Ontario towing industry to be subjected to CVOR

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TORONTO, Ont. – The Ontario government intends to change the way tow truck drivers and the towing industry are regulated.

Under the banners of consumer protection and auto insurance rate reduction, the government wants to introduce legislation that would include tow trucks under the Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) system for the first time in the industry’s history.

The legislation would also require some changes to the ways the drivers and companies and storage operators interact with customers. While their prices and fees won’t be regulated, they would be required to:

  • Have permission from a consumer or someone acting on behalf of the consumer before charging for towing and storage services
  • Publicly post prices and other information, like the operator’s name and contact information
  • Accept credit card payments from consumers
  • Provide an itemized invoice listing the services provided and the total cost. 

Doug Nelson, executive director of both the Provincial Towing Association, and the Ontario Recovery Group sees both good and bad in the government’s plans. While he is in favour of the province taking responsibility for regulating the industry, he strongly disagrees with the towing industry being subjected to CVOR rules.

“We’ve been working on this since 2008, and we believe regulation of the towing industry belongs to the province not the municipalities. Municipal licensing has been an expensive endeavour for those involved in towing in areas where there is municipal regulation, and sometimes caused some consumer abuse issues. We are very happy the government has finally taken the step to regulate the industry on a provincial basis rather than a municipal one.”

Nelson said the associations intend to let the government know they disagree with its stance on CVOR.

“We do not agree with that. We will contest that thought vigorously. The towing industry should not be under CVOR. It has not been under CVOR for many good reasons,” he told Truck News.

In making the announcement, the government cited a high accident incidents rate as one of the reason it is implementing the new regulations. According to its latest figures, in 2010, Ontario tow truck operators had a 19.7% collision rate, compared to only 1.1% for drivers of other commercial vehicles.

“We understand the accident record regarding tow trucks is a direct result of a lack of a proper incident management system in the GTA. The police continuously use a first-on-scene system. The tow operators listen to the radios, and they scan the airwaves. As soon as that call is put out, they race to the scene of the accident. That’s when they get themselves in trouble. There is a lot of work that has to go into this. Certainly incident management has to be one of the aspects of this to get it straightened around properly,” said Nelson, adding that, “incident management falls on the shoulders of the Ministry of Transportation. That’s where it belongs. The Ministry of Transportation are the people that own the highways.”

When asked how he would like to see incident management improved, Nelson mentioned Calgary and Florida. He said both jurisdictions have tow truck drivers patrolling set areas of the roadways (in Calgary it’s during rush hour, in Florida it’s around the clock on the major highways). When a motorist is in need of help, the driver responds and provides assistance (fills an empty gas tank, changes a flat tire, etc.). If the car needs to be moved, they tow it to a staging area, where the motorist can then make arrangement to have it towed to a repair shop. In Florida, Nelson said the federal government pays for the Road Ranger program, and in Calgary, the cost is also covered by government funding.

CVOR would mean daily vehicle inspections and drivers being limited by hours-of-service (HoS) limits. Nelson said those limits would be harmful to the industry.

“Certainly this winter has been a classic example, where the towing industry has been working very hard to satisfy the consumers who need help. It would be very detrimental, especially in rural Ontario, where an operator runs out of hours, and he can’t go out and service a customer that has broke down or in the snow ditch,” he explained.

“But hours of service would also have a detrimental effect on the larger tow truck companies in the GTA because most of the drivers in the bigger companies in the GTA use their trucks for work during the day, then they take them home with them, and if they run out of hours, they’re not going to be able to put in as many hours, because some of them could be going from central Toronto or downtown Toronto out to Whitby where they live. It becomes an issue.

“Certainly there is going to have to be a lot more discussion around CVOR. I think there are other ways to attack it. There are other ways to address those issues.”

At this point, the government’s plans are still in their infancy, and Nelson wants the industry to have a hand in their development.

“The regulations and the standards have not been drawn up yet. Obviously we would want to be involved in the drafting of the regulations and the standards. We are anxiously waiting for the next steps, which would be to develop the standards and the regulations.”

