TORONTO - Ontario's Liberal government is promising tough new measures to protect consumers from being ripped off by unscrupulous tow truck drivers and storage companies.

Consumer Services Minister Tracy Charles says she's heard too many stories about tow truck drivers using "dubious tactics" such as demanding hundreds of dollars in cash at an accident scene before any service is provided.

She says other drivers find their vehicles are towed far away to a storage centre that then hits them with "unexpected large" bills before they can get their car back.

Charles plans to introduce legislation today that would force tow truck operators to get permission before charging for towing and storage services, post their prices and provide an itemized invoice detailing all charges and the total cost.

Ontario tow truck drivers have a collision rate of about 20 per cent, compared with one per cent for other commercial vehicles and three per cent for private passenger vehicles.

Charles say their collision rate is so high because they often race to accident scenes to try and get the business first.