Borough of River Edge, NJ
Bergen County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of River Edge 10-18-1999 by Ord. No. 1269. (This ordinance also provided for the repeal of former Ch. 382, Towing, adopted 5-6-1994 by Ord. No. 1102, as amended.) Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Police Department — See Ch. 71.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 400.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish towing and storage fees that shall be charged in the Borough of River Edge and to establish standards and procedures for towing operators pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49.
A. 
The borough will, as described herein, allow towing operators (also referred to as "towers") to remove motor vehicles, store them and to service the needs of the Borough of River Edge as determined by the River Edge Police Department. The borough will establish and maintain a list of qualified towing operators, to be contacted for these services, in rotation. The Borough Clerk or his/her designee will compile the rotating list of towing operators. The list may be periodically supplemented. Towing operators meeting the qualifications set forth below may submit a written request, to the Borough Clerk, to be considered for placement on the list and will be designated as "licensees."
B. 
The Borough Clerk or his/her designee shall maintain the rotating list for a period of 12 months, effective September 1 of each year. Qualifying applicants may be added to the list each September. Disqualified licensees will be deleted immediately upon disqualification and may requalify for the following twelve-month period.
C. 
Licensees will be selected from towing operators complying with the requirements of this chapter.
D. 
The River Edge Police Department will establish and assign call-out weeks from the rotating list. The procedure adopted by the Department will afford each licensee a fair and equal opportunity to be called upon to provide service.
E. 
The borough may, but will not be responsible to, verify any information provided by an applicant in the request to be on the towing list. The borough may, but will not be responsible to, confirm the compliance of equipment with §§ 382-3, 382-5 and 382-6 or the tower's compliance with any requirement imposed by this chapter. The borough's not verifying, confirming or checking upon the tower's compliance with any requirement shall not result in the waiver obligation or duty imposed upon the tower by this chapter, any statute or regulation.
A. 
Qualifications.
(1) 
To qualify for inclusion and to remain upon the list, a towing operator, as a licensee, must qualify as follows:
(a) 
The annual license fee must be paid in the required amount on or before September 1 of each year;
(b) 
The towing operator shall be of good business character and reputation;
(c) 
The towing operator and its principals (i.e., owners, shareholders, general partners, limited partners, members, directors and officers) must undergo a background check conducted by the borough's Police Department. The conviction of any crime or any offense involving moral turpitude may act to disqualify the towing operator. A disqualification may be waived by the borough upon the showing of good cause; and
(d) 
One of the towing operator's principals must have at least five years' experience in the towing and storage of vehicles as an owner/operator or as an employee of a tower.
(2) 
With the exceptions of New Jersey and federal fingerprint searches, a background check will be completed within a reasonable time of the applicant's providing all information requested by the borough. Any towing operator applying for placement on the list must consent, in writing, to the borough's obtaining federal and state fingerprint searches at the applicant's expense.
(3) 
The borough will charge a reasonable fee for the qualification procedure. The borough must be notified by the towing operator of any change in its ownership. Any principal of the licensee, not previously qualified, must submit to a background check within 60 days of taking any form of ownership. Disqualification of any principal will entitle the borough to disqualify the licensee.
B. 
Towing and storage.
(1) 
The towing operator must be able to supply equipment and vehicles described in § 382-5, Equipment requirements, below.
(2) 
The towing operator must be able to provide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, towing services for the borough within the required response time at the direction of the Police Department.
(3) 
The towing operator must show proof of owning or leasing an area having the capacity properly to store at least 10 vehicles. The proof must include the deed(s) or lease(s) to the property. The storage area must comply with § 382-6.
(4) 
Towing operators must provide proof of ownership of the vehicles to be used for towing.
(5) 
Subcontracting of facilities, vehicles or services shall not be permitted. Towing operators must have all of the facilities, personnel and equipment to qualify as set forth in this chapter.
(6) 
The towing operator must be able to respond to a call for service from the River Edge Police Department within 15 minutes and must maintain its towing service vehicles at a distance no greater than 21/2 miles from the intersection of Kinderkamack Road and Main Street.
(7) 
In the event that a tower fails to respond within 15 minutes from receipt of a call, the River Edge Police Department may secure the services of an alternate tower. In the event of said circumstance, the towing operator will not be entitled to any fee for a late response or any costs and expenses incurred as a result thereof.
(8) 
The towing operator shall not make any repairs to any vehicle it tows or stores as provided for hereunder without receiving the vehicle owner's prior written authorization.
(9) 
Municipal vehicles.
