Township of Franklin, NJ
Hunterdon County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Franklin 4-5-2001 by Ord. No. 2001-02. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Traffic and parking on public and private property — See Ch. 95.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 125.

§ 336-1 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to establish uniform regulations governing the towing and storage of motor vehicles in the Township of Franklin and to ensure that the public is charged fairly and in a consistent manner. This chapter will ensure that when a motor vehicle is towed or stored, the storage fees and towing charges are applied uniformly.

§ 336-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
ABANDONED VEHICLE
A vehicle which the owner/operator leaves on a public roadway and fails to notify the police and does not attempt to repair and remove the same within a reasonable period of time.
ACCIDENT VEHICLE
A motor vehicle which has been involved in an accident.
DESIGNATED TOWER
The tower service appearing at the top of the Franklin Township tower list for a given week.
DISABLED VEHICLE
Any motor vehicle which is unable to operate under its own power.
HEAVY-DUTY RECOVERY
The recovery of any motor vehicle over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, which requires the vehicle to be uprighted or recovered from either on or off the traveled portion of a public roadway.
HEAVY-DUTY TOWING
The towing of any motor vehicle over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
IMPOUNDED VEHICLE
A vehicle which, at the direction of the Franklin Township Police Department, is taken into police custody because the operator of the vehicle was engaged in a violation of the law, including, but not limited to, the operator being arrested on a DWI charge; the operator has been arrested for driving without registration or insurance; the operator has been arrested for stealing the motor vehicle; the vehicle has been involved in a serious accident, e.g., death by auto.
LIGHT-DUTY TOWING
The towing of any motor vehicle up to 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
MOTOR VEHICLE
All vehicles propelled otherwise than by muscular power, excepting such vehicles as run only on rails or tracks and motorized bicycles.
STORAGE RATES
Fees charged for the storage of motor vehicles.
TOWING LIST
A rotating list of all towing services registered with Franklin Township kept by the Franklin Township Chief of Police or his designee. When the police require the towing and storage of a motor vehicle from public roadways, they shall contact the towing service on the top of the rotating towing list as determined by this chapter.
TOWING RATES
Fees charged by the towing service for the removal and transportation of the vehicle.
TOWING SERVICE
A business engaged in the towing or storing of motor vehicles that has applied to become registered in the Township and/or a business engaged in the towing or storing of motor vehicles which has been approved for the towing list.
TOWING VEHICLES
A vehicle owned or operated by the towing service which is authorized to perform the services as set forth in this chapter.

§ 336-3 Registration and licensing standards.

A. 
No towing service shall be placed upon the towing list for towing or storage of motor vehicles within Franklin Township unless the towing service first registers with Franklin Township. In order to be placed upon the towing list for light-duty towing, a towing service must be located within 10 miles of the geographic center of Franklin Township.
B. 
Towing services shall be limited by response time. The maximum response time shall be:
(1) 
7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.: 30 minutes.
(2) 
6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.: 30 minutes.
C. 
Towing services must be able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Township that the towing service is thoroughly qualified and experienced in the towing and removal of vehicles of all types and that it has the facilities, equipment, expertise, personnel and storage areas to perform the services required by the Township.
D. 
The Police Department of the Township of Franklin may conduct a thorough background check of the towing service, its officers, officials, principals and employees prior to registering the towing service. A conviction for a felony and/or a motor vehicle record evidencing unsafe driving habits or a disregard for the New Jersey motor vehicle laws will be considered ample reason to disqualify any applicant, unless waived by the Township. Each towing service agrees to submit to the Township a list of employees to be hired during the period of registration prior to such individual performing any services as described for the purposes of a background check. The towing service shall be subject to termination for failure to submit employees to such a background check.
E. 
Each towing service shall furnish to the Township, with its application, photographs of his/her equipment and shall display, on its equipment, the contractor's business name and address, as well as a listed telephone number for his business.
F. 
Each towing service shall furnish the names of other municipalities and businesses for whom he is currently providing towing services or has provided towing services in the last four years. The Township reserves the right to confer with these references. Each towing service shall be submitted to the Better Business Service Bureau for any information they may have on file.
G. 
A towing service that has met all the specifications and requirements of this chapter and has registered with Franklin Township shall have its name placed on the towing list by the Township Committee. Each towing service must submit its schedule of basic towing and storage rates with the registration application. Such rates and fees for towing and storage of motor vehicles damaged in accidents or recovered after being stolen shall not exceed those set by the Commissioner of Insurance as set forth in N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.1 et seq. The rates and fees for towing and storage of motor vehicles not covered by N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.1 et seq. shall not exceed the rates set by this chapter.
H. 
The towing service owner or its authorized representative shall sign the registration application form indicating that the full requirements of this chapter have been met by the towing service applicant.
I. 
If any information provided by a towing service in its registration application changes, the towing service is responsible for notifying the Franklin Township Police Department of the change in the registration information within 30 days of such change. Failure to comply with this provision will be deemed a violation of this chapter.
J. 
The towing list shall be limited to a maximum of five towing services.

