[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Morris 11-12-2008 by Ord. No. 35-08 (Ch. 89 of the 1969 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ADMINISTRATIVE FEE
- A one-time fee per vehicle for the purpose of compensating the licensee for inspecting the vehicle, allowing owners to retrieve personal property from the vehicle and for the preparation of additional paperwork beyond the initial towing bill.
- The operation of a tow truck in and upon a roadway within the Township of Morris to solicit vehicle towing and/or storage business except in response to a police request.
- HEAVY DUTY
- A tow truck with dual wheels, capable of towing large trucks, and shall meet the following minimum requirements:
- HEAVY-DUTY WRECKER
- A tow truck with dual wheels, capable of towing large trucks, and shall meet the following minimum requirements:
- The additional work done at the scene by the tow truck operator which is beyond that required to perform a basic tow or any additional manpower needed to complete a recovery, winching or towing of a vehicle. Labor charged for additional manpower shall be based on a per-man, per-hour basis.
- A vehicle leased by the licensee through a leasing company and showing the licensee on the registration as the owner or lessee. If the registration is such that the lessee is not listed, the licensee will be required to show a lease agreement.
- The document approved and issued by the Township of Morris granting the privilege to tow and store vehicles and perform other towing operations for the Township of Morris.
- A towing operator having a license granted by the Township pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
- LICENSE FOR STORAGE
- The document approved and issued by the Township of Morris granting the privilege to store vehicles within the Township of Morris.
- LIGHT-DUTY FLATBED
- A car carrier of the rollback and tilt type, with dual wheels, capable of removing and transporting passenger cars damage free, and shall meet the following minimum requirements:
- LIGHT-DUTY WRECKER
- A tow truck with dual wheels, capable of towing passenger cars, and shall meet the following minimum requirements:
- MEDIUM-DUTY FLATBED
- A car carrier of the rollback and tilt type, with dual wheels, capable of removing and transporting small trucks, full-size vans or large passenger cars damage free, and shall meet the following minimum requirements:
- MEDIUM-DUTY WRECKER
- A tow truck with dual wheels, capable of towing small trucks, and shall meet the following minimum requirements:
- An individual or entity who or which owns or leases and/or operates, parks or abandons a vehicle within the Township.
- The Police Department of the Township of Morris or of any jurisdiction having authority in the subject matter.
- PRINCIPAL LOCATION
- The business office of an applicant/licensee, where a licensee shall conduct business associated with the towing and storage of vehicles under authority of the towing license issued by the Township of Morris.
- When the tow truck operator applies his training and knowledge in a skillful manner to preserve the condition of the vehicle while moving it to a towable position. This can be accomplished in various ways, including, but not limited to, winching and rigging.
- ROAD SERVICE
- A service provided at the scene to enable a vehicle to be driven away, including, but not limited to, the changing of a flat tire, jump start of a vehicle or the delivery of fuel. There will be a separate charge for the fuel at its face value.
- ROUTINE CALLS FOR SERVICE
- A police request for road service of a disabled vehicle, i.e., dead batteries, flat tires, out of gas or other services that do not require towing.
- STORAGE SERVICES
- The storage, housing or holding of vehicles, indoors or outdoors, by a licensee under authority of this chapter.
- TEMPORARY LICENSE
- A towing license authorized by the Chief of Police and issued by the Township of Morris for the purpose of replacing a current license, whether that replacement is due to the closing of the business or the revocation of the licensee's towing license for a violation of this chapter. This license is for emergency situations only, and the cost will be prorated on a monthly basis.
- TOWING OPERATOR
- An individual or entity engaged in the business of providing towing and storage services.
- TOWING SERVICES
- The towing service and/or on-site vehicle repair, including tire changes, jump starts or furnishing fuel, rendered by a towing operator.
- Every device in, upon or by which a person or property is or may be transported upon the highway, excepting devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks or motorized bicycles.
- WAITING TIME
- The time a licensee has equipment and personnel waiting at a scene to perform a towing operation.
