City of Hackensack, NJ
Bergen County
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[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Hackensack 9-2-2008 by Ord. No. 16-2008.
Editor's Note: This ordinance superseded former Ch. 159, Towers and Wreckers, adopted 10-18-1982 by Ord. No. 23-82, as amended.
Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES

Junkyards and storage yards — See Ch. 104.

Parking on private property — See Ch. 127.

Abandoned vehicles and property — See Ch. 168.

Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 170.

§ 159-1
Definitions. 

§ 159-2
License required; fees; expiration. 

§ 159-3
License application. 

§ 159-4
Operating conditions. 

§ 159-5
Equipment and insurance. 

§ 159-6
Investigation of applicant. 

§ 159-7
Powers and duties of Chief of Police. 

§ 159-8
Exemptions. 

§ 159-9
Severability. 

§ 159-10
Violations and penalties. 

§ 159-11
Annual list of approved towing operators. 

§ 159-12
Removal of unauthorized vehicles from public and private property. 

§ 159-13
Trespass towing. 

§ 159-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

CRUISING
The operation of an unengaged wrecker along the public streets in any fashion intended, likely or calculated to solicit business.
DEBRIS
Any fragments at the scene of a towing assignment for which the removal will require no additional personnel or special equipment, i.e., broken glass, vehicle parts, or other items.
OWNER
A person, firm or corporation who or which owns and/or operates a vehicle on the roads and highways within the City of Hackensack, which vehicle, by reason of being disabled or being unlawfully upon said roads, requires towing services.
SPILLAGE
The release of vehicle cargo or contents where the removal may require the use of extra personnel and/or specialized equipment.
TOWING OPERATOR
A person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of providing wrecker services and storage services for vehicles towed, which services are made available to the general public upon such rates, charges and fees as determined by said person, firm or corporation and who or which is licensed under the provisions of this chapter.
WRECKER
A vehicle driven by mechanical power and employed for the purpose of towing, transporting, conveying or removing any and all kinds of vehicles or parts of vehicles which are unable to be operated under their own power, for which a service charge or fee is exacted.

§ 159-2 License required; fees; expiration.

A. 

License required. No towing operator shall operate within the City of Hackensack without obtaining a license in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

B. 

The fee for the license issued under this chapter shall be $500. The license shall remain in effect from January 1 to December 31 of each year or any part thereof. It may be renewed annually by the operator paying a fee of $500.

§ 159-3 License application.

An application for a license as a proprietor of a towing or wrecking business shall be made by the person or firm engaged in operating a wrecker or wreckers. The application shall be made on forms furnished by the Police Department and specifically report the following facts:

A. 

The full name and address of the applicant. If the application is made for a corporation, it shall state the names and addresses of all officers and directors thereof, its registered office and its registered agent.

B. 

The year, make and type of each wrecker used in said business, its vehicle identification number, registration number and registered owner.

C. 

The street address of the applicant's storage facilities, including a description of size and capacity.

D. 

The address where the wrecker or wreckers shall be regularly garaged, the telephone numbers available on a twenty-four-hour-per-day basis and the names of all operators, their addresses and copy of their current New Jersey driver's license.

E. 

In order to ensure rapid response to requests for service, all applicants who are named as official City towers shall maintain a regular place of business within the City of Hackensack.

§ 159-4 Operating conditions.

By making application to be licensed as a towing operator in the City of Hackensack, the person or firm agrees to the following conditions:

A. 

Provide a prompt, courteous response to each call.

B. 

Collect and remove all debris at the accident site emanating from the accident, free of charge, unless it involves a major spillage.

C. 

Provide the Police Department with the following information, free of charge, on vehicles unclaimed over 30 days:

(1) 

Year, make, color and vehicle identification number.

(2) 

Owner's name and address.

(3) 

Copy of a certified letter advising the owner of the vehicle's whereabouts.

(4) 

Photograph of vehicle.

(5) 

Any other items or information deemed necessary by the Police Department concerning any vehicle.

D. 

Maintain a record in a bound volume of all towing and wrecking jobs handled, on public or private property, the name of the owner or operator involved, the charge made for the service, and the date and amount of payment. The tower will also provide a three-part receipt book. The receipts will be issued as follows:

(1) 

The original shall be issued to the vehicle owner upon completion of payment of charges.

(2) 

Hackensack Police Department, to be forwarded to the Traffic Division within 14 days after payment for services by the customer.

(3) 

Tower's copy, to be kept on file at the tower's business as a record of transaction.

E. 

Maintain a written schedule of all rates and charges, in compliance with this agreement, and make such schedule available when requested; have conspicuously displayed at the place of business, either painted or permanently affixed, a schedule of maximum towing charges and storage charges permitted by this chapter. Business hours shall be posted. Whenever practicable, the owner or driver of any vehicle utilizing towing service shall be given a copy of a full statement of rates at the time that the towing services are rendered. In any event, a full schedule of rates shall be annexed to each bill for towing service.