§ 336-4 Employees.

A. 
The applicant shall employ a sufficient number of employees to comply with the minimum operation requirements established herein.
B. 
No employee shall respond for service under this chapter unless the towing service has submitted the appropriate information for conducting a background check, and the employee has been approved by the Chief of Police or his designee and the Township Committee.
C. 
All drivers employed by the towing service shall be over the age of 18 years and must have a valid, current appropriate New Jersey State driver's license for the equipment to be operated and shall be in good health and of good moral character and have a good driving record as determined in the reasonable discretion of the Chief of Police.

§ 336-5 Insurance.

A. 
Towing services shall be required to purchase and maintain comprehensive general liability insurance, comprehensive automobile liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance with limits of not less than those set forth below:
(1) 
Automobile liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limits.
(2) 
Workers' compensation as required by statute.
(3) 
Garage keepers liability in an amount of not less than $100,000 per location.
(4) 
Garage liability in an amount not less than $500,000.
(5) 
For heavy-duty and heavy-recovery towing vehicles, $1,000,000 combined single limits with endorsement MSC-90.
(6) 
Policies endorsed to provide collision coverage for vehicles in tow.
(7) 
Name the municipality as additional insured or appropriate hold-harmless documentation.
B. 
Towing services shall provide the Township with certificates of insurance evidencing the coverages required above and reflecting a policy term of not less than the registration period.
C. 
Every towing service shall file a copy of its insurance policies with its registration applications and keep its current policy on file at all times.

§ 336-6 Rotation and operation of towing list.

A. 
A rotating list of all towing services shall be distributed to all towing services by the Police Department. The towing service on the top of the list shall be the "designated tower." This list shall operate on a one-week basis beginning at 00:01 Monday of each week and have the call until 24:00 midnight on the following Sunday. The designated tower shall be available 24 hours a day for that week and then shall rotate to the bottom of the list for the following week.
B. 
Should the designated tower not arrive within the specified time limits, the next towing service on the list shall be called with the designated tower losing any claim to the call.
C. 
It shall be understood that nothing in this chapter prohibits an owner/operator from requesting a wrecker service other than the designated tower or a towing service that is not registered by the Township of Franklin. If said requested tower service does not respond in a timely manner, the designated tower will be called by Township police.
D. 
All designated towers will be required to explain their reasons for refusing a call or lateness in responding to a call. Six refusals/unavailabilities or tardiness as defined herein in response during a calendar year shall be grounds for removal from the list.
E. 
The designated tower shall have priority on all calls should more than one tower be needed. The Police Department reserves the right to summon an alternate tower service if needed to accommodate the existing situation, i.e., heavy-duty tower needs, special material, close proximity when a dangerous situation exists. However, every effort shall be made to abide by the established list.

§ 336-7 Rates and fee schedule.

