[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Red Bank by Ord. No. 1996-13 (Sec. 4-12 of the 1987 Revised General Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to establish a rotating tower/wrecker list to be utilized by the Police Department of the Borough of Red Bank regarding wrecked, abandoned, impounded or similar vehicles, and to regulate the towing and storage of motor vehicles which result from Police Department calls for assistance, and to establish towing and storage fee schedules.
The provisions of this chapter apply to all businesses who provide towing and storage services for motor vehicles who shall participate in the rotating call list in the Borough of Red Bank.
Certain words and phrases in this chapter shall have the following meanings:
- AUTHORIZED STORAGE FACILITY
- A motor vehicle storage facility in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance of the Borough of Red Bank or other municipality which has a temporary storage facility for disabled or abandoned vehicles.
- AUTOMOBILE or MOTOR VEHICLE
- A private passenger automobile of a private passenger or station wagon type and a motor vehicle with a pickup body, or delivery sedan, a van or a panel truck, as well as motorcycles and mopeds.
- BASIC TOWING SERVICE
- The removal and transportation of an automobile from a highway, street or other public or private road, or a parking area, or from a storage facility, and other services normally incident thereto, but does not include recovery of an automobile from a position beyond the right-of-way berm, or from being impaled upon any other object within the right-of-way berm.
- The Borough of Red Bank.
- The operation of an unengaged wrecker along the public streets in any fashion intended, likely or calculated to solicit business.
- INSIDE BUILDINGS
- A vehicle storage facility that is completely indoors, having one or more openings in the walls for storage and removal of vehicles and that is secured by a locking device on each opening.
- MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
- An occurrence in which a motor vehicle comes in contact with any other object for which the motor vehicle must be towed or removed for placement in a storage facility.
- The person, firm or corporation which owns or leases and operates or causes to be operated a tow truck and includes the words "owner," "licensee" and/or "contractor."
- OUTSIDE SECURED
- An automobile storage facility that is not indoors and is secured by a fence, wall or other man-made barrier that is at least six feet high and is installed with an alarm system or similar on-site security measures. The facility is to be lighted at night.
- OUTSIDE UNSECURED
- An automobile storage facility that is not indoors and is not secured by a fence, wall or other man-made barrier, and all other storage facilities not defined above as inside building or outside secured.
- POLICE OFFICER
- For the purposes of this chapter, any regular police officer or special police officer of the Borough of Red Bank and any State Police Officer or the Borough Code Enforcement Officer, Zoning Officer, Parking Enforcement Officer or their designees.
- STORAGE CHARGES FOR TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR PERIOD
- The maximum allowable amount to be charged by a storage facility for a twenty-four-hour period or fraction thereof. A new twenty-four-hour period begins at 12:01 a.m.
- TOW LIST
- A list containing the names and addresses of towing and storage contractors maintained by the Police Department who will be called on a rotating basis when the Police Department determines that the assistance of such services is required within the Borough.
- TOW VEHICLE
- Only those vehicles equipped with a boom or booms, winches, slings, tilt beds, wheel lifts or under-reach equipment specifically designed by its manufacturer for the removal or transport of motor vehicles.
- TOW VEHICLE'S BASE OF SERVICE
- The towing operator's principal place of business where the tow vehicle is stationed when not in use.
This chapter shall apply to any operator who provides towing and who seeks to provide motor vehicle tow service in the Borough of Red Bank pursuant to the rotating towing call list described herein.
No operator shall operate within the Borough of Red Bank without obtaining a license in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. Specifically exempted from this license requirement are towing operators engaged solely in the towing, transporting, conveying or removing from private property within the Borough, or those directly and privately engaged or designated by the person responsible for the vehicle to be towed, transported, conveyed or removed.
No operator shall be eligible for inclusion on the rotating call list described in this chapter unless such operator shall obtain a license from the Borough of Red Bank for inclusion on the tow list. There shall be no subcontracting of services allowed.
An application for a license to be placed upon the list to be utilized by the Police Department shall be made by the person or firm engaged in operating a storage facility and a tow vehicle in the Borough of Red Bank.
