Borough of Highland Park, NJ
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Highland Park by Ord. No. 943 (§ 4-9 of the 1987 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Parking — See Ch. 278.
Junk vehicles — See Ch. 395.

§ 407-1 Short title.

This chapter shall be known and may be called the "Borough of Highland Park Wrecker Ordinance."

§ 407-2 Definitions.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1369]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meaning indicated:
AUTOMOBILE
A private passenger automobile of a private passenger or station wagon type that is owned or hired and is neither used as a public or livery conveyance for passengers nor rented to others with a driver; and a motor vehicle with a pickup body, or delivery sedan, a van, or a panel truck or a camper type vehicle used for recreational purposes owned by an individual or by husband and wife who are residents of the same household, not customarily used in the occupation, profession or business of the insured other than farming or ranching. An automobile owned by a farm family copartnership or corporation, which is principally garaged on a farm or ranch and otherwise meets the definitions contained in this chapter, shall be considered a private passenger automobile owned by two or more relatives resident in the same household.
BASIC TOWING SERVICE
The removal and transportation of an automobile from a highway, street or other public or private road, or a parking area, or from a storage facility, and other services normally incident thereto, but does not include recovery of any automobile from a position beyond the right-of-way or berm, or from being impaled upon any other object within the right-of-way or berm.
BOROUGH
The Borough of Highland Park.
CRUISING
The driving of a wrecker along any Borough street for the purpose of soliciting business in the Borough.
MOTOR VEHICLE
And include all vehicles propelled otherwise than by muscular power, except such vehicles as run only upon rails or tracks, or motorized bicycles.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
An occurrence in which a private passenger automobile comes in contact with any other object for which the private passenger automobile must be towed or removed for placement in a storage facility. This includes all situations which are accidental as to the insured even if they were caused by the intentional acts of a perpetrator where the perpetrator was not the insured or not otherwise involved with the insured.
OUTSIDE SECURED
An automobile storage facility that is not indoors and is secured by a fence, wall or other man-made barrier that is at least six feet high and is installed with a passive alarm system or a similar on-site security measure. The facility is to be lighted at night.
OUTSIDE UNSECURED
An automobile storage facility that is not indoors and is not secured by a fence, wall or other man-made barrier, and all other storage facilities not defined above as inside building or outside secured.
OWNED
Owned, rented or leased.
OWNER
One who owns, rents or leases.
STORAGE CHARGES FOR A TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR PERIOD
The maximum allowable amount to be charged by a storage facility for a twenty-four-hour period or fraction thereof. A new twenty-four-hour period begins at 12:01 a.m.
TOW OPERATOR
A person engaged in the business of towing and storing motor vehicles or offering the services of a tow vehicle or tow truck and storage services.
TOW VEHICLE BASE OF SERVICE
The towing operator's principal place of business where the tow vehicle is stationed when not in use.
TOW VEHICLE or TOW TRUCK
Those vehicles equipped with a boom or booms, winches, slings, tilt beds, wheel lifts or under-reach equipment specifically designed by their manufacturer for the removal or transport of motor vehicles, including flatbed vehicles, employed for the purpose of towing, transporting, conveying and/or removing motor vehicles which are unable to be operated under their owner power from one place to another for which a charge or fee is extracted.
WRECKER
A vehicle used for the purpose of towing, transporting or otherwise removing any and all kinds of vehicles which are disabled.

§ 407-3 Expiration.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1147; Ord. No. 1213]
All licenses issued under this chapter shall be issued to expire and shall expire on the last day of February, or the expiration date of insurance, unless sooner suspended or revoked by the Borough Council as hereinafter provided.

§ 407-4 License fees.

The fee for a license for a wrecker shall be $200 per year and the fee for any such license issued on or after September 1 of any year shall be $100. All fees shall be payable to the Borough Clerk.

