When it Comes to Getting Towed, Only Half (51%) of Ontario Drivers Feel Educated About their Rights

Majority Support Implementing Consistent Rules & Regulations Across the Province

When it Comes to Getting Towed, Only Half (51%) of Ontario Drivers Feel Educated About their Rights

The author(s)

  • Sean Simpson Vice President, Canada, Ipsos Public Affairs
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Toronto, Ontario, October 18, 2017 — In the wake of changes to Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act which took effect at the start of this year, many Ontario drivers still don’t know what their rights are when it comes to their vehicle being towed. A new Ipsos survey for CAA South Central Ontario has found that only half (51%) of Ontario drivers feel educated about their rights (13% very / 38% somewhat) if they required towing or roadside assistance, leaving another half (49%) who don’t feel educated about their rights (17% not at all / 32% a little).

Knowledge is also lacking when it comes to how towing is regulated throughout the province. One example is the fact that requirements and costs for towing are different across municipalities. Less than half (48%) knew this to be the case, while more than half (53%) either incorrectly thought requirements and costs were the same (11%) or didn’t know either way (42%).

When it came to how tow trucks themselves are regulated, awareness is even lower: only one in ten (8%) Ontario drivers correctly said that tow trucks are regulated at the municipal level, leaving 92% who got the answer wrong: 22% thought the trucks are regulated provincially, 17% thought regulations applied at both the municipal and provincial levels, 9% thought tow trucks aren’t regulated at all, and more than four in ten (45%) didn’t venture a guess.

Concerns About Costs, Being Misled

Separate to the lack of knowledge, many Ontario drivers feel a sense of concern about what might happen if they find themselves in a position of needing to call for a tow truck or roadside assistance. Some sources of concern include:

  • Being charged an unreasonably high fee: 76% say they’d be worried about this if they had to call for assistance (40% very / 35% somewhat);
  • Having to wait a long time: 75% would be worried (26% very / 49% somewhat);
  • Being misled and told by tow truck drivers that insurance will cover costs when it does not: 64% (28% very / 37% somewhat); and
  • Being towed to a different location than the one they specified to the driver: 61% (26% very / 35% somewhat).

Support for Consistent Regulation

In this context, simplification of the existing rules is appealing to many: more than eight in ten (86%) say they would support (51% strongly / 35% somewhat) the Ontario government in putting rules and regulations – including training and licensing – in place that are the same across every municipality and throughout the province. Only 5% oppose this idea (1% strongly / 4% somewhat), while 9% aren’t sure. Support for implementing a consistent set of rules and regulations for vehicle towing is even higher, at 93%, among Ontario drivers who have already had to call for towing or roadside assistance as a result of a collision.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between August 25 and August 29, 2017, on behalf of CAA South Central Ontario. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Ontario drivers aged 18+ was interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the population of Ontario drivers according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Ontario drivers been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Sean Simpson
Vice President, Canada
Ipsos Public Affairs
+1 416 324-2002

The author(s)

  • Sean Simpson Vice President, Canada, Ipsos Public Affairs