The application shall include the following information:
The full name, address, telephone number and tax identification number of the applicant. If the application is made for a partnership, corporation or other business entity, it shall state the names and addresses of the officers; names and addresses of the directors or partners; names and addresses of anyone owning 10% or more of the applicant; and the address and telephone number of the corporate registered office and registered agent or the managing partner.
The description by make, model, license number, year, gross vehicle weight, vehicle identification number and color of each tow vehicle which will respond to towing calls.
A statement setting forth a maximum gross vehicle weight the applicant is capable of towing.
A statement setting forth a maximum size vehicle the applicant is capable of towing.
The address at which each such tow vehicle will be principally kept.
The street address and the municipal Tax Map lot and block number of the proposed authorized storage facility to which towed vehicles will be taken and at which they will be stored. In the event that the applicant does not own or control such a storage facility, the applicant shall present a lease agreement by a person who does own or control such a storage facility evidencing that the applicant has permission to store towed vehicles at that facility; said lease shall be for a term of not less than the period of validity of the license sought.
The names, addresses and driver's license numbers of all drivers of tow trucks/wreckers.
The telephone number available on a twenty-four-hour-per-day basis at which the Police Department may summon a tow vehicle at any time of day or night.
Copies of insurance policies or certificates of insurance required under this chapter.
An employment nondiscrimination statement.
A statement of compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations concerning wages, hours and terms of employment.
The applicant shall file with the Borough Clerk completed application forms which forms shall be furnished by the Chief of Police.
[Amended 2-12-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-5]
The Borough Clerk shall refer the application for a license to the Police Department for investigation and report. After the application has been submitted and reviewed by the Police Department, the Chief of Police will recommend approval or disapproval of the application. The Police Chief's recommendation shall be dependent upon both the applicant's ability to perform in accordance with this chapter and upon the applicant's personal fitness to engage in a business regulated in the public interest. Factors which the Chief of Police shall consider for reasons of personal fitness shall include: convictions of indictable offenses; convictions of crimes involving moral turpitude; and convictions of crimes involving use or possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
Applications for the initial licenses under this chapter shall be made to the Borough Clerk on or before December 1, 1996. The first licenses issued hereunder shall be effective until January 31, 1999. Thereafter, licenses shall be effective for a period of one year commencing February 1 of each pertinent year. Applications for licenses shall be filed no later than December 1 prior to the commencement of the period for which a license is sought. By filing the application, each applicant agrees to comply with all provisions of this chapter.
[Amended by Ord. No. 2004-17; 2-12-2007 by Ord. No. 2007-5]
The fee for each license under this chapter is $150.
The Chief of Police or his designee shall establish a rotating call list for towing service for the Borough to be called by a member of the Police Department in the event the owner or driver of a disabled vehicle is unable to or fails to indicate any specific choice of towing operator to remove the disabled vehicle. A current copy of the call list shall be available for inspection by the public at the office of the Borough Clerk and the Police Department. Any towing and storage contractors qualifying and obtaining a license pursuant to this chapter shall be included on the list and those on the list shall be called on a rotating basis to provide the required towing and storage services.
Whenever a towing and storage contractor is called through the Police Department, whether as a result of being next on the tow list, or for another reason, that towing and storage contractor will rotate to the bottom of the list.
The Chief of Police or his designee shall establish such other procedures and such reasonable regulations concerning the call list as are necessary to expedite and facilitate the rendition of the services described herein, including such procedures which will insure that all towing operators on the call list are summoned on a nondiscriminatory basis in rotating order. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing contained herein shall prevent the Chief of Police or his designee from requesting additional towing service from others if, in the judgment of such person, the size, nature or scope of the conditions or the performance of the called towing service requires that assistance be rendered.
[Amended by Ord. No. 2004-17]
The following are the minimum standards/qualifications required to be considered for inclusion on the tow list:
Accidents involving large vehicles. The towing and storage contractors must be prepared to promptly clear the roadway of any or all types of disabled vehicles. Where the vehicles are too large for the service to remove from the scene, after clearing the roadway, the service may call for assistance of others. The towing and storage contractor is required to have appropriate arrangements available for this assistance at all times.