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  • The next time a tow truck operator attempts to rip me off, I WILL break his neck ! GUARANTEED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • why is it always that the tow truck drivers are the bad guys but when you need there help there the best ?

    • You people don’t realize how dangerous it is to work on a highway. You people don’t slow down and move over . You are the reason we want more money so fu** you

  • If tow truck drivers are to be regulated by hours of service regulation then they should fall under the same category as volunteer firefighters. During an emergency, volunteer firefighters whose normal job is truck driving are not required to log their hours of operating emergency vehicles as if they were driving a normal commercial vehicle. If a tow truck is required for an emergency, such as to clear a highway following an accident, then it should be the same procedure as any other emergency operation such as fire or ambulance.

  • In reading the reasons why it is felt why Tow Truck operators should be exempt from the CVOR rules, it is apparent that the operators have not read the rules in their entirety. It would serve you better to read any exemptions such as emergency services or allowances such as personal use, before you make broad statements on how it would not fit your industry.

    Frankly, you are a for hire commercial operation. As a consumer I would like to be confident in the understanding that your truck is in better condition than the vehicle you are towing.

    As for the accident rate, it’s calculated at 40% of the event total permissible in your threshold. This will weed out the bad operators. Just imagine how much more business there will be when the fly by night operators that have no real exposure to increase their threshold. They will be subject to the same bad operator process as a transport carrier.

    This is a world of choice. I think there should be more transparency. Make sure your insurance levels are sufficient in the event of an accident, what is truly impacting your performance record. I then can become an informed consumer. Am I going to use an operator with a poor record or one that has managed their drivers, vehicles and business efficiently?

    The Ontario CVOR process can learn a thing or two from the US CSA model. Good for Ontario for finally making progress to protecting the public road users.

    • The CVOR program in it’s current form is a massive cash grab crock. It fails the tests of scientific and deductive reasoned logical oversight, because it imposes one perspective that “distance traveled” is the only factor to consider among thousands present. Irrespective of the speed and hours required to get there during any defined timeline. A commercial vehicle is defined as beyond 4500 kilograms, meaning weight is important, in agreement with the vehicle classification systems. G,D and A class vehicles are arbitrarily assigned a single base line of risk under this CVOR lunacy. Irrespective of the fact that by direct comparison G class trucks impose fatality risks by observation[.3 per ten thousand ]half the risk of personal vehicles [.63 per ten thousand] while tractor trailer units reflect a risk [3.0 per ten thousand] that is five times that of any other vehicle on the road. When we combine the highest risk with the lowest risk vehicles on the road, we come to a risk value that must make the [stakeholder partners] insurance companies gush. Considering there are four times as many G class vehicles registered. While 4/5 of the ministries resources are shifted by a threshold curve, to over regulation of the vehicles with the smallest opportunity to serve the public’s best interests, in reduced risks and accident outcomes. While the large fleet trucking industry which represents 70% of our risks on the road, are getting a virtual free pass in oversight and insurance costs with both held arbitrarily low by this political fraud.

      The law forces us to see only accidents as the problem, while ignoring the potentials imposed by weight and speed. The ministry is now forced by law, to ignore the basic principles of investigating potential mitigating factors, especially the potentials of E=MC2. Deductive reasoning is a universal process, of determining the truth by removing what is not true. Meaning to get to the truth and back into focus, the entire program needs to be struck down and those responsible investigated for the harms they have already imposed. While assessing how many they have already killed. Just for money?

  • I have been assisting Tow Truck companies for three years now. Many of them want to follow the HOS and Trip Inspections, although some companies are NOT following the Hours of Service and Trip Inspection I find a lot of them are hauling TDG without training for the driver or dispatcher. I could go on however the companies that want to be compliant and cover themselves with Due Diligence will seek out a Consultant or ask for assistance. The others can be pushed out once the CVOR regulations are brought down on them.

