[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Highland Falls 6-12-1979 by L.L. No. 1-1979 (Ch. 104 of the 1971 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is entitled the "Towing Regulations Local Law of the Village of Highland Falls."
No person, firm or corporation shall operate for hire a truck or other type of motor vehicle designed and able to provide road service and tow other motor vehicles within the Village of Highland Falls unless a license therefor shall first have been obtained from the Clerk of the Village of Highland Falls as hereinafter provided. However, tow truck operators doing business and based from outside the Village of Highland Falls may enter the Village of Highland Falls without a license to remove a motor vehicle from any garage, private residence or any street by permission of the owner.
No such license shall be issued unless an affidavit of application therefor has been filed with the Village Clerk by the applicant, duly sworn to by said applicant before a duly licensed notary public of the State of New York, and thereafter approved. The application shall include the following information:
The name and business address of the applicant and, if a natural person, his age and residence address.
The registration number of the tow truck to be operated and the New York State repair garage license number.
The amount of liability insurance for personal injury and property damage on said tow truck; the name of the insurance company, which must be licensed to do business in the State of New York; and the policy number. The limits shall be not less than $100,000 for each person and $300,000 for each occurrence and not less than $10,000 for property damage.
A certificate of insurance shall be provided which requires notice to the Village in the event of cancellation or nonrenewal.
No such license shall be issued unless the applicant agrees to charge reasonable rates for towing within the Village of Highland Falls.
No such license shall be issued unless the applicant agrees to charge no more than reasonable rates for road service, regardless of distance, within the Village of Highland Falls.
Every license issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire on the 20th day of January following the issuance thereof, and no such license is transferable from one operator or another nor from one truck to another without the prior consent of the Village Board.
[Amended 6-16-1987 by L.L. No. 6-1987]
The annual license fee for 12 months or part thereof, payable to the Village Clerk, for each such license or renewal thereof, which license may cover all tow truck or trucks owned and listed by a licensee, shall be established by resolution of the Board of Trustees.
On each side of every tow truck for which a license has been granted, there shall be legibly inscribed, in letters not less than three inches high, the name and address of the owner of such tow truck or the person, firm or corporation having the license number assigned to such tow truck by the Village Clerk and the license number posted in cab.
Each person, firm or corporation operating a tow truck business in the Village of Highland Falls may obtain a license for all tow trucks it desires to operate, provided that such person, firm or corporation abides by the regulations set forth herein. No individual truck may be licensed by more than one applicant.
No vehicle shall be licensed under this chapter unless the vehicle to be licensed is properly registered and inspected as required by the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York and unless the address at which it is registered is the place of business within the Village of Highland Falls of the applicant.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to service or tow away motor vehicles which have been involved in an accident without the prior consent of the owner or operator or the police officer at the scene of the accident. No motor vehicle shall be serviced at or removed from the scene of an accident where the police officer requires or requests that an examination be made of the damaged vehicles to determine whether the vehicle was defective or where the police officer requires that photographs and/or diagrams of the scene be made. It shall be unlawful for any licensed operator to move, remove or tow away any motor vehicle involved in an accident without the licensed operator first notifying the police agency having jurisdiction of the motor vehicle accident and obtaining its approval to move or remove said vehicle(s) involved in any such accident.
All licensees engaged in towing and storing vehicles shall have a garage keeper's legal liability policy to cover fire, theft and property damage that will cover any vehicle towed, impounded or stored and will keep such policy in effect throughout their license period and insurance limits not less than in § 217-3C.
All firms called upon to impound a vehicle for the Village of Highland Falls Police Department must store the vehicle within the Town of Highlands unless directed otherwise by a member of the Police Department.
When called to the scene of an accident, the licensed firm shall be responsible for removing debris from the roadway, such as glass, metal fragments, etc., leaving the roadway free from such debris.
The licensed firm shall be responsible for the collection of all fees for service, towing or storage of any vehicle. Neither the Village of Highland Falls nor any of its agencies or employees shall act as agent for the collection of any fees, nor shall they be held responsible in the event of nonpayment of any moneys due to any licensed firm as a result of services performed in accordance with this chapter. All licensed tow operators are authorized to collect reasonable fee in the event that the Village requests towing or impounding.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to drive along any public street or highway within the Village of Highland Falls for the purpose of soliciting towing and/or repair work.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to solicit towing or repair work at the scene of any motor vehicle accident on private property or on a public highway within the Village of Highland Falls.
The stopping of any tow truck or service truck within 500 feet of the scene of any accident or disabled vehicle on any public street or highway in the Village of Highland Falls without the prior authorization of the operator of the vehicle, owner of the vehicle, a member of the Village of Highland Falls Police Department or a member of the New York State Police shall be presumptive evidence of the intent of the operator of a tow truck or service truck to solicit towing or repair work, except if an owner flags down a passing tow or service truck.
