[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Pemberton 3-17-1998 by Ord. No. 1-1998 (Ch. 79 of the 1975 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purposes of this chapter are:
To establish a requirement and procedure for licensing of individuals and entities providing towing and storage services to the Pemberton Borough Police Department;
To establish, in the interest of public safety, a uniform policy for the towing and storage of motor vehicles towed and stored at the request of the Borough Police Department; and
To establish uniform fees for towing and storage services.
This chapter shall apply to all motor vehicle towing and storage operations performed at the request of the Borough of Pemberton Police Department.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A private passenger motor vehicle, or any vehicle included in the definition of "Automobile" under N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.2.
- BASIC TOWING SERVICE
- The removal and transportation of an automobile from a highway, street or other public or private road, or parking area, or from a storage facility, and other services normally incident 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.
- The Borough of Pemberton.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Includes all vehicles propelled otherwise than muscular power, except such vehicles as run only upon rails or tracks, or motorized bicycles.
- 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 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 own power from one place to another for which a charge or fee is extracted.
No person shall engage in the business of towing or storing motor vehicles at the direction of the Borough of Pemberton Police Department without first obtaining a tow operator's license therefor. Nothing herein shall require licensing for the rendering of road service or for the provision of towing and storage services within the Borough other than at the request of the Borough Police Department.
Applicants for a license under this chapter shall file with the Borough Clerk a sworn application on a form to be furnished by the Clerk which shall include the following information and certification:
The full name and address of the applicant. If the application is made for a corporation, it shall state the name and addresses of the officers and directors thereof, its registered agent, and the names and residential addresses of every stockholder owning more than 10% of the issued stock.
The year, make and type of each tow vehicle used in said business, its serial number, registration number and registered owner.
The address where the tow vehicle or vehicles shall be regularly garaged, the telephone number or numbers and the hours during which service is available at those numbers and the names, addresses and New Jersey driver license numbers of all operators.
The location, size and securing features of the storage lot or space in which towed vehicles will be stored, including the number of spaces available. The storage lot shall be designated either as:
"Inside building:" A vehicle storage facility that is completely indoors, having one or more openings in the walls for storage and removal of vehicles that is secured by a locking device on each opening.
"Outside secured:" A vehicle storage facility that is not indoors and is secured by a fence, walls or other man-made barrier that is at least six feet high. The facility is to be lighted at night so that all vehicles may be plainly visible.
The name and address of the insurance carriers, and the policy numbers of all insurance policies as required by § 200-9 of this chapter.
A copy of the operator's current fee schedule for towing and storage services separately listing towing and storage fees for automobiles and other motor vehicles.
A certification that on-call towing and storage services will be available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
A certification that the fees and procedures required by this chapter shall be complied with at all times.
A statement that the Chief of Police or his designee may at any reasonable time conduct an inspection of the tow vehicles or storage facility or any applicant or licensee for the purpose of determining compliance with this chapter.
Such other information as the Chief of Police may reasonably prescribe.
All applications for tow operator's license shall be accompanied by a fee of $25 to cover the Borough's costs in processing the application.
The Borough Clerk shall forward all complete applications to the Chief of Police, who shall conduct or cause to be conducted such investigation as he deems necessary to determine the truth and accuracy of the information contained in the application and whether the applicant meets the following minimum standards:
Neither the applicant nor any tow vehicle operator has any criminal convictions or prior motor vehicle infractions which might adversely affect public safety or welfare.
The applicant has the ability to respond to the scene in response to any request for assistance within 15 minutes after notifications.
The applicant can provide on-call towing services 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
The tow trucks and equipment are in safe and sound condition and in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. All applicants must meet minimum standards of operator performance, including but not limited to standards concerning the adequacy of the applicant's equipment and storage facilities and availability.
The applicant owns or has a valid lease to a storage facility within six miles of the Borough, in an area legally zoned for such use, and such storage facility shall have a minimum 17 spaces for passenger automobiles and will be either an "inside building" or "outside secured" facility as defined in § 200-4 above for storage of all vehicles towed or impounded.
