London councillor wants crackdown on aggressive tow truck drivers
Daryl Newcombe, CTV London
Published Wednesday, January 16, 2019 6:36PM EST
Predatory tow truck operators could soon be reined in by London city hall if one councillor has his way.
Shawn Lewis wants to crackdown on aggressive sales tactics at accident scenes after he experienced the problem himself.
“I experienced first-hand these rogue tow truck drivers showing up at the scene of an accident at the roadside before the city's contracted tow trucks can get there.”
Next week the councillor will call for a bylaw that would require unsolicited tow trucks to stay a minimum distance away from an accident scene.
It would also prohibit tow trucks from hooking or lifting a person's vehicle unless requested by the owner, police or the fire department.
Lewis has based his proposal on bylaws in Toronto and Waterloo, saying “Other municipalities have enacted it across the province, and it basically prohibits roadside solicitation at an accident.”
In 2014, London’s towing industry underwent a dramatic shift. The Police Services Board put a city-wide police towing contract up for tender and Ross Towing was awarded the contract.
Prior to that decision, London police had rotated calls between multiple companies. Since then, some companies have responded by monitoring emergency radio frequencies on scanners.
Ross Towing points out drivers are free to call their preferred towing company or car service like CAA, but consumers should not feel pressured.
Vice President Mike Ross tells CTV News, “People (are) getting taken advantage of when they are shook up after an accident, sticking a business card in your hand, telling you have a contract with him now, taking your car away and you don't even know where it’s going.”
Lewis says the contract with police guarantees Ross Towing will respond quickly and includes consumer safeguards including pricing, insurance requirements, criminal background checks and secure impound yards.
“These other business, you may not know where your car is going to end up or if you will see it again,” Lewis says.
The motion will be discussed by city hall’s Community and Protective Services Committee on Tuesday.