[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Stanhope 11-6-2008 by Ord. No. 2008-13. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to establish a list of towing operators to provide towing and storage services for the Borough of Stanhope on a rotating basis pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5(1)(u) and to further establish fees to be charged to the vehicle owner for the towing and storage of the motor vehicle pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49.
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of the Stanhope Borough Police Department or his designee.
- CLASS A TOWING OPERATORS
- Towing operators engaged in the removal and storage of passenger cars, vans, minivans, motorcycles, pickup trucks and similar motor vehicles.
- CLASS B TOWING OPERATORS
- Towing operators engaged in the removal and storage of buses, tractor trailers and like motor vehicles not covered under Class A.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Includes all motor vehicles propelled otherwise than by muscular power, excepting such motor vehicles as run only upon rails or tracks and motorized bicycles, motorized scooters, motorized wheelchairs and motorized skateboards.
- TOWING OPERATORS
- All persons and business entities engaged in the towing of motor vehicles whether Class A or Class B towing operators as herein defined.
The Police Department of the Borough of Stanhope is hereby authorized to compile a list of towing operators for inclusion upon a structured rotation list to be notified to assist disabled motor vehicles within the Borough of Stanhope and which disablement calls for assistance by or through the Stanhope Borough Police Department, or to impound any motor vehicles within the Borough of Stanhope as required by the Police Department. The Police Department is further authorized to amend and supplement the rotation list from time to time.
The rotation list will be for one full year from January 1 to December 31 or a three-hundred-sixty-five-day calendar year set forth by the Chief of Police or his designee.
All towing operators shall be required to meet the following minimum qualifications to be included on the rotation list:
Class A towing operators. All Class A towing operators to be included on the rotation list must own or lease and have available at least two tow trucks, minimum of one flatbed, in addition to other equipment which is necessary to provide safe and efficient towing.
Class B towing operators. All Class B towing operators to be included on the rotation list must own or lease a suitable heavy-duty truck in addition to other equipment needed to provide safe and efficient towing.
All towing motor vehicles shall be a minimum of 3/4 ton and shall have dual wheels or equivalent and shall be maintained in safe working order.
All towing motor vehicles shall have a three-hundred-sixty-degree working amber light with applicable permit.
All towing motor vehicles shall have the name of the towing company, town and state where the primary business is located listed on the side of the vehicle in letters a minimum of four inches in size.
All towing motor vehicles shall be equipped with communication equipment enabling them to maintain contact with their place of business.
All towing motor vehicles shall be equipped with brooms, shovels and other sufficient equipment for the purpose of clearing debris off the roadway.
All towing operators shall have a storage facility which can accommodate a minimum of 10 medium-sized motor vehicles. The storage facility, if outdoors, shall be lighted from dusk to dawn and fenced with a minimum of a six-foot-high fence. This will be done to prevent a vehicle from being removed by unauthorized means.
All towing motor vehicles shall be registered with the State of New Jersey in compliance with N.J.S.A. 39:3-84.6 et seq.
All towing operators shall keep regular business hours at a minimum from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Saturdays. The operator may close on Sundays and holidays.
All towing operators shall possess a valid New Jersey driver's license.
A towing operator shall immediately dispatch tow motor vehicles when requested by the police dispatcher to respond to emergency situations. The towing operator shall respond promptly to the scene. Upon normal driving conditions during the day, the response time should be 20 minutes, and 30 minutes during nighttime hours. Day and nighttime are determined as follows:
A towing operator shall not permit a motor vehicle to be removed from its storage facility without proper authorization.
A towing operator's driver shall request such police assistance during the course of service as safe towing practice necessitates.
A towing operator shall be available at or through a telephone number 24 hours per day while on call.
A towing operator shall advise the desk officer if the towing operator is unable to respond in the times stated in Subsection A above, and the reason therefor.
A towing operator shall check with emergency personnel and police officer before taking any action to tow.
A towing operator shall assist emergency personnel as needed in extrication of injured occupants via winching, stability, etc., at the direction of emergency personnel or police officer.
A towing operator shall remove glass and other debris from the accident on the roadway and dispose of it properly in compliance with N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.8.
A towing operator shall remove a motor vehicle from the scene to a specified location when so designated by an investigating police officer.
A towing operator shall be available to release motor vehicles at a minimum from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Saturdays, excluding holidays. The towing operator shall provide reasonable after-hours release of stored motor vehicles without any additional charges for the release. No towing operator shall release an impounded motor vehicle without authorization from the Stanhope Borough Police Department. Authorization may be verbal and conditions of release may be given at the time of tow.
The towing operator shall, at his own expense, prepare a business card stating the name of the towing company, address, phone number, hours of normal business operation, to be distributed to vehicle owners upon request.
Fluid absorption material shall be maintained on each towing vehicle, which the owner of the towed motor vehicle may be charged for.
Tow motor vehicles shall be kept in a clean and neat appearance and satisfy all equipment regulations as required by Chapter 3 of N.J.S.A. Title 39.
All towing operators placed upon the rotational service duty list shall be utilized by the Police Department for the purposes of notifying towing operators to assist disabled or impounded motor vehicles within the Borough of Stanhope.
All towing operators and their motor vehicles, facilities, and actions shall maintain compliance with the "Predatory Towing Prevention Act," N.J.S.A. 56:13-7 et seq.
Any towing company wishing to be placed on the rotation list shall provide:
In writing to the Stanhope Police Department the following:
Name of the towing company and the name of the owner of the towing company.
Primary business address.
Addresses of any locations where motor vehicles may be stored.
Phone numbers for both daytime and nighttime calls for service.
