[Ord. #92-06, § 1; Ord. #95-7, § 1]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide licensing standards, regulations and rates for police requested and non-preference towing and storage services. The said services shall be provided under the supervision of the Police Department of the Township of Scotch Plains.
[Ord. #92-06, § 1; Ord. #95-7, §§ 2-4]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated.
- AUTHORIZED TOWING OPERATOR
- Shall mean a towing operator who has submitted an application to the Chief of Police and is licensed by the Township to do police required towing for the Scotch Plains Police Department.
- Shall mean a private passenger or station wagon type automobile owned or hired, and a motor vehicle with a pickup body, or delivery sedan, a van, or a panel truck or a camper type vehicle used for recreational purposes owned by an individual or by husband and wife who are residents of the same household, and not customarily used in the occupation, profession or business of the insured other than farming or ranching.
- BASIC TOWING SERVICE
- Shall mean 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 any other services normally incident thereto, but does not include recovery of an automobile from a position beyond the right-of-way or berm, or from being impaled upon any other object within the right-of-way or berm. Basic towing service shall include vehicles involved in a motor vehicle accident, recovered stolen vehicles, impounded vehicles, abandoned vehicles, disabled vehicles and any other vehicle the police request be towed.
- Shall mean the operation of an unengaged tow truck along the public streets in any fashion intended, likely or calculated to solicit business.
- DAY RATE
- Shall mean hours from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
- INSIDE STORAGE
- Shall mean a vehicle storage facility that is completely indoors, having one or more openings in the walls for storage and removal of vehicles that is secured by a locking device on each opening. Vehicles stored in this facility shall be under constant on-site supervision when the building is unlocked. The public shall not have access to this facility.
- Shall mean the recovery of an automobile from a position beyond the right-of way or berm, or from being impaled upon any other object within the right-of-way or berm. Unreasonable delays at the scene (waiting time) caused by the owner, driver or police shall also be considered labor.
- LIGHT DUTY
- Shall mean a light duty wrecker, shall have a minimum chassis rating of 11,000 pounds GVW and be equipped with a lifting device with a minimum capacity for four tons. The garage from which a light duty wrecker originates must be equipped with a portable car dolly.
- MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
- Shall mean an occurrence in which a private passenger automobile comes in contact with any other object for which the private passenger vehicle must be towed or removed for placement in a storage facility. This includes all situations which are accidental as to the insured even if they were caused by the intentional acts of a perpetrator such as vandalism or fire.
- OUTSIDE STORAGE
- Shall mean a vehicle 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. The facility is to be lighted at night. When this area is unlocked or opened, it must be under the direct supervision of wrecker personnel. If said personnel are not present, the area must be locked and secured.
- Shall mean a person, firm, corporation or other entity who owns, leases and/or operates, parks or abandons a vehicle on the roads and highways within the Township of Scotch Plains, which vehicle by reason of being disabled or being unlawfully upon said roads requires towing services.
- STORAGE CHARGE
- Shall mean the maximum allowable amount to be charged by a storage facility for a 24 hour period or fraction thereof. A new 24 hour period begins at 12:01 a.m.
- TOWING LIST
- Shall mean a list obtained by the Police Department containing the names of those wreckers licensed and contracted by the Township to respond to requests for towing of vehicles made by the police department.
- TOW VEHICLE (TOW TRUCK)
- Shall mean 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 private passenger automobiles.
- TOW VEHICLES BASE OF SERVICE
- Shall mean towing operator's principal place of business where the tow vehicle is stationed when not in use.
- Shall mean a person in the business of, or offering the services of a towing service whereby motor vehicles are or may be towed or otherwise removed from one place to another by use of a motor vehicle adapted to and designated for that purpose.
[Ord. #95-7, § 5]
Any person who wishes to engage in business as a wrecker in the Township, at the request of the police department, shall be licensed by the Township pursuant to this section.
[Ord. #95-7, § 5]
Any person who desires to provide services as a wrecker at the request of the police department in the Township shall submit an application for a wrecker service license to the Chief of Police. The application shall set forth the following information:
The full name, address and telephone number of the applicant. If the applicant is a corporation, the name of the corporation and the names and addresses of the officers, directors, principals and its registered agent. If the applicant is a partnership, the names and addresses of the partners.
