City of Camden, NJ
Camden County
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Camden 12-9-1971 as Art. 16 of Ch. 8 of the Revised Ordinances; amended in its entirety 11-24-1982 by Ord. No. MC-1910. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES

Repair stations — See Ch. 270.

Junkyards — See Ch. 320.

Licenses and business regulations — See Ch. 332.

Secondhand dealers — See Ch. 460.

Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 548.

Sale of motor vehicles — See Ch. 558.

Zoning — See Ch. 577.

§ 531-1
Definitions. 

§ 531-2
Applicability. 

§ 531-3
Marking of vehicles. 

§ 531-4
Display of license in vehicles. 

§ 531-5
Towing agreements. 

§ 531-6
Licensee to possess ownership certificate for scrapped vehicles. 

§ 531-7
Written agreements for repairs. 

§ 531-8
Electronic devices restricted. 

§ 531-9
Equipment on vehicles. 

§ 531-10
Wheels on vehicles being towed. 

§ 531-11
Storage yards to conform to applicable laws. 

§ 531-12
Fencing storage yards. 

§ 531-13
Unauthorized towing. 

§ 531-14
New towing vehicles. 

§ 531-15
Failure to comply. 

§ 531-16
Violations and penalties. 

§ 531-1 Definitions.

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

DISABLED VEHICLE
A motor vehicle which has been damaged, abandoned, unclaimed or rendered inoperative for any reason, including the absence of a driver or owner.
TOWING
The moving or removing, or the preparation therefor, of any type of vehicle by another vehicle, irrespective of whether a charge is made therefor, and shall mean the picking up as well as the dropping off of vehicles in the City of Camden.
TOWING COMPANY
A natural person, partnership, corporation, fiduciary, association or other entity owning, operating or conducting the business of disentangling or removing of any type of vehicle, whether operable or inoperable, towing of disabled vehicles and towing of abandoned or unclaimed vehicles.
TOWING VEHICLE
A vehicle that tows, carries or removes any type of vehicle.

§ 531-2 Applicability.

A. 

This chapter and the applicable provisions of Article I of Chapter 332 of this Code shall apply to towing companies and shall not apply to any agency acting within the scope and lawful authority of the police power of the State of New Jersey or of the City of Camden.

B. 

This chapter shall apply irrespective of whether said business is merely incidental to the operation of a business for the repair of disabled vehicles, the sale or salvage of vehicles or the delivery or transporting of vehicles.

§ 531-3 Marking of vehicles.

On each side of every towing vehicle, there shall be legibly inscribed the name and address of the holder of the license authorized to operate said vehicle pursuant to this chapter.

§ 531-4 Display of license in vehicles.

A. 

Each licensee shall display his license issued under this chapter inside the licensed tow truck.

B. 

Failure to affix the license inside the licensed towing vehicle shall deem such vehicle to be unlicensed and shall be in violation of the provisions of this chapter.

§ 531-5 Towing agreements.

A. 

No licensee hereunder shall remove a disabled motor vehicle involved in any accident or for mechanical failure or for any other reason, prior to the execution, in duplicate, of a towing agreement signed by the owner or his authorized representative or by a designated City official at the scene where said owner or driver of said disabled vehicle is incapacitated by injuries received in an accident or otherwise unavailable. Said licensee shall have a copy of said agreement on his person from the time said removal is commenced until said owner acquires the vehicle by release.

B. 

The original of said agreement shall be retained as a permanent record by the licensee for a period of two years from the date of the accident. A copy shall be delivered forthwith to the owner or driver of the disabled vehicle.

C. 

Towing agreements shall be available for inspection by any license inspector or members of the Police Division, at all reasonable times, when so requested.

D. 

The towing agreement shall be limited to an authorization for the towing and storing of the vehicle.

E. 

The towing agreement shall be in a form prescribed by the Division of Inspections and shall include:

[Amended 12-8-1983 by Ord. No. MC-1994]

(1) 

The name and address of the person owning the towing vehicle to be used in towing or removing the disabled vehicle, said person's towing license number, the registration number of the towing vehicle and the charges for the services clearly set forth.

(2) 

An authorization to remove the disabled vehicle to a bona fide garage or storage or repair station located within a reasonable distance from the scene of the accident.

(3) 

In the case of clubs or associations whose dues or other charges include towing service in lieu of other charges, a provision that the towing is a membership service for which no charge is made for members.

(4) 

A provision requiring the release of the disabled vehicle to the owner or his authorized representative upon payment of the amount due for towing and storage.

(5) 

A provision enabling the driver of the disabled vehicle, the owner thereof or the owner's authorized representative to have free access to examine and inspect the disabled vehicle.

(6) 

A schedule of the licensee's authorized rates and charges.

§ 531-6 Licensee to possess ownership certificate for scrapped vehicles.

When a licensee under this chapter is engaged in the business of towing any vehicle for the purpose of reducing said vehicle to scrap or parts and is in compliance with the provisions set forth herein, such licensee shall have in his possession the valid certificate of ownership of said owner or operator as legal owner of record.

§ 531-7 Written agreements for repairs.

A. 

It shall be unlawful for any towing company to make repairs for a consideration on any disabled vehicle removed by a towing vehicle without first entering into a signed agreement with the owner of the disabled vehicle or his authorized representative. Such agreement shall include an itemized estimate of the cost of repairs; otherwise, no charge shall be made, either directly or indirectly, for estimating the cost of repairs.

B. 

It shall be unlawful to sign a repair order or authorization for an estimate of repairs until the conditions of the towing agreement have been fulfilled and the vehicle has been removed to a bona fide garage, storage lot or repair shop.

C. 