A. 
Fees and rates for towing and storage of motor vehicles damaged in accidents or recovered after being stolen shall not exceed the limits set forth by the New Jersey State Department (or Commissioner) of Insurance in N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.1 et seq.
B. 
Fees and rates for towing of motor vehicles not covered by Subsection A of this section shall not exceed the following limits:
[Amended 10-31-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-12; 3-13-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-03[1]]
(1) 
Light-duty day rate (8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.): $75 per towing vehicle dispatched, which includes towing up to five miles plus any fees for additional services performed and mileage over five miles from the scene.
(2) 
Light-duty night rate (4:30 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.): $90 per towing up to five miles from the scene. The night rate shall apply to all tows on Sundays and legal holidays in the State of New Jersey.
(3) 
Heavy-duty towing for motor vehicles with gross weight between 10,000 pounds and 26,000 pounds: $200 per hour with a minimum of one hour per towing vehicle dispatched, regardless of the time of day.
(4) 
For motor vehicles with a gross weight over 26,000 pounds, which can be moved with a conventional tower: $275 per hour with a minimum one hour per towing vehicle dispatched, regardless of the time of day.
(5) 
For motor vehicles with a gross weight over 26,000 pounds, where under-reach towing is required: $275 per hour with a minimum one hour per towing vehicle dispatched, regardless of the time of day.
(6) 
The light-duty rate is hereby established at $3.50 per mile.
(7) 
Rates for road service shall not exceed the following: Motor vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. will be $60 per call and, for the hours between 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., the fee will be $75 per call.
(8) 
All fees set by this section shall be increased or decreased by an amount equal to the annual percentage rate as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor, consumer price index (CPI) for all urban wage earners for the Philadelphia (PA) metropolitan area. The first adjustment shall be made on July 1, 2001, and each year thereafter. The same storage fee outlined in Subsection B(8)[2] is applicable to storage at the Franklin Township storage area.
[2]:
Editor's Note: Former Subsection B(8), which contained storage fees, was repealed 3-13-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-03.
[1]:
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided that the actual annual fees will be set by resolution of the Township Committee, and the Township may annually designate up to six authorized towers.

§ 336-8 Rules and regulations.

A. 
The Chief of Police, or his designee, shall be empowered to enforce the provisions of this chapter in accordance with due process of law.
B. 
All vehicles must be towed in a safe manner. All towing services shall be capable of providing reasonable roadside services to disabled vehicles such as, but not limited to, jump-starting vehicles, changing of flat tires and providing fuel. Such services will only be performed if they can be done so safely, as determined by the police officer on the scene.
C. 
All towing service shall make available a copy of its basic rates and a business card to all owners and operators of motor vehicles which will be towed.
D. 
All towing services shall keep accurate records of all motor vehicles towed and stored at the direction of the Franklin Township Police Department. A copy of such record shall be provided to the Franklin Township Committee or designee, upon request.
E. 
Towing services shall not remove any motor vehicle which has been abandoned or involved in an accident in any public roadway without first notifying the Franklin Township Police Department.
F. 
The Franklin Township Police Department shall not call a towing service to remove a vehicle from private property. The Franklin Township Police Department shall provide the owner with all available information regarding the ownership of the motor vehicle on his or her property, and the property owner will then be responsible for making arrangements to remove the vehicle.
G. 
The towing service shall notify the Franklin Township Police Department of all vehicles found by the towing service to have been abandoned and not claimed within 14 days after being stored. The Franklin Township Police Department shall, upon notification, expeditiously process the vehicle in accordance with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Code concerning abandoned and unclaimed motor vehicles.
H. 
In the event that towing service has been summoned by the Township police for the purpose of towing a vehicle and the owner or operator of the vehicle arrives on the scene and removes or has made arrangements to remove the vehicle prior to the removal of the vehicle by the towing service, the owner may not be charged by the contractor.
I. 
The towing service shall be responsible for the towing of any disabled Township-owned or Township-operated vehicle when requested by the Township, and, if required, the changing of tires on those vehicles. This service will be furnished to the Township of Franklin for the rate as governed by this chapter.
J. 
The Township will not be responsible for any charges due and owing the towing service for services performed hereunder involving motor vehicle accident vehicles, disabled vehicles, abandoned vehicles or vehicles impounded due to motor vehicle violations. The Township shall be responsible for any charges due on vehicle violations. The Township shall be responsible for any charges due on vehicles involved in crimes or other evidential needs ordered towed by the Franklin Township Police Department.
K. 
No rewards or payment of money or other gifts will be permitted to any police officer in return for calls or favoritism under penalty of law.
L. 
No towing service shall cruise along the streets or respond to accident scenes without being called for the purpose of soliciting business.
M. 
Each towing service shall apply to be registered with the Township on or before October 1 of any calendar year for the next succeeding calendar year, and the registration shall not be transferable or assigned and may be subject to revocation by the Township for any violation of the provisions of this chapter or any violation of any federal or state law relating to the operation of a motor vehicle or towing services or that the towing service made any false or misleading statements on the application. Upon the expiration of the registration of a towing service, the towing service, prior to performing any service thereafter, shall refile completely, to be registered with the Township, setting forth all the information required in the form provided by the Police Department and complying with the provisions of this chapter. Prior to registration renewal, each towing service registered under this section shall be inspected by the Chief of Police or designee for fitness.
N. 
No towing service operating under the registration issued hereunder shall employ directly or indirectly any officials, officers, employees, personnel, assigns, designees or agents of the Township of Franklin.
O. 
No registration issued pursuant to this chapter shall be transferable and upon cessation of activity under the registration through revocation or otherwise, the registration shall be determined null and void.
P. 
Such additional rules and regulations, or changes, as may be promulgated shall take effect after notification of such rules and regulations upon all holders of registrations for towing. Service shall be made by forwarding these rules and regulations by certified mail, return receipt requested, or personal service, to the towing service at the address listed in the most recent application. A copy shall also be filed with the Township.