Response time determination is to be initiated when the police call requesting towing is completed. Where the police cannot reach the next eligible contractor on the list, that contractor shall be deemed to have forfeited its position and the next succeeding contractor on the list shall be called.
Performance standards. The contractor will be responsible for the conduct of contractor's employees. The towing and storage contractor will meet the following response performance standards:
Ninety percent of all calls referred will be answered (towing vehicle on scene) within the response time outlined above.
Not more than 10% of the calls will be answered within an additional 10 minutes (day or night).
Equipment requirements. No license shall be issued to a towing operator and storage contractor who does not possess for use in this business the following equipment, which equipment shall be inspected by the Chief of Police or his authorized representative prior to the issuance of a license:
Tow vehicle. Each towing operator must have available at least one professionally constructed wrecking vehicle capable of performing all towing or roadway clearance tasks assigned by the Borough.
Safety equipment. Each vehicle shall have appropriate authorized beacon and warning lights, tow vehicle illumination, stop lights and portable fire extinguishers.
Specialized equipment. At least one of the available tow vehicles must be equipped for dolly service and winching.
Cleanup equipment. All tow vehicles must carry road cleanup equipment and supplies including brooms, rakes, trash cans and shovels and speedy-dry-type materials. The towing service is responsible for the prompt and safe removal of the disabled vehicle and for the prompt and complete removal of all litter and debris resulting from the accident with the exception of hazardous materials as set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.8.
Disabled vehicle storage. The towing service must operate a suitable, fenced and secure vehicle storage area in an area zoned for such use. The lot must be able to store at least 15 full-size vehicles. Said storage yard must be within a four-mile radius of the intersection of Broad Street and Harding Road in the Borough of Red Bank. This radius shall be measured by the shortest available route. The storage yard must be adjacent to or part of the towing operator's regular commercial business, which must be in operation at least six days a week during working hours. The storage yard and the commercial business must satisfy the applicable Borough ordinances in all respects. Authorized personnel with the Department of Police will have twenty-four-hour, seven-day-a-week, access to vehicles within the authorized service storage yard. If there are in excess of 15 vehicles to be stored, they may be stored elsewhere as long as the alternate lot complies with the specifications of the regular storage lot, and appears on the towing and storage contractor's insurance certificate.
[Amended 2-27-2006 by Ord. No. 2006-2]
The towing and storage contractor shall maintain the following minimum insurance coverage with an insurance company licensed to do business in New Jersey in the name of the applicant for the entire term of the contract:
Automobile liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limits.
Worker's compensation as required by statute.
Garage keeper's liability in an amount not less than $60,000 per location.
Garage liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit.
Miscellaneous coverage to provide complete protection to the Borough against any and all risks of loss or liability, including comprehensive general liability.
The property damage policies are to be endorsed to provide for collision coverage for the vehicles in tow. The Borough is to be listed as an additional insured. Also, the policies are to provide for the indemnification of the Borough. The insured's coverage must be for the entire term of the license.
Certificate of insurance. At time of application, the towing and storage contractor shall present a certificate of insurance evidencing the above coverage by an insurance company licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey. Included on such certificate shall be a statement that the insurance company or agent will notify, in writing, the Chief of Police immediately of any change, cancellation or lapse of such coverage. Such statement shall not include language making such notification permissive, nor language absolving the company/agent from liability for failure to notify. Additionally, the applicant agrees to notify the Chief of Police immediately of any change, cancellation or lapse of insurance coverage.
All towing operators and their employees shall be fully trained and knowledgeable in the operation of all required equipment and shall be subject to background investigations by the Borough Police Department.
All towing operators must be available for service on a twenty-four-hour, seven-day-per-week basis, without exception, unless authorized by the Chief of Police.
Indemnification. All licensees agree to indemnify and hold the Borough of Red Bank and its officers and employees harmless from any liability, expense or costs of suit, including reasonable attorney's fees and costs, arising out of or resulting from any action of the applicant in performing towing and storage services in the Borough of Red Bank.
Rules and regulations.
