[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Upper Southampton 8-18-2009 by Ord. No. 395. Amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purpose of this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings indicated hereinbelow. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense shall include the future; words used in the plural shall include the singular. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
- DISABLED OR WRECKED OR ABANDONED OR IMPOUNDED VEHICLE
- An automobile, truck, truck tractor, trailer, motorcycle, motor home, or other vehicle or device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, road or street, which is no longer capable of safe operation on a highway, road or street and presents a safety hazard to the public by virtue of its location on or adjacent to a public highway, road or street in the Township of Upper Southampton.
- FLATBED WRECKER
- A flatbed vehicle equipped with a roll body and winch designed for and capable of lifting and transporting passenger and commercial vehicles.
- HEAVY-DUTY WRECKER
- A vehicle with a minimum twenty-five-ton capacity designed for and capable of lifting and transporting passenger and commercial vehicles.
- Vehicles must be leased for a fixed period of greater than three years and for a fixed flat rate. Lessor must be a business, company, entity or corporation whose usual and customary business is that of leasing motor vehicles.
- A tower who has been issued a license by the Township of Upper Southampton Township pursuant to the terms of this chapter.
- LIGHT-DUTY WRECKER; WHEEL-LIFT WRECKER
- A vehicle designed for and capable of lifting and transporting passenger vehicles.
- Any individual person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
- POLICE DEPARTMENT
- The Police Department of the Township of Upper Southampton, County of Bucks.
- A person engaged in the business of offering the services of vehicle, wrecker; tow truck, car carrier, or other vehicle, whereby disabled or wrecked or abandoned vehicles are towed or otherwise removed from the place where they are disabled or wrecked or abandoned by use of a vehicle so adapted to that purpose.
- The Township of Upper Southampton, County of Bucks.
No person shall offer his/her services to or be called by the Township or the Police Department as a tower for the purpose of removal of disabled or wrecked or abandoned vehicles unless that person is the holder of a current towing license as hereinafter provided.
An application for a towing license shall be made to the Police Department on a form provided by the Police Department, which application shall require the following minimum information and documents:
The name, address and telephone number of the business for which the towing license is sought;
The type of business organization under which the business is operated (i.e., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, etc.);
The name, home and business address and telephone numbers of all the owner(s) or, in the case of a corporation, stockholder(s) of the business for which the towing license is sought;
The signature of the owner(s) or chief executive officer of the business for which the towing license is sought;
A list of tow trucks, vehicle wreckers, car carriers, or other vehicles available for service to the Township, including a description of each vehicle or piece of equipment (type, make, model, year, etc.), the name and address of the owner/lessee of each vehicle or piece of equipment and their location and hourly availability;
The address and description of the premises upon which any disabled or wrecked vehicles will be towed and/or stored, including the size of the area on the premises available for storage of vehicles, the approximate number of vehicles which may be stored in the area, whether said area is fenced, and a description of any security precautions or protection methods for vehicles stored in said area;
A certificate of insurance or other proof acceptable to the Township that the applicant has obtained the general liability and garage keeper's liability insurance required for the issuance of a towing license.
An agreement to indemnify and hold harmless the Township for any and all losses or expenses incurred by virtue of any acts performed in the course of service.
The application for a towing license shall be accompanied by an application fee in the amount of $100. The application fee may be amended from time to time by resolution of the Township Board of Supervisors.
The application for a towing license shall be reviewed by the Police Department within 31 days of receipt of the application and the application fee. The Police Department shall thereafter advise the applicant whether or not the license has been approved.
Towing licenses shall be issued for a period of one year, commencing on January 1 and terminating on December 31 of each year. Any applicant whose application for a license has been approved shall be issued a license effective the following January 1. In the event that there are less than two licensed towers approved by the Police Department, the Police Department may issue licenses during the calendar year in order to increase the number of licensed towers to two.
An application shall not be deemed received by the Police Department unless it contains all the information and documents set forth in this section and the application fee.
A towing license shall be issued to all applicants who meet all of the following requirements:
The following vehicles shall be owned or leased exclusively by the applicant, garaged on the premises from which the applicant's towing business is conducted, and available on call for the service at the request of the Township or the Police Department:
All of the aforesaid required vehicles shall bear a sign indicating the name and telephone number of the applicant's towing business. The applicant shall make said vehicles available for inspection by the Township or Police Department.
A six-foot-high fenced-in storage yard or other secure facility, open or closed, shall be located on the premises from which the applicant's towing business is conducted, and such yard or storage area shall be authorized by the appropriate zoning, use, occupancy and other municipal permits. A storage area shall be a minimum of 10,000 square feet must be provided and shall have a building that is capable of storing at least two vehicles inside. The applicant shall install screening and comply with all the provisions of the state and federal highway beautification acts.
