Chaser tow trucks blamed for threats, assault and sky high bills
LONDON, ONT. -- It was a warning Thursday for the London Police Services Board about increasing risks posed by so-called chaser tow trucks.
“Sometimes there's half a dozen there,” David Ross of Ross’ Towing described the chaotic situation being created at car accident scenes in since the arrival of aggressive chaser tow trucks in London, “They are not bound by any pricing. We see bills 2-3 thousand dollars now for an in-city call and the insurance companies are having a terrible time with it.”
In 2015, Ross’ Towing was awarded a tendered contract by the London Police Service to be their first-call for service. But increasingly so-called “chaser” tow trucks listen to scanners and race to the scene. They employ high-pressure sales tactics on drivers before Ross’ trucks arrive.
Ross’ contract expires at the end of 2020, unless London Police renew for an additional year. Ross says the contract has led to resentment and worse. “We get threatening phone calls on the phone because of what we are doing, which is hard on my people. I have drivers that have been assaulted.”
In January, representatives of two local tow companies were in front of the Police Board, arguing that it is the exclusive contract between police and Ross’ Towing that motivates chasing behaviour.
Its consultant, Roger Caranci, said they intend to start a new towing association that would set high standards and self-regulate.
Caranci asked that the contract not be extended past year’s end, “We are of the opinion that that contract should not be renewed.”
“Everybody is trying to either cut it short, or make it into something that it isn't.” But David Ross encouraged the LPSB to continue with the contract, suggesting it protects drivers involved in an accident.
His company has also invested in special equipment, yards, and training to meet police requirements for securing evidence.
Police Chief Steve Williams admits the contract is a contentious issue, but other cities are also receiving complaints about aggressive tow truck operators, “There's anecdotal evidence out there, so how prevalent is it? With what frequency? That's one of the things we are looking into.”
Chief Williams is preparing a report on the tow truck industry for the LPSB meeting on March 26.