F. 

No towing operator or firm licensed under this chapter may charge rates in excess of the following for towing, conveying, road service or storage of a motor vehicle:

(1) 

Service charges shall be as follows:

(a) 

For road service at any time: $50, plus reasonable costs of any materials, i.e., oil, gas, fluids, etc.

(b) 

No charge for release of vehicle from storage facility.

[1] 

The tower must be available to release any towed/stored vehicles between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays.

(2) 

Towing charges.

(a) 

Towing charges shall be:

[1] 

For automobiles and motorcycles: $125, plus an administrative fee of $25 payable to the City of Hackensack.

[2] 

If and in the event a tower responds to an accident, or other motorist difficulty, and the motorist requests that the tower bring the car to a location other than the tower's place of business, then the tower may charge an additional fee of $5 per mile, to be measured from the Hackensack City limits.

[3] 

(Reserved)

[4] 

For trucks under 10,000 pounds: $200, plus an administrative fee of $25 payable to the City of Hackensack.

[5] 

For trucks 10,000 pounds to 26,000 pounds: $300, plus an administrative fee of $25 payable to the City of Hackensack.

[6] 

For trucks over 26,000 pounds: $400, plus an administrative fee of $25 payable to the City of Hackensack.

(b) 

In no event shall the tower be required to tow the vehicle more than 10 miles out of the City limits, in a direct line and measurement, unless agreed upon by the tower.

(c) 

The base fee of $150 is under the presumption that the car will be towed to the tower's lot.

(d) 

If and in the event a tow is required which must be performed under extraordinary circumstances as determined by the police personnel at the scene, then additional charges may be charged for services rendered.

(3) 

There shall be no charge for storage for the first 24 hours. The storage charge after the initial 24 hours shall be as follows:

(a) 

Automobiles and motorcycles shall be $25 per day.

(b) 

Vehicles 2,500 pounds to 3,400 pounds shall be $35 per day.

(c) 

Vehicles over 3,400 pounds shall be $45 per day.

(d) 

If and in the event a towed vehicle is larger than a standard parking space (such as a bus or large truck), then the storage charge shall be $55 per day.

§ 159-5 Equipment and insurance.

A. 

The licensee shall be responsible for the inspection and operation of its equipment. Each wrecker must meet all of the requirements of the New Jersey Revised Statutes, Title 39, Motor Vehicle Rules and Regulations, and have a boom-lifting capacity of at least four tons. In addition, each wrecker must have the following equipment:

(1) 

One large broom and shovel.

(2) 

At least one set of dolly wheels.

(3) 

Steering wheel lock for towing vehicles from the rear.

(4) 

Tow-sling-type tow bar to prevent any part of the crane metal from touching the towed vehicle.

(5) 

Emergency warning lights.

(6) 

Portable safety lights to be installed on the rear of a towed vehicle if necessary.

(7) 

Safety flares for night work.

(8) 

Any standard equipment necessary for performing road service.

B. 

The application for a towing and wrecking license shall be accompanied by a certificate of liability insurance for said wrecker in the policy limits of no less than $1,000,000 for one person, $2,000,000 for one accident and $500,000 for property damage. The certificate of insurance shall be issued by a company certified to do business in New Jersey, and each policy so required must contain an endorsement providing for 30 days' notice to the City of Hackensack in the event of any material changes in the policy or cancellation thereof.

§ 159-6 Investigation of applicant.

Any tower wishing to tow and/or store vehicles within the boundaries of Hackensack must apply to the City of Hackensack by way of application. Within 20 days after receipt of an application, the Chief of Police shall commence an investigation of the applicant and its business operations. Upon completion of the investigation, the Chief of Police shall make his recommendation to the City Manager with respect to the grant or denial of a tow truck operator's license. The Chief of Police shall recommend approval of an application when he finds that the following requirements and certifications have been provided by the applicant:

A. 

That the insurance policies as required have been procured and supplied.

B. 

That the applicant has certified that the proposed operators are properly licensed and qualified to operate the tow truck and conduct a tow truck service in the City of Hackensack.

C. 

That the applicant has certified that the requirements of this chapter and all other statutes have been met.

D. 

That the applicant has certified that the vehicle has been properly licensed and inspected by the State of New Jersey and has the necessary stickers affixed. No vehicle shall be licensed as a tow truck which is using dealer's plates or which has failed state inspection.

E. 

The applicant shall see that a business record is maintained containing the names, addresses, and twenty-four-hour telephone numbers of all licensed wreckers and a record of the types of wreckers available.

§ 159-7 Powers and duties of Chief of Police.

A. 