- The process of moving a vehicle by the use of the tow cable from a position that is not accessible for direct hookup by conventional means for loading onto a tow vehicle. "Winching" shall not mean pulling a vehicle onto a flatbed or carrier or lifting a vehicle with a conventional tow truck.
- YARD CHARGE
- The relocation of a vehicle from the licensee's storage facility to a public roadway for removal by another towing company. It shall not apply to vehicles that are capable of being driven from the storage facility to the roadway.
No towing operator shall operate within the Township for police-requested towing services and/or storage services unless the towing operator has obtained a license issued by the Township.
No towing operator shall operate within the Township of Morris a storage facility unless the towing operator has obtained a storage license issued by the Township.
Owner-requested service. No license shall be required for the on-site repair and/or towing or storage of any vehicle when the request therefor is received by the towing operator from the owner or the owner's agent prior to a police request therefor.
Towing from private property. No license shall be required by the police to tow any vehicle from private property without the consent of the owner and private property owner except on the express instruction of the police in the event of an emergency. This applies to vehicles towed within the Township of Morris only.
Licenses to tow and provide storage of vehicles shall be issued for three calendar years commencing January 1 of the initial calendar year.
Form; required information. An application for a license shall be in writing, signed by the applicant on the form furnished by the Township and shall contain all information necessary to evidence the applicant's identity and legal address, compliance with the requirements of this chapter and ability to perform the towing services contemplated by this chapter.
Filing. Applications shall be filed by October 1 of the year prior to the license year with the Township Clerk, together with the application fee specified in § 460-8.
Eligibility. The applicant must have its primary business location within a distance of five miles from the boundary of the Township of Morris. Exception: tow operators who do not perform towing services for the Township of Morris.
All applicants and/or agents will submit to a criminal history check via the third party vendor that Morris Township utilizes for fingerprinting backgrounds. The applicant must obtain an applicant number from the MTPD Detective Bureau prior to making an appointment for the fingerprinting session. After the original fingerprinting is completed the same applicant for renewal may use the name check form (NJSBI form 212B) rather than completing the outside vendor process. An applicant or agent who has received a criminal conviction within the last seven years for any indictable offense involving stolen or embezzled vehicles, fraud related to the towing business, stolen property or a similar offense, which would include an indictable conviction of burglary, theft or controlled dangerous substances shall be deemed disqualified as a licensee hereunder and shall not be permitted to render towing services.
[Added 12-19-2018 by Ord. No. 33-18]
Reference to Chief of Police. Applications received by the Township Clerk shall be referred within two business days to the Township Chief of Police for his review.
Inspection/recommendations. After such examination of the applications and such inspections as the Township Chief of Police may consider necessary to evaluate the applicant's compliance with, and ability to continue to comply with, the requirements of this chapter, the applications shall be returned to the Township Clerk with the recommended approval or disapproval of each application by the Township Chief of Police based upon his examinations, inspections and evaluations. Applicants and licensees shall cooperate with any and all investigations conducted by the Township Chief of Police or his designee or other law enforcement agency working in conjunction with the Township police. The requirement of cooperation shall continue throughout the period of application and the duration of the license and storage of vehicles (even if a license is no longer in effect). A license may be denied for fraud, misrepresentation or false statement in the application.
Authorization. The Township Committee shall, at a public meeting by resolution, authorize the issuance of not more than six licenses after consideration of the applications and the recommendations of the Township Chief of Police. Minor irregularities in the application may be waived by the Township Committee. In the event that more than six applicants qualify for a license, the names of all qualified applicants shall be placed in a container, on uniform slips of paper with the identity of every applicant concealed, and the Township Clerk shall draw six slips from the container after all applicants have received at least 10 calendar days' notice of the time when and place where the drawing will occur. Licenses shall be issued to each of the six applicants selected at the drawing. Licensees must have the favorable recommendations of the Chief of Police prior to the new license being issued.
Only two storage licenses shall be permitted in the Township of Morris, and, should more than two applications arise, the aforementioned process for the issuance of the licenses shall be followed.
The following schedule of nonrefundable fees is adopted for the obtaining of a towing or storage license:
Application fee: $300 for three-year licenses, payable before January 1 of the initial license year. For a temporary license for a period of less than 12 months, the fee shall be prorated on a monthly basis.
