City of South Amboy, NJ
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY 1984 Code §§ 155-1—155-16 as amended through December 31, 2016. Amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purpose of this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings given herein:
CRUISING
Driving an unengaged wrecker to and fro along a public street in any fashion calculated for the purpose of soliciting business along any street.
GARAGE
A building or property where motor vehicles can be sheltered, stored, repaired and made ready for use, and it is specifically intended not to include within the meaning of this definition a gasoline service station used principally for furnishing gasoline, oil, lubrication service and minor services for automobiles.
WRECKER OR TOW TRUCK
A vehicle employed for the purpose of towing, transporting, conveying and removing any vehicles which are unable to be operated under their own power from the place where they are disabled to some other place.
[Ord. No. 12-1998]
A. 
Requirement. No person, firm, partnership or corporation shall participate in the police towing rotation within the City of South Amboy without first obtaining the necessary licenses and permits from the Chief of Police, as hereinafter provided.
B. 
Duration of license. All licenses issued under this regulation shall expire the last day of June next succeeding the date of issuance.
C. 
Fee. The fee for a towing license is $125, payable upon the submission of an application for approval.
Applications for licenses issued hereunder shall be made, in writing, upon forms prepared and made available by the Chief of Police. The applicant shall state, under oath, the following information:
A. 
The name, home address and business address of the applicant.
B. 
The location and a description of the wrecker for which a license is sought, including the year, make, color, model, type, serial number, motor capacity, length of time the vehicle has been in use and any other information which shall be deemed necessary by the Chief of Police.
C. 
Whether the applicant is the owner, lessee or bailee of the vehicle.
D. 
The policy number and expiration date of liability and property damage insurance and the name of the insurance company that holds the policy. The applicant shall name the City of South Amboy as an additional insured on all liability policies.
E. 
The applicant shall designate its intended storage space by reference to lot and block and shall provide a diagram showing the space designated for storage of vehicles. Said storage area shall be completely enclosed by a fence of at least six feet in height, of a stockade or chain link construction; provided, however, that the construction of the fence must completely prohibit the view of the stored vehicles from outside the fence.
The Chief of Police shall approve an application when he finds that the following requirements have been met by the applicant:
A. 
Investigation. Within 30 days after receipt of the application, the Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made of the applicant and the proposed business operation and shall make or have made an inspection of the vehicle. All applicants and/or operators shall be fingerprinted. A permit shall not be issued to a person convicted of a crime of moral turpitude. The Chief of Police may delegate the inspection of the vehicle to a person or persons who shall make such inspection and report back to the Chief of Police as to whether the wrecker complies with the requirements and standards of this chapter.
B. 
Insurance. The insurance policies, as required, shall have been procured and supplied.
C. 
List of operators. Permit holders will be required to submit a list of operators and their legal addresses and telephone numbers and to keep the Police Department informed of any changes.
D. 
Licensing of vehicles. The vehicles shall have been properly licensed and shall conform to the state motor vehicle laws. All vehicles must display New Jersey commercial license plates.
E. 
Other regulations. The requirements of this chapter and all other laws, statutes, regulations and ordinances shall have been met.
F. 
Minimum standards. The wrecker or tow truck to be approved on inspection meets the required minimum standards set forth herein.
G. 
Other:
(1) 
Accuracy of applicant information.
(2) 
Satisfactory Better Business Bureau report.
(3) 
Experience/references.
(4) 
Proper business/trade licenses.
(5) 
Service on a twenty-four-hour basis, seven days a week.
(6) 
Storage:
(a) 
Capacity for a minimum of 10 vehicles.
(b) 
Storage area enclosed by sturdy non-see-through fence with a minimum height of six feet.
(c) 
Storage area lighted from dusk to dawn.
(d) 
Storage area legally zoned for such use.
(e) 
Proof of ownership or lease of storage area.
(f) 
Facility open to public during normal business hours and limited hours on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
The following shall serve as minimum standards for wreckers and tow trucks:
A. 
Light duty.
(1) 
A light-duty wrecker shall be able to handle all makes of passenger cars and small trucks such as pickups and small panel trucks up to one and one-half (1 1/2) tons and must have or be equipped with the following:
(a) 
A minimum of three-fourths (3/4) ton according to the manufacturer's specifications and dual rear wheels or equivalent.
(b) 
A power takeoff controlled, hydraulic or electric winch with minimum cable thickness of three-eighths (3/8) inch or equivalent.
(c) 
Gross weight equal to the vehicle to be towed, with a minimum of 5,500 pounds.