The applicant is in compliance with and/or has the ability to comply with all other requirements and standards set forth herein.
In addition to the minimum standards of performance referred to in the preceding subsection, all applicants are subject to disqualification if found deficient in any one of the following areas:
The Chief of Police shall endorse his approval or disapproval of the application within 30 days of receipt by him. If the application is disapproved, the reasons therefor shall be set forth in writing. The Borough Clerk shall notify the applicant, in writing, that the application has been granted or denied. If the application is denied, the reasons for such denial shall be set forth in the notice, along with the applicant's right to appeal the denial to Borough Council pursuant to § 200-8.
A tow operator's license shall be issued by the Borough Clerk to an approved applicant upon provision of insurance certification pursuant to § 200-4 and approval by the Chief of Police. The Borough Clerk shall send a copy of the license to the Police Department for filing and shall keep a permanent record of all licenses issued.
All licenses under this chapter shall expire at the end of the calendar year in which issued. Applications for renewal, certifying any changes to the original application or certifying no change, shall be filed with the Clerk at least 30 days before expiration on forms provided by the Borough Clerk. Renewal applications will be forwarded to the Chief of Police for review and any necessary investigation in accordance with the procedures and standards set forth in § 200-5. If approved, a renewal license shall be issued upon payment of the license fee and provision of required insurance certifications.
All licenses issued under this chapter, or certified copies thereof, shall be displayed prominently on all tow vehicles and at the tow operator's principal place of business.
All licenses issued under this chapter are nontransferable.
All licenses issued under this chapter may be revoked by the Chief of Police after reasonable notice and hearing pursuant to § 200-8 for any of the following reasons:
False or materially inaccurate information in the application, or a change of circumstances which would have caused disapproval of the application if existing at the time of approval.
Failure to comply with any of the requirements of this chapter, any additional regulations promulgated by the Chief of Police, or any state, federal or local law relating to motor vehicle operation or storage.
Unsatisfactory service which jeopardizes public safety. More than three unexcused failures to respond and/or valid complaints (as determined by the Chief of Police after investigation) within a twelve-month period shall be considered grounds for suspension and/or revocation.
Any person aggrieved by the action of the Chief of Police or the Borough Clerk in the denial of an application for a license, or in revocation thereof, or in the suspension from the Borough's on-call towing list, may appeal to the Borough Mayor by filing with the Clerk, within 14 days after notice of the action complained of has been mailed to such person's last known address, a written request for a hearing, setting forth fully the grounds for the appeal. The Mayor will set a time and place for a hearing on such appeal, and notice shall be served on or mailed to the applicant or licensee at least five days prior to the hearing. The Mayor's and Council's determination shall be made by resolution and shall become effective immediately.
Every licensee shall carry insurance as follows:
Comprehensive automobile liability in an amount not less than $500,000 combined single limits.
Workers' compensation coverage as required by state law.
Garage keeper's liability in an amount not less than $60,000 per location.
Garage liability in an amount not less than $500,000 combined single limits.
Comprehensive general liability coverage in an amount not less than $500,000 for each person and $500,000 for each accident.
Endorsements providing for collision coverage for vehicles in tow.
Endorsement naming the Borough as an additional insured in all insurance policies (except workers' compensation policies) for licensees on the Borough on-call towing list.
All licensees shall hold harmless and indemnify the Borough, its officers, employees and agents, from any and all liability claims, losses or damage arising or alleged to arise from the performance of the towing services requested of and rendered by the licensee. The foregoing indemnification language shall be incorporated in the general comprehensive liability policy required by Subsection A.
All insurance policies shall be written by insurance companies acceptable to the Borough and authorized to do business in the State of New Jersey.
No license shall be issued or renewed until the applicant has filed with the Borough Clerk certificates of insurance evidencing the insurance coverage and endorsements required in Subsection A. All certificates must provide for 30 days' prior written notice to the Borough of policy cancellation or material change.
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 and shall enter into an agreement with the Borough for a term of one year, said agreement to be prepared by the Borough Attorney.