§ 407-5 Application for wrecker license.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1036; Ord. No. 1467]
Applications for licenses issued hereunder shall be made upon blank forms prepared and made available by the Chief of Police and shall state under oath:
A. 
The name, home address and proposed or actual business address of the applicant, and whether he is owner, lessee or bailee.
B. 
Description of wrecker for which the license is desired, including year, make, model, type, serial number of body, motor capacity and gross vehicle weight.
C. 
Length of time for which the wrecker has been in use as a wrecker.
D. 
That the applicant has available space within the Borough for properly accommodating and protecting the disabled vehicles to be towed or otherwise removed from the place where they are disabled or located, and that the disabled or other vehicles will not be stored or allowed to remain on public property or Borough streets or on property which is not zoned for such storage.
E. 
That the applicant owns the necessary equipment to tow or otherwise remove automobiles, vans and small trucks.
F. 
A certification that response times to police requests for light-duty towing services shall in no event exceed 20 minutes from the time of the police dispatcher's call to the time of arrival at the scene.
[Amended 6-1-2010 by Ord. No. 10-1785]
G. 
Such other information which the Chief of Police shall deem necessary or proper to effectuate the purpose of this chapter and to determine whether there has been compliance with the terms thereof.
[Added 6-1-2010 by Ord. No. 10-1785]

§ 407-6 Application for heavy-duty wrecker license.

[Added by Ord. No. 1467]
Application for licenses issued hereunder shall be made upon blank forms prepared and made available by the Chief of Police and shall state under oath:
A. 
The name, home address and proposed or actual business address of the applicant, and whether he is owner, lessee or bailee.
B. 
Description of wrecker for which license is desired, including year, make, model, type, serial number of body, motor capacity and gross vehicle weight.
C. 
Length of time for which the wrecker has been in use as a wrecker.
D. 
That the applicant owns the necessary equipment to tow or otherwise remove buses, large trucks and utility equipment, and has the availability of storage in the Borough of Highland Park if so directed by the Chief of Police.
E. 
That the applicant owns the necessary equipment to tow or otherwise remove automobiles, vans and small trucks during emergencies only, when called upon to do so by the Chief of Police. In such cases, the provision cited in other sections of this chapter requiring local storage facilities may be waived by the Chief of Police.
F. 
A certification that response times to police requests for heavy-duty towing services shall in no event exceed 45 minutes from the time of the police dispatcher's call to the time of arrival at the scene.
[Amended 6-1-2010 by Ord. No. 10-1785]
G. 
Such other information which the Chief of Police shall deem necessary or proper to effectuate the purpose of this chapter and to determine whether there has been compliance with the terms thereof.
[Added 6-1-2010 by Ord. No. 10-1785]

§ 407-7 Investigation by Chief of Police.

Within seven days after receipt of an application as herein provided, the Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made of the applicant and of his proposed business operation to be licensed. The Chief of Police, within the limits of funds appropriated for that purpose, may delegate the inspection of the wrecker to an independent person, who may or may not be engaged in business in the Borough, who shall be qualified by experience and training to make such inspection and who shall report to the Chief of Police whether the wrecker is in a thoroughly safe and sanitary condition. Within 14 days after completion of the inspection and investigation, the Chief of Police shall present the application to the Borough Council for approval or rejection.

§ 407-8 Standards for inspection and investigation by Chief of Police.

The Chief of Police shall report to the Borough Council that the following standards have been met:
A. 
The public convenience and necessity will be served by the use of the wrecker for which application has been made.
B. 
The wrecker to be licensed is in a thoroughly safe and sanitary condition.
C. 
The requirement of this chapter and all other governing laws, statutes and ordinances have been met.
D. 
The wrecker has been properly licensed and inspected by the State of New Jersey and has the necessary stickers affixed. No wrecker shall be licensed as a wrecker which is using dealer license plates.
E. 
The insurance policies or certificates as required herein have been procured and supplied.

§ 407-9 Issuance of license.

Upon approval of the application by the Borough Council, upon receipt of payment from the applicant of the proper license fee for each wrecker license; and upon receipt of insurance policies approved by the Borough Attorney, the Borough Clerk shall issue a license dated in accordance with the expiration date stated herein.

§ 407-10 Exhibition of license.

