[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Greenwich 12-16-2019 by Ord. No. 13-2019. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 140.
Abandoned vehicles and chattels — See Ch. 659.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. 643, Towing and Storage of Vehicles, adopted 8-3-1992 by Ord. No. 9-1992, as amended.
It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to regulate the towing of motor vehicles within the Township, setting a fee schedule for said towing and providing for the storage thereof.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of the Police Department of the Township of Greenwich or anyone designated by him.
- The Township Clerk of the Township of Greenwich.
- A person, firm, partnership, association, corporation or company of any kind.
- POLICE HOLD VEHICLES
- Motor vehicles which are alleged to have been involved in illegal activity, involved in a fatal motor vehicle collision, or any vehicles so designated by a Greenwich Township Police Officer.
- TOW OPERATOR OR TOWING OPERATOR
- A duly licensed tow truck operator engaged in the business of towing motor vehicles.
- TOWING LIST
- A list maintained by the Chief of Police containing the names of those wreckers licensed by the Township to respond to the requests for the towing of vehicles made by the Police Department.
- The Township of Greenwich.
No person shall tow any motor vehicle within the Township except as provided in this chapter.
A towing list shall be established pursuant to the procedures set forth below and said list shall be utilized on a rotating basis as the need for services arises. The list shall be updated annually.
A towing license is required for any person, partnership or corporation, etc., to be placed on a tow truck call or list by the Police Department of the Township of Greenwich. The tow trucks or wreckers shall be insured under the terms and conditions of this chapter, and the license shall certify that they meet all requirements set forth in this chapter, the New Jersey statutes and the rules and regulations of the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles. The licensee shall certify that periodic inspection of the tow trucks is made and that the tow trucks comply with the requirements hereinabove and hereafter set forth. The licensee shall also be required to ensure that all operators of the licensee's tow trucks have valid New Jersey driver's licenses and are duly authorized to operate the tow trucks on private or public highways in the state of New Jersey. All licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire on the last day of December succeeding the date of issuance.
Application for licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall be made upon a form prepared by the Chief of Police of the Township of Greenwich. The application form shall be filed with the Chief of Police of the Township of Greenwich. The application shall state the following information:
The location, description and availability of the tow truck(s) operated by the applicant. The vehicle description shall include year, make, model, type, serial number of body and length of time the vehicle has been in use.
The actual rates to be charged for towing and storage services, which rates shall be available for public inspection. Any changes to rates set forth on the application shall be filed with the Chief of Police.
The area the applicant has available for properly accommodating and protecting disabled motor vehicles. The applicant shall attach a diagram of its property showing the secured area intended for the protection of vehicles removed from the roadway.
A statement that the applicant has sufficient personnel and equipment to provide a twenty-four-hour towing service and to respond to police calls in accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
The name the towing operator's insurance company and insurance policy number. A current and valid certificate of insurance must be provided at the time of application submission as required under the terms and conditions stated in § 643-20 herein.
The name, address and driver's license number of each driver or operator of the tow vehicle(s).
Proof of ownership or lease agreement for the towing and storage facility.
No license shall be issued to a towing operator unless the applicant's towing facility is located within a zoning district where such use is permitted in accordance with the Township of Greenwich Zoning Ordinance (or the Zone Code for the municipality where the towing facility is located) or unless a use variance has been obtained therefor, and any and all Planning Board or Zoning Board approvals and/or permits have been obtained therefor, or unless sufficient proofs are provided by the applicant that said facility was operated at its present location prior to adoption of the applicable Zoning Code, and is considered grandfathered.
The tow vehicle(s) shall comply with any and all state, federal and local laws, regulations and ordinances, pertaining to safety, lighting and towing equipment and shall be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police or a designee at any time.
The Township of Greenwich shall have the right to verify the accuracy of the information supplied in the application by interviewing, investigating and inspecting all personnel, vehicles, equipment and storage areas proposed for utilization by the applicant, and to determine compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and standards of performance required by this chapter.
