MTO creates committee to oversee highway vehicle recovery practices

TORONTO — At the request of the Ontario Trucking Association, Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar will create a working group to review how highway traffic incidents in Ontario are handled, and to develop a solution to control potential abuses of the selection of recovery companies at roadside.

OTA wants to make sure the party with the deepest
pockets isn’t liable for all recovery fees

OTA has been urging checks and balances in regards to Bill 169, the Transit & Safety Act, which attempts to accelerate clean-up following a highway accident by empowering police officers to call in recovery companies at their own discretion. The association feared the law, which holds vehicle owners responsible for all costs, could lead to gouging of fees charged by recovery firms under the orders of police.

The OTA has recommended an oversight committee which will consist of representatives from the OA, the recovery industry, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation and the Ontario Provincial Police.

“Throughout the various legislative stages of Bill 169, OTA worked with the recovery industry to develop a solution to control potential abuses regarding the selection of recovery companies at roadside,” the group stated in a release.

The committee will review ways to improve recovery times, thereby reducing the impacts of congestion; increase awareness of how recovery companies should be chosen to ensure proper equipment is available; and ensure that unfair business practices at roadside are highlighted and prevented in the future.

“While Bill 169 may improve the speed in which highway collisions are conducted, this must not be achieved at the expense of the carrier community being completely subject to potential unfair business practices,” said OTA President David Bradley in a statement. “This committee will provide a forum for all parties to get a better understanding of the needs and pressures of all organizations involved in the clean-up of highway collisions as well as providing for some type of oversight on province wide basis regarding such matters.”

The OTA also wants to ensure the bill does not hold the party with the deepest pockets — the trucking company — liable for all the costs of recovery.

The trucking group is therefore recommending that all motorists have mandatory insurance coverage for the cost of recovery.

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