[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough of Rutherford Council 5-19-1992 by Ord. No. 2650-92. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Whenever used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
- Any person, persons, partnership or corporation submitting an application for a license to furnish towing service in the Borough.
- BASIC TOW
- Private property towing and other nonconsensual towing as
defined in this section and other ancillary services that include
the following: arriving at the site from which a motor vehicle will
be towed; 15 minutes waiting time; hooking a motor vehicle to, or
loading a motor vehicle onto, a tow truck; transporting a motor vehicle
to a storage facility; unhooking or unloading a motor vehicle from
the tow truck; and situating the motor vehicle in the space in which
it will be stored. "Basic tow" also includes issuing documents for
the release of a motor vehicle to its owner or other person authorized
to take the motor vehicle; issuing an itemized bill; three trips to
the motor vehicle in storage, which, if applicable, include making
a vehicle available to an insurance appraiser or adjuster; issuing
documents for the release of a motor vehicle to its owner or other
person authorized to take the motor vehicle; and retrieving a motor
vehicle from storage during the hours in which the storage facility
is open.[Added 9-25-2017 by Ord. No. 3432-17]
- The Borough of Rutherford in the County of Bergen, State of New Jersey.
- Driving an unengaged tow truck on a street or highway within the Borough for the purpose of soliciting business.
- A building wherein 10 motor vehicles towed for the Borough of Rutherford can be sheltered or stored, located within an area permitted under the Zoning Ordinance of the municipality. 
- HIGH-FREQUENCY POLICE RADIO RECEIVING SET
- A radio receiving set capable of receiving any message sent out by any Rutherford police communications system.
- Any person, persons, partnership or corporation licensed by the Borough to furnish towing service in the Borough in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- All vehicles propelled otherwise than by muscular power, excepting such vehicles as run only upon rails or tracks and motorized bicycles.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The Borough of Rutherford Police Department as established by Chapter 76 of the Code of the Borough.
- STORAGE AREA
- Any lot, area or place wherein a minimum of 20 motor vehicles towed for the Borough of Rutherford can be placed and/or stored, surrounded entirely by an adequate fence and lighting and located in an area permitted under the Zoning Ordinance of the municipality.
- Any person, persons, partnership or corporation issued a license to provide towing services.
- TOWING SERVICE
- The towing, transporting, conveying and/or removal of damaged, disabled and abandoned motor vehicles from the streets or highways within the Borough.
- TOW TRUCK
- A vehicle employed for the purpose of towing, transporting, conveying and removing any damaged, disabled abandoned motor vehicles from the streets or highways within the Borough at the request of the owner or the Police Department.
- The process of moving a motor vehicle by the use of chains,
nylon slings or additional lengths of winch cable from a position
that is not accessible for direct hook-up for towing a motor vehicle.
Winching includes recovering a motor vehicle that is not on the road
and righting a motor vehicle that is on its side or upside down, but
does not include pulling a motor vehicle onto a flatbed tow truck.[Added 9-25-2017 by Ord. No. 3432-17]
- A public vehicle employed for the purpose of towing, transporting and/or conveying or removing all kinds of vehicles which are unable to be and/or are actually not operated under their own power, for which service a charge or fee is exacted.
No person, persons, partnership or corporation who or which wishes to engage in municipal police towing shall engage in the business of operating wreckers or tow trucks for the aforementioned purpose within the Borough without first obtaining a license therefor.
Applicants for a license under this chapter must meet all the qualifications set forth in § 117-4 and shall file with the Borough Clerk, in duplicate, a sworn application in writing, on a form furnished by the Borough Clerk, which must contain the following information:
The full name and address of the applicant. If the application is made for a corporation, it shall state the names and addresses of the shareholders, officers and directors thereof, the address of the registered office and the name of the registered agent; if made by a partnership, the name and address of the partners.
The year, make and type of each tow truck and/or wrecker to be used in the towing service, its serial number, license plate number and the name of the registered owner.
The address where the tow trucks and/or wreckers are regularly garaged, available telephone numbers, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and the names, addresses and serial numbers of the motor vehicle drivers' licenses of all operators.
The address of the garage or storage area.
The application for license shall be accompanied by a certificate of insurance for the required coverage issued by a company in good standing certified to do business in New Jersey, and each certificate must contain an endorsement providing for 30 days' notice of cancellation or nonrenewal stating that the Borough and licensee shall receive, in writing, 30 days' notice of cancellation or nonrenewal by certified mail, return receipt requested. The Borough shall be named as an additional insured under the liability portion of the insurance coverage.
Each applicant shall execute an indemnification/hold harmless agreement in the form provided by the Borough Clerk, which shall be attached to the application for a license.
