[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Middletown 5-27-1975 (Ch. 110 of the 1971 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 460.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, whenever used in this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings given to them by this section:
- ABANDONED VEHICLE
- Any vehicle which is unattended or obstructing traffic and which, in the judgment of the Police Department, shall be removed.
- Any incident or occurrence where one or more vehicles come into contact with each other or another object thereby causing personal injury or property damage.
- A twenty-four-hour period from time of tow.[Added 2-18-2014]
- DISABLED VEHICLE
- Any vehicle that requires towing because of an accident or because it is unable to proceed under its own motive power.
- Any person driving a tow truck for hire upon the public highways.
- FOR HIRE
- Includes any incident where a fee, charge or other consideration is directly or indirectly imposed for towing, carrying or removing any vehicle, and shall be inclusive of repairs made on a towed vehicle for a consideration, although no charge is expressly imposed for the towing of such a vehicle.
- Includes the control and direction of the use of a vehicle for hire for towing from places within the City of Middletown.
- RESTRICTED LICENSE
- That license, issued to the owner of a towing truck authorizing the holder thereof to engage in all tow car operations, except that the holder will not be permitted at scenes of accidents unless specifically called by the person in charge of the disabled vehicle and will not be placed on the preferred tow truck list at Police Headquarters.
- SCENE OF ACCIDENT
- Includes any area of a street to which a vehicle is removed to prevent the obstruction of traffic, and will remain so until the vehicle or vehicles is removed, either under its own power or by a properly licensed tow car.
- Any place of business in the City of Middletown which is
a registered repair shop certified by the New York State Department
of Motor Vehicles and which is not in violation of the existing City
zoning or building codes, and which, as a substantial source of its
activity, engages in the repair of motor vehicles.[Amended 2-4-2020]
- The moving or removing of disabled or abandoned motor vehicles by a tow truck for hire.
- TOWING ORDINANCE
- This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Towing Ordinance of the City of Middletown."
- TOW TRUCK
- A motor vehicle for hire which is either equipped for the purpose of carrying, lifting, pushing, pulling or otherwise removing any motor vehicle or motor vehicles, or which is used in the business of removing such vehicles.
- UNRESTRICTED LICENSE
- That license, issued to the owner of a towing truck, permitting the holder thereof to be placed on a preferred roster of tow trucks, which roster is located at Police Headquarters, in addition to being permitted to do all normal towing.
- WINCHING AND DOLLY WORK
- Work above and beyond that required of a normal tow service.
Winching and dolly work is work used to remove a vehicle that is not
in a position to be towed by normal means that may be off the roadway.
Winching a vehicle onto a flatbed shall not be considered a winching
under this statute.[Added 2-18-2014]
It shall be unlawful to operate a towing car for hire in the City of Middletown unless the owner thereof shall have obtained a license from the Clerk of said City.
A license shall be obtained by filing an application therefor, on forms furnished by the City Clerk, verifying under oath and stating:
[Amended 5-23-1994; 11-24-2003; 1-7-2008]
The name, address, age and business address of the applicant.
The number of tow trucks proposed to be operated by the applicant and a description of each tow truck, including the make, model, year of manufacture, New York State registration number, New York State inspection certificate number, and expiration of the inspection certificate.
The address, including a description of the facility, of the place from which tow trucks are proposed to be garaged and dispatched.
The name and address of the insurance carrier which covers each tow truck against public liability in an amount of at least $1,000,000 combined single limit, including bodily injury and property damage. The applicant must produce a valid certificate of insurance with such application which names the City of Middletown as an additional insured and which indemnifies the City from liability to the fullest extent allowable by law. The certificate of insurance shall be maintained in full force and effect during the period covered by the license. The certificate must state that the City of Middletown will be notified in the event of cancellation.
All crimes of which the applicant or any member thereof, or any officer, if a corporation, has been convicted, stating the name and location of the court and the date on which such convictions were had and the penalties imposed therefor.
The experience of the applicant in the towing of vehicles for hire.
A copy of the New York State driver's license with Class C towing endorsement for each driver who shall be operating a tow truck.
Said license is to be valid for a period of one calendar year and shall be renewable by the City Clerk upon payment of the licensing fee, proof of insurance, photocopy of the driver's license of each operator, and disclosure of any change from the information contained in the original application.
