Ottawa tow truck crashes result in renewed calls for regulation

By Anna Davey Ottawa, Ontario — November 25, 2015 — The Provincial Towing Association of Ontario (PTAO) has renewed calls for a provincial regulatory system, operated by a single management body after two crashes involving tow trucks took place in Ottawa in November. Doug Nelson, PTAO Executive Director, wants to see province-wide licensing to give customers more peace of mind about the services they’re purchasing, and to regulate the behaviour of tow operators. Currently, towing operators are regulated on the municipal level. This has lead to a patchwork approach, where some cities have extremely robust licensing programs, while others have very little to none. In one of the collisions that took place in Ottawa, police were able to confirm the operator was driving to a crash scene. In the second incident, which took the life of a motorist, the police have not yet determined if the operator was heading to a crash. In Ottawa, where the only regulation facing tow operators is that they remain 100 metres from a crash site unless called, concern remains that the new provincial regulations won’t do anything to protect public safety if operators are still allowed to chase crash scenes. While the province has proposed new regulations in recent months, much of the regulations are focused on ensuring the customers are better informed of the fees they’ll face for towing and storage before the service is rendered. The Provincial Towing Association would like to see a provincial licensing scheme that could address driver conduct, with the Association as the program’s administrator. “If we did this right, we could set a standard for North America,” Nelson said according to a report in the Ottawa Sun.

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