[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Chosen Freeholders of Atlantic County 3-11-2014 by Ord. No. 3-2014. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES126a Tow Zones
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 125.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. 126, Vehicles, Towing and Storage of, adopted 7-17-2012 by Ord. No. 12-2012, and also provided that a certified copy of the ordinance, the fees and rates, and any subsequent revisions be submitted to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs for review within 90 days of final adoption.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ABANDONED VEHICLES OR ABANDONED AUTOMOBILES
- Automobiles, trucks or any motor vehicle that is left unattended for a period of time which, under the circumstances, indicates that the owner has no intention of reclaiming or moving the automobile, truck or motor vehicle. This term also applies to automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles that are in violation of any other County ordinances or any statutes of the County of Atlantic and are located on County property or roadways.
- APPROVED TOWING OPERATOR
- A towing operator that has complied with all provisions of this chapter and whose name appears on the list of approved towing operators maintained by the Sheriff of Atlantic County.
- An enclosed area suitable for the parking and storage of automobiles, trucks or other motor vehicles.
- A portable device with wheels that is used in combination with a tow truck to transport automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles.
- HEAVY-DUTY RECOVERY
- The recovery of any motor vehicle over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight which requires the vehicle to be uprighted or recovered from either on or off the traveled portion of a public roadway.
- HEAVY-DUTY TOWING
- The towing of any motor vehicle over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
- ILLEGALLY PARKED
- Any automobile, motor vehicle, truck or bus that is parked in a fashion or in a place that is in violation of applicable local and/or state law.
- LIGHT-DUTY TOWING
- The towing of any motor vehicle at or below 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
- MOTOR VEHICLE or AUTOMOBILE
- All vehicles that are not exclusively propelled by muscular power, except vehicles that run exclusively on tracks. This term shall also include motorcycles and mopeds.
- All motor vehicles used for the transportation of passengers for hire including those used for the transportation of school children.
- Any person who is in actual physical control of an automobile, truck or motor vehicle.
- PASSENGER AUTOMOBILE
- Any automobile used and designed for the transportation of passengers. This term shall also include motorcycles and mopeds.
- PRIVATE PROPERTY
- Real property owned by any person, partnership, firm or corporation and not owned by the County of Atlantic or any other governmental body.
- RESPONSE FEE
- The monetary charge for the presence of a tow truck and operator where no towing service is conducted or supplied.
- The Atlantic County Sheriff or an authorized designee of the Atlantic County Sheriff.
- TOWING OPERATOR
- A person, firm, corporation or other business entity engaged in the business of transporting disabled, wrecked, or otherwise immobile motor vehicles, automobiles or trucks by means of tow trucks or other means.
- TOWING SERVICE, TOWING, OR TOW
- The transportation of automobiles, trucks, or motor vehicles that as a result of accident, collision, breakdown, abandonment or otherwise are unable to be moved under their own power. This includes the transportation of illegally parked, police-impounded or abandoned automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles.
- TOWING SLIP
- A written document, on a form provided by the Sheriff of Atlantic County, which shall contain a description of the motor vehicle towed as well as the location from which it was towed. It shall also provide the location where said vehicle is stored and the name of the truck operator who towed the vehicle.
- TOW TRUCK
- A motor vehicle specifically designed, constructed, used and maintained for the safe transportation of automobiles, trucks, or motor vehicles.
- Every motor vehicle designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property. This includes delivery vans and pickup trucks.
- Every device in, upon or by which a person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, except devices powered by human power or operated on stationary tracks. This definition of "vehicle" includes mopeds and motorcycles.
- WINCHING SERVICE
- Providing the use of the mechanical cable devices attached to a tow truck to move or transport any vehicle where the actual towing of the vehicle does not take place.
Towing operators approved pursuant to this chapter agree to provide the following towing services to the County in the following manner:
The towing of illegally parked or police-impounded passenger automobiles, trucks, or motor vehicles.
The towing of abandoned passenger automobiles, trucks and motor vehicles on County property or County designated roadways.
The towing of passenger automobiles, trucks and motor vehicles from accident scenes, including cleaning and removing debris from the scene of the accident as well as any necessary waiting time.
The towing of County-owned vehicles within the limits of Atlantic County when Atlantic County Division of Fleet Management indicates they cannot perform the service.