The year, make and type of each wrecker used in said wrecker business by the applicant, the wreckers serial number, registration number, a clear photograph of each wrecker showing the registration plate and the name and address of its registered owner.
The address where the wrecker or wreckers will be regularly garaged, stored and located in the Township.
The telephone number or numbers available on a 24 hour, seven day per week basis, the names, addresses and New Jersey motor vehicles driver's license numbers of all wrecker operators.
The location, size and security features of the storage lot where vehicles shall be towed, a clear photograph or photographs of the lot, which lot shall be screened from public view, and which lot shall conform with all municipal ordinances, land use laws and the applicable zoning code. No vehicle towed, pursuant to this section shall be stored in the vendor's lot for a period exceeding one week. No person shall be charged by a wrecker any towing or other fee for returning a vehicle to the vendor's lot if that vehicle was previously removed in order to avoid exceeding the above stated one week limitation.
The name and address of the insurance carrier and agents and the policy limits and policy numbers of all insurance policies held by the applicant in regard to the wrecker and storage services.
A certified statement of the willingness of the wrecker to be available on a 24 hour, seven day per week basis, and to abide by the instructions and directions of the Chief of Police, his subordinates and the provisions of this section.
[Ord. #95-7, § 5]
The Chief of Police and/or his designee shall investigate such application submitted to determine:
The truth and accuracy of all information contained in the application.
Whether public convenience and/or necessity will be served by awarding the license to the applicant wrecker.
The applicant's practical and technical ability to perform the wrecker service as described in this chapter.
The applicant's and his owner's fitness to engage in the wrecker business licensed pursuant to this section.
Whether the applicant has demonstrated, by the adequacy of its equipment and facilities, availability and response time and the security of its storage facilities that it shall be able to comply with the requirements of this section.
Whether the applicant wrecker's equipment is safe and in good and sound condition, and that it complies with the rules, regulations and standards of this section, as well as any applicable provisions of New Jersey law, including without limitation New Jersey motor vehicle law.
[Ord. #95-7, § 5]
The Chief of Police, upon completion of the foregoing investigation, shall forward a copy of the wrecker's application for licensure to the Township council, along with any recommendation for approval or disapproval of the license and the reasons, if any, for disapproval. The Township council shall then determine whether or not the applicant has complied with all the necessary standards and criteria and thereupon award or deny the wrecker's license. If the license shall be awarded to the applicant, the applicant shall be entitled to submit a contract to the Township for providing the wrecker service and upon full execution and delivery of such contract between the Township and the wrecker, the applicant's name will be added to the end of the rotation list for towing pursuant to Section 28-4 of this chapter.
The Township Clerk shall issue a license to the applicant wrecker upon receipt of notice by the Chief of Police that the applicant has been approved by the Township council and has complied with the requirements of the chapter. The fee for a three year license shall be $100.
[Ord. #92-06, § 2]
No towing operator shall tow for the Scotch Plains Police Department who does not own, lease or obtain, for utilization in his or its business, the following equipment. Such equipment shall be available for inspection by the Chief of Police or his authorized representative.
One heavy duty wrecker capable of handling loaded tractor trailers and other large heavily loaded vehicles that travel U.S. interstate highways; and/or
One flat bed or roll back truck classified no lighter than a one ton vehicle.
All vehicles must be equipped with two-way radios to a base of operations.
Equipment available to remove disabled or abandoned motor vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds with or without wheels and totally inoperable motor vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds.
Safety equipment to be carried on all trucks shall include universal towing sling; except flatbeds or roll back trucks, hooks and chains; one snatch block for three-eighths to one-half inch cable; two high-test safety chains; auxiliary safety light kit to place on rear of towed vehicle; four-lamp or three-lamp revolving amber light or lamp bars; toolbox with assortment of hand tools; rear working lights and rear maker lights; cab lights; body-clearing lights located to clear towed vehicle; blocking choke for wrecker while working; safety cones; shovel; broom; steering wheel lock or tie down.
All tow trucks must be properly registered, insured and inspected. Liability insurance in the amount of not less than one million ($1,000,000.00) dollars for any one claimant, two million ($2,000,000.00) dollars for more than one claimant and one million ($1,000,000.00) dollars coverage for property damage for any one event.