The Police Department may request and obtain additional information from the Department of Weights and Measures and Consumer Protection of the applicable county and from any other appropriate sources.
The towing operator shall at no time transfer or assign a license or any part thereof, for any purpose whatsoever.
Within 14 days after receipt of an application, the Chief of Police shall cause a background investigation to be made of the applicant and each driver. This investigation shall include an inspection of the towing facility, the tow vehicle(s) and the towing operation, and inquiry into all relevant matters, to determine if the towing operator meets the requirements of all applicable laws, regulations, standards of performance and security of vehicles towed or stored as mandated by N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49(b). Every towing operator on the Greenwich Township tow list may be responsible for all fees and costs associated to perform criminal and driver license background checks for each of their employees.
All operators of the tower's equipment providing services required by this chapter shall be over the age of 18, must have a valid driver's license, and must be of good moral character.
No person shall be utilized by the tower to provide services required by this chapter for the Township unless the Township has obtained a record check which has been approved by the Chief of Police. The Chief of Police may reject the services of an employee of the tower for the following reasons:
Conviction of any crime of the first or second degree.
Conviction of any crime involving the use of a firearm.
Conviction of any crime involving the manufacture/distribution of any controlled dangerous substance.
Conviction of any crime or offense which subjects the employee to the provisions of Megan's Law.
Conviction within the last five years for driving under the influence of intoxicating beverages or drugs.
Upon completion of the aforesaid investigation, the Chief of Police shall file a written report as to the findings and issue a recommendation of approval or disapproval with the Township Committee.
If the Chief of Police recommends that the towing operator not be approved, a written report shall be filed with the Township Council specifying the findings and the reasons for the recommendation of rejection. The Township will furnish a copy of the report to the towing operator by certified mail.
Any towing operator who is denied a license based upon the findings and recommendations of the Chief of Police may, after receipt of notification, file an appeal within 10 days with the Township Council.
The towing facility shall be staffed (by an employee or owner at the facility) during normal business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and include twenty-four-hour telephone service, seven days per week, during the week in which the licensed facility is on call.
At no time shall any automobile towed by a towing operator be stored at any location other than the tow operator's facility, except where a vehicle is towed at the request of the owner to a specific location.
The towing facility's office shall be a permanent structure (not a construction-type trailer) which is ADA accessible and compliant.
The towing facility shall have a sign visible from the street identifying the business name of the tow operator.
The towing facility shall not be co-owned or co-leased by another person or entity that provides towing services to the Township of Greenwich.
The towing operator shall provide tow vehicles capable of handling the transporting of motor vehicles as defined in this chapter, and equipped to provide regular towing service as follows: up to 9,000 pounds gross vehicular weight is considered light towing service; 9,000 pounds gross vehicular weight and heavier is considered medium and/or heavy towing service; carry weight shall not be less than 4,000 pounds or less than that needed to carry the transported vehicle safely.
The operator shall make available for service at least one tow truck on twenty-four-hour call. Said tow trucks shall be equipped with a crane capable of handling the heaviest passenger motor vehicle and equipped to render first-class wrecking services and licensed as such by the State of New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles.
Each tow vehicle or flatbed vehicle shall be equipped with towing and safety equipment, warning devices such as lights, flares and flags to warn other automobile operators of the presence of a disabled automobile, and mechanic's tools to perform complete emergency work, including but not limited to the following:
All tow operators shall be required to wear a reflective jacket or vest when towing vehicles on the roadway and at all times shall exercise extreme caution and due safety.
At least one amber rotating beacon or strobe light mounted on the highest practical location of the vehicle, which when in use shall be visible from 360° at a distance of not less than 500 feet during daylight hours.
One snatch block per winch.
Safety tow lights or magnetic tow lights for towing vehicles at night. Safety tow lights, red in color, shall be mounted in the rear of the vehicle being towed.
Ample chains and cables for pulling or securing a towed vehicle. The working limit of cable shall be noted to include a minimum pulling capacity of 2,500 pounds, three-eighths-inch cable.