[Amended 9-8-1975; 11-24-2003; 1-7-2008]
All licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire on January 1 next succeeding the date of issuance thereof.
Event towing shall be restricted to events for which vehicles are required to be towed to clear the streets for the purpose of a race, parade, festival or other event and for which such street closing has been approved by a resolution of the Common Council or by a directive of the Chief of Police.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former § 440-4, Fee for restricted license.
[Amended 5-23-1994; 12-22-2008; 1-26-2009]
Applicants for an unrestricted license will be required to pay a nonrefundable fee of $150 per year for each of the first two vehicles and $25 per year for each additional vehicle, and in addition to normal towing privileges will be placed on a preferred roster of tow trucks which will be available at the communications desk at Police Headquarters. When a vehicle owner or other authorized person at the scene of the accident requests the police officer at the scene for a specified tow truck owner, the police officer shall so inform Police Headquarters, and the requested tow truck owner, if available, shall be notified of the request. In the event that no request is made or in the event that the requested tow truck owner does not respond, the desk officer at Police Headquarters shall notify the next successive tow truck owner on the preferred roster in rotation after the last-called owner, and, upon failing to get a response, shall call the next succeeding tow truck owner on the preferred roster until the tow service is accepted. The desk officer at Police Headquarters shall keep a record concerning the date and the acceptance or refusal of each call made. Each licensed tow truck owner on the preferred roster who fails or refuses to accept a tow service when called in his proper turn on the roster shall be deemed to have forfeited that turn on the roster. In order to qualify for an unrestricted license, the licensee must:
Own and/or operate and maintain a bona fide terminal, as defined above in § 440-1, within the City of Middletown.
Be available or on call on a twenty-four-hour basis to tow disabled vehicles.
Agree to abide by the fees contained in this chapter.
Agree to clean up debris from any vehicle accident, by sweeping debris from the accident scene into the gutter, except for those pieces which are too large to sweep into the gutter, and those must be removed from the scene and disposed of by the licensee. The requirement to clean up debris does not include the cleanup of oil, gasoline or water which spilled as a result of the accident.
Agree not to release police impounds without written impound release from the Middletown Police Department.
An owner/operator may not assign his or her turn in the police roster to any other tow company, nor shall he or she substitute any tow vehicle for one not consistent with the application on file with the Police Department.
No such license shall be issued unless the applicant agrees to charge no more than the following maximum rates for towing within the City of Middletown:
[Amended 5-23-1994; 11-24-2003; 1-26-2009; 2-18-2014]
For all passenger cars, regardless of weight, and for other vehicles 1 1/2 tons and lighter, not to exceed $100, excluding incidental work such as winching and dolly towing, during the period including 6:00 a.m. through and including 6:00 p.m., and $130 during the period including 6:01 p.m. through and including 5:59 a.m.
Winching and dolly work fees are limited to a maximum of $100 per vehicle/tow.
City administrative fee of $30 for City paperwork on impounds.
Dolly work fees are limited to a maximum of $75 per hour per vehicle/tow.
Hazardous materials cleanup, to include gasoline, antifreeze and motor oil, and disposal fees, are limited to a maximum of $85 per vehicle/tow.
An additional fee of $75 per hour may be charged for appropriate removal of a vehicle during recovery from unusual incidents in which the vehicle is located off the roadway and requires work beyond reasonably standard tow work.
The fees provided in this section shall not apply to commercial vehicles which exceed a three-ton capacity.
[Amended 5-23-1994; 11-24-2003; 1-26-2009; 2-18-2014]
No license shall be issued unless the applicant agrees to charge no more than a maximum of $60 per day for outside storage and no more than a maximum of $75 per day for inside storage. All vehicles must be stored on the premises of the licensee in a gated or locked secure facility, whether indoors or outdoors, and shall not be permitted to be parked or stored on City streets.
All licensees shall be required to post in their garage, terminal, or service station a schedule of the maximum rates for towing and storage as herein set forth.