§ 336-9 Storage facilities.

A. 
Each towing service shall have a capacity to store a minimum of 15 vehicles outside and a minimum of two vehicles inside.
B. 
The towing service shall be responsible for safe storage of the motor vehicle.
C. 
All storage facilities operated or used by the towing service shall meet the requirements of the New Jersey State Commissioner of Insurance set forth in N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.1 et seq., as well as all Township zoning and code requirements and must be located within 10 miles of the geographic center of Franklin Township.
D. 
All towing services shall have an indoor storage facility at its disposal for motor vehicles which have been involved in criminal activity and impounded by the Franklin Township Police Department. All towing services shall have an enclosed fenced area for all police-authorized tows. This area shall be accessible to towing service employees only. Outside storage areas shall be secured by a fence, wall or other man-made barrier that is at least six feet high.
E. 
All storage facilities shall have a business office open to the public between normal business hours at least five days per week, excluding holidays.
F. 
In the event that the tower service does not own the storage facility, the tower service shall present a lease agreement by a person who does own such facility evidencing that the tower service has permission to store towed vehicles at the facility, said lease shall be for a term of not less than the period of validity of the registration sought.
G. 
Towing services may share a storage lot; however there shall be sufficient storage for each towing service using the lot.
H. 
The storage area shall be improved, macadam or stone and meet all Township zoning or other state/local requirements.

§ 336-10 Towing vehicle and equipment specifications.

A. 
All towing services engaged in light-duty towing shall have at least one rollback truck or one wrecker, with the necessary booms and equipment to do the complete removal. Each truck must have a manufacturer's capacity of at least 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and a manufacturer's boom capacity of four tons. Proof of capacity must be supplied to the Franklin Township Police Department at the time of registration.
B. 
All towing services engaged in heavy-duty towing shall have one heavy-duty wrecker with a manufacturer's capacity of not less than 27,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and boom capacity of not less than 12 tons independently or 24 tons jointly, air brakes so constructed as to lock rear wheels and heavy-duty enteric.
C. 
All towing services engaged in heavy-duty recovery shall have one heavy-duty wrecker with a manufacturer's capacity of not less than 27,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and boom capacity of not less than 12 tons independently or 24 tons jointly; two power winches with pulling capacity of not less than 12 tons each; at least 200 feet of cable at least 9/16 of an inch diameter on each drum; double boom to permit splitting, or single boom hydraulically elevated and extendible with a three-hundred-sixty-degree swivel on the end of the boom; air brakes so constructed as to lock rear wheels; heavy duty enteric; two snatch blocks with a twelve-ton rating and two scotch blocks.
D. 
All towing vehicles must have radio equipment with a twenty-four-hour dispatch service or a cellular telephone for the purpose of maintaining communications with the Franklin Township Police Department radio desk.
E. 
All towing vehicles must be equipped with at least one five-pound ABC-type fire extinguisher, safety chains, substances for application to small liquid spills, and stiff push brooms to clean up debris at the scene.
F. 
Proof of towing vehicle and equipment specifications shall be provided to the Franklin Township Committee or designee with registration application.
G. 
All towing vehicles are to conform with all applicable state and federal laws and shall be subject to inspection by Franklin Township officials during normal business hours at the time of registration and on an annual basis thereafter.
H. 
At no time will the designated tower call another service to respond to its call, without the permission of the Franklin Township Police Department, which shall be noted in the Department records.
I. 
Each tower vehicle shall have amply authorized warning lights, tow vehicle illumination, stop lights and portable fire extinguishers. Failure of the towing service to maintain adequate and safe equipment may be considered by the Township as sufficient cause for the revocation and termination of the registration.
J. 
All tower vehicles must carry cleanup equipment and supplies including brooms, trash cans, plastic bags, shovels and speedy-dry-type materials. The towing service is responsible for the prompt and safe removal of the disabled vehicle and for the prompt and complete removal of all litter and debris (within reason) resulting from the accident with the exception of hazardous materials as set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.8.