[Amended 9-17-2012 by Ord. No. 1770]
(a) 
Heavy trucks weighting an excess of 15,000 pounds and over shall be towed and/or stored at 25% of the ordinance rate as set forth in § 382-8, provided further that the vehicle is within a fifteen-mile radius of the towing and storage provider.
(b) 
Vehicles under 15,000 pounds will not pay any towing and/or storage fees, provided that the vehicle is within a fifteen-mile radius of the towing and storage provider.
(10) 
The towing operator shall be responsible for the subsequent cleanup. If gasoline is spilled as a result of any accident, the Police Department will, upon notification, take charge of its removal. Absorbed liquids, other than gasoline, shall be removed from the roadway by the tower, placed in plastic bags and then disposed of by the towing operator or the owner of said vehicle in compliance with all applicable laws or regulations.
A. 
The towing operator shall provide and maintain the following types of insurance to be obtained from insurance companies licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey and acceptable to the borough and shall provide the borough with certificates of insurance showing proof of the following required coverages:
(1) 
Automobile liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit;
(2) 
Workers' compensation as required by statute;
(3) 
Garagekeeper's liability in an amount not less than $60,000 per location;
(4) 
Garage liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit;
(5) 
Comprehensive general liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000; and
(6) 
Excess umbrella coverage in the amount of $1,000,000 giving protection in excess of the $1,000,000 comprehensive and automobile liability coverages.
B. 
Policies shall be endorsed to provide collision coverage for vehicles in tow.
C. 
All policies shall name the borough as an additional insured.
D. 
All policies must contain a provision requiring notification to the borough of any policy cancellation or revision.
E. 
The towing operator shall indemnify and hold the borough harmless from any damage or loss sustained to any vehicle or contents or any injury to any person(s). The indemnification will include but not be limited to the defense of all lawsuits relating to the towing or storage of any vehicle, the payment of any judgment relating thereto against the borough, costs of suit, including but not limited to investigation cost(s), and legal fees.
A. 
The towing operator must at least have:
(1) 
One wrecker/tow truck equipped with a boom and a rollback flatbed truck. Both vehicles shall be capable of towing vehicles up to a five-ton limit; and
(2) 
One wheel lift.
B. 
The equipment to be used by the towing operator shall meet the following requirements:
(1) 
All equipment must be of the type, condition and design to efficiently perform the required services.
(2) 
All equipment and trucks to be used by the towing operator must be of such construction and capacity as to be capable of towing any type vehicle, including vehicles that are uprighted, overturned or without wheels.
(3) 
All trucks shall be equipped with a two-way radio capable of transmitting and receiving from the towing operator's office anywhere in the borough on a twenty-four-hour's basis.
(4) 
All trucks shall be provided with a serviceable (properly rated) fire extinguisher.
(5) 
All trucks shall be equipped with all standard trade tools. These shall include but not be limited to wrecking bar, hammers, screwdrivers, etc.
(6) 
All trucks will be equipped with a shovel, broom and other equipment necessary to clean up broken glass and debris from the scene of any accident to which they are summoned.
(7) 
All trucks used by the towing operator shall be kept in a clean, good-working condition.
(8) 
Each truck must have a minimum of 50 pounds of dry sand or a drying compound for oil and/or any other liquid, except gasoline, that might be spilled onto a roadway as a result of an accident.
(9) 
The towing operator shall have displayed its name, address, telephone number and any other information required by any law or regulation on all of its trucks in such a manner and of such lettering as conforms to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-46.
C. 
Each towing operator must annually furnish the following information with respect to the aforementioned trucks: make, model, year and registration number of each truck. A photostat copy of each registration and insurance identification card shall also be included. For leased trucks, the towing operator shall furnish a copy of each lease. Only trucks listed may be used by the towing operator.
The towing operator shall have an impound area that meets the following requirements:
A. 
Land area used for storage of vehicles shall be paved or stoned, and the area shall facilitate reasonable towing distances.
B. 
Signs which readily identify the storage facility and which comply with all applicable laws shall be installed.
C. 
No towed vehicle shall be parked upon a public or private street or sidewalk. Said vehicle shall be stored by the towing operator within the storage area so provided.
D. 
The entire land area shall be enclosed by a fence of sturdy construction at least seven feet high with at least one lockable gate for ingress and egress in accordance with local zoning regulations.
E. 
The impound area shall be properly lighted from dusk to dawn and must be properly safeguarded from vandalism and/or theft. The security requirements of the borough's and/or towing operator's insurer shall be complied with. The towing operations may be excused from such requirements only if compliance would violate any ordinances, regulation or statute and only after providing notice to and receiving the borough's consent.
