Exclusive towing in the Montréal metropolitan area

In 1967, the ministère des Transports implemented the exclusive towing service in the Montréal metropolitan area to ensure the safety of road users. It is an essential part of the traffic management system and it helps improve the flow of traffic.

To improve the effectiveness, speed and safety of interventions, stationary vehicles in one of the exclusive territories must be towed by a company under contract with the Ministère.

In short

  • Dial *4141 to report an incident and remain inside the vehicle until rescue services arrive.
  • The Sûreté du Québec coordinates all calls with tow trucks.
  • Users may select the towing service of their choice once their vehicle is outside the exclusive network.

Exclusive territory

The exclusive towing network includes expressways on the island of Montréal, in Laval and in parts of the South Shore and North Shore, as well as bridges under provincial jurisdiction in the Montréal metropolitan area. The network covers more than 325 kilometres of expressways.

Rates and modes of payment

The rates and the definitions of exclusive towing operations are presented in a rate schedule prepared by the Ministère. The rate schedule appears on the back of every user’s invoice.

  • The basic rate includes towing within a 10-kilometre radius.
  • The accepted modes of payment are:
    • cash or credit card;
    • other modes: check with the tow truck driver.

In case of a breakdown on an expressway

If you have an accident and your vehicle is still operational, you must:

  • take the next exit; or
  • move your vehicle to an emergency parking area intended for that purpose, or to the shoulder.

If you are unable to move your vehicle, it is preferable that you remain inside until rescue services arrive. If you exit your vehicle, you run a serious risk of being hit.

Increased safety criteria

All interventions that involve a risk for tow truck drivers require that a protection vehicle be present to secure the scene. Hence, it may not be possible for the tow truck driver to tow the vehicle immediately.

For their own safety and that of the road users in trouble, tow truck drivers must wait for the arrival of the protection vehicle, particularly when the intervention takes place on a shoulder that is less than three metres wide or less than one metre away from the edge line.

Detecting an incident

An incident that occurs on an expressway that is part of the exclusive network can be detected by:

  • the surveillance cameras installed along expressways;
  • road supervisors of the Ministère;
  • Sûreté du Québec officers;
  • road users.

As soon as an incident is detected, the appropriate rescue services are dispatched to the scene in order to protect and assist the road user.

Reporting an incident

Did your vehicle break down? Did you witness an incident on the exclusive towing network? To report a situation that requires the assistance of a tow truck, you can use the toll-free emergency line by dialing *4141 on your cell phone, or 310-4141 on any other type of phone.

Although towing contracts are managed by the Ministère, it is the Sûreté du Québec that coordinates their implementation.

Rights and obligations of users

  • Only towing companies operating under an exclusive contract may tow vehicles on the exclusive network.
  • Users may select the towing service of their choice once their vehicle is outside the exclusive network.
  • Owners of towed vehicles are not required to do business with garages recommended by tow truck drivers.
  • During busy periods, to ensure that tow trucks are available within the exclusive territory, response time for towing over long distances may increase. In such cases, vehicles are towed to the operation centre of the towing company with no additional charge to wait until another tow truck becomes available. Users may choose not to do so when informed of the expected delay; the vehicle is then towed to an appropriate area outside the exclusive network.

Obligations of exclusive towing companies

  • Provide prompt, safe, courteous and high quality services, in accordance with the standards set by the Ministère.
  • Give users an invoice that complies with the requirements of the Ministère and the rate schedule.

Questions or comments about the exclusive towing service

You can contact the Ministère by mail, by telephone or by secure email.

Documentation