TORONTO, Ont. – The Ontario Trucking Association is urging the provincial Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to reestablish a special committee dedicated to finding ways to encourage faster clean-up of highway collisions and get traffic in vital GTA corridors moving quickly again.
The committee, comprising the MTO, the OPP, OTA, the Insurance Bureau of Canada, and representatives of the Ontario towing/recovery industry, was formed in 2006 under the direction of former Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar.
It was tasked with finding ways to reduce recovery times in order to avoid worsening congestion, increase awareness of how recovery companies should be chosen to ensure the availability of the proper equipment and prevent consumers from being gouged.
The committee eradicated the practice of rewarding clean-up work on the basis of which recovery company is “first-on-scene” – a practice that not only creates unsafe conditions but also exposes vehicle owners to excessive towing rates.
“More recently, however, things have regressed back to the way they used to be,” says OTA president David Bradley, who recently wrote to Minister of Transportation Glen Murray asking that the committee be revived. According to Bradley, other stakeholders feel similarly about rebooting the committee.
Last a month, a coroner’s jury effectively echoed OTA’s concerns about tow-truck operations in Ontario. The inquest, which examined the death of a man after his car hit the back of a tow truck parked partly across a lane on Hwy 403 in Hamilton, also called for the establishment of a working group to draft best practices for towing companies operating on the highway. The coroner’s jury also calls for mandatory training of tow truck operators and the deployment of a province-wide system for the OPP to call and direct tow trucks to an accident scene.
The Chief Coroner will distribute the findings to any relevant government ministries and agencies, which will then be asked to respond to the recommendations.