The Chief of Police, or his designee, is hereby given the authority to hold administrative hearings with regard to violations of the terms and conditions of this chapter if the tower is found guilty of violating any of the provisions of this chapter. Notice must be given to the person or firm of any alleged violations of this chapter. Within 30 days of such notice, a hearing shall be conducted by the Chief of Police, or his designee, unless additional time is requested by the alleged violator, not to exceed an additional 30 days. The person or firm charged with such violations shall be given an opportunity to present evidence at this hearing.

B. 

The Chief of Police, or his designee, shall render a decision regarding the suspension or revocation of the license within 10 business days of the hearing. The person or firm whose license is revoked or suspended may appeal this decision to the Mayor and Council within 10 days of the date of the decision by the Chief of Police, or his designee.

§ 159-8 Exemptions.

If and in the event a tower is summoned by the police and arrives at the scene of an accident, and the vehicle owner refuses to allow the vehicle to be towed by said tower, the towing company may charge a service fee of $20 which shall be paid by the owner or operator of the vehicle.

§ 159-9 Severability.

If, for any reason, any section or any part of a section, paragraph, or provision of this chapter shall be held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect any other section or any part of a section, paragraph or provision of this chapter.

§ 159-10 Violations and penalties.

Any towing company found guilty in the Municipal Court of the City of Hackensack of a violation of the terms of this chapter shall be subject to a fine as follows:

A. 

First offense: not less than $1,000 and not more than $2,500, and/or up to 30 days' imprisonment.

B. 

Second offense: not less than $2,500 and not more than $5,000, and/or 30 days' imprisonment.

C. 

Third offense: not less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000 and/or 30 days' imprisonment.

D. 

All other subsequent offenses shall result in a minimum penalty of $5,000, not more than $10,000, and/or up to 90 days' imprisonment.

§ 159-11 Annual list of approved towing operators.

A. 

Pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5(1)(u), the Mayor and Council shall annually establish a list of approved towing operators to provide those towing services requested by the City of Hackensack or any departments thereof. Such towing services shall be provided on an equal and rotating basis. Any such towing operator on said list may not delegate his, her or its responsibilities to another towing operator not so listed.

B. 

To qualify for such listing, the towing operator shall be the holder, in good standing, of a City license issued pursuant to §§ 159-2 and 159-3 of this chapter and shall have reasonable and adequate motor vehicle storage facilities located within the City of Hackensack.

§ 159-12 Removal of unauthorized vehicles from public and private property.

Any tower who engages in the removal of vehicles from public or private property must be licensed by the City of Hackensack unless summoned by the owner or operator of the vehicle.

A. 

No vehicle shall be removed to a storage facility located at a distance greater than 7.5 miles from the intersection of Central Avenue and State Street in the City of Hackensack.

B. 

No towing operator so engaged shall charge any rates greater than those authorized by § 159-4F of this chapter; nor shall any charge be made for any service not specifically set forth in § 159-4F of chapter.

C. 

Whenever a vehicle is towed from private property, the Hackensack Police Department shall be immediately notified as to the reason of the towing; the year, make and model, and license number of the vehicle; the name and address of the owner, if known; the name and address of the tower; and the address or location to which the vehicle was towed. A summons must also be issued before towing off private property.

D. 

A copy of the payment receipt shall be provided to the Hackensack Police Department in accordance with § 159-4D(2).

§ 159-13 Trespass towing.

The following provisions shall apply to any towing operator when engaged by the owner or other person in control or possession of private property to remove therefrom an unauthorized vehicle:

A. 

Posting of warning signs.

(1) 

No vehicle shall be towed from a private parking lot for designated parking violations unless a sign is conspicuously posted and clearly visible from all vehicle and pedestrian entrances to the property indicating the following:

(a) 

A warning that the property is a private tow-away zone and a vehicle not authorized to park on the property will be towed at the owner's expense.

(b) 

The telephone number of the person or entity from whom a towed vehicle can be recovered.

(c) 

A statement that the vehicle may be recovered between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.

(2) 

A warning sign is not required as a condition precedent to towing a vehicle blocking a private entrance, exit, driveway, fire lane or loading area; neither shall this section apply to statutory parking violations relating to handicapped parking or nonconsensual tows directed by a governmental enforcement officer.

B. 

No towing service operating within the City of Hackensack shall tow a vehicle or charge for its services where the registered owner or other legally authorized person in control of the vehicle arrives at the scene prior to towing the vehicle from the lot and:

(1) 

Agrees to immediately remove the vehicle from the lot; and

(2) 

Provides the towing operator with his or her name, address and vehicle information as set forth on the vehicle registration.

(3) 

A fee of $35.00 shall be paid to the towing company by the owner of the vehicle.

C. 

No vehicles removed from private property shall be stored on public property, including public streets.

D. 

No towing operator engaged by a private party shall charge rates greater than those authorized by § 159-4F of this chapter; nor shall any charge be made for any service not specifically set forth in § 159-4F of this chapter.