The towing operator will indemnify and hold harmless the Township of Scotch Plains from any and all claims for personal injury or property damage against the Township arising out of the operation of any towing services or repair service under this agreement. The towing operator will further defend the Township of Scotch Plains at the operator's expense, in connection with any claim, demand, suit or action brought against the Township and arising out of the operation of any towing, garage, storage or repair services under this agreement.
All tow trucks must be properly lettered on both sides as provided by law.
All trucks will be maintained and operated in accordance with all existing traffic regulations, and in a safe and prudent manner.
Tow truck drivers will request police assistance during the course of servicing, when they find it necessary to turn around, back-up, tow in the opposite direction, etc., if any of the above maneuvers would constitute a hazard to the motoring public.
[Ord. #92-06, § 2]
The towing operator must have available a fenced in area for properly accommodating outside storage for up to 20 vehicles which have become disabled or otherwise removed to his place of business.
The towing operator must also have available an inside storage area to accommodate up to four vehicles that might require such storage due to police investigations.
The storage facilities shall have proper sign identification in a prominent location and in the principal office of the towing company where the general public is admitted, showing the hours when the vehicle may be released. Such hours to be subject to the approval of the Chief of Police, with a minimum of ten hours per day, and six days a week, excluding Sundays and holidays, as well as the price for towing and daily storage rates. A business card will be supplied by the towing operator to the owner or driver at the scene stating business address and hours.
The towing operator must comply with all Township ordinances for storage of said vehicles. A small lot plan must be submitted to the Chief of Police for review by Township enforcement personnel prior to approval by the Township. Such plans shall indicate the fenced in storage areas.
Disabled motor vehicles to be towed or otherwise removed from the place where they are disabled shall not be stored or allowed to remain on public property, any street, or on any property in the Township of Scotch Plains which is not zoned for such storage.
If vehicles must be stored overnight, they must be so held within a fenced in area so as to provide the proper protection for said vehicles and to screen them from public view.
No vehicle shall be towed or stored in the police department parking lot unless specifically ordered by the Chief of Police or his designated representative.
[Ord. #92-06, § 2]
All towing operators and their drivers shall be fully trained and knowledgeable in the operation of all required equipment and applicable procedures under this ordinance.
All drivers will relay information as soon as possible to the Police on all crimes, disabled vehicles, accidents, disasters, etc.
Towing operator employees who drive vehicles on the Township roads or highways traversing said Township, must have the proper valid New Jersey drivers license; they shall be of good moral character, mentally alert, and present a neat appearance at all times.
The towing operator on duty must have any and all equipment which may be required to be available and ready to respond to a call within 15 minutes. The Chief of Police shall be the sole arbitrator as to compliance with the required response times.
It shall be the obligation of the towing operator to immediately notify the police in the event that said towing operator is wholly or partially not operational due to mechanical failure or personnel insufficiency. Upon such notification the police may use another towing operator who is authorized by the Chief of Police.
Towing operators will not respond to or stop at any accident scene unless directed by the police, unless it is to notify the police of an emergency. The stop shall not give the towing operator a right to tow without police permission.
Towing operators will be responsible for all vehicles and the contents thereof in their custody, which have been towed by them under the direction of the police.
Towing operators will notify the police on a weekly basis if they are in custody of any unclaimed vehicles.
Towing operators will cooperate with other operators in the case of emergency services at the scene of accidents and/or disasters.
No vehicle will be removed from the Township roads or highways traversing said Township without proper authorization from the police, or owner as the case may be.
All vehicles impounded or confiscated, will not be released without proper authorization from the police department.
All disputes between towing operators and the public and/or owners will be reported to the Chief of Police, or his designee, who will act as a mediator and attempt to resolve the differences in a civil and lawful manner. No driver of a towing operator will create a disturbance on the highway, nor will any police officer or desk officer be called to referee any disagreement.
The police officer investigating the incident is in complete charge of the incident scene, and all drivers shall comply with the officer's instructions.
It is understood and agreed by the towing operator that neither the Township of Scotch Plains nor the police shall in any way be liable to the towing operator for any services whatsoever, which may be rendered to motor vehicles, and the towing operator will look to the driver or last registered owner of such vehicles for compensation.
All light duty towing operators, to the degree possible, shall be located in the Township of Scotch Plains. All heavy duty towing operators shall be located in the Township of Scotch Plains or immediately adjacent thereto in order to ensure response within 15 minutes to calls, as needed.