§ 336-11 Records, reports and receipts.

A. 
Every towing service shall give the owner of the vehicle a written receipt for the fee paid. Copies of receipts shall be maintained by the towing service for two years after its delivery and shall be available for inspection by the Chief of Police or his designee or the Township Committee.
B. 
Any license plates removed by the towing service shall be returned to the Police Department.
C. 
Every towing service holding a registration shall keep a record of all details of each vehicle towed, together with full information concerning the service and fee charged.
D. 
This record shall indicate the date of towing, the location and the name and address of the owner and/or driver of the vehicle. The record book herein described shall be kept open for inspection at all times by the Chief of Police or his designee.
E. 
A vehicle impounded by the police shall not be released without the written permission from the Police Department. All other regulations regarding impounded vehicles shall be governed by the rules and regulations of the Franklin Township Police Department.
F. 
It shall be the responsibility of the towing company to obtain proper proof of ownership and identification prior to the release of any vehicle. The release of any vehicle to an authorized person by the towing company shall not result in liability against the Township.

§ 336-12 Rights of vehicle owners.

A. 
Towing services and employees thereof are expected to act in a professional manner and at all times are to be courteous and respectful toward members of the public as well as all representatives of the Township of Franklin.
B. 
Reports of discourteous behavior by the towing service or employees thereof, which can be substantiated and documented, may be considered by the Township as sufficient cause for nonrenewal, revocation and/or termination of the registration.
(1) 
The owner of any vehicle towed shall have the right to remove property belonging to him from the stored vehicle unless a "police hold" has been opposed, during normal business hours.
(2) 
The owner of any person shall not be allowed to remove the license plates or parts from the vehicle until such time as all fees are paid.
(3) 
Vehicle owners, their representatives or insurance adjusters have the right to take photographs of stored vehicles for insurance purposes during normal business hours of the towing service.
(4) 
All employees of the towing service shall provide operators or owners of vehicles on which services are to be performed with service description cards. All service description cards shall disclose the following information:
[Amended 10-31-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-12]
(a) 
Name of towing service.
(b) 
Address of towing service.
(c) 
Telephone number of towing service.
(d) 
All rates for towing and storage.
(e) 
Location of storage area.
(f) 
Time periods in which stored vehicles will be available for pickup by the owner.
C. 
All service description cards are to be in printed form and are to be clear, legible and in plain language.

§ 336-13 Disputes.

A. 
Any disputes over the interpretation of this chapter, including the reasonableness of charges assessed, shall be settled amicably if possible, through negotiations between the towing service, the Police Department and the Township Committee.
B. 
In cases where the Township has mistakenly directed that a vehicle be towed or has acted on incorrect information supplied by other official sources, the towing service will be reimbursed the towing fee by the Township.
C. 
No part of this registration shall be assigned, leased, sublet or otherwise disposed of by the towing service, except with the prior written approval of the Township of Franklin.
D. 
The Township reserves the right to terminate the registration of any operator if, in its sole opinion, the towing service has failed to adequately perform hereunder.

§ 336-14 Violations and penalties.

Violations of the provisions of this chapter shall be punishable as provided in Chapter 1, Article I, General Penalty.