It shall be unlawful to require or solicit a tie-in agreement authorizing repairs or an estimate of repairs as a condition for towing the disabled vehicle to a bona fide garage, storage lot or repair shop.

D. 

If the owner or person in charge of such motor vehicle at the time of accident is to be hospitalized, an agreement for repairs shall not be entered into with such injured party until the expiration of at least 48 hours from the time of such accident, unless the injured party has been discharged from the hospital prior to the expiration of that period.

§ 531-8 Electronic devices restricted.

No person licensed under this chapter shall maintain or cause to be maintained in any place, garage or office used in conjunction with the towing business, or in any vehicle, a high-frequency police radio receiving sets or other electronic device for public use, nor otherwise make use of the signals or messages transmitted on such frequencies.

§ 531-9 Equipment on vehicles.

A. 

Each towing vehicle shall be required to have red combination stop and directional signal lights, visible from the rear of the truck, unobstructed by the vehicle being towed.

B. 

Each towing vehicle shall be required to have two safety chains, in addition to a towing sling and/or hook, when towing a vehicle.

C. 

Each towing vehicle shall be equipped for towing purposes with a power or manual winch-type towing system with automatic self-locking device.

D. 

Pursuant to N.J.S.A., 39:3-54, the use of any type of flashing lights on any vehicle, including a tow truck, is prohibited, unless authorized by a permit issued by the Director of Motor Vehicles. Said permit must be displayed in the vehicle.

§ 531-10 Wheels on vehicles being towed.

No licensee under this chapter shall be permitted to tow any type of vehicle upon City streets or highways unless the wheels that remain on the street while the vehicle is being towed have wheels with inflated tires. In the event that the vehicle has no wheels, rims or inflated tires, the tow truck operator must use a dolly intended for such purpose to transport said vehicle.

§ 531-11 Storage yards to conform to applicable laws.

Wherein a licensee shall maintain or conduct a storage yard on premises within the City for the purpose of the storage only of towed vehicles, then said premises shall conform to all applicable licensing ordinances, Building Codes,

Editor's Note: See Ch. 190, Construction Codes, Uniform.
Zoning Codes
Editor's Note: See Ch. 577, Zoning and Land Use.
and firesafety regulations.
Editor's Note: See Ch. 240, Fire Prevention and Protection.

§ 531-12 Fencing storage yards.

A. 

Any motor vehicle storage yard which may be maintained or conducted or any open lot in the City shall have said lot fenced in by a fence at least seven feet high and so constructed as will keep within its bounds the contents of such lot or open space.

B. 

The fence shall be of solid, uniform, noncombustible, rigid construction. That portion of such fence which faces any public streets, highways or open lands or buildings not belonging to the licensee shall also be of solid, rigid construction preventing a view of the interior of such motor vehicle storage yard. Cyclone fencing, existing as of the date of the adoption of this chapter and satisfying the height requirement of Subsection A above, may serve as a foundation for the attachment of a uniform material satisfying the requirement for a fence of solid, uniform, noncombustible, rigid construction prohibiting a view of the interior.

C. 

All fencing, as outlined in Subsections A and B of this section, shall be maintained in a safe and sanitary condition at all times and shall be periodically serviced to prevent corrosion.

§ 531-13 Unauthorized towing.

A. 

Wherein any owner or operator of a towing vehicle is found, by any license inspector or police officer or authorized official of the City of Camden, towing or in the process of removal of any disabled or junk vehicle, as defined in this article, to fail to have a copy of a towing agreement or proof of ownership of the vehicle being towed, pursuant to §§ 531-5 and 531-6 of this chapter, or a proper towing license thereof on his person, he shall be ordered to immediately release said vehicle.

B. 

The towing vehicle and the vehicles towed or in process of being towed shall be impounded by the City police, under the direction of any license inspector, police officer or authorized City official requesting such.

C. 

Upon presentation of proof of ownership of vehicles, proof of a proper towing license, a copy of the towing agreement and any other data required by the Supervisor of License Inspections to ascertain validity of the towing agreement or proof of ownership, then a release shall be given to the owner of the towing vehicle or the owner of the towed vehicles informing any agency of the City of Camden to release said vehicle upon payment of any moneys due for impoundment, towing and storage.

[Amended 12-18-1983 by Ord. No. MC-1994]

D. 

The provisions of this section shall be deemed supplementary to and not in lieu of any provision of any other section of this chapter or in § 531-16 of this chapter.

§ 531-14 New towing vehicles.

If the holder of any license issued under this chapter obtains any additional vehicle(s), whether new or used, during the term of the existing license, that licensee shall be required to complete a new application for such vehicle(s).

§ 531-15 Failure to comply.

[Added 10-12-2006 by Ord. No. MC-4234]

It shall be unlawful for any person, as defined in § 332-1, to engage in the activity identified and regulated by this chapter, without first having obtained a license therefor and paid the fee required for such license, both as provided in Chapter 332, Licenses and Business Regulations. Any person engaging in such activity who shall fail to comply with any provision of this chapter or of Chapter 332 shall be in violation of the provisions of this chapter.

§ 531-16 Violations and penalties.

[Added 4-9-1987 by Ord. No. MC-2289]
A. 

Unless otherwise provided in the chapter, penalties against persons violating the provisions of this chapter shall be imposed in accordance with the provisions of § 1-16A.

[Amended 10-12-2006 by Ord. No. MC-4234]

B. 

A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each and every day for each and every violation of this chapter.

C. 

A separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation or violations occur or continue.

D. 

The imposition of a fine or imprisonment as punishment for a violation of any provision of this chapter shall not be deemed to be in lieu of any provision of this chapter or of Chapter 332 providing for revocation or suspension of any license issued under this chapter and Chapter 332.