At least one broom, shovel, crowbar or prybar, jumper cables, flashlight, fire extinguisher or dry chemical type having capacity of not less than two pounds, one dozen flares or similar warning devices for placement at the scene of an accident or behind a disabled vehicle, not less than 10 pounds of dry sand or a drying compound for gasoline and oil spilled onto the roadway, and tools sufficient to enable the tow vehicle operator to perform proper and adequate emergency repair services for the tow.
Back-up alarms on all tow trucks.
All tow trucks must follow all safety equipment requirements as set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:3-1 et seq. and 49 CFR 393.
Each tow vehicle shall display the two stickers issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections, State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, on the upper left and right side of the driver's door and passenger's door panel and shall have the name and number of the licensed tow operator displayed on the vehicle in such manner and of such lettering as to conform to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-46.
Towing operators and their employees shall provide all services required by this chapter at all times and shall be subject to the following requirements:
Possess sufficient knowledge, skill and ability to provide minimum road services for disabled vehicles and to adequately remove a vehicle from an accident scene without causing additional damage to the vehicle.
Not be mentally or physically impaired.
Obey all traffic laws, statutes, regulations and ordinances promulgated by the State of New Jersey and the Township of Greenwich.
The tow vehicles provided by the towing operator shall be of such type and design to properly and safely perform all towing services required by this chapter and shall at all times comply with New Jersey statutes and regulations and be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police or designee.
All drivers of tow vehicles shall possess at all times a valid New Jersey driver's license and a commercial driver's license where applicable, which shall be subject to inspection by the Chief of Police.
The two vehicles provided by the towing operator shall be geographically located so as to permit a response time within 10 minutes.
The towing fees and storage fees established by the towing operator shall be conspicuously posted at the towing facility owned or operated by the towing operator, which fees shall not exceed the fees set forth in this chapter.
At all times the towing operator shall maintain the towing facility in a clean and orderly fashion. Reasonable measures shall be taken by the towing operator to prevent vandalism, theft or damage to automobiles stored therein.
In the event that automobiles which are towed and stored by the towing operator are abandoned or unclaimed by the owners thereof, the towing operator shall make no claim against the Township, its agents or employees. Only those vehicles towed from private property or public right-of-way under authorization of either the Code Enforcement Official or the Police Department, not including accident vehicles, shall be disposed of by the Township pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1 or other appropriate state statutes or state regulations.
The towing operator operating pursuant to this chapter is an independent contractor and in no sense an agent, servant or employee of the Township. Said operator shall at all times maintain direct supervision, management and control over all of its employees and personnel engaged in the operation or services performed pursuant to this chapter.
The Township shall not be responsible for the acts of the towing operator in performing the services contemplated by this chapter. The towing operator agrees to save and hold harmless the Township from all manner of liability as a result of its actions or omission, whether of a negligent or intentional nature.
Towing operators approved for tow list eligibility shall be required to fulfill tow requests of the Code Official and/or the Police Department of the Township of Greenwich. Failure or refusal to remove a vehicle pursuant to directive of the Township of Greenwich shall be cause for removal from the approved tow list.
The tow operator shall be responsible for ensuring the proper, safe and secure storage of all vehicles towed. The tow operator shall be liable for any and all damage incurred by such vehicles while in transit to or while stored in or at the facilities of the operator.
All tow vehicles shall be owned or leased by the entity that is awarded a tow license by the Township of Greenwich.
The tow operator shall update its list of drivers with the Chief of Police within 14 days of the hiring of a new driver.
The tow operator shall be responsible for each vehicle and its contents in the tower's possession until final disposition and/or removal by the Police Department.
Every tow operator on the Police Department tow list shall maintain an inside building and outside secured storage area meeting the following requirements:
All towing operators shall provide a towing facility of sufficient exterior storage size to accommodate not less than 10 passenger vehicles, and not less than 400 square feet of inside secured storage facilities to hold and protect any vehicle or equipment utilized for evidentiary, crime scene and/or other police hold purposes.