The Township Committee shall have the right to suspend or revoke any license issued under this chapter for good cause upon written complaint of the Chief of Police following his determination that there is probable cause for suspension or revocation based upon violation of this chapter.
A license may be denied, suspended or revoked for fraud, misrepresentation or false statement in the course of conducting the towing operation, for violation of this chapter or for the conviction of the applicant, its officers or a person or entity holding an interest of 10% or larger in the applicant of a crime involving moral turpitude or relating to the towing business. A license may also be denied if the applicant has had a towing license or contract revoked while working for any other municipal, county or state agency. Such revocation shall have occurred within a twelve-month period prior to making application to the Township of Morris.
Written notice of such complaint and the basis of the complaint shall be given to the licensee, and the licensee shall be entitled to a hearing before the Township Committee prior to final determination of the complaint by the Township Committee. If, after the hearing, a majority of the members of the Township Committee present and voting decide that there has been a violation, they may terminate or suspend the license.
Emergency suspension. A license may be suspended by the Township Chief of Police whenever the Chief, in his reasonable judgment, considers such suspension necessary for reasons of safety, or any significant violation of § 460-13H, or has reason to believe that the licensee is not covered by the insurance required by § 460-15A of this chapter. Such suspension shall continue until terminated by the Chief, provided that if the suspension is not terminated within three business days, the Chief shall file a complaint for suspension or revocation pursuant to § 460-9A, and the suspension shall remain in effect pending a determination of the complaint.
Temporary license. In the event of an emergency suspension or other failure of the licensee to perform its duties under this chapter, the Chief of Police may issue a temporary license to a towing operator to operate during any licensee's failure to perform should the replacement of said licensee be deemed necessary. The issuance of a temporary license shall be reported to the Township Committee immediately upon issuance. Temporary licenses may be issued for such period of time as may be deemed necessary by the Chief of Police.
A towing operator, when filing an application for and at all times while holding a license under this chapter, shall own or lease for use in performing the services required by the license the following items of equipment:
Safety equipment to be carried on all trucks shall include:
Wheel lift or chassis lift/underreach.
"J" hooks and chains or tie-downs.
Two high-test safety chains.
Auxiliary safety light kit (to be placed on rear of towed vehicle that does not have functioning taillight flashers).
Rotating amber emergency lights mounted on top of truck (state-issued permit required and must be in truck).
Two white work lights facing the rear of vehicle.
Two safety cones with reflective strip (minimum height: 18 inches).
Steering wheel tie-down.
Two-way communication system, radio or cellular, with communication between the licensee's base and all of the required trucks and from truck to truck.
Jumper cables or jump box.
One fuel can capable of carrying five United States gallons of fuel.
Toolbox with assorted hand tools.
Tow truck lettering. All tow trucks operated by the licensee shall be permanently lettered on both sides in accordance with New Jersey Statute Title 39. (Newly purchased vehicles will be allowed a four-week grace period during which time a pair of magnetic signs may be used.)
Required communication. Licensee shall maintain a twenty-four-hour phone number which is manned by the licensee's personnel. Such personnel must have constant two-way communication, radio or cellular, with the licensee's vehicles. Phone calls may be forwarded from the principal business location to a residence during nighttime hours as long as two-way communication can be maintained with licensee's vehicles.
Outside secured storage. Each licensee shall have an outside secured storage area to accommodate at least five vehicles at any one time. The outside secured storage area must be solely under the control of the licensee at all times. All storage areas must meet the requirements of N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.2 (definitions), which states: "Outdoor secured means an automotive 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."
Equipment facility. Each licensee shall have an area and facility adequate for the storage and servicing of the required equipment specified in § 460-10 of this chapter when not in use. Such equipment facility must be within 10 miles, by radius, of the municipal building of the Township.
