§ 360-3Appointment and identification of official towers.
§ 360-4Services to be furnished; subcontracting.
§ 360-5Application process.
§ 360-6Issuance of license; display; term; revocation; renewal.
§ 360-7Minimum standards of performance.
§ 360-8Utilization of official towers list.
§ 360-9Hold-harmless agreement.
§ 360-11Towing and storage fee schedule.
§ 360-12Miscellaneous provisions.
§ 360-13Dispute resolution and license revocation.
§ 360-14Violations and penalties; revocation of license.
The preservation and furtherance of the public peace, order and welfare of the Borough mandate that the Borough make provisions for the efficient and reasonable removal of motor vehicles abandoned or disabled in its streets so as to promote the free flow of traffic therein and for the removal and storage of abandoned and stolen vehicles, those involved in traffic accidents and suspected crimes and those blocking streets in emergencies.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A motor vehicle of a private-passenger-type or station-wagon-type that is owned or leased 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 owner(s).
- 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 incidental, thereto, but does not include recovery of an 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.
- INSIDE BUILDING
- A vehicle storage facility that is completely indoors, having one or more openings in the walls, for storage and removal of vehicles and that is secured by a locking device on each opening.
- 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 licensed owner or operator of the motor vehicle even if they were caused by the intentional acts of a perpetrator where the perpetrator was not the licensed owner or operator of the motor vehicle.
- 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."
- STORAGE CHARGES FOR TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR PERIOD
- The maximum allowable amount to be charged by a storage facility for a twenty-four-hour period or fraction thereof.
- TOW VEHICLE
- Only those vehicles equipped with a boom or booms, winches, slings, tilt beds, wheel lifts or underreach equipment specifically designed by their manufacturer for the removal or transport of motor vehicles.
- TOW VEHICLE'S BASE OF SERVICE
- The towing operator's principal place of business where the tow vehicle is stationed when not in use.
The Mayor and Council shall appoint persons or companies meeting the criteria set forth in this chapter and engaged in the business or offering the services of a motor vehicle towing, wrecker or storage service whereby damaged, impounded, disabled, abandoned, immobile or illegally parked motor vehicles are towed or otherwise removed from the place where they are damaged or disabled by use of a tow vehicle as defined in this chapter. Such persons or companies shall be known as "official towers."
Official towers shall be identified by means of a license, which shall be issued as hereinafter provided.
Official towers shall furnish a dequate and proper wrecking, towing, storage and emergency repair services to motor vehicles damaged, impounded, disabled, abandoned, immobile or illegally parked within the limits of the Borough when requested to do so by an authorized Borough official.
No official tower shall subcontract any work to be performed pursuant to this chapter without having first obtained prior written approval from the governing body. Any official tower to whom approval to subcontract work has been given shall be responsible for the services performed by the subcontractor and shall remain liable for any violation of this chapter by the subcontractor.
Applications for inclusion on the official towers list shall be made to the Borough Clerk on a form provided by and submitted to the Borough Clerk and shall contain all of the following information:
The name, residence and business address and telephone number of the owner of the towing company. If the owner is a corporation, the application shall contain the name, residence and business address and telephone number of every stockholder owning more than 10% of the issued stock.
Such information as may be required by the Borough Clerk concerning the personnel, vehicles, equipment and storage facilities of such applicant, as hereinafter provided, showing that the applicant meets the minimum standards of performance.
A certificate or certificates of insurance evidencing adequate insurance coverage as hereinafter provided.
A fee of $500 to cover the administrative expenses incurred by the Borough in processing the application. After the initial application or issuance of a license, each new employee, equipment or storage site must be applied for review. The applicant shall pay $50 for review of each new employee, $35 for each new piece of equipment and $25 for each new storage area.
The names and addresses of two business references who have known the applicant for at least two years and who can attest to the applicant's experience and performance in the towing, wrecking and storage business.
The names and addresses of any other public agencies which the applicant has or is contracted with in the last five years.