The Chief of Police shall issue to the person owning a licensed wrecker a card not less than four inches in width and not more than six inches in length in such form as may be set by the Chief which shall be at all times prominently displayed on the right front windshield of each wrecker, and which shall bear the name and business address of the owner, official license number of the wrecker, the rate of fares and conditions of employment under which such wrecker is operating and a notice that in case of any complaint, the Chief of Police be notified. Such card shall have attached thereto the signature of the Chief of Police and the date of inspection of the wrecker, together with blank spaces upon which any entry shall be made of the date of every inspection of the wrecker by the inspector.

§ 407-11 Insurance policies.

No wrecker shall be licensed hereunder nor shall any licensed wreckers be operated within the Borough unless there shall be deposited with the Borough Clerk the following insurance policies or certificates of insurance:
A. 
Auto garage keepers' policy. Auto garage keepers' legal liability policy, covering fire, theft and explosion and collision in the minimum amount of $50,000 and collision coverage subject to $100 deductible with each accident deemed a separate claim.
B. 
Auto garage legal liability policy. Auto garage legal liability policy covering the operation of the licensee's equipment or wrecker and bodily injury and property damage. This policy will be in the amount of $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident for bodily injury or $500,000 combined single limit, and in the amount of $100,000 for property damage. Each policy herein must contain an endorsement providing 10 days' notice to the Borough in the event of any material change therein or intention to cancel the policy for any cause. In the event that any policy is changed so as to fail to conform with any of the above requirements, or if any policy of insurance is to be cancelled for any reason, the Chief of Police shall notify the person responsible for the policy and it shall be corrected or reinstated or replaced with a conforming policy within 10 days after the notice is received by the Borough, but before the date of cancellation. If the policy or certificate is not corrected, reinstated or replaced prior to the date of cancellation, the Chief of Police shall immediately suspend the wrecker license and shall pick up from the owner all proof of licensing, including any stickers, cards or other means of identification.
C. 
The Borough of Highland Park shall be named an additional insured on all policies and certificates at the expense of the applicant or licensee. Copies of same must be filed with the Borough Clerk.

§ 407-12 Fee schedule.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1147; Ord. No. 1213; Ord. No. 1369; Ord. No. 1493]
A. 
No person shall be liable to any tow operator who tows or stores an automobile for any fees in excess of the following:
[Amended 11-1-2016 by Ord. No. 16-1917]
Basic Towing Service Fees
Maximum Fee
2017
2018
2019
Days:
1 mile or less
$65
$90
$115
Each additional mile
$2.25
$2.75
$3.50
Nights, weekends and New Jersey state holidays:
1 mile or less
$75
$100
$125
Each additional mile
$2.50
$3.25
$4
Vehicles over 12,500 pounds, straight truck
$120 plus $5 per mile
Vehicles in excess of 12,500 pounds, tractor trailer
$325 plus $7 per mile
Storage Fees
Inside building
$50 per day
Outside secured storage
$35 per day
Accident Fees
Clean up depending on severity
$50 plus cost of material(s)
Labor
$75 per hour/per man/half hour rate applied
Administrative fees/yard fees
$35
Waiting times
$25 per 15 minutes
Road service calls (tire repair/lockouts, etc.)
$75
(1) 
The above fees are set by the Commissioner of Insurance pursuant to N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.1 et seq., and shall be superseded by any fee changes implemented by the Commissioner. It shall be the responsibility of the tow operators to comply with all applicable Department of Insurance rules and fee regulations.
(2) 
Applicability of rates.
(a) 
When towing services are required at the scene of an automobile accident, the day rate shall apply when the time of the accident is between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except New Jersey State holidays. The night, weekend and holiday rate shall otherwise apply.
(b) 
When towing services are otherwise required, the day rate shall apply when the vehicle is transported (pickup to delivery) entirely between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except New Jersey State holidays. The night, weekend and holiday rate shall otherwise apply.
(3) 
Storage fees are for each twenty-four-hour period or fraction thereof. A new twenty-four-hour period begins at 12:01 a.m.
(4) 
For the storage of motor vehicles at all times other than those instances involving theft or accident the fee shall be $20 per diem.
B. 
No person shall be liable to any tow operator for any other towing or storage services for any fees in excess of the licensee's approved fee schedule. Current fee schedules shall be submitted for approval of an annual basis at the time of application for license renewal.
C. 
When basic towing services are rendered, there shall be no additional charges other than those provided for in Subsection A above, including but not limited to flat-bedding, waiting time, winching, cleanup costs and additional labor.
D. 
Towing rates shall be calculated based on the total distance traveled from the tow vehicle's base of operations to the job site and return, by way of the shortest available route. Fractions shall be rounded to the nearest whole.
E. 
Tow vehicles transporting multiple vehicles at one time may charge the applicable fee for each vehicle transported.
F. 
Prior to hookup or flatbedding of a motor vehicle, the tow operator shall present a copy of its fee schedule to the owner or operator of the vehicle. The fee schedule shall also contain the name, address and telephone number of the tow operator and a statement of the hours when the motor vehicle may be claimed.