F. 
The borough's Police Department shall have access to any part of the impound area at any time, day or night, for the purpose of inspection and/or investigation. This shall include indoor and outdoor areas.
G. 
Access will be restricted to prevent the public from having unescorted access to the aforementioned impound area. Said area shall be posted in accordance with the River Edge Police Department's directions regarding access restrictions.
H. 
A small storage area, sufficient to hold two vehicles, must be maintained for vehicles that may be involved in a police incident. In addition, an indoor area shall be provided for at least one vehicle, when necessary.
I. 
The towing operator shall conspicuously post at his place of business the fee schedule for storage and towing of vehicles.
J. 
There shall be no piling of vehicles towed as part of the service(s) provided pursuant to this chapter.
K. 
The towing operator shall maintain a place of business where trucks, in response to police requests, shall normally be kept. The impound area shall be located adjacent to or be a part of said place of business.
The employee of the towing operator shall meet the following requirements:
A. 
An employee of the towing operator shall under no circumstances be deemed an agent, servant or employee of the borough or represent to the public that he is an employee of the Borough of River Edge.
B. 
No person shall be employed by the towing operator who has been convicted of a crime or offense involving moral turpitude. The towing operator shall be responsible to enforce this requirement upon its own employees; the borough will not perform any background, record or fingerprint checks upon the towing operator's employees.
C. 
Each employee shall be provided with an identification tag by the towing operator. The tag must be of sturdy construction and include the employee's photograph and name. The tag must be worn on the employee's outer garment while servicing a tow call.
D. 
The towing operator and its employees are prohibited from collecting or attempting to collect a fee, commission, pay or charge other than as provided in this chapter.
E. 
The towing operator shall provide the Police Department with a list of said personnel and their driver's license numbers for verification.
F. 
Employees shall have a valid CDL license or state-required license to operate the appropriate towing vehicle.
G. 
The towing operator will be responsible to maintain its own driver safety program and to assure that its personnel are properly qualified.
[Amended 9-17-2012 by Ord. No. 1770; 10-2-2017 by Ord. No. 17-24]
The fees permitted by the following fee schedules are promulgated in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49 and N.J.A.C. 11:3-38. The maximum fees permitted by this chapter will be the same as allowed by the statute and regulation, as they may be amended. This chapter will be interpreted to provide for the same maximum fees, as said statute and regulation will permit, without further amendment hereof. The following is the fee schedule for basic automobile towing services pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49:
A. 
Vehicles under 6,000 pounds.
Description
Fee
Towing
$125
Mileage (out of town or not to yard) (within NJ), per mile rate
$5
Road service
$60
Storage (per calendar day)
$40
Winching/recovery (beyond right-of-way)
$150
The fees set forth above are the maximum charges that shall apply to private passenger automobiles for basic towing services. There shall be no additional charges other than those provided herein, including, but not limited to, flatbedding, waiting time, winching (except as described below) and additional labor when only basic towing services are required.
B. 
Vehicles 6,001 pounds to 10,000 pounds.
Description
Fee
Towing (per hour)
$175
Road service
$75
Storage (per calendar day)
$75
Winching/recovery (per hour, per truck)
$200
C. 
Vehicles over 10,001 pounds.
Description
Fee
Towing (per hour)
$325
Road service
$100
Storage (per calendar day)
$100
Winching/recovery (per hour, per truck)
$425
D. 
Clean-up.
Description
Fee
Clean-up at accident scene
$35
Speedi-Dri (per bag)
$15
Crash wrap (front, rear)
$40
Crash wrap (side)
$25
Waiting time (initial 30 minutes on arrival, no charge; thereafter $100 billed at 30-minute increments at a per-hourly rate)
E. 
Release of vehicles.
(1) 
The towing operator must have, at a minimum, the following hours for releasing of vehicles: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
F. 
Winching service charges. Winching is described as the process of moving a motor vehicle by the use of the cable from a position that is not accessible for direct hookup by conventional means for loading onto a tow vehicle. Winching shall not include the pulling of a vehicle onto a tilt bed or carrier nor lifting a motor vehicle with a conventional sling. There will be no additional charge for winching to facilitate the tow. Winching service charges apply to, but are not limited to, vehicles that are positioned in embankments, overturned or positioned in such a precarious manner that normal winching to facilitate the tow is unsuitable.
G. 
Storage charges.