Hours/condition. The required storage and equipment facilities shall be as follows:
The hours of recovery of vehicles from storage shall be no less than Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and prominently posted at all of the above-mentioned facilities of the licensee and also made available at the Township police headquarters. The vehicle shall be made available by the licensee immediately upon an emergency request by the Township Police Department. Facilities shall be kept clean and in good order to accommodate persons who may enter facilities with respect to any vehicles stored therein. The principal location, in addition to the above-mentioned items, shall have adequate restroom facilities, with running water, that are clean and in good working order and available to persons who may enter the facility with respect to any vehicle towed by the licensee.
Unsecured outside storage. No unsecured storage area of any kind will be permitted for use by any licensee for storage of any vehicle towed under the license.
The licensee shall provide the Township of Morris Police Department twenty-four-hour emergency contact information for the licensee and for the company.
The licensee is responsible for verifying that their drivers/operators have a valid NJ driver's license of the required class. The licensee is required to submit this request to the NJMVC and provide the results to the MTPD conducting the background investigation. This information should be submitted with the initial application when filed. NJMVC information can be obtained by the licensee completing a NJMVC driver history abstract request form (D.O. # 21). In the event of being unable to locate the form the NJMVC can be reached at (609) 292-6100.
[Added 12-19-2018 by Ord. No. 33-18]
Light- and medium-duty drivers must obtain Level 1 driver certification from a tow truck operator's training course. New hires must obtain certification within nine months from start of employment.
Heavy-duty drivers must obtain Level 2 driver certification from a tow truck operator's training course. New hires must obtain certification within nine months from start of employment. Heavy-duty drivers must have commercial driver's license (CDL) endorsement on their license.
Recovery supervisors must obtain Level 3 driver certification from a tow truck operator's training course (within nine months of availability) and have training from an industry-recognized recovery course. On the recovery scene, not all personnel need to be recovery qualified, but a responsible recovery supervisor must have the listed requirements.
The licensee must certify that it has provided ongoing training and education of its employees. The towing operator shall show proof of a minimum of six hours of training per employer, per year. If good cause exists to question the training, knowledge or driving record of any tow truck driver or other personnel, the Township Police Department shall inform the applicant or licensee, who shall then be given an opportunity to show cause to the contrary.
At the time of the application or at any time a new tow truck driver is assigned, the licensee shall submit to the Township Clerk the name, driver's license number, social security number and date of birth of the tow truck driver prior to the driver's operation of any tow truck pursuant to a Township Police Department request. The licensee shall submit both of the results for the criminal history check and the NJMVC driver abstract prior to any new employee towing within the Township of Morris. The Traffic Safety Unit of the MTPD may request an active employee list of the towing agency at any point during the licensed period of time.
[Amended 12-19-2018 by Ord. No. 33-18]
No licensee shall employ, directly or indirectly, any officers of the Township Police Department who may have a financial interest in the business or who are part owners in any way.
Towing and storage services shall be governed by the following provisions:
The tow schedule when a tow licensee will be on duty will be set by the Township Police Department's Traffic Bureau and approved by the Chief of Police. The schedule shall be known as the "rotational duty service list."
Tow licensees will respond to all police requests for towing and/or road service when requested by a police dispatcher or any other police officer expressly authorized to communicate such a request. Licensee will respond with the number of tow trucks requested to the scene within a reasonable time. Such reasonable time shall be deemed to be within 20 minutes under normal atmospheric conditions.
If a tow licensee is wholly or partially unable to respond due to failure of any equipment or personnel insufficiencies, the licensee will immediately notify the Police Department, which will contact the next towing company in the rotation to handle the request. If such an incident occurs, the licensee will furnish, in writing, within five business days, the details of the circumstances which caused the failure to respond to the Township Police Department's Traffic Bureau, which will make a determination if a follow-up investigation and/or inspection of the licensee's facility is required.
Tow trucks of a licensee shall not cruise roadways within the Township for business and shall not respond to any scene where towing may be required except upon request of the Township Police Department or as permitted under § 460-3A of this chapter.
No rotating or flashing lights or sirens shall be used on a tow truck except as permitted by the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles/Department of Transportation (NJDMV/DOT) (N.J.S.A. 39:3-50), and all vehicles operated by the licensee shall have a current permit for said lights issued by the DOT, along with all other required vehicle documents.