Each licensee shall meet the following standards and qualifications:
The licensee must have a garage and storage area which, if not located within the Borough of Rutherford, shall be located within the Borough of Rutherford or towns west of the Hackensack River, but not more than one mile from the boundaries of the Borough of Rutherford.
The licensee must deposit with the Borough Clerk the following insurance policies:
[Amended 11-19-1996 by Ord. No. 2782-96]
The licensee shall carry workers' compensation insurance in accordance with the requirements of the laws of the State of New Jersey. He shall also carry public liability and property damage contingent liability insurance to indemnify the Borough and the public against any loss due to injuries, accidents or damage of any nature or character whatsoever, when such damage is the result of any omission of the licensee, his agents or employees in or due to the execution of the work called for under the license in an amount not less than $250,000.
Comprehensive general liability coverage with a limit of not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit, to include contractual liability coverage. At the licensees option, a garage liability policy in lieu of a comprehensive general liability policy will be acceptable, if there is evidence from the carrier that they are aware of this contract and will hold the Borough of Rutherford harmless.
A $2,000,000 umbrella liability policy.
Automobile liability insurance with limits of not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit.
Garage liability coverage at a limit of liability of not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit and garage keepers' liability coverage, on a direct primary basis, in the amount of $250,000, with a maximum deductible of $500.
Certificates of insurance showing that both the licensee is named insured and the Borough of Rutherford is an additional insured.
The licensee shall defend and hold harmless the Borough of Rutherford for liability from any and all obligations, liabilities, judgments, claims and demands for personal injuries and damages to property which may arise out of the performance of this agreement. The licensee shall save harmless the Borough from all actions at law for any infringements of patent rights of tools, equipment, apparatus or methods used by him.
The licensee must meet all the requirements of Title 39 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes, motor vehicle rules and regulations.
The licensee must own or lease and have operating at all times and ready to go to a call at a location within the boundaries of the Borough of Rutherford when dispatched by the Rutherford Police Department, pursuant to the terms of the license and for the full term of the contract:
At least three one-ton tow trucks with one-ton chassis and four-ton crane and wheel lifts.
At least two wreckers/tow trucks with a boom rating of at least 25 tons, of such construction and capacity that they will be able to tow any type of vehicle, one of which shall have twenty-five-thousand-pound underreach wheel lifts.
One flatbed-type tow truck which is at least 26 feet, measured bumper to bumper.
In addition to the vehicle required in the preceding Subsection D(3), a flatbed trailer and truck (for the removal of heavily damaged trucks, buses, etc.) with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 80,000 pounds or have a subcontractor on twenty-four-hour call with such equipment.
An air cushion recovery system with a minimum of two air cushions available.
A forklift for unloading cargo or cleaning up cargo spilled on roadway with a minimum rating of 7,000 pounds, or have a subcontractor on twenty-four-hour call with such equipment.
Equipment for jump starts, the changing of flat tires and portable heavy-duty lighting.
Personnel certified in heavy recovery and handling hazardous materials.
One large broom and shovel in each vehicle.
Portable safety lights to be installed on rear of towed vehicle if necessary.
Steering wheel lock for towing vehicles from the rear.
Tow-sling-type tow bar to prevent any part of the crane metal from touching towed vehicles.
Safety flares for night work.
At all times, at least three employees with articulated driver's licenses available to operate the above equipment, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.
The licensee must have a security device to ensure nontampering of motor vehicles held for evidence and/or processing by the Police Department. Any vehicle being held for such purpose(s) shall be stored indoors.
The licensee must provide a telephone number where the licensee may be reached 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Upon receipt of such application, the original shall be referred by the Borough Clerk to the Chief of Police, who shall cause to be made an investigation of the qualifications and facilities of the applicant. The Chief of Police shall also investigate the driving record of the applicant and all persons employed by the applicant as drivers or operators of towing vehicles and the moral character of the applicant as he deems necessary for the protection of the public health, welfare and safety. As part of said investigation, the Chief of Police shall conduct a fingerprint identification and criminal history record check with the State Bureau of Identification.
[Amended 2-16-1993 by Ord. No. 2672-93]
If, as a result of such investigation, the applicant's qualifications are found to be unsatisfactory or it is found that the issuance of a license to the applicant would present a danger to the public health, welfare or safety, the Chief of Police shall endorse on such application his disapproval and his reasons for the same and return the application to the Borough Clerk, who shall notify the applicant, in writing, that his application is disapproved and the reasons.
If, as a result of such investigation, the qualifications of the applicant are found to be satisfactory and it is found that the issuance of a license to the applicant will not present a danger to the public health, welfare and safety, the Chief of Police shall endorse his approval on the application, return the application to the Borough Clerk, who shall, upon payment of the prescribed fee, execute and deliver to the applicant his license, which shall be posted at his place of business for public inspection. Such license shall contain the signature of the Borough Clerk and the Seal of the Borough and shall show the name and address of the applicant, the date of issuance and the length of time the same shall be operative. The Borough Clerk shall keep a record of all licenses issued and of all complaints received, if any, concerning such licensee. The Borough Clerk shall send a copy of the license to the Police Department for filing.