(1) 
Storage charges shall not be charged if the vehicle owner is on site at the storage facility and can perform all acts necessary to retrieve the vehicle within the first three hours of the tow. The fees set forth on the schedule for storage fees are the maximum storage charges per twenty-four-hour period or a part thereof that shall apply to a vehicle that is stored. A new twenty-four-hour period begins at 12:01 a.m.
(2) 
Additional storage shall not accrue if the vehicle has been released by the River Edge Police Department, but the towing operator is not available to release it. The towing operator shall assume and be solely responsible for all costs incident to moving vehicles from one storage area to another storage area owned and operated by the towing operator.
A. 
The towing operator shall maintain records of all vehicles it tows, stores and releases. Records shall be kept for four years. These records shall include the name of the responding police officer, the date and time of tow-in, destination towed, vehicle tag number and state, vehicle identification number, make, model, color and year of vehicle, charges to owner of vehicle, disposition of vehicle and date thereof.
B. 
The towing operator shall maintain a record of all property found anywhere in the towed vehicle, including the trunk and glove compartment when open and where a key is available.
C. 
The Borough of River Edge shall have access to any and all of these records if so requested.
A. 
The towing operator must comply with federal and state laws and local ordinances governing:
(1) 
The operation of vehicles.
(2) 
Towing cars.
(3) 
Storage area.
B. 
Any vehicle remaining in the towing operator's possession which is unclaimed for a period of 90 days may, if otherwise permitted by law, be sold by the towing operator according to law. The towing operator shall apply the proceeds of said sale to the payment of any storage and towing charges due. If the proceeds of the sale exceed the amount properly due to the towing operator, the excess shall be paid to the Borough of River Edge. The towing operator will supply the borough with details, upon request, of any and all sales pursuant to this subsection.
C. 
The borough may, at any time prior to the sale of a vehicle by the towing operator, elect to sell any vehicle in the possession of the towing operator for more than 90 days pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-157. In each event, the borough, through the Chief of Police, shall send to the towing operator written notice of its election to sell said vehicle pursuant to said statute. Upon the sale of same, the towing charges accruing up to the date of sale and any surplus funds shall be disposed of according to law. If the proceeds of such sale are insufficient to pay the accrued towing or service charges, the towing operator will not be entitled to assert any claim against the borough to pay same. The procedures set forth herein shall not be construed nor is it the intent that in authorizing this procedure the vehicle shall be deemed to be tangible personal property coming into the possession of the Police Department or the Borough of River Edge pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:14-157.
D. 
The towing operator shall not assign, transfer, convey, dispose or subcontract the award of this service or any part without the borough's prior written consent given by either the Borough Administrator or Chief of Police.
E. 
In the event that a vehicle is impounded by the Police Department as a result of an arrest and ownership of said vehicle is lawfully given to the Borough of River Edge, no fee to the Borough of River Edge will be levied for the towing and storage of said vehicle.
F. 
The towing operator shall accept major credit cards and/or auto club memberships for payment of charges.
G. 
In the event that the towing operator has been summoned by the borough for the purpose of towing a vehicle, and the owner of the vehicle arrives at the scene prior to the removal of the vehicle, the owner may be charged the unloading and show-up charge listed in the rate schedule.
H. 
All towing requests shall be forwarded to the towing operator pursuant to the rotation list, except where an owner of a disabled vehicle is a member of the American Automobile Association (AAA). Said owner may request that the vehicle be towed by an AAA-affiliated tower. The River Edge Police Department may forward the request to the AAA central towing service, provided further that the disabled vehicle does not represent a public safety hazard in the opinion of the police officer in attendance.
A. 
All complaints received by the borough regarding a towing operator's performance under the provisions of this chapter shall be investigated by the Chief of Police or his designee and resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. In the event that the complaint cannot be resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties, the matter shall be submitted to the Mayor and Council. The decision of the Mayor and Council shall be final.
B. 
The towing operator will comply with all ordinance and statutory dispute resolution procedures.
C. 
The towing operator shall at all times comply with this chapter or the borough may remove the towing operator from the rotating list after notification and an opportunity for a hearing conducted by the Mayor and Council.
D. 
The Chief of Police is hereby designated to enforce the provisions of this chapter in accordance with the due process of law.
A. 
Ordinance No. 1102 and revisions thereto are hereby repealed. All ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter are hereby repealed. This chapter shall take effect immediately upon passage and publication according to law.
B. 
Inconsistency and effectiveness of Ordinance No. 1770.
[Added 9-17-2012 by Ord. No. 1770]
(1) 
All ordinances or parts thereof inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.
(2) 
This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon final passage and publication as required by law.