The towing of County-owned vehicles outside the limits of Atlantic County when the Atlantic County Division of Fleet Management indicates they cannot perform the service.
Providing winching services and dolly-wheel services at scenes of accidents and/or other places where passenger automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles become disabled.
Providing a flatbed truck for vehicles that cannot be towed in an ordinary fashion.
The towing and impounding of any passenger automobile, truck or motor vehicle at the direction of the Atlantic County Sheriff for police investigation purposes.
Storage of any abandoned, wrecked or disabled passenger automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles that might be towed by the towing operator pursuant to this chapter.
An approved towing operator shall provide a compound, which must be located within the boundaries of Atlantic County and shall at all times be in compliance with all New Jersey statutes and regulations as well as all ordinances promulgated by the County of Atlantic. The following provisions shall apply to said compound:
The compound shall be enclosed by a six-foot-high fence and be of sufficient size to accommodate at least 15 passenger automobiles at one time. At no time shall any motor vehicles towed by the approved towing operator be stored at any other location;
The compound shall be staffed by the approved towing operator during normal business operations.
An approved towing operator shall make available for service to the County of Atlantic at least two tow trucks having two-way communications equipment on a twenty-four-hour call basis.
An approved towing operator shall provide tow trucks capable of handling the transporting of heavy passenger automobiles when appropriate and equipped to provide appropriate towing service.
An approved towing operator shall equip its tow trucks to provide the following:
The tow trucks provided by an approved towing operator shall be of such type and design to properly and safely perform all towing services and storage as set forth in § 126-2 of this chapter. Tow trucks shall comply at all times with applicable statutes and regulations of the State of New Jersey and this chapter. Tow trucks shall be subject to inspection by the Sheriff of Atlantic County to ensure compliance with this chapter.
Operators of tow trucks shall be courteous and competent mechanics and shall present a clean and neat appearance. They shall abide by and respect all traffic laws and regulations of the State of New Jersey and ordinances of the County of Atlantic. They shall at all times possess valid New Jersey drivers' licenses. Said drivers' licenses shall be subject to inspection by the Sheriff of Atlantic County. No operator shall have been convicted of any crime.
Approved towing operators' rates and fees for towing service, storage service, or any other service, shall not be in excess of the maximum rates and fees set forth hereinafter and approved by the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Nothing in this chapter shall limit the fees for services supplied outside the scope of § 126-2 of this chapter by any towing operator.
It is the stated purpose of this chapter to provide towing service within the County no later than 30 minutes from the time that the approved towing operator is notified by the Sheriff's office. Tow trucks shall be made available pursuant to this chapter.
The approved towing operator shall see to it that the tow trucks shall be operated in such a fashion as shall produce safe and adequate service to the public. During adverse weather and heavy traffic conditions, the approved towing operator shall arrange to make additional towing trucks available to stand by as necessary to serve the County.
Whenever an approved towing operator tows or otherwise transports any motor vehicle pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the operator shall immediately complete a tow slip and file the same with the Sheriff's office.
Approved towing operators shall issue written receipts for all fees collected for any and all storage charges or services rendered by the approved towing operator.
The fees and charges established pursuant to this chapter shall be conspicuously posted at the compound or any other business location of the approved towing operator.
Whenever an approved towing operator conducts a tow of a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or operator, the approved towing operator shall file a towing slip with the Sheriff's office.
Approved towing operators and all of their personnel and equipment used under the terms of this chapter shall be and remain employees and property of the approved towing operator.
Approved towing operators shall at all times maintain direct supervision, management and control over its personnel and equipment, and in no event shall such equipment and/or personnel be represented by an approved towing operator as belonging to, employed by, or an agent of, the County of Atlantic.
Approved towing operators shall operate under this chapter as an independent contractor and in no manner or sense as an agent or employee of the County of Atlantic.
Approved towing operators shall at no time sublet or assign approval as a towing operator, or any part thereof, for any purpose whatsoever.
Approved towing operators shall agree to indemnify and reimburse the County of Atlantic for any damage caused to any County-owned property arising out of the performance of any services or activities under this chapter.
An approved towing operator shall agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the County of Atlantic from any and all claims or lawsuits against the County arising out of the services or activities the towing operator partakes in pursuant to this chapter.