  • I am 100% behind the MTO to require tow trucks to have a CVOR and be regulated under the Hrs of Service. It has been a great example of the MTO regulations being (little bit pregnant)flat deck tow trucks are required to have a CVOR and logbook when delivering say parts engines but if you tow a disabled vehilce nothing? Why does Mr. Nelson think that a large wrecker that is a heavy vehilce tow something where under current regulations can drive as long as he likes and does not have to inspect his truck? Time to join the rest of the trucking industry. Long over do. How many times have we seen a tow truck rush up the sholder, pass on the right on a sholder or speed to an accident scene. This type of attitude has to stop and the industry has done a very poor job of monitoring it’s own.

    Safety Consultant

  • SAY HELLO TO THE BAD GUY i am a tow truck driver been doing it for 20 yrs love it till last 5 yrs if you guys wanna clean up the towing industry get rid of the low life tow truck drivers there the guys that go buy a pu half ton to one ton single wheel to dually without a wrecker to those of u that dont know what a wrecker is its the rear of the truck the towing equiptment they go buy a rattler for 1000 put it on there pu for 500 and bango there a tow truck driver they steal scam lie and take our tow calls i charge 60 plus 2 dollars per k they charge 30 dollars because they dont pay com ins put ads on kijji top dollar for scrap putting us legal tow truck drivers on the side of the road ive had regualar customers call me asking me how much will i give them for a scrap car i say 300 then they call the scamers and they say 350 because they dont have to pay 4000 dollars for insurance plus maint plus yearly saftey and get pulled over by MTO I SAY EVERY TOW TRUCK SHOULD HAVE A STICKER STATING ITS A TOW TRCUK WITH TOW TRUCK INS PUT THOSE LITTLE GUYS OUT OF WORK

    • Thats right. Just like those uber drivers, they dont pay massive insurance niether. I haven’t been in the bussiness for 10 years but all I see are pickups with stingers. I’ve even seen a cheap winch attached to a rear hitch. Hows that safe?compared to a real wrecker. body. I got out of the towing industry because I wasnt making any money working 12hour days. Some days I would take only home $30 a daybecause it was so slow. My dispatcher would keep me out longer to sit in my truck just to listen for the next shift up higher in the call order get calls but to keep around incase of (no)extra calls. I really feel for honest tow truck drivers

  • I agree that tow trucks should be regulated by the provincial government and not by municipalities as they charge very large licenceing fees and that only covers that municipality.when municipalities regulate they usually have conflicting regulations with other municipalities. Now you need a licence for every municipality is this fair. Yes they should inspect the truck daily the same as commercial drivers O that’s right they have a commercial drivers licence or the tow truck is a registered commercial vehicle registered over 4500 kgs or has a work type box on the back so this makes them commercial trucks.
    Last of all their needs to be regulation in pricing now pay attention consumers your going to love this example, several weeks ago I broke down on the 401 at the Dixie on romp 5ton truck pulling a trailer I called my tow company to get me know problem be there in 40 minutes or so 30 min later along comes a tow truck from Toronto and parks in front of me, I thanked him for stopping and told him I had a truck on the way. He went back to his truck and not 2 minutes later an OPP car show up. The officer was very nice but td me because I was blocking a lane (does not matter lane ramp shoulder) this is where first to the scene call goes out to have that vehicle moved now this is the part I really liked THEY CAN CHARGE WHAT THEY WANT you must pay in cash or they take your car to their storage compound at approx 200.00 per day on top of the tow charge O and the tow charge could be 1800.00 to tow the CAR 1-2 kilometres rate 600.00/ hour x 3-hour minimum. There is nothing YOU or the Police can do. If the tow truck that stopped for me had towed the truck I could have been billed I figure 2000.00-3000.00 dollars. This is where they need regulation, because when the call goes out for first to the scene even if the tow truck driver tells you so over the top price, you can’t refuse the service because the police need and want the vehicle off the road for safety reasons.