The owner or operator of a motor vehicle, motorcycle or moped may choose another towing operator which is not an authorized police towing operator under the following conditions:
The vehicle is not a hazard or in a hazardous position, which can be determined by the police and/or fire officer in charge at the scene;
The vehicle does not disrupt the flow of normal traffic and can be removed within a reasonable amount of time determined by the officer in charge at the scene.
If a towing request is cancelled, while the towing operator is enroute, no fee shall be charged by the operator as long as no services were performed at the scene.
[Ord. #92-06, § 3; Ord. #95-7, § 6]
In order to assure safe and efficient towing service, all licensed operators pursuant to this ordinance, shall be allowed to tow for the Scotch Plains Police Department.
Each licensed towing operator shall be placed on a rotation list as compiled by the Chief of Police of the Township of Scotch Plains. Such licensed towing operators shall be called upon to respond to the needs of the Scotch Plains Police Department on a rotational basis determined by the Chief of Police.
[Ord. #92-06, § 4]
No towing operator shall engage in cruising as defined in the chapter.
No towing operator shall solicit or attempt to divert patrons of another towing operator, nor shall a towing operator solicit or divert prospective patrons of a given repair service to any other repair service, nor shall any police officer designate or suggest any towing operator to perform service.
No flashing lights or siren shall be used by a towing operator except as granted by the Chief of Police in and/or under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:3-1 et seq.
The governing body hereby designates the police department generally, its specific designee 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 with the ultimate authority vesting with the Township Council of the Township of Scotch Plains.
Prior to the end of the year, in the month of December, each towing operator authorized to tow for the police department shall be inspected for fitness by a representative of the police department.
Each towing operator on duty 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 of 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.
Refusal to tow at the scene of the incident shall be reported by the police officer assigned to the incident to his supervisor. The supervisor shall respond to the scene and if unable to correct the situation will file a written report with the Chief of Police.
Towing operators shall arrive at the scene to which dispatched within a reasonable time after being dispatched. Under normal circumstances, such reasonable time limit is defined as within 15 minutes. The police department shall reserve the right to obtain the services of another authorized towing operator required for failure to respond in the required time, or for failure to meet the provision of this ordinance.
Where no storage designation by an owner or police has been made, authorized 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 vehicles 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.
No authorized police towing operator shall employ, directly or indirectly, any sworn officers of the Township of Scotch Plains.
Such additional rules and regulations as may be promulgated by the Township council pursuant to this chapter shall take effect after notification of such rules and regulations upon all authorized police towing operators. Service shall be made by hand delivering or by mailing a notice thereof, certified mail, return receipt requested, to the authorized towing operator or his designee.
[Ord. #92-06, § 5]
The Chief of Police shall have the right to suspend any towing operator authorized to do police towing under this chapter for good cause upon written complaint of the Administrative Captain of the Scotch Plains Police Department following his determination that there is probable cause for suspension based upon violation of this ordinance. Written notice of such complaint and the basis of the complaint shall be given to the towing operator, and said towing operator shall be entitled to a hearing before the Chief of Police prior to final determination of the complaint by the Chief of Police.
If, upon full hearing, the Chief of Police decides that there have been violations, he may then suspend said towing operator. In addition to any suspension, if a violation of N.J.A.C. 11:3-38 et seq. has occurred, the Scotch Plains Police Department will notify the New Jersey Department of Insurance of the violation.
[Ord. #92-06, § 6; Ord. #32-2006; Ord. #14-2010; Ord. #2013-9]
The rates charged for basic towing services, storage and labor shall be in accordance with the following schedule.
Basic Tow Rates.
Extra Tow Service. These rates may only be charged when a motor vehicle is involved in an accident, if actually performed.
Storage Fees. Storage fees are based on N.J.A.C. 13:45A-31.4d, which requires towing companies to calculate storage fees based upon full 24-hour periods that a motor vehicle is in storage; e.g., vehicle stored from 7:00 p.m. one day to 7:00 p.m. next day shall be charged for one day storage; if stored for more than 24 hours, but less than 48 hours, may be charged for two days.
Gross Vehicle Weight. The registered weight, the manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating, or the actual weight, whichever is greatest.
No towing operator shall charge an additional fee when a towed vehicle is being picked up by an owner/driver or other tow operator, for services such as moving other vehicles to get a tow vehicle, towing from operator's property to street, etc.