Upon receipt of a complete application, the Borough Clerk shall forward a copy to the Chief of Police for his or her review and report. The review by the Chief of Police shall consist of the following:
A background check to determine if either the applicant or the applicant's personnel have been convicted of a criminal offense or have had their driver's licenses suspended or revoked within the past year. Conviction of a criminal offense or suspension of driver's license within the past year shall be a cause for disqualification from inclusion on the official towers list.
An inspection of the personnel, vehicles, equipment and storage area proposed to be utilized by the applicant to verify the accuracy of the information contained in the application and to determine compliance with applicable laws and regulations and the standards of performance required by this chapter.
A check with the State Division of Consumer Fraud to determine if the applicant has had complaints filed against it and the findings of such complaints. A sufficient number of verified findings against the applicant may be cause for disqualification.
An investigation and inquiry with any other public agencies with which the applicant presently or previously has contracted for towing to determine the applicant's compliance with their rules and regulations. Failure to comply with other agencies may be cause for disqualification.
An applicant may be included on the official towers list by the Mayor and Council when, from a consideration of the application and from such other information as may otherwise be obtained, the Mayor and Council finds that all of the following circumstances exist:
The applicant has not knowingly and with intent to deceive made any false, misleading or fraudulent statements of material fact in the application or in any other document required pursuant to this chapter.
The applicant has met the standards in this chapter and has furnished the required hold-harmless agreement and certificate(s) of insurance.
The application has been reviewed and reported on by the Chief of Police.
Neither the applicant nor the applicant's personnel have been convicted of a criminal offense or had their driver's license suspended within the past year. In the discretion of the Mayor and Council, an applicant may be granted a license pending return of a criminal record search.
The Chief of Police shall conduct his or her review and render a report to the Borough Clerk, recommending either approval or denial of the application, within 35 days of receipt of the application from the Borough Clerk. The Borough Clerk shall submit the completed application to the Mayor and Council, and the Mayor and Council shall take action with regard to the application within 30 days of receipt of the report of the Chief of Police. The applicant, or its representative, shall be given notice of the date on which the Mayor and Council will consider the application and shall be permitted to appear and be heard at that time. The Police Chief's recommendation may be subject to a return of background investigation.
Written notice of the approval or denial of the application shall be provided to the applicant within seven days of the decision of the Mayor and Council.
If the Mayor and Council fails to take action within 60 days of receipt of a complete application, the application shall be deemed to have been approved, subject to receipt of background investigation.
If approval is granted by the Mayor and Council or by the inaction of the Mayor and Council, same is contingent upon receipt of completed background investigation and shall be revoked in the event of negative results.
Upon approval of the application as herein provided, the Mayor and Council shall issue the applicant an official towers license for each tow vehicle or flatbed vehicle to be utilized in providing services pursuant to this chapter.
Said licenses, which shall be in a form approved by the Mayor and Council, shall be displayed on the tow vehicle or flatbed vehicle at all times.
The licenses shall be valid for a period of two years from the date of issuance, shall be nontransferable and shall be subject to revocation by the Mayor and Council for any of the following reasons:
If it is subsequently determined that the applicant knowingly and with intent to deceive made false, misleading or fraudulent statements of material fact in the application or in any other document required pursuant to this chapter.
Violation of any federal or state law or municipal ordinance or regulation relating to the operation of a motor vehicle or the provision of towing services.
Violation of any rule or regulation promulgated by the New Jersey Department of Insurance.
Unsatisfactory service provided pursuant to this chapter.
At the expiration of the two-year license period, if no cause for removal from the official towers list has been shown and if the applicant shall certify that the information contained in the original application has not changed, the applicant's license shall be renewed for an additional two-year period upon the payment of an additional license fee of $500. In the event that any of the information contained on the original application has changed, a new application, conforming to the requirements of this chapter, must be submitted, reviewed and approved as provided in § 360-5 above.
To qualify for inclusion on the list of official towers, applicants must meet the following minimum standards:
Minimum vehicle requirements.
Every official tower shall maintain and have available to render services required by this chapter a minimum of two regular tow vehicles, one flatbed vehicle and one heavy-duty tow vehicle.