All tow trucks shall be operated in accordance with all existing traffic regulations and in a safe and prudent manner. Tow truck drivers will request police assistance when they find it necessary to turn around, back up, tow in a direction opposite the flow of traffic, cross a median or other hazardous situation during the course of providing service or towing.
Each licensee will be responsible for all vehicles and visible contents in his/her custody that are towed off the roads under direction of the police and shall make an inventory at the scene to note such contents of each vehicle.
No vehicle will be removed from any roadway within the Township without proper authorization from the police at the scene or the vehicle owner or operator as the case may be.
No vehicle shall be removed from any roadway or private property within the Township of Morris, where it is evident that the vehicle has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, without authorization from the Police Department. Vehicles with any noticeable body damage, or in close proximity of property damage, shall be considered evidence of a possible vehicle accident that the police shall be present to investigate.
No vehicle shall be removed from any roadway or private property where the operator of the vehicle appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs based upon the observations of any reasonable person.
No licensee shall be required to tow to an area farther than the licensed storage area between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., unless said licensee agrees to tow farther. If the licensee agrees to tow farther than the licensed storage area between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., he/she will only do so if adequate towing coverage will be available to the Township of Morris.
The investigating officer and/or supervisor at the incident scene is in complete charge of the incident scene (excluding actual towing operations), and all tow truck drivers shall comply with the officer's/supervisor's instructions.
Each licensee, prior to departing from the scene of towing services, shall be required to clean and clear the roadway of any debris resulting from any accident at such scene when rendering towing services and at all times carry the necessary equipment to perform such cleaning services. Such equipment shall minimally include, but is not limited to, a broom and shovel. The licensee may charge the owner's insurance company for the services rendered.
In the event that a licensee refuses to tow or render services at the scene of an accident or disabled vehicle when requested by the police or vehicle owner/operator, the officer assigned to the incident shall report the refusal to his supervisor with all pertinent details. Police Department standard operating procedure (SOP) will be followed to secure a service to clear the scene, and the report of the refusal shall be forwarded to the Township Chief of Police and Township Traffic Bureau as soon as possible for evaluation and follow-up of the licensee's refusal to perform its obligation under the license. No towing operator shall be required to tow any vehicle in an unsafe manner or in such a way as to cause unnecessary damage to the vehicle towed or that may cause damage to the towing vehicle.
Each licensee shall be required to keep up-to-date records of all vehicles towed in conjunction with this license. Each licensee shall provide the Township Police Traffic Bureau with a list of all vehicles towed by order of the police (impounded) that remain unclaimed in storage every Friday by 12:00 noon.
Vehicles impounded or confiscated by the police and stored by the licensee shall not be released by the licensee without written authorization by the Police Department. The authorization to release document must be signed by an authorized Police Department representative before it is provided to the licensee.
The on-call service, when called out, must respond with its own equipment.
If the on-call towing service is unable to respond when called, for any reason (inability to handle heavy duty, etc.), that towing service must advise the front desk officer so that the next towing service can be called.
[Amended 6-16-2010 by Ord. No. 10-10; 2-19-2014 by Ord. No. 1-14; 6-17-2015 by Ord. No. 20-15; 7-15-2020 by Ord. No. 16-20]
Towing and storage charges shall be paid by the owner of the vehicle towed and/or stored by a licensee at police request, and such charges shall be as follows:
Towing charges. The following is the fee schedule for towing services (The fees do not include state taxes.):
Passenger vehicle rates.
Road service. Day or night rate for tire changes, jump starts, fuel delivery, etc. (price does not include the cost of fuel for vehicles out of gas): $95. Administrative fee does not apply.
Recovery and/or winching service (per hour): $225, said service to be charged in thirty-minute increments with a one-hour minimum pay. This charge shall include the use of additional equipment to remove the vehicle, to include skates, wheel lifts, chains or other equipment that is required to be carried on the wrecker by this chapter. (Overturned passenger vehicles will carry a one-hour minimum.)
Cleanup and/or labor charge (per hour): $75. This charge is for cleanup and/or removal of debris or mechanical work to ready vehicle for towing. This shall include the use of any speed dry or fluid absorbing materials. This charge shall be in effect for additional manpower needed at the scene (per man/per hour). This charge is to be charged in thirty-minute increments with a one-half-hour minimum. As provided for in N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.8, the towing service is not required to remove any hazardous materials.