§ 407-13 Requirement for driver.

No person shall drive a wrecker who is under the age of 18 years and who has not in his possession a license duly issued to him to operate a motor vehicle in the State of New Jersey.

§ 407-14 Duties of licensee.

A wrecker license hereunder shall be issued subject to the following conditions:
A. 
The licensee shall prominently display the license issued by the Chief of Police on the right front windshield of the wrecker.
B. 
No licensee, employees or agents shall solicit or engage in "cruising," demand or receive from any persons, any pay, commission or emolument whatever, except the proper fee authorized for transporting the disabled vehicle in accordance with the schedule of service rates listed in § 407-12.
C. 
Licensees shall keep and maintain towing equipment which is adequate to perform such towing in a reasonably workmanlike manner.
D. 
Each licensee shall record in a book kept solely for such purpose the details of each vehicle towed, serviced or transported by him or his agents or employees, together with full information concerning the details surrounding the hire, the name of the owner of the towed vehicle and of the patron engaging him; which book shall be open for inspection at all times to a duly authorized representative of the Police Department of the Borough or a duly authorized representative of the Borough Council.
E. 
Stickers will be placed on cars that police impound for any criminal action. No car will be released unless towing charge is paid to wrecker operator. Release slip will be given to owner of vehicle impounded by police.
F. 
Licensees shall respond to a police request for light-duty towing services within 20 minutes, or within 45 minutes for a request for heavy-duty towing services, from the time of the police dispatcher's call to the time of arrival at the scene.
[Added 6-1-2010 by Ord. No. 10-1785]

§ 407-15 Rotating call list.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1036; Ord. No. 1369]
A. 
To be eligible for inclusion on the rotating call list, each wrecker must:
(1) 
Be properly licensed and inspected by the State of New Jersey.
(2) 
Be equipped with the following items:
(a) 
Sledge hammer;
(b) 
Crow bar;
(c) 
Ax;
(d) 
Broom;
(e) 
Shovel;
(f) 
Flares;
(g) 
First aid kit (for garage employees);
(h) 
Charged fire extinguisher, either CO or dry powder.
(3) 
If scheduled wrecker finds he will not be available, he shall make arrangements with other wrecker service to cover for him when the scheduled wrecker will not be available.
(4) 
Be responsible for the removal of all debris from the highway, including sweeping to remove all glass, upon completion of investigation by the Police.
(5) 
Not use as a wrecker any vehicle which is using dealer license plates or which has failed the state inspection.

§ 407-16 Application.

[Amended by Ord. No. 1036]
A. 
Except as to the prohibition against cruising, the provisions of this chapter are applicable to the engaging of wreckers by the Borough Police Department either on its own initiative or at the request of owners, drivers, or lessees of vehicles requiring the service of wreckers.
B. 
Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the owner, lessee, agent or driver of a vehicle which is disabled, from calling a wrecker of his/her choice to move his/her vehicle provided there is no obstruction of traffic or public right-of-way, or unless a police officer at the scene determines that the wrecker cannot arrive at the scene within the time limits specified in § 407-14F and the safety of persons or motorists may be jeopardized thereby. Charges for such service shall be such rate as is agreed upon between the owner, lessee, agent or driver and the wrecker selected.
[Amended 6-1-2010 by Ord. No. 10-1785]

§ 407-17 Police powers.