The applicant's place of towing business shall be located within the Township boundaries in order that the response time to a call for service is immediate.
All applicants shall maintain the following insurance and present proof thereof to the Township or Police Department, at the time of application or upon request:
Each insurance policy required herein shall contain an endorsement providing 10 days' notice to the Township of Upper Southampton in the event of any material change or cancellation for any cause. Written notice to the Township shall be the responsibility of the issuing company.
All of the aforesaid vehicles shall be equipped with a two-way communication system such as two-way radios or mobile telephones.
A towing license shall be issued to each applicant whose application has been approved by the Police Department.
A towing license is issued by the Police Department on condition of, and with the express agreement of the licensee, that the licensee shall, at all times, act as independent contractor to, and not as an employee of the Township or the Police Department, and that payment for services pursuant to said license shall be by the owner, operator or custodian of the disabled, wrecked or abandoned vehicle.
All licensees shall keep and maintain all of the vehicles listed on their applications in a safe and operable condition, and in a condition that shall pass the motor vehicle inspection standards of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Said vehicles shall be immediately available to answer calls for service by the Police Department. All licensees shall not use or employ a vehicle that is not listed on the towing license application (or filed an amendment to the application listing any new equipment).
All licensees shall insure any operator of their equipment possesses a current and valid Pennsylvania driver's license for the class vehicle they are operating. The licensee is further responsible to insure that his/her operator obeys all laws of the Vehicle Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
All licensees shall respond within 15 minutes from their receipt of the Police Department's call requesting service to the arrival of the licensee's appropriate towing vehicle at the location of the disabled or wrecked or abandoned vehicle, except in bad weather or adverse road conditions.
Fees charged by the licensee, when towing or storing towed vehicles as an independent contractor at the request of the Police Department shall be normal and customary and at the comparable prevailing rate charged by other licensees located in Upper Southampton Township. Failure to comply with the terms and with this Subsection D may result in the immediate revocation of the towing license in accordance with § 166-9 below.
All licensees shall be responsible for removing vehicular parts and debris from the highway.
If the owner or operator cannot remove the disabled or wrecked or abandoned vehicle or refuses or fails to have the vehicle removed within a reasonable time, the Police Department shall call the towing licensee assigned to the police duty tow to effect such a removal. Requests by the owner or operator will be honored for outside wreckers if, within the officer's opinion, traffic will not be impeded and the vehicle is to be towed away within a reasonable time.
The Police Department shall establish reasonable rules and regulations to implement this chapter, including but not limited to the establishment of a duty tow schedule, rotation of assignments, and the use of the duty tow by the Township police officers.
The Township reserves the right to suspend the license of a licensee at any time if an inspection by a Township police officer or a Township official determines that the required equipment is missing or inoperable or unsafe; and/or the tower fails to respond to a service call within 15 minutes; and/or the tower charges fees that are not normal and customary and/or in excess of the comparable prevailing rates charged by other licensees located in Upper Southampton Township. Any such suspension of any licensee's license shall continue, without rebate of either the application fee or license fee until such time as the Township determines the licensee is in full compliance with the terms and conditions of the regulation.
The licensee agrees to execute a hold-harmless agreement for any and all claims, actions or causes of action arising from suspension of license for the reasons set forth above at the time of initial application for towing license.
The Township shall give the operator warnings or notice that the licensee is in violation of the provisions and terms of this regulation prior to any formal action to suspend the license. The Township shall permit the licensee to correct deficiencies within the time frames as follows:
A towing license shall be revoked upon a finding by the Township any of the following grounds:
The license was procured by fraudulent conduct or false statement or omission of a material fact, and, in this event, the license shall be null and void and as if an application had never been filed.
The licensee failed to perform or violated any of the duties of a licensee set forth hereinabove.
The licensee no longer meets all the standards for issuance of a towing license.
The licensee's application is found to be defective in any way or contains misinformation or omissions of fact, and, in this event, the license shall be null and void and as if an application had never been filed.
The licensee failed to correct safety related or non-safety-related deficiencies within the allotted time as provided above.
The licensee's license had been suspended three times.
Failure of the licensee to comply with any of the terms of this chapter when, in the sole discretion of the Chief of Police, such failure is willful and intentional or when such failure or the reckless conduct of the licensee or its operator jeopardizes the personal safety of a police officer or any other individual.
The owner or person in charge of any vehicle that this Department has caused to be towed and who has a complaint against the towing service may file a written complaint with the Chief of Police.
The Chief of Police shall make a determination of the merit of such complaint and take such action as necessary to correct the matter, if the complaint is validated.
The Township or Police Department is authorized to contact the owner or operator of a heavy-duty wrecker to remove disabled, wrecked, abandoned or impounded vehicles. The owner or operator of a heavy-duty wrecker is exempt from the requirements of this chapter.