"Cruising" shall be defined as the driving along the public highways or roadways solely for the purpose of soliciting towing or repair work, without having been first called or otherwise requested to provide service. Cruising for the purpose of solicitation of towing or repair work shall be unlawful.
The communications dispatcher shall maintain a rotating list of all licensed tow truck establishments. When a motor vehicle is in the need of service, the owner or operator may specify the licensed tow operator to be called. Village and Town police shall each establish a list of tow truck operators. Any licensed tow operator shall be listed upon request. Calls to the communications dispatcher for towing assistance shall be referred to the firm requested by the owner or operator of the vehicle needing assistance. If no such firm is specified as the choice of the owner or operator, such calls shall be referred to the tow truck firm next on the list. If such firm is not available, the next name on said list shall be called. A call referred to a licensed tow operator at the specific request of the owner or operator shall not affect said firm's entitlement to receive calls on the rotating list.
In the event that a firm called for towing or service assistance is unable or fails to arrive at the location where assistance is requested within 15 minutes commencing from the time the firm is notified, the next firm shall be called, and the first firm called shall not be entitled to any compensation.
The Chief of Police or his designated representative shall cause to be inspected each licensee's place of business and licensed vehicle(s) not less than but not limited to twice each year. In the event that the licensed firm fails to comply with the provisions herein contained, the Chief of Police shall suspend the licensed firm from the list of licensed firms maintained at the Police Department and so notify the Village Board in writing. The licensed firm shall remain suspended until all violations are corrected. Said firm shall be entitled, upon request within seven days, to a public hearing before the Village Board to review and approve or terminate said suspension.
The Village Board may in each case, after a public hearing, either deny a license to any applicant whom the Board shall determine to be an undesirable person or incapable of properly conducting a road service or tow truck business or revoke the license or licenses of any licensee whom the Board shall determine has violated the provisions of this chapter.
The specific dollar amounts established herein for liability insurance requirements and license fees are subject to change by local law or resolution of the Village Board.
Each wrecker or service truck shall be equipped with an amber rotating light mounted at the top of the cab of such vehicle and shall be of a type that contains at least two sealed beam bulbs and is visible 360° for a distance of not less than 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions or equal lighting equipment.
Each wrecker or service truck shall be equipped with two flashing red lights (four-way flashers) so mounted as to show the width of the vehicle from the rear. Said lights shall be visible for a distance of not less than 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions.
Each wrecker shall be equipped with two flashing lights so mounted so as to show the height of the boom from the rear. Said lights shall be visible for a distance of at least 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions.
Each wrecker or service truck shall be equipped with not less than 12 thirty-minute burning-type flares and three reflector-type flares.
Each wrecker or service truck shall be equipped with a fire extinguisher, the minimum rating of which shall be at least 10 pounds ABC.
Each wrecker shall be equipped with hoisting equipment of sufficient capacity to perform the service intended. The hoisting equipment of each wrecker shall be securely mounted to the frame of such vehicle. The winch of such hoisting equipment shall contain not less than 100 feet of three-eighths-inch steel strand cable; said cable shall be one continuous length and shall be free of breaks, splits or knots.
Each wrecker or service truck shall be equipped with a broom, shovel and a crowbar.
Each licensee shall be equipped with dolly wheels.
All wrecker or service trucks shall meet all of the requirements of the Vehicle and Traffic Law for such vehicles.
Any person or entity violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of an offense.
Any person or entity committing an offense against any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction therefor, be subject to a fine not to exceed $50 for the first offense.
Any person or entity committing an offense hereunder within six months of his or its conviction of any prior offense hereunder shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $1,000 and/or shall have his or its license suspended for a period of 60 days.
Any person or entity committing an offense hereunder within 12 months of his or its conviction of more than one other offense hereunder shall be fined not less than $500 and shall have his or its license suspended for a period of 120 days.
Any person or entity operating a tow truck as defined in § 217-2 in violation of any of the provisions herein shall be guilty of an offense which, upon conviction therefor, will subject said person or entity to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, as well as to a term of imprisonment of not more than 60 days, or both.
If this chapter is adopted in identical form by the Town of Highlands, then:
A tow operator with a principal office or place of business in the Town of Highlands outside the Village shall apply for a license hereunder to the Town of Highlands; a tow operator with a principal office or place of business in the Village of Highland Falls shall apply to said Village; and such license shall be deemed valid for both the Town of Highlands outside the Village and the Village of Highland Falls.
This provision shall be effective if and only so long as said two municipalities have identical chapters containing all these provisions.
If the police agency directs a licensed tow operator to tow and impound a motor vehicle, such operator shall provide the facilities to store said vehicle. In case of impounds, no charge for storage shall be made in excess of an amount set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Trustees. The operator shall provide liability insurance covering said stored vehicles in amounts not less than in § 217-3C, and said policy shall name the Town of Highlands as an additional insured.