operate in these zones, the companies will need permission from the OPP or the government. This pilot will run for 2 years.
Further measures are also being investigated including the licensing tow truck drivers.
If you are in an accident remember that you have the right to call the tow truck company of your choice, you do not need to accept the first tow that comes to the scene. You should never sign a repair contract with the tow truck driver. If the driver seems aggressive or insists on holing you up without your permission you may call the police or advise the emergency personnel on the scene of what is happening.