The storage area shall be located either within the limits of the Township or at no more than a five-mile radius outside of the Township borders so as to facilitate reasonable towing distances.
Outside storage areas shall be fully enclosed by a fence of sufficient security to prevent trespassing, having a height of eight feet, with at least one lockable gate for ingress and egress, and shall be lighted from dusk to dawn. (If the storage facility includes more than one access point, then all access points must be secured with appropriate gate and lock.)
The storage facility shall be available to the Greenwich Township Police Department 24 hours a day, 365 days per year and shall be open to the public on weekdays during normal business hours and for limited but reasonable hours on Saturday. The operator shall specify the hours on which the facility will be open to the public on weekends. The storage facility shall release a stored vehicle to the owner thereof on such date as shall have been requested by said owner during normal business hours, after receiving the tow release from the Greenwich Township Police Department. Storage charges shall accrue until the date the owner or owner's agent takes possession of the vehicle.
The tow operator shall have an employee or owner on duty during all hours in which the storage area is open.
The tow operator may charge a release fee or other charge for releasing vehicles to their owners only after normal business hours or on weekends in an amount not to exceed $40.
No vehicles shall be stored or placed outside of the storage area.
The Township of Greenwich shall not be responsible for processing of licensure and other documents required by the State of New Jersey with regard to vehicles left abandoned at a repair facility. Vehicles left abandoned at a repair facility, including those involved in accidents, are the responsibility of the repair facility, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:10A-8.
Upon written recommendation or approval by the Chief of Police, the Township Council of the Township of Greenwich shall thereafter and within a reasonable time make a final determination as to whether or not to approve said application. The Township Council may decide to have a public hearing concerning the same, and said hearing shall be scheduled within 15 days thereafter and on seven days' written notice to the applicant.
The operator shall at all times be courteous and present a clean and neat appearance, shall obey and respect all traffic regulations of the Township and modifications thereof as shall, from time to time, be prescribed by the Township in the interest of efficient service.
During adverse weather or heavy traffic conditions, the operator shall make available additional standby equipment as necessary to serve the Township. The operator shall maintain such ancillary equipment to provide response time within 15 minutes from the notification of the operator (or his agent or employee) of the emergency of an accident or other similar situation whereby a motor vehicle is rendered inoperable.
The operator and his personnel and equipment used in accordance with this chapter shall be and remain the employees and property of the operator under his direct supervision, management and control. The operator shall not represent that his property or employees are owned or employed by the Township. The operator at all times shall represent that he is an independent contractor and not an agent, employee or representative of the Township.
Charges and fees. The charges, fees and rates for vehicles to be towed and stored shall be as follows:
Flatbed and towing service pursuant to this chapter which will include all routine towing/winching, labor and cleanup costs associated with the removal of the vehicle.
Any towing service requested for automobiles, all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, motor scooters, mopeds and trucks less than 2.5 tons: $140 daytime rate and $150 nights, weekends and holidays.
Trucks 2.5 tons to five tons: $175 daytime rate and $200 nights, weekends and holidays.
Trucks, buses, tractor trailers, heavy equipment over five tons: $450 daytime rate and $475 nights, weekends and holidays.
For extra-light-duty vehicles (10,000 pounds and under):
For extra-heavy-duty commercial vehicles:
Heavy-duty wrecker (26,001 pounds and up): $450 per hour.
Medium-duty wrecker (10,001 to 26,000 pounds): $250 per hour.
Road service truck: $200 per hour.
Forklift: $125 per hour.
Specialized equipment: $250 per hour.
Landoll lowboy with tractor: $225 per hour.
Airbag recovery systems: $3,500 flat rate.
There will be no charge for mileage for vehicles towed within the Township limits.
For vehicles towed to and from areas outside the Township limits, other than the storage location of the tower, the price shall be negotiated between tower and owner of the towed vehicle. If price cannot be agreed upon per industry standards, the tower will take the vehicle to its storage location with no mileage charge.