Regular tow vehicles must be equipped with a boom or winch assembly mounted on the chassis, a dolly assembly, a tow sling or wheel lift assembly at least 100 feet of either three-eighths-inch or seven-sixteenths-inch cable attached to a motor-driven winch.
Flatbed vehicles must be equipped with a winch or hydraulically operated bed which slides or tilts to accommodate transporting of vehicles.
Each applicant shall submit, along with its application, proof of ownership or lease of the vehicles which will be utilized to provide services pursuant to this chapter.
Minimum equipment requirements.
Every tow vehicle or flatbed vehicle shall have two-way radio capability with a dispatching center on a twenty-four-hour basis.
Every tow vehicle or flatbed vehicle shall be equipped with the following:
At least one amber rotating beacon or strobe light mounted on the highest practical location of the vehicles, visible from 360° when in use and visible at a minimum distance of 500 feet during daylight hours.
One snatch block per winch.
Safety tow lights or magnetic tow lights for towing vehicles at night, amber colored.
Extra chains and cable for pulling or securing a towed vehicle.
At least one heavy-duty broom, a shovel, a crowbar or prybar, a set of jumper cables, a flashlight, one two-pound or larger fire extinguisher of dry chemical type, one dozen flares or similar warning devices for placement at the scene of an accident or behind a disabled vehicle, and a sufficient quantity and types of tools to enable the tow vehicle operator to perform proper and adequate emergency repair services for the tow.
Every tow vehicle or flatbed vehicle shall comply with any and all state, federal and local laws, regulations and ordinances pertaining to safety, lighting and towing equipment requirements and shall be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police or his or her designee at any time. No changes may be made in said vehicles or equipment unless prior written approval is obtained from the Mayor and Council.
Every tow vehicle or flatbed vehicle shall display the official towers license and shall have the name of the official tower displayed on the vehicle in such manner and of such lettering as conforms to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-46.
Minimum personnel requirements.
Official towers shall have available, at all times, a minimum of two persons to provide the services required by this chapter. Official towers shall comply with the affirmative action requirements of the State of New Jersey with regard to their personnel.
All persons employed by official towers to provide the services required by this chapter shall meet the following requirements and be subject to the following regulations. They shall:
Be competent and able to provide minimum road services for disabled vehicles.
Have a valid driver's license having no restrictions or conditional endorsements other than a condition requiring the wearing of eyeglasses.
Be mentally alert and present a neat appearance at all times.
Obey all traffic laws and regulations.
Be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police and shall be approved by the Chief prior to rendering any services pursuant to this chapter.
Not have been convicted of a crime nor had their driving privileges suspended or revoked within the past year.
Minimum storage requirements.
Every official tower shall maintain an inside building or outside secured storage area meeting the following requirements:
The storage area shall be capable of storing a minimum of 10 passenger vehicles and one tractor and trailer. In addition, the tower shall have an inside storage area capable of storing one automobile and/or one tractor for police hold.
The location of the storage area shall be either within the limits of the Borough or at such location outside of the Borough as to facilitate reasonable towing distances. If located out of the Borough it must provide transportation to the storage location from the police station or accident scene. "Within a reasonable towing distance" shall mean within a radius of three miles from the Borough Hall and in a municipality contiguous to North Arlington.
The storage area shall be fully enclosed by a sturdy fence having a minimum height of six feet, with at least one lockable gate for ingress and egress, and shall be lighted from dusk to dawn.
The storage area shall be in an area legally zoned for such use.
The storage facility shall be available for towing and to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
The official tower shall have an employee on duty during all hours in which the storage facility is open.
The official tower shall not charge a release fee or other charge for releasing vehicles to their owners after normal business hours or on weekends.
No vehicles may be stacked during storage unless the stacking equipment is approved by Chief of Police.
The applicant shall, with its application, submit proof of ownership or lease of the storage area.
The official tower shall be responsible for ensuring the proper and safe storage of all vehicles towed pursuant to this chapter. The official tower shall be liable for any damage incurred by such vehicles while in transit to or while stored in the storage areas.