No towing operator shall engage in cruising as defined in this chapter.
No towing operator shall solicit or attempt to divert patrons of another towing operator, whether or not licensed under this chapter, nor shall a towing operator solicit or divert prospective patrons of a given repair service to any other repair service.
No flashing lights or sirens shall be used by a towing operator except by permission granted by the Chief of Police.
The governing body hereby designates the Police Department generally, and the Chief of Police particularly, as the supervising authority to enforce the provisions of this chapter as well as the rules and regulations adopted hereunder.
Prior to license renewal and again during the month of March, each towing operator licensed under this chapter shall be inspected by the Chief of Police or his designee for fitness.
Each licensed towing operator at all times shall maintain and carry the necessary equipment to remove disabled or locked vehicles or equipment necessary to operate or open vehicles to enable public safety personnel to remove entrapped passengers.
Each towing operator, prior to departure from the scene where it performed towing services, shall clean and clear the streets of any customary debris resulting from any accident at such scene and shall at all times carry the necessary equipment to perform such cleaning services.
No towing operator, licensed under this chapter or otherwise, shall respond to the scene of an accident except upon the request of the driver or owner of the vehicles involved or except upon notification by the channel of communication established by the Police Department to notify licensed towing operators of the necessity of their presence.
Refusal to tow at the scene of the towing and the type of car refused shall be reported by the Police Officer assigned to the incident to his superior. The report of refusal shall be furnished to the Chief of Police and the Borough Clerk as soon as practicable.
When any unusual situation occurs which may be dangerous to the safety of the public, such as dangerous cargo, solvents, fluids, natural gas, etc., the most qualified towing operator will be selected by the Police Department.
Where no designation has been made, licensed towing operators are authorized to remove the vehicle to the towing operator's place of business.
Where vehicles are towed to premises controlled by the Police Department for the purpose of utilizing the vehicle or its contents as evidence, or for other purposes, such vehicle shall not be released from police custody unless the owner of the vehicle furnishes the Police Department with a receipt that towing service fees have been paid.
In all cases where cars are to be towed for illegal parking, summonses for such offenses shall be issued prior to towing.
No towing operator operating under the license issued hereunder shall employ directly or indirectly any personnel or employees of the Borough of Red Bank.
The Police Department shall maintain a log record of calls to licensed towing operators under this chapter. Said record shall be available for inspection by any licensed towing operator upon reasonable notice.
The authorized towing operator shall not charge any towing or storage fee for vehicles which have been ordered impounded by the Police Department as a result of an investigation, nor for Borough of Red Bank municipal cars that have broken down or have been involved in accidents within the Borough limits, and which vehicles are stored at a Borough facility. With such a municipal tow, the towing operator will not lose the position at the top of the rotational list.
No license issued pursuant to this chapter shall be transferable, and upon cessation of activity under the license through revocation or otherwise, the license shall be determined null and void.
Such additional rules and regulations as may be promulgated shall take effect after notification of such rules and regulations upon all holders of licenses for towing operators. Service shall be made by forwarding these rules and regulations by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the licensee at the address listed in his most recent application.
Fees and charges.
Fee schedule. Each applicant shall attach to its application for a license a copy of its current fee schedule, which must not be in excess of that provided for in this chapter. In the event an applicant is included on the tow list and will be amending its fee schedule from that previously filed with the Chief of Police, such amendment, together with a complete amended fee schedule, shall be filed with the Borough Clerk and the Chief of Police at least 30 days prior to implementing and charging pursuant to such amended fee schedule. The fact of filing a fee schedule with the Chief of Police shall not in any way be construed as authority to charge any fees in excess of those permitted by this chapter. All customer bills must be in an amount not exceeding the rates provided for herein.
Maximum rates. The maximum rates, as fixed on Schedule A attached to and incorporated into this chapter, shall apply to the towing and storage of all passenger vehicles, as well as to all non-passenger vehicles not exceeding three tons in weight. There shall be no additional charges for services including, but not limited to, flatbedding, waiting time, cleanup costs, and additional labor, when only basic towing services as defined are provided.