Administrative fee: a one-time fee per vehicle for the purpose of compensating the licensee for inspecting the vehicle, allowing owners to retrieve personal property from the vehicle and for the preparation of additional paperwork beyond the initial towing bill, not to exceed $65.
Yard charge: for the relocation of a vehicle from the licensee's storage facility to a public roadway for removal by another towing company. It shall not apply to vehicles that are capable of being driven from the storage facility to the roadway. This charge is not to exceed $75.
Mileage rates. If a vehicle is removed to a location outside of the Township of Morris, with the exception of to the storage facility, a fee may be assessed for the mileage as follows:
The licensee shall accept a minimum of two major credit cards 24 hours a day and must be able to do so at the principal location, on the road at the time service or tow is performed or at the storage facility location.
The Township and its Police Department shall not be liable to a licensee with respect to towing and/or service rendered to any owner pursuant to the licensee or otherwise. The licensee shall look to the registered owner of such vehicle for payment of towing and/or storage service charges or any other compensation.
If a vehicle is towed by a licensee to premises controlled by the Police Department for the purpose of utilizing the vehicle or its contents as evidence or in an ongoing criminal investigation, such vehicle shall not be released from Police Department custody, except to the licensee, unless the owner of the vehicle furnishes the Police Department with a receipt that all applicable fees for towing and/or service have been paid in full. A second fee may be charged if the vehicle is removed to the licensee's storage area or other destination desired by the police or vehicle owner. If a vehicle is released by the police to any party other than the licensee without proper receipt, the Township shall be responsible for all charges but may pursue its remedy against the owner or other person(s) responsible.
The licensee shall have in effect, prior to application and at all times during the term of the license, the following insurance:
Garagekeeper's policy in the amount of $1,000,000 for any one claimant and $3,000,000 for more than one claimant, with coverage of $500,000 for property damage for any one event. This policy must include on-hook coverage of at least $100,000.
Automobile liability insurance issued by a financially sound insurance corporation of, or authorized to transact business in, the state, insuring the licensee and every tow truck operator against liability imposed by law for damages because of bodily injury, including death, sustained by any person and injury to or destruction of property, including the loss of use thereof, caused by accident and arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of tow trucks of the licensee. The amount of the limits of liability coverage to be offered by such policy shall be $500,000 for bodily injury to each person, $1,000,000 for bodily injuries in each accident and $500,000 for property damage in each accident.
The licensee shall supply a certificate of insurance to the Township Clerk describing every policy of insurance and identifying the Township as an insured party. Each such certificate of insurance shall contain a provision that no cancellation of the policy shall become effective until after the expiration of 15 days' written notice of such proposed cancellation forwarded by the insurance company to the Township Clerk.
The insurance coverage carrier shall have an A.M. Best rating of A or better.
The application of any towing operator for a license pursuant to this chapter shall include an agreement by the towing operator that, upon the issuance of a license, the licensee shall indemnify the Township against all claims of third parties relating to towing and/or storage service of the licensee.
The Township Police Department shall provide, when requested, towing operators with Department of Motor Vehicles information regarding registered owners and lienholders. The information requested and given shall be in conformance with N.J.S.A. 39:10A et seq. and shall not in any way violate the confidentiality that is reported in the Police Department.
The Township Chief of Police may issue rules and regulations from time to time on the operation of towing services and storage facilities to implement but not exceed the purpose of this chapter.
Such rules and regulations shall be issued by publication in a newspaper in the Township. Copies shall be mailed to any and all towing operators licensed by the Township or any interested parties who request such copies.
Towing operators and storage facilities within the Township of Morris must be in compliance with any rule or regulation set forth by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety. This chapter shall not supersede the aforementioned regulations.
The Township Chief of Police is hereby designated to enforce the provisions of this chapter in accordance with due process of law.
Copies of such rules and regulations, this chapter and the fee schedule of the licensees shall be made available to the public at the Township police headquarters during normal business hours.