Official towers shall be placed on the list in the order in which their application is approved. Once the initial list has been established, new official towers, when their applications have been approved, will be added to the end of that list.
The Borough shall request wrecking, towing and storage services from each official tower in monthly rotation. When called, the tower shall advise the dispatcher if a vehicle is available and the estimated time of arrival. If no tow vehicle is available or if the response time will exceed 20 minutes, the next official tower on the list shall be called, and so on. If none of the official towers are available or able to provide such services as are requested by the Borough, the Borough may request such services from any other available source.
All requests for service shall be made by the Borough Clerk or any member of the Police Department or Fire Department and must be reported immediately to the police desk. The police desk should immediately forward said request to the tower.
The Borough shall request service only from official towers; provided, however, that if no emergency or road hazard exists, the Borough shall request such service from such other person as the owner of the motor vehicle in need of such services may request.
During adverse weather conditions, heavy traffic conditions or emergency conditions, official towers shall give priority to requests from the Borough over any other requests which may be received by the official towers.
Applicants shall agree in writing to assume the defense of and indemnify and hold harmless the Borough, its elected officials, boards, commissions, officers, employees and agents from all suits, actions, damages or claims which the Borough may be subjected to of any kind and nature whatsoever resulting from, caused by, arising out of or as a consequence of the provision of towing, wrecking, storage and/or emergency services provided at the request of the Borough pursuant to this chapter. Official towers shall enter into a hold-harmless agreement in a form to be prepared by the Borough Attorney prior to being included on the official towers list.
No person shall be included on the official towers list unless and until such person has provided to the Borough a certificate or certificates of insurance evidencing that there is in effect the following insurance coverage:
Automobile liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limits.
Workers' compensation as required by law.
Garage-keepers liability on a primary basis without regard to legal liability in an amount not less than $60,000 per location.
Garage liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit.
Policies of insurance shall be written by insurance companies authorized to do business in the State of New Jersey. Insurance companies shall be acceptable to the Borough and shall have at least a B+ rating by a recognized rating service.
The Borough of North Arlington shall be named as an additional insured on all policies of insurance provided pursuant to this chapter. All certificates of insurance shall provide that the policies may not be canceled, terminated or coverage decreased without 30 days' prior written notice to the Borough.
Policies of insurance required by this chapter shall be maintained in full force and effect at all times. In the event that any coverage is canceled, terminated, interrupted or decreased in amount, the tower shall be removed from the official towers list until such time as the required coverage is reinstated or replaced.
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:28-2.49 et seq., the Borough shall establish a schedule of fees or other charges which a tower may charge private passenger vehicles for towing services, storage services or both.
The following is the fee schedule for towing services for private passenger vehicles damaged in an accident or recovered after being stolen:
|Distance||Days||Nights, Weekends and New Jersey State Holidays|
|First mile or less||$40.00||$50.00|
|Each additional mile||$1.75||$1.75|
The following is the fee schedule for storage services for private passenger vehicles damaged in an accident or recovered after being stolen:
|Storage Facility Capacity||Building (per 24-hour period)||Outside Secured||Outside Unsecured|
|21 or more spaces||$15.00||$10.00||$8.00|
|10 to 20 spaces||$20.00||$12.00||$10.00|
|Fewer than 10 spaces||$25.00||$15.00||$12.00|
Fees for towing of private passenger automobiles and municipal vehicles, other than those damaged in an accident or recovered after being stolen, may not exceed the fees set forth below:
|Distance||Days||Nights, Weekends and New Jersey State Holidays|
|First mile or less||$75.00||$75.00|
|Each additional mile||$2.00||$2.00|
Fees for storage of private passenger automobiles, other than those damaged in an accident or recovered after being stolen, may not exceed the fees set forth below:
|Storage Facility Capacity||Building (per 24-hour period)||Outside Secured||Outside Unsecured|
|21 or more spaces||$25.00||$25.00||$23.00|
|10 to 20 spaces||$25.00||$25.00||$23.00|
|Fewer than 10 spaces||$25.00||$25.00||$23.00|
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.50, all fees paid to an official tower by the Borough for the storage of removed municipal vehicles shall not exceed the following:
A limit of $3 per day for the first 30 days of storage per vehicle; and
A limit of $2 per day for the 31st day of storage and any day thereafter; and
A limit of $400 per vehicle stored regardless of the duration of the storage, except that waiver may be granted for good cause upon the request of the Borough by the Division of Local Governmental Services in the Department of Community Affairs. In the event that N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.50 is amended, the revised fees shall be the maximum fees that may be charged by official towers, and this chapter shall be amended accordingly.