The Police Department shall have the power to require wreckers to remove vehicles immediately where:
A. 
There is obstruction of public right-of-way or private property.
B. 
A vehicle has been vandalized or presents a fire or safety hazard or an attractive nuisance.
C. 
An abandoned vehicle bears no discernible registration or identification data.
D. 
An abandoned vehicle is not licensed or operable.
E. 
A vehicle is reasonably believed to have been involved in the commission of a public offense.
F. 
A vehicle is violating any emergency or "no parking" provisions as set forth in Chapter 7, Traffic.
G. 
A vehicle is violating Chapter 278, Article I, as specified in § 278-6 thereof.
H. 
Any other condition where permitted or required by law.

§ 407-18 Borough not to be held liable.

Since the bailment of impounded vehicles is solely for the benefit of the public at large, the Borough, its agents or employees, shall assume no liability to owner of any such vehicles or any other party, arising out of the removal, impoundment and disposition of any vehicles pursuant to this chapter and otherwise in accordance with law.

§ 407-19 Licenses limited.

It is hereby determined under the lawful exercise of the police power of the Borough that the public convenience and necessity require that the number of wreckers to be licensed with the Borough shall be limited to 15 because of the limited area of the Borough.

§ 407-20 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 2-7-1989 by Ord. No. 1178]
A. 
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall upon conviction, be punished by a fine not less than $25 and not to exceed the penalty as established in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article III, General Penalty.
B. 
In addition, the Mayor and Council, after a hearing, may revoke or suspend any license issued hereunder or may refuse to renew any license previously issued hereunder for violation of any of the provisions of this chapter.

§ 407-21 Promulgation of rules; enforcement.

[Added by Ord. No. 1369]
A. 
The Chief of Police shall promulgate such rules, regulations and procedures, not inconsistent with this chapter, as may be reasonable and necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter. Copies thereof shall be provided to all licensed tow operators and shall be made available to the public, along with copies of current fee schedules, during normal business hours. Failure to comply with applicable rules, regulations and procedures may be cause for revocation of a tow operator's license.
B. 
The Chief of Police is hereby designated to enforce the provisions of this chapter and any applicable rules and regulations.

§ 407-22 On-call towing list.

[Added by Ord. No. 1369]
A. 
The Chief of Police shall maintain a list of those tow operators licensed by the Borough to respond to calls from the Borough Police Department. In order to be included on the on-call towing list, an applicant must meet all of the requirements of this chapter.
B. 
Calls to tow operators on the on-call list shall be made on a nondiscriminatory rotating basis, pursuant to procedures established by the Chief of Police. Nothing herein shall prohibit the Chief of Police or his designee from calling a tow operator out of sequence or seeking the services of a tow operator not on the on-call list if the circumstances require specialized equipment or if the interests of public safety so require.
C. 
The fees to be charged for towing and storage services shall be set forth in § 407-12. The Borough shall not be liable for the cost of any towing and/or storage services unless those services are performed on a municipal vehicle.
D. 
Inclusion on the on-call towing list shall be automatically revoked upon expiration or revocation of the tow operator's license. The Chief of Police may also suspend a licensed tow operator's inclusion on the on-call towing list for such period of time as he considers appropriate for violations of this chapter, after a hearing on such violations.
E. 
Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit a motorist or motor vehicle owner from summoning a tow operator of his or her own choosing, except that any Borough Police Officer at the scene of an incident requiring towing services shall be responsible for making the final determination as to when towing shall take place and which tow operator shall be called.
F. 
All vehicles towed at the request of the Borough must be removed to an approved storage facility unless the owner or operator of the vehicle specifically requests that it be towed to another destination. Any Borough Police Officer at the scene shall be responsible for making the final determination as to the towing destination.