    • They should have let you get hit on the side of the highway. I bet if you survived the wreck you’d wished the was a tow truck driver there to help.. Lol and you probably just got jammed because you were disrespectful.. I bet you wish you could treat other the way they treated you lol but we can

  • It’s about time! A tow truck is a CMV…..those operating should be held to the samee standard as abyone else operating a CMV. In addition, the way these guys price their services needs to be looked at. Many have one rate if you call them, and another when they do the vulture on the side of the highway tow after an accident….then their rates go way up….my guess is that they get some sort of “compensation” from the body shop that they take a car to, which ends up getting baked into the repair bill that the insurance company pays…..this equals higher rates. Also, many of these guys speed through town on the way to an accident that they have caught over a police scanner…..the result is a speeding tow truck, running over curbs, through yellow/red lights……

    • We are chasers.. We are fist responders. We are me those people that help scummy people like you self Get back to your family in -25 weather. And we do have a high risk job working on the highway. Just like a crane operator gets 150 and hour to jerk off in the sky.

  • Yes, another towtruck driver. I work for CAA as a contractor and i do agree with the cvor and the daily logs we must fill out. Nothing better than safety for us, our customers and the vehicles around us.
    What i don’t agree with is the limit on the hours we can work in a week. This business will not alow us ” towtruck drivers ” to earn a proper living on only 60 hours a week. I gotta do 72 hours a week minimum to put food on my table and keep my kids in sports.
    Within those 72 hours im not driving or sitting in my truck. I could be at home eating dinner, helping my kids with homework or even taking a nap. If i only get three or four calls in my shift for one day i may only make $ 75. So, if I have reached my on duty time. 8 hours in a day.according to the new regulations. .. i cant take another call to make enough to make a living or feed the family.
    I dont chase crashes on the hwy. I have a clean drivers abstract. My truck is cleaned every day and well maintained .
    So why should i not have the opportunity to make a good living and keep the CAA members happy and and safe like most of us in the industry do.
    Think about this for a minute. You have CAA and you break down in the middle of winter and it cold ouside.. instead of waiting for a towtruck for 30 minutes to rescue you and your family from the side of the hwy.. now your going to wait up to 3 hours. Good times, eh?
    Plus there will be less trucks out there if we cant make a living.
    What should have been done is eliminate the crash chasers that sit on the side of the hwy. Not all of them are aresholes but they are the reason for the changes in the laws..
    If you break down and are waiting 3 maybe 4 hours for a towtruck… cause i cant come help. I have either reached my 60 hour limit or found something different to do so i can feed my family and keep my kids in after school activities.
    One more thing.. when you see a towtruck or service truck on the side if the hwy.. slow down pull over to the other lane. I have a family to go home to after my short shift…
    Ahhhhh thank you.. sarcasm btw

    • your too stupid to make money with a truck,caa drivers are like sheep,you let the company charge the consumer millions and make their $$ of of the odds that only a small percent will need a tow ,and pay out peanuts,to the dummies that drive for them,you are the laughing stock of the industry,if wasn’t for bottom feeders like you then legit companies could make a better living.

  • Tows are licenced theafs and crucks. I have been towed more than 25 times in my life time. Not one time did I have a plesant memory remaining from the event. As farr as “the saviour ” picture they like to pose in…… what are they drinking? Stupid juice?
    Realy…. ?
    Short thinks that comes to mind. … is more like ; cocky, rude, bad breath, stinky, dishonest, bad language, lying why ‘re late, misrepresentation of rate and service, lack of care while handling the vehicle in trouble, and not last unsafe.

  • prices will go up have no other place to go but up from other cost with this like having to bring more people on simple im a O/O of a towing company

  • yup were all a bunch of crooks I guess according to some people. I get woke up at 3am so I can go out in -30 to save someone who broke down cause they didn’t maintain their vehicle. Of course they aren’t dressed for the weather so I crank my heat full blast and sweat my butt off so they can warm up. I do it with a smile on my face, I try to cheer them up. I drive them to a motel ON MY OWN UNPAID TIME. I hope the people who paint us all as scumbags are the ones that sit for 5 hours cause all the drivers within 400k are out of hours up here in the boonies. Towing as we know it will get TWICE AS EXPENSIVE if we have to follow HOS. Companies will have to hire 2X more drivers and pay them

  • I was in an accident and a tow truck driver told me the cost would be $250 for a tow to the body shop. Once we got there, the shop was closed, and the tow truck guy said that if I don’t pay him $700 cash he would not release my vehicle. He did not want to accept credit card or debit card, it had to be cash. If I did not pay, he would tow my car to their lot and additional storage fees would be charged.