Services to other types of vehicles or extraordinary services; rates. In the case of services rendered to vehicles other than the types of vehicles mentioned in Subsection J(2) of this section, or services of a nature beyond basic towing services as defined, or services other than covered by basic rate, or services rendered in an extraordinary case involving unusual conditions, the rate to be charged shall be fair and reasonable and shall not exceed those fees set forth on the filed fee schedule referred to in Subsection J(1) of this section, based on the location, the length of time, the number of men and machinery involved and the difficulty of the job.
Authorized Borough service receipt form.
Towing service receipt form. The towing and storage contractor will complete and file with the Police Department a towing service receipt form for every vehicle serviced on Borough assignment. A preprinted form supplied by the towing and storage contractor will include at least the following information:
Distribution of form. The receipt will be multi-copy and issued as follows:
Original. Issued immediately to owner upon completion of service and payment of bill.
Police. Issued monthly to Police Department upon completion of services.
Owner's accident receipt. Issued at the accident site to the owner prior to the removal of the vehicle. In the event the owner is incapacitated or disputes the assignment, the owner's accident receipt may be issued to the Police Department.
Copies. As deemed necessary by towing service.
Follow-up report. A quarterly report must be filed with the Police Department containing the following information:
Description of each vehicle towed pursuant to request by Police Department during months for which report is given;
Name and address to title owner of vehicle;
Date vehicle was towed;
Amount charged for tow;
Amount charged for storage to date of report;
Date vehicle was released;
List of all vehicles towed pursuant to Police Department request which vehicles are unclaimed for over 30 days.
At no time shall a towing and storage contractor charge fees in excess of those authorized by this chapter.
Contractor shall make appropriate accommodations for customer fees to be payable by major credit card.
Special towing services. If special towing services are required, the towing and storage contractor shall quote the vehicle owner or his authorized agent directly. In the event that the owner is incapacitated, a written copy of the price quote should be filed with the Police Department.
No "release fees" may be charged for the release of vehicles.
No vehicle shall be released by the towing and storage contractor unless the owner presents an authorization to release form issued by the Police Department.
Nothing contained in this chapter shall prevent a person responsible for a motor vehicle disabled upon the public streets or highways within the Borough of Red Bank from arranging for the prompt removal of the vehicle from the scene of an accident or disablement by a wrecking or towing service of his/her own selection. The person responsible will be advised by the Police Department of the ability to select such towing service at the required time of removal, providing such person is present, fully conscious and capable of taking prompt action.
In the event that a person or entity shall fail to perform satisfactorily, or performs in violation of this chapter, such person or entity may be disciplined, including removal from the tow list, by the towing performance review committee, consisting of two members of the Internal Affairs Unit of the Police Department. Discipline may run from a reprimand to removal from the tow list. As soon as practical after a decision by the Towing Performance Review Committee, the Chief of Police shall cause written notice of such action to be given to the person or entity to be disciplined. The person or entity disciplined shall have the right to submit in writing, for the record, such rebuttal as deemed appropriate and an explanation of the steps being taken and procedures being implemented to correct any deficiencies. Any person or entity receiving a suspension for more than five days may appeal the disciplinary action to the Borough Administrator. The Administrator, or his/her designee, shall hold a hearing regarding such appeal prior to the discipline being implemented. Any appeal must be made and served upon the Administrator within 10 days of receipt by the person or entity disciplined of the written notice from the Police Department regarding the suspension or removal.
The Police Department and the Office of the Borough Clerk shall maintain copies of this chapter as well as copies of all fee schedules of towing and storage contractors submitted to the Borough pursuant to this chapter, which chapter and fee schedule shall be available for inspection by the public during regular business hours of the Borough.
The Police Chief is hereby given the authority to promulgate rules or regulations necessary to carry out the intent and purpose of this chapter, subject to approval of such rules and regulations by resolution of the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Red Bank.
Any person or entity who shall be found to have violated any section of this chapter, or to have submitted a false or misleading application, shall in addition to penalties under this chapter, such as removal from the tow list or revocation of license, be subject upon conviction in the Municipal Court, to the penalties provided in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Article II, General Penalty.