Upon the issuance of the license, each licensee and his employees shall be issued an identification card, signed by the Chief of Police, renewable annually with the license. Such identification card shall not be transferable and must be carried by each person to whom issued. The bearer of each identification card shall exhibit the same upon request of any person at any time when providing towing service.
[Amended 11-19-1996 by Ord. No. 2782-96]
Each license issued shall be for a period of one year commencing January 1 and terminating on December 31 of each year. The fee for any such license shall be prorated according to the effective date of such license and based on the annual fee of $750, which shall be paid to the Borough Clerk. All licensees seeking to renew their license shall submit an application for renewal of license on the form provided by the Borough Clerk, together with the annual license fee.
The licensee shall not assign, transfer, convey, sublet or otherwise dispose of the license to any other person or legal entity. Violation of this provision shall be sufficient cause for cancellation of the contract and revocation of the license.
By making application to be licensed as a tower by the Borough and by accepting such employment, the licensee and its operators or agents agree to the following:
The licensee shall be available 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
The wrecker/tow truck shall have a passenger seat to transport the driver of the vehicle to be towed, under appropriate circumstances, at no additional cost to the owner of the vehicle.
Any person, company or corporation requesting this license must have had a towing business for a minimum of one year and must be of known good reputation in the field of wrecking and towing.
Wreckers/tow trucks shall have two-way radio capabilities with their dispatching center on a twenty-four-hour basis.
Calls must be answered within 15 minutes of the Rutherford Police Department notice to licensee to respond to a call, unless a mutually agreed time is approved.
The licensee shall provide each wrecker/tow truck with a shovel, broom and other equipment necessary to clean up broken glass and debris from the scene of an accident to which it is summoned. The driver of such wrecker/tow truck shall be responsible for such cleanup.
All wreckers/tow trucks used and employed in towing of vehicles shall be kept in a clean, good working condition, and the name, address and telephone number of the licensee shall be conspicuously displayed on each vehicle.
All licensees shall be required to comply with all state and local laws and be licensed, as required.
The licensees shall, when performing under this license, follow the lawful directions of the officers of the Rutherford Police Department, agents or representatives of the Borough of Rutherford.
A person retrieving his vehicle shall be able to transact all business, including the pick up of the vehicle and payment of fees, at the same location. Such vehicles shall be available for pick up between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or upon special request of the Police Department.
There shall be no piling of vehicles.
Vehicles shall be towed and stored in a safe manner so as to prevent any damage to such vehicles.
The licensee shall provide a clean waiting room for the public with a rest room and access to a public telephone.
The licensee shall accept at least one major credit card.
The licensee shall provide the Police Department with the following information on vehicles unclaimed over 10 days:
[Amended 2-16-1993 by Ord. No. 2672-93]
The licensee shall be responsible for any valuables left in or on motor vehicles in his custody.
The licensee shall post in a conspicuous place at the storage area both the state and Borough towing rates.
[Amended 12-17-2002 by Ord. No. 3017-02]
No fees shall be charged or collected by any towing operator, owner, driver, or employee for any tow occurring in the Borough of Rutherford except as permitted under this section. Permissible towing rates and other charges shall be as follows:
[Amended 4-26-2011 by Ord. No. 3226-11; 9-25-2017 by Ord. No. 3432-17]
In cases of a motor vehicle involved in an accident, the following fees shall apply to additional services, if actually performed:
Waiting time (after the first 15 minutes): $15 per fifteen-minute increments.
Brush cleaning (sweep roadway): $30.
Site clean-up (speedy dry): $20 per bag.
Window wrap (collision wrap): $75.
Transmission disconnect: $50.
Flatbed fee (If a vehicle can only be transported by flatbed): $65.
Special equipment (Equipment other than the first tow truck to recover a motor vehicle that cannot be recovered by winching or pieces of a motor vehicle that cannot be moved by hand):
Mileage fees. There shall be no mileage fees charged to an owner or driver for any mileage within the borders of the Borough of Rutherford or for any mileage within the borders of the Borough of Rutherford to the tow operator's facility. Mileage fees are permitted at the rate of $2.50 per mile.
Storage rates (Storage fees are calculated per twenty-four-hour period or any part of).
Outside storage - cars: $35.
Outside storage - trucks, buses and others (over five tons GVW): $50.
Outside storage - trucks, buses, and others (over 10 tons GVW): $125.
Inside storage - cars: $50.
