City staff recommend public meeting, bylaw changes to regulate ‘chaser’ tow trucks

The proposed sidewalks are tied to upcoming reconstruction on underground infrastructure in the affected areas. Global News

City staff are giving the green light for the city to hit the gas on plans to regulate so-called accident chaser tow trucks.

After being asked in January to consult with emergency services and the industry, city staff have completed a report that will go before the Community and Protective Services Committee next Tuesday.

READ MORE: Motion to discourage ‘predatory’ tow truck drivers goes before London committee

Coun. Shawn Lewis is behind the push for tighter regulations.

“Obviously that was something that I brought up after an experience with the quote, unquote ‘tow truck chasers’ who hang around accident scenes looking for work,” he explained.

“The staff report is supportive of moving on to the next step, which is we’re going to now schedule a public participation meeting to get the public’s input on a draft bylaw that’s going to more tightly regulate the towing industry in London.”

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The staff report recommends the city take action as a matter of consumer protection and public safety following consultation with local police, OPP, EMS, CAA, and the local tow truck industry.

READ MORE: Towing customers claim Toronto company charging exorbitant fees

“We’ve had mixed feedback from people working in the towing industry,” said Lewis.

“There are those who say, ‘yes, absolutely, we’re fine with this.’ There are those who say, ‘oh, you’re taking away our business’ which is not the case, not all towing business is accident-related. There’s still pieces of the pie out there for independent operators to go after.

“But, to me, it comes down to the consumer protection piece. I don’t want people surprised by a bill, and I don’t want all of us, as Londoners, as Ontarians, paying for it through our car insurance.”

The report also notes that several municipalities — including Waterloo, Hamilton, and Mississauga — already have their own anti-soliciation regulations using minimum distances from accident scenes.

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