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. If the tow operator selected does not respond to the scene within the 25 minutes after notification, the Chief of Police or his designee shall be permitted to summon the next available tow operator. When any unusual situation occurs which may be dangerous cargo, the Borough Police Department may select any qualified tow operator.
The fees to be charged for the towing and storage services of automobiles shall be as set, forth in § 200-11. The Borough shall not be liable for the cost of any towing and/or storage service unless those services are performed on a municipal vehicle.
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. Suspensions may be appealed pursuant to the procedures set forth in § 200-8.
Nothing in this section 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.
All vehicles towed at the request of the Borough Police Department 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 Officers at the scene shall be responsible for making a final determination as to the towing destination.
No vehicle shall be released by the tow operator until the owner or agent of the vehicle produces a release form from the Police Department. No verbal releases are to be accepted. The Borough is not responsible for any costs, compensation or damage which a tow operator may suffer by the Borough agreeing for a vehicle to be released. Vehicles may only be retrieved during the normal working hours of the tow operator.
Up to 17 vehicles towed at the request of the Borough Police Department must be stored together at the approved storage facility and not scattered throughout the premises.
No tow operator shall dispose, destroy, remove, sell or otherwise transfer any vehicle towed at the request of the Borough Police Department without first complying with all applicable laws of the State of New Jersey and notifying the Borough Police Department of its intention to do so, in writing, at least 14 days prior to effectuating the same.
Prior to commencing any tow, the tow operator shall sign the tow report prepared by the officers on location acknowledging receipt of the vehicle.
Upon request by the Borough Police Department, the tow operator shall store a motor vehicle in an "inside building" as defined in § 200-4A(4)(a). Vehicles designated by the police as being suspected as being used in criminal activity shall be stored in a separate space for exclusive use of the Police Department and shall not be released without the written permission of the Chief of Police, Acting Chief of Police, or his designee.
In addition to any requirements set forth elsewhere in this chapter, all approved towing services must provide, in writing, an employment nondiscrimination statement prior to the issuance of said approval and must agree to comply with all state and federal laws and regulations concerning wages, hours and terms of employment.
Employees or an approved towing service shall in no way be deemed to represent or be employed by this municipality, and all such towing services shall be responsible for the conduct of their employees.
All towing and storage fees shall be disclosed in an appropriate notice on the front or top page of all invoices and receipts. Additionally, adequate public posting of such fees must be made at the storage area, in view of the public.
No person shall be liable to any tow operator who tows or stores an automobile, including but limited to any automobile which was damaged in an accident or recovered after being reported stolen, for any fees in excess of the following:
Basic towing service fees:
[Amended 9-17-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-11]
In no event shall any tow operator charge a towing or storage fee for private passenger vehicles damaged in an accident or recovered after being stolen in excess of the fees established by the Department of Insurance as set forth in N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.1 et seq. or any amendments or supplements thereto. It shall be the responsibility of the tow operators to comply with all applicable Department of Insurance rules and regulations. The tow operator shall submit annually as part of its application or renewal thereof its fee schedule for the towing and storage of automobiles which shall be subject to the review and approval of the Borough Council.
For all motor vehicles other than automobiles, the tow operator shall set reasonable and customary fees for the Burlington County area for the towing and storage of such vehicles. The tow operator shall submit annually as part of its application or renewal thereof its fee schedule for the towing and storage of all motor vehicles other than automobiles which shall be subject to the review and approval of the Borough Council.
It shall be the responsibility of the tow operators to comply with all applicable Department of Insurance rules and fee regulations.
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.
Storage fees are for each twenty-four-hour period or fraction thereof. A new twenty-four-hour period begins at 12:01 a.m.
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 on an annual basis at the time of application for license renewal.
When basic towing services are rendered for any automobile, there shall be no additional charges other than those provided for in Subsection A above, including but limited to flatbedding, waiting time, winching, cleanup costs and additional labor.
Tow vehicles transporting multiple vehicles at one time may charge the applicable fee for each vehicle transported.
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.
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.
The Chief of Police is hereby designated to enforce the provisions of this chapter and any applicable rules and regulations.