Whether the company is seeking to be placed on the Class A, Class B, or both rotational lists.
A photocopy of the following:
Valid amber light permits for each tow vehicle.
Registration card for each tow vehicle.
Driver's license of any tow operator.
Driver's license for all employees operating tow vehicles.
Insurance card for each tow vehicle.
Marker receipt (N.J.S.A. 39:3-84.7 and/or N.J.S.A. 56:13-10) showing approval for the Division of Consumer Affairs and the Motor Vehicle Commission.
Towing companies must have all information contained in this section submitted prior to December 15 to be considered for the following year's rotation list, or at least 15 days before the start of any three-hundred-sixty-five-day period of time established by the Police Department for the rotational list if a calendar year is not utilized by the Police Department.
An individual or entity seeking placement on the rotational service duty list shall be required to receive the approval of the Chief of Police.
Tow companies, when approved, are not required to reapply annually but instead will remain on the rotation list from year to year as long as valid and current information as required by this section are maintained on file with the Stanhope Police Department.
Approved operators shall keep accurate books and records of all towing and storage services provided hereunder for a period of seven years from the date of such storage and towing services rendered. Approved towers shall make these books and records available to the Borough on request.
The Chief of Police shall have the power to suspend a towing operator from the rotational duty service list for a period up to 30 calendar days for failure to comply with any section of this chapter. A subsequent violation may result in the removal of a towing operator from the rotational duty service list for a period of 12 months. A towing operator may appeal the Chief's ruling of either a suspension or removal. In such cases, an appeal may be filed with the Borough Administrator's office within 10 business days of the Chief's decision. A hearing may be held by the Stanhope Borough Administrator's office within 30 days of the appeal. The Stanhope Borough Administrator's office shall render its determination within 20 business days following the conclusion of the hearing. The Administrator's office determination as rendered shall be final and conclusive under this chapter.
In addition, failure to comply with the Borough's Zoning, Land Use and Property Maintenance Codes may subject any operator to suspension from the rotational service duty list upon request to the Chief of Police from the Borough's zoning, land use or property maintenance office. Any towing operator suspended for the violations of any of the Borough codes set forth above shall have the right to due process and appeal as set forth in Subsection A above.
Service complaints, overcharging, theft of parts, damage to towed motor vehicles, discourteous treatment of motor vehicle owners, motor vehicle violations or complaints and the like shall be referred to the Police Department for investigation. Upon completion of the investigation, a written report by the investigating officer shall be forwarded to the Chief of Police. The Chief of Police shall have the power to suspend a towing operator for any violation of this subsection and the towing operator and shall have the right of due process as set forth in Subsection A above.
High incident of accidents or persistent violators of either criminal or motor vehicle laws may warrant the Chief of Police to determine a driver or employee of a tow operator ineligible to operate a tow vehicle under this chapter. A conviction for any crime will be ample reason to disqualify any tow operator. Any changes to the tower's employment list that will affect the towing in Stanhope Borough must be reported immediately to the Chief's office.
Towing contractors shall be required to purchase, maintain, and provide, during the time of service on the rotary list, proof of insurance furnished by a reputable insurance company licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey, containing the following coverages with liability limits as set forth below:
Comprehensive general liability insurance policy in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit covering bodily injury and property damage liability, including but not limited to personal injury; product liability (where applicable); independent contractor and completed operation coverage.
Garage keepers' legal liability insurance policy in an amount not less than $100,000. Said policy must include both comprehensive and collision, and an endorsement to include "on hook."
Motor vehicle liability insurance coverage for the death of, or injury to, persons and damage for each accident or occurrence for all Class A towing operators in the amount of at least $750,000 single limit and in the case of all Class B towing operators in the amount of at least $1,000,000 single limit.
Workers' compensation insurance as required by law, including, but not limited to statutory New Jersey workers' compensation benefits, and employer's liability of at least $100,000.
Excess/umbrella liability. In the event that garage liability and/or automobile liability cannot be purchased up to the required limit, an excess liability or umbrella liability policy must be purchased to effect a total liability limit of $1,000,000. Excess or umbrella liability policies will not be required for garage and automobile policies that meet or exceed the minimum limit of $1,000,000.
The garage liability and automobile liability policies shall name the Borough of Stanhope as additional insured and certificate holder.
By accepting tows under this chapter, the towing operator agrees to hold harmless, indemnify and defend, at the towing operator's expense, the Borough, its employees and officials from any and all claims, demands, suits or actions for personal injury or property damage brought against the Borough, its employees and officials for any activities which arise out of any services performed under this chapter.
Itemization. All bills will be itemized and will be available for inspection upon any complaint or investigation. A copy of the itemized bill will be given to all motorists whose motor vehicle is towed.
The rates specified in § 128-11 represent the maximum rates allowable. It shall be unlawful for any towing operator to charge a rate in excess of the rates prescribed. Rates will be evaluated upon request to the Stanhope Mayor and Council and will be changed as current economic conditions dictate.
Any other specialized equipment needed will be charged at the prevailing rates.
The following are the maximum fees that may be charged by any towing operator for the towing of any motor vehicle under the authority of this chapter:
Winching and/or preparation prior to towing motor vehicles or motorcycles, clean up of debris: $65 per 1/2 hour (minimum 1/2 hour) per tow truck.
Additional required labor except tow truck driver, minimum of 1/2 hour, followed by one-quarter-hour increments: $100 per hour.
Medium/heavy duty recovery winching and/or other preparation prior to towing, minimum 1/2 hour, followed by one-quarter-hour increments: $450 per hour.
Fluid absorbents (per five-pound bag): $20.
Outside secured storage.