Montreal police introduced 10 new towing zones with fixed services and rates
Being involved in an accident or having your car stalling in traffic in Montreal now comes at a certain price as 10 new exclusive towing areas are forcing drivers to use a specific service.
Montreal Police introduced the rule on Thursday to address the "climate of violence and retaliation" among towing companies, after a 2017 report by the city's Inspector General's Office made recommendations regarding the towing industry.
Ten areas are in place "to protect the safety of drivers who are involved in an accident or whose vehicle breaks down and blocks traffic or is dangerous," says a police press release.
The new law also sets standard rates for towing companies in the areas, which drivers are required to use.
This, however, doesn't apply to accidents and stalled vehicles on quiet roads or parking lots.
"Road users involved in an accident or a breakdown must call the designated exclusive towing company for the sector where the accident happened," the press release says.
Police say if an officer is at the scene, the officer will be responsible for contacting the towing company. But if the driver is alone, they must call 9-1-1 and the call taker will put the person in contact with the company.
The goal is to standardize the rates and towing practices, but the move also is responding to the report's allegation on the presence of organized crime in the industry.
The 2017 report noted the lack of an exclusive contract with the City of Montreal in previous years allowed the formation of "kingdoms where companies govern and have a stronghold," the report reads.
Allegations of assault, vandalism and arson are also included in the report.
"A climate of violence and reprisals reigns over the industry: in order to acquire or even "protect" the sectors that they consider to be theirs, companies use threats, resort to intimidation and carry out acts of violence."
The mandatory towing services also don't apply to expressways crossing the Island of Montreal.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 3, 2021.