TowZone Posted July 25, 2020 Share Posted July 25, 2020 By, Norris McDonald Special to the Star Several weeks ago, I wrote a column about tow trucks. I specifically talked about how, when there’s a crash on the highway, there’s a no-holds-barred race between trucks to get there because the first to reach the scene gets the tow. Ambulances used to do that. They were privately owned and they’d race to get to a crash scene first because if there was a fatality, the first-on-scene would get the body. Some of those ambulances were owned by funeral homes; other parlours paid the ambulance driver for the delivery. Mike Harris put an end to that in 1998 with what was called the Local Services Realignment, which resulted in the EMS ambulance system. And at least one tow-truck company president thinks the current government has to act as decisively to end the free-for-all on the roads that exists today. Joey Gagne is the owner and president of Abrams Towing Services. Abrams has locations in the GTA, Hamilton, Windsor, Ottawa — just about everywhere — and has been in business since 1984. For years, Gagne was president of the Provincial Towing Association of Ontario, which works on the legislation process with government. For just about forever, there’s been a problem with accident clearance on, particularly, the 400-Series highways. That’s where the money is. You have established, honest, tow companies that have been around for what seems like forever and they frequently have their business stolen from them by poorly trained, opportunistic, cowboy towers who swoop in, scoop the damaged vehicle and haul if off to unscrupulous body shop operators who refuse to release it until obscene amounts of money are paid. Since that column appeared, I heard from a lawyer who spends just about all his time in court on behalf of Canada’s big banks, trying to get those cars and light trucks released from liens. And from Gagne, who felt I owed the honest towers a column to tell their side of the story. Gagne, in his role as president of the tow association, was on the committee that came up with the most recent set of regulations that became law in 2018 and stipulated that tow trucks had to have their rates posted, had to take credit cards as payment, and that sort of thing. But Gagne, in our wide-ranging interview in which he talked about his company’s rigorous training program and how a few bad apples are not representative of what’s essentially been a long-established, mom-and-pop industry, said those regulations failed to put an end to the “first-on-scene” or “first available” system. RESOURCE LINK Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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