    What did I do? I called the police.

    The Police came and told the tow truck driver that if he did not release my vehicle he would be charged with theft. The tow truck driver kept saying there is a by-law that allows him to do that, but he could not provide the by-law number. The cop said that as per federal law, he cannot just steal someone’s property and hold it hostage until payment is received. What business can do that? If a business has an outstanding bill they can take the person to small claims court. What business is allowed to just take someone’s property without their consent because of an unpaid bill? The tow truck driver kept saying by-law by-law. The cop said even if a by-law exists, it’s in conflict with the criminal code of Canada. When a by-law is in conflict with federal law, federal law will win.

    In the end, the driver had to release my car.

    I am telling you this story because I believe that the tow truck industry should be heavily heavily regulated. It’s like the wild west out there. You get into an accident and 5 tow trucks show up all trying to get as much money out of you as they can. They are all a bunch of crooks. Never again am I using a tow truck company. I now have a CAA membership and will call them if ever I am in need.

    • Your a goofe bud you don’t have any idea what it take to tow a vehicle. And you got charged 700 because it 250 hook up / plus km and if you had to do a retow because A. your broke or B. you’re shop that you wanted it delivered to was closed so then there is 65 for the over night stroage !also all wheel drive vehicle you require dollies that. An extra 100 and you most likely you’d want an invoice so tax is added! And it is a high Risk job helping scummy people like you! 1 tow truck driver is killed every day helping ignorant people like your self. You don’t hear about anyone in your office getting hit by a car while at work!

  • I guess it’s different here in B.C… I was laid off from my last job (rental company) so I am giving it a chance at doing some towing mind you I don’t do caa work and we have set icbc rates which include dollies starting at $77 for first 6 km then gets prorated up and the customer pays nothing the bill gets sent to icbc and the insurance looks after everything and btw my job before was a union making $26/hr and I am making roughly the same amount towing working 10 hrs a day not once have I overcharged a customer and everyone I’ve helped has always left with a smile on there face (so far) like I said I am very new to this industry (8 months) but I love this job and the people I help……

  • I recently was in a car accident on a privare property (parking lot of Eglinton by Homesense) and while the opposite car, was driving much faster, at an accelerared speed, while I was maintaing my speed, he crashed into my car, and completely destroyed it. Not to mention the personal injuries I had to sustain.

    After this incident, as I only had one way insurence, I was in no way covered for this incident, and the fault was put on me, as it was in private property, and there was no other witness to see that I had actually been on the right, hence the other driver had won the case.

    At the accident location, my car had to be towed, and while this was my first accident ( i am also a new driver )I was thrown towards a pile of papers- which I absent mindedly signed off-note that at the time of, the tow truck dude, made me sign the paperworks and did not give me a copy of what I signed ( i just got
    Into the accident so I had bigger things on my plate.

    After a few days, my insurance company tried to get a whole of the tow truck company, but to no avail, were they able to get in touch. I tried to get a hold of him, I even went to the storage space before closing time but there was no one there to speak to ( the space is very sketchy, and the company has no websites and the phone voicemail is full).

    After two weeks the guy from
    The compound texts me and says that I owe him 1800$ for the car that is on his private Property, I bought the price down to 1000, but now he asks only for cash, and also I recently found out hIs license for his storage space has expired.

    When I offered to pay in credit/ debit / have a inforcement officer/ cop present at the time of payment, he refuses to meet with me, and claims that he will send the bill to my collection, and keep the car after 60 days. When I told him that I would be filing a complaint against him, he stated that he would file a case for
    Neglectance against me (for not picking up my car.)

    If I can get any feedback for My
    Situation , that would be great. Thank you all for reading


    (side note- the tow truck guy is different from The storage company- i have no idea who towed my car- as I was not given any paperworks and when I ask the owner of the storage company he does not give me any information either –
    Claiming he doesnt know who it is as well- I am kind of stuck here )