Insurance. No towing operator shall perform services or activities under this chapter unless it carries liability insurance in the following amounts:
Garage liability/comprehensive general liability insurance 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, products liability, independent contractor, and completed operations coverage;
Garage keepers legal liability insurance in an amount not less than $100,000;
Automobile liability insurance in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single-limit coverage covering bodily injury and property damage liability, including but not limited to owned, non-owned and hired vehicles;
Workers' compensation insurance as required by law, including but not limited to statutory New Jersey Workers' Compensation benefits and employer's liability coverage;
Requirements specific to heavy-duty towing and recovery. In addition to the above requirements, towing operators providing heavy-duty towing and recovery are required to obtain and maintain insurance coverage in the form of $1,000,000 combined single-limit with endorsement MSC-90. This requirement shall not apply to light-duty towing operators;
All policies shall provide an endorsement for collision coverage for motor vehicle and cargo towed by towing service vehicles;
On all liability policies, the County of Atlantic shall be added as an additional insured, and insurance policies and certificates naming the County as an additional insured shall indicate such coverage as primary coverage notwithstanding any insurance carried by the County;
Such certificate of insurance shall provide that the insurance policy shall not be canceled or materially changed without 10 days' prior written notice separately addressed to:
Vehicles towed pursuant to this chapter shall only be stored at compounds located in Atlantic County. Towing compounds shall be maintained by the approved towing operator in a clean and orderly fashion. Reasonable measures shall be taken by the approved towing operator at all times to prevent vandalism, theft or damage to any passenger automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles stored at said compound.
If a compound is to be located within 1,000 feet of the nearest edge of the right-of-way of any interstate highway or primary highway, it shall at all times comply with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 27:5E-1 et seq. (the Junkyard Control Act) and any New Jersey Administrative Code regulations enacted pursuant to said statute.
An approved towing operator shall, on the first day of each month, provide in writing to the Atlantic County Sheriff that month's list of all passenger automobiles, trucks and motor vehicles in the possession of the approved towing operator during the preceding month. The list shall state the make and model of the passenger automobile, truck and motor vehicle; the year of same; the registration number of same; and a detailed list of all charges and expenses relating to said passenger automobile, truck or motor vehicle; and the date the vehicle was towed. In the event that the approved towing operator does not provide or supply such information in a timely fashion, the approved towing operator shall indemnify and hold the County harmless from any and all claims arising from the approved towing operator's failure to do so.
In the event that passenger automobiles, trucks and motor vehicles that are stored or towed by the approved towing operator are abandoned or unclaimed by the owners thereof, the approved towing operator shall make no claim whatsoever against the County, its agents, representatives and/or employees for any of the following:
All towing operators shall be approved by Atlantic County based upon compliance with this chapter; documentation required to be submitted to Atlantic County Division of Purchasing Office; and the completion of an investigation to be furnished by the Atlantic County Sheriff's Office.
The Atlantic County Division of Purchasing shall take an application for the licensing of a towing operator from any towing operator who asserts that it can comply with the terms of this chapter.
An initial application fee shall be paid upon the submission of the signed application to the Atlantic County Division of Purchasing. Each approved towing operator shall be charged an annual renewal fee thereafter. Upon payment of the fee and satisfaction of applicable requirements, the applicant shall be eligible to perform light-duty and heavy-duty towing.
The application form shall be provided by the Atlantic County Division of Purchasing. It shall include the name, business address and telephone number of the towing operator, the location of the towing compound, the name of its insurance company, the insurance policy number and any other information that is deemed relevant and appropriate.
The towing operator's authorized representative must date and sign the application and certify that he/she has read this chapter and agrees to abide by all of the terms, conditions, and specifications of the same.
Upon completion of the application form, copies shall be furnished to the Atlantic County Sheriff who upon receipt of the application shall conduct an investigation of the towing operator and its operation.
The investigation by the Atlantic County Sheriff shall consist of an inspection of the proposed compound and an inspection of tow trucks. The Sheriff shall make such other relevant inquiries as he deems appropriate to determine if the towing operator meets the requirements of this chapter. The Sheriff or his designee shall have 14 days to complete said investigation upon receipt of the application. If the Atlantic County Sheriff, after due investigation, deems the towing operator to be in compliance with all of the provisions of this chapter the Sheriff shall file a report in writing, and the towing operator's name shall be added to the list of approved towing operators. If the Atlantic County Sheriff deems the towing operator not in compliance with any provision of this chapter he shall so report in writing his recommendation for rejection of the application to the Atlantic County Division of Purchasing, a copy of which shall be supplied to the applicant and the County Administrator.