It shall be unlawful for any licensee to demand or receive any payment in excess of the rates permitted by this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to solicit towing work by any means whatsoever from any person at or near the scene of an automobile accident within the City of Middletown. It shall be unlawful for any tow truck to proceed to the scene of an accident or disablement without having first been requested or notified to do so by the vehicle owner or a police officer; and the operator of any tow truck so doing shall be deemed to have committed a violation of this chapter.
[Amended 11-24-2003; 1-7-2008]
Each tow truck operated hereunder shall be registered with and assigned an identifying numeral(s) or letter(s) by the City Clerk. Each tow truck operated hereunder shall have inscribed on the side of such vehicle the trade name and business address of the owner and the identifying numeral(s) or letter(s) issued by the City Clerk in letters/numerals not less than three inches in height either painted or otherwise securely affixed in a conspicuous place as herein provided.
It shall be unlawful to tow away any motor vehicle which has been involved in an accident, disablement or abandonment without the prior consent of the owner or of the police officer at the scene of the accident.
No license shall be issued unless the depot or terminal of the tow truck or trucks shall be located within the City of Middletown.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply when the owner of a damaged car specifically requires the car to be taken from said City by an unlicensed tow car from outside of said City. In any instances where automobile insurance is utilized for the payment of towing and/or storage fees, the restrictions set forth in §§ 440-6 and 440-7 of this chapter shall not apply.
An offense against any provision of this chapter shall be a violation of the ordinance, which shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for individuals, nor more than $500 for corporations.
Investigation. The Chief of Police or his designated agent may conduct an investigation into any complaints involving towing operators.
Power to suspend or revoke. The Chief of Police or his designated agent may suspend or revoke any outstanding towing license for a violation of this chapter or any other statute or ordinance or for any conduct involving an unreasonable risk to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public. Notice of suspension or revocation of the license and the reason(s) therefor shall be served by the Chief of Police or his designated agent upon the person named in the license or by mailing the same to the address given in the license, whereupon a copy of such notice shall be filed in the Clerk's office with an affidavit of service or mailing. When a license shall be revoked, no refund of any unearned portion of the license fee shall be made.
Term of suspension. A suspension of a license by the Chief of Police or his designated agent shall be effective for 30 days, running from the date of notification upon the license holder.
Grounds for suspension and revocation. No license issued under this chapter shall be suspended or revoked without cause. Cause shall include, but shall not be limited to:
Suspensions: failure to properly maintain vehicle and/or equipment, both physically and/or mechanically, pursuant to the requirements of this chapter.
Any two suspensions within the twelve-month period of the issuance of the license.
Knowingly filing a false application.
Any arrest or conviction of a licensee for a criminal offense committed by such person during or in relation to towing operations.
Any driver who operates with a suspended driver's or vehicle license as issued by the City of Middletown or a suspended registration.
The suspension or revocation of an operator's New York State driver's license by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
Operation of a tow truck without the insurance required by this chapter, for illegal purposes, or in violation of the law.
Review of denial, revocation or suspension. A hearing officer shall be appointed by the Mayor to hear and decide appeals taken from any determination made by the Chief of Police or his designated agent which denied, revoked or suspended such driver's and/or vehicle license. Any applicant who shall have been refused a license, or a license holder whose license shall have been revoked or suspended, may appeal to the hearing officer for review of such denial, revocation or suspension as set forth in this chapter. The failure of an aggrieved party to take an appeal within 10 business days of receipt of such denial, revocation or suspension shall constitute a waiver of right to appeal. The hearing officer shall designate a time and place for the hearing within 30 days of the designation of the hearing officer. The aggrieved party shall have the option of whether such hearing shall be public or private. The aggrieved party shall be given an opportunity to present evidence why such denial of application, or such suspension or revocation of the license, shall be sustained, modified or withdrawn. The Chief of Police or his designated agent may also present evidence. Upon consideration of the evidence presented, but no later than 15 business days after the hearing, the hearing officer shall sustain, modify or withdraw the decision of the Chief of Police or his designated agent. In the event the aggrieved party is not satisfied with the decision of the hearing officer, such aggrieved party may file an Article 78 proceeding under the New York Civil Practice Law and Rules, except that such Article 78 proceeding must be filed within 30 days of the filing of the hearing officer's decision with the Clerk of the City of Middletown and service of the same upon the aggrieved party.