Inside storage - trucks, buses, and others (over five tons GVW): $100.
Inside storage - trucks, buses, and others (over 10 tons GVW): $175.
Administrative fee (if more than three trips are made to the vehicle): $65.
After hours release (after normal business hours/weekends): $45.
Towing service to a location other than the licensee's storage area when requested by the motor vehicle owner or driver shall be at a rate agreed upon by both the licensee and the motor vehicle owner or driver, but shall be limited to reasonable fees and charges.
Fee cards. Each tow truck operator or driver shall present a fee card to each driver or owner of any vehicle to be towed or serviced at the time the tow is performed or the services are rendered. Each fee card shall clearly display the maximum rates for towing, mileage, storage, and service as permitted under this section.
Invoice. Each tow truck operator or driver shall present an itemized invoice for services rendered to each driver or owner of any vehicle to be towed or serviced at the time the tow is performed or the services rendered, if that driver or owner is present at the scene. The driver or owner shall be required to sign the invoice. The police officer at the scene, if any, shall be required to initial the invoice after the owner or driver has signed it. Nothing herein shall prevent invoicing of additional charges to the driver or owner of the vehicle for additional services rendered after the initial invoice has been signed.
The practice of cruising with a tow truck is forbidden. Furthermore, no person shall pay any emolument to any third person not involved in the accident or to any police officer for information as to the location of any accident or soliciting the employment of the licensees for any accident or soliciting the employment of the licensees service nor give any gratuities, fees or other compensation or gifts to any members of the Police Department. No solicitation for automobile repairs shall be made by a licensee at the scene of an accident or within 48 hours of the release of the automobile owner from any hospital.
The governing body hereby designates the Police Department generally and the Chief of Police in particular as its agent to supervise the enforcement of the terms and provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations adopted hereunder.
No individual owner or operator of a wrecker shall respond to the scene of an auto accident except upon notification by the officer in charge of police headquarters or upon request of the driver or owner of the vehicle involved.
The officers investigating accidents which require a wrecker shall get authorization, whenever feasible under traffic safety guidelines, from the drivers or owners of cars as to who is to do the towing.
In order to amplify and expedite the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, the Chief of Police shall maintain a revolving list of licensed towers to provide service where needed and instruct all on-duty officers to call those listed in alphabetical order on a rotational basis. All owners or operators of disabled vehicles must first be advised, whenever feasible under traffic safety guidelines, that they have a right to call a tower of their own choosing and direct the towing vehicle to remove the damaged vehicle to a garage or storage area of their own choosing.
Each rotational shift, as referenced above, shall commence on Monday at 12:01 a.m. and end on the following Sunday at 12:00 midnight.
Licenses issued under this chapter may be suspended or revoked by the Chief of Police for violations of any terms or conditions of this chapter or for good cause.
Notice of hearing for suspension or revocation of a license shall be given in writing, setting forth the grounds of complaint and the time and place of hearing. Such notice shall be served personally upon the licensee or mailed by registered letter to the licensee at his last known address at least five days prior to the date set for the hearing.
In the event of a suspension or revocation of a license, the Chief of Police shall report his findings and reasons therefor to the Mayor and Council.
Any licensee aggrieved by the action of the Chief of Police or the Borough Clerk in the denial of an application for a license as provided in § 117-13 shall have the right of appeal to the Mayor and Council. Such appeal shall be taken by filing with the Mayor and Council, within 14 days after notice of the action complained of has been mailed to the licensee's last known address, a written statement setting forth fully all the facts why the action of the Chief of Police or Borough Clerk was improper. The Mayor and Council shall set a time and place for hearing on such appeal, and notice of such hearing shall be given to the appellant in the same manner as provided in § 117-13B. The decision and order of the Mayor and Council on such appeal shall be final and conclusive.
This chapter shall not apply to towers not providing towing service for the Police Department.
Nothing in this chapter shall prevent the owner or the operator of an automobile from contacting a tower of his own choice to remove his vehicle from the public streets or highways of the Borough after it has become disabled or otherwise inoperable by virtue of accident or other reason. Said owner or operator shall have a reasonable time within which to select a tower of his own choice to remove the vehicle from the public roadways of the Borough. After expiration of a reasonable period of time, the Police Department shall have the motor vehicle removed.
All charges made by any licensee shall be paid by the owner or operator or any person, firm or corporation claiming the right to possession of any vehicle towed or stored by the licensee as provided for herein, and the Borough shall not be liable for the payment of any sum to the licensee which may be due on account of any towing or storage.
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed 30 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment; and each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and each day there is a violation thereof shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense.
If, for any reason, any section or part of a section, paragraph or provision of this chapter shall be held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect any other section, any part of a section, paragraph or provision of this chapter.