Any towing operator who is aggrieved by a rejected application shall, upon providing written notice, be entitled to be heard by the Atlantic County Division of Purchasing.
The Sheriff shall maintain a list of all approved towing operators.
There shall be a separate list for all four zones of Atlantic County as provided in the attached map of "Tow Zones." The list for each zone shall consist of eligible tow operators who can respond to the applicable zone within 30 minutes of receiving a call from the Sheriff's Office requesting service.
Editor's Note: Said map is included as an attachment to this chapter.
In the event that more than one towing operator shall become an approved towing operator for a zone, the towing services needed by the County shall be rotated among approved towing operators on an equal basis.
The approved towing operator for any one time period and zone shall be selected pursuant to the rotating list maintained by the Sheriff.
If the Sheriff determines at any time that an approved towing operator is unable to fulfill the requirements under this chapter, or in times of emergency, the Sheriff's office may call upon other towing operators to provide services to Atlantic County upon providing notice to the Atlantic County Division of Purchasing and any tow operator affected by the decision. Such determinations by the Sheriff shall be based upon promoting the interest of the public's health, safety and welfare.
The Atlantic County Sheriff shall be responsible for enforcing the provisions of this chapter in conjunction with the Atlantic County Division of Purchasing.
If the Sheriff finds, at any time, that an approved towing operator is not in compliance with any of the provisions of this chapter, the Sheriff shall advise the Atlantic County Division of Purchasing of such violations, at which point the offending approved towing operator shall be removed from the list of approved towing operators by the Atlantic County Division of Purchasing.
In the event of a suspension or removal from the list of approved towing operators, no further towing services as described in this chapter shall be performed by the towing operator until the Sheriff deems the towing operator to be in compliance with all provisions of this chapter.
Any towing operator who is aggrieved by a suspension or removal from the authorized list shall, upon providing a written request, be entitled to be heard by the Atlantic County Division of Purchasing.
The Atlantic County Board of Freeholders, by ordinance, shall enact standardized fees and rates for an approved towing operator as follows:
Tow operator's initial application fee and annual renewal application fee: $100.
Fees for towing of illegally parked or police-impounded passenger automobiles including storage for the first 24 hours:
Fees for towing of passenger automobiles from accident scenes, including cleaning and removal of area debris, waiting time, and storage for the first 24 hours:
Fee for each additional 24 hours of storage: $25 per day.
No charge for the towing of any County vehicles within Atlantic County.
Fees for towing of all County-owned vehicles outside the limits of Atlantic County: $50 per hookup and $5.50 per mile. (NOTE: Only for when Atlantic County Division of Fleet Management cannot do the job and requests the need for outside services.)
Fee for providing winching service: $75 per half-hour.
Additional charges for providing dolly-wheels: flat fee of $50.
Additional charges for providing flat bedding of vehicles that cannot otherwise be towed in a normal fashion: flat fee of $50.
No charge for towing of any passenger automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles or impounding of any such passenger automobiles, trucks or motor vehicles for investigation purposes at the direction of the Atlantic County Sheriff or the Atlantic County Prosecutor.
Response/cancellation fee (no tow): $50. (NOTE: The tow operator maintains position on notification list in the event of cancellation.)
Approved tow operators shall not deviate from the fees and rates provided in this chapter, and any subsequent revisions that may be adopted by the County of Atlantic.
[Amended 8-2-2016 by Ord. No. 6-2016]
All requests for tow services by County departments and agencies shall be made to and performed by the Atlantic County Division of Fleet Management. This includes but is not limited to the Atlantic County Prosecutor's requests for tow services in connection with a criminal investigation.
The preceding portions of this section shall not preclude a request for towing services from being made by County park rangers for any abandoned or illegally parked automobile or vehicle found in any section of the County park system. Such requests shall be made to the dispatch unit personnel of the Atlantic County Sheriff's Office, who shall promptly dispatch the appropriate towing operator.
Any and all terms or words in this chapter that are deemed to be ambiguous by a court of competent jurisdiction shall be resolved with an interpretation that best promotes the County's interest in limiting County liability and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days, or any combination of the foregoing. All other ordinances or parts of ordinances inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter are hereby repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.