This chapter is not intended to regulate or set fees for the towing or storage of trucks, buses or motorcycles or the provision of emergency road service. Such services, if requested, shall be billed at the provider's normal and customary rate or as otherwise agreed upon between the provider of the service and the motorist.
The fees set forth on the schedules for towing rates are the maximum charges that shall apply to a private passenger automobile for basic towing services. There shall be no additional charges other than those provided herein but not limited to flatbedding, waiting time, winching, cleanup cost and additional labor when only basic towing services as defined are provided.
The towing rates shall be calculated based on the total distance traveled from the tow vehicle's base of service to the job site and return by way of the shortest available route. Fractions shall be rounded up to the nearest whole mile.
Tow vehicles transporting multiple passenger cars at one time shall receive the applicable fees for each vehicle transported.
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.
When towing services are otherwise required, the day rate shall apply when the vehicle is transported (pick up 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.
Copies of this chapter and the schedule of fees that may be charged by official towers shall be made available to the public during normal business hours at the Borough Hall. Copies shall also be made available to the public at each official tower's place of business.
All official towers shall post, in a prominent place at each storage area clearly visible to the public, a schedule of the fees that may be charged for all services provided pursuant to this chapter.
The Borough reserves the right to make periodic unannounced inspections of the personnel vehicles, equipment and storage areas of all official towers.
The relationship between an official tower and the Borough is one of an independent contractor. Neither party shall be construed in any manner whatsoever to be an employee of the other, nor shall any employee or agent furnished by any party be construed to be an employee or agent of the other party. Inclusion on the official towers list shall not be construed or considered as a joint venture, partnership, association, contract or employment or profit-sharing agreement.
The municipality shall not be liable or responsible for compensating the official towers for any of the services performed under this chapter unless those services are performed for Borough vehicles. Compensation shall be the responsibility of the owner of the towed motor vehicle, and the official tower shall proceed directly against the owner.
The official tower shall, at all times, be solely responsible for the conduct of its employees.
Each official tower shall keep and maintain adequate and complete records showing all vehicles towed, stored and released, all services rendered and all fees charged and collected. All records shall be available for inspection by the Borough at any time during normal business hours. Records shall be kept and maintained by the official tower at one central location and shall be retained for a period of seven years. Records may be written, printed or computerized as long as the requirements of this subsection are met.
In the event that a complaint is received by the Borough involving the improper or unsatisfactory performance of services by an official tower or excessive charges or damage to a motor vehicle while in the custody of the tower, written notice of same shall be provided by the Borough Clerk to the official tower involved. The tower shall have the opportunity to respond, in writing, within five days.
Within 14 days of receipt of the tower's response, or within 21 days of receipt of the complaint, if no response is received, the matter shall be presented by the Borough Clerk to the Mayor and Council.
The Mayor and Council shall consider the matter at a public hearing and may request that the complainant and the tower involved appear and give testimony.
If, after considering the matter, the Mayor and Council shall determine that one of the causes for revocation of the official towers license exists, the license shall be revoked and the tower shall surrender same to the Borough Clerk within one day.
Failure to surrender the license upon revocation shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
Nothing contained herein shall prevent or limit the right of any person to commence or maintain an action for damages or any other relief directly against an official tower in a court of competent jurisdiction.
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $500, and each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and each day the same is violated shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense.
In addition to the fine provided above, a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be cause for revocation of the official towers license.