Storage is charged per calendar day.
Motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, mopeds, motor scooters will be charged $35 per day.
Automobiles and trucks less than 2.5 tons: $35 per day.
Trucks 2.5 tons to five tons: $40 per day.
Trucks, tractor trailers, buses and heavy equipment over five tons: $80 per day.
Inside storage: $65 per day.
Fees billed to the Township for vehicles removed at the Township's direction will be consistent with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.50 and shall not exceed the following:
A limit of $3 per day for the first 30 days of storage per vehicle.
A limit of $2 per day for day 31 of storage and any day thereafter.
A limit of $400 per vehicle stored regardless of the duration of the storage except that a waiver may be granted for good cause upon the request of the municipality by the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs.
No charge shall be made to the Township by the operator for towing or storage or other services provided to the Township, its vehicles or emergency fire and rescue vehicles or for any vehicles used in the commission of a crime. The operator shall not be responsible for damages resulting therefrom.
Additional charges may be made by any licensee for towing or storage of vehicles in excess of 3/4 ton, including tractor trailers, for services involving unusual wrecks, disassembled vehicles, embankment retrievals, disaster scenes and for towing to a location outside the Township of Greenwich, pursuant to an express request by the owner or operator of the vehicle to be so moved.
When the owner of a vehicle desires to retrieve or take possession of same from a licensed tower hereunder, he must first obtain a release slip from the Police Department, execute same with his signature before the police and exhibit a copy thereof to the tower/operator. On said release slip shall be printed the maximum charges for towing and/or storage as set forth elsewhere in this chapter.
The Chief of Police of the Township of Greenwich, for reasonable cause, can suspend and remove as operator from the towing schedule/list and must report said action to the Township Council at the next regularly scheduled Township meeting following such removal. The Chief of Police must then notify the operator that has reported such removal to the Township Council and that the operator has the right to appeal such suspension or removal at any Township meeting scheduled subsequent thereto for reconsideration or reinstatement to the towing list.
Each duly licensed operator shall maintain a towing log of all calls made to and/or handled by such operator. The Chief of Police must be furnished with a copy of such log slips within 30 days of such call or service rendered.
An operator can have only one license application per business premises and ownership of equipment, and each licensee must own or have listed in his name the vehicles required under this chapter.
Garage keeper's insurance. The operator shall maintain a policy of garage keepers' insurance in a minimum amount of $37,500 and shall furnish to the Township a certificate of insurance, together with a copy of the policy.
Workers' compensation insurance shall be maintained as required by statute.
The municipality shall be named as an additional insured on all policies.
All insurance coverages shall be for the entire term of the contract, and the contractor shall allow no interruption in service and the municipality shall be notified regarding any policy cancellation or revision.
The operator shall furnish the certificate of insurance to the Clerk prior to being placed on the towing schedule.
The operator shall indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Township from any and all claims against the Township arising out of the operation of the operator, his servants, agents or employees under this chapter. The operator shall provide a written hold harmless agreement, duly executed to the Township, prior to being placed on the towing schedule.
Except upon written consent of the Township, the operator shall not assign or transfer in any manner his license to operate under this chapter.
Each and every person violating any of the provision of this chapter shall be subject, upon conviction thereof, to a fine not exceeding $2,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 90 days, and/or 90 days of community service, at the discretion of the court. The continuation of such violation for each successive day shall constitute a separate offense, and each person continuing or allowing or permitting the continuance of a violation may be punished as provided above for each separate offense.
Any person requiring emergency towing service as prescribed by this chapter shall have the option to engage an operator of his choice; provided, however, that said operator is immediately available to provide said service. If the operator is not immediately available and, in the judgment of the Chief of Police or any police officer, the delay in waiting for said operator will create an unreasonable traffic or safety hazard, said officer shall immediately provide for the towing of said vehicle by the designated operator, pursuant to the towing schedule. The owner shall have the option to engage his own operator only if he signs a release to the Township/police for liability therefor.