(d) 
A three-eighths-inch safety chain. The lift chain and the safety chain are not to be attached in any form or manner to the same part of the wrecker.
(e) 
Front and rear flashing hazard lights.
(f) 
A three-hundred-sixty-degree rotating amber beacon light mounted over the cab or an approved light bar.
(g) 
All lights of such candlepower in intensity as to be visible one-fourth (1/4) of a mile away.
(2) 
All towing company drivers will carry their business card and must give it to the owner/driver of the vehicle to be towed.
(3) 
All companies will have the company name, address and phone number permanently affixed [in letters and numbers a minimum of three inches] on both sides of the wrecker prior to said wrecker being used on any city rotation calls. The letters and numbers shall be a minimum of three inches in height.
(4) 
The wrecker shall be equipped with a portable car dolly and sufficient equipment to clean up the debris on the highway. The operator must clean away the debris at the scene.
B. 
Heavy duty.
(1) 
All wreckers classified as heavy duty must have or be equipped as follows:
(a) 
Dual rear wheels.
(b) 
A manufacturing rating of gross vehicle weight of 10,000 pounds. Manufacturer rating may be obtained from the factory where the truck originates. Other written evidence of gross vehicle weight may be accepted by the Chief of Police if verified.
(c) 
Power takeoff controlled winch with a minimum cable thickness of five-eighths (5/8) inch.
(d) 
Four double-faced rear flashing amber lights mounted as high as maximum state requirements.
(e) 
A three-hundred-sixty-degree rotating amber beacon light mounted over the cab.
(f) 
All lights of such candlepower as to be visible one-fourth (1/4) mile away or equal to the candlepower of the lights on police vehicles.
(g) 
One-half-inch safety chain. The lift chain and safety chain are not to be attached in any form or manner on the same part of the wrecker.
(h) 
Air brakes.
(i) 
Connecting air lines for connection with the air compressor and air-brake lines of the towed vehicle.
(2) 
All companies will have the company name, address and phone number permanently affixed [in letters and numbers a minimum of three inches] on both sides of the wrecker prior to said wrecker being used on any city rotation calls. The letters and numbers shall be a minimum of three inches in height.
(3) 
The wrecker shall be equipped with sufficient equipment to clean up debris on the highway. The operator must clean away the debris at the scene.
No wrecker shall be licensed hereunder nor shall any licensed wrecker be operated within the city unless there shall be deposited with the City Clerk the following insurance policies or certificates of insurance:
A. 
Auto garage keeper's policy. Auto garage keeper's legal liability policy covering fire, theft and explosion in the minimum amount of $60,000 per location, subject to a five-hundred-dollar deductible, with each incident deemed a separate claim.
B. 
Auto garage legal liability policy. Auto garage legal liability policy covering the operation of the licensee's equipment or wrecker or any bodily injury or property damage. This policy will be in the minimum amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000) combined single limit.
A. 
The Chief of Police shall issue to the person owning a licensed wrecker a card, not less than four inches in width nor more than six inches in length, in such form as may be set by the Chief of Police, which shall be, at all times, prominently displayed on the right front windshield of each wrecker and which shall bear the name and business address of the owner, official license number of the wrecker, the rate of fares and conditions of employment under which such wrecker is operating and a notice that in case of any complaint the Chief of Police is to be notified. Such card shall have attached thereto the signature of the Chief of Police and the date of the inspection of the wrecker, together with blank spaces upon which any entry shall be made of the date of every inspection of the wrecker by the inspector.
B. 
Every operator of a wrecker shall give the owner of the vehicle a written receipt for the fee paid when requested. All disputes as to rates to be paid shall be determined by the officer in charge, if one is present, and a report of the dispute shall be made by the officer to the Chief of Police.
Maximum rates charged for the transportation, hauling and storage of disabled vehicles shall be as set by the Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs.
A. 
Filing of rates. Every owner of a tow or wrecker truck shall file with the Chief of Police and City Clerk a statement of its service rates.
B. 
Receipts. Every owner of a tow or wrecker truck shall give the owner of the vehicle a written itemized receipt for the fees paid. Copies of these receipts shall be maintained by the owner of the tow or wrecker truck for two years and shall be available for inspection by authorized city officials.
A. 
The Chief of Police is hereby authorized to establish reasonable rules and regulations for the inspection and operation of wreckers and for the design, construction, maintenance and conditions for the safe conduct of a wrecker service business, in accordance with the standards outlined in this regulation. The Chief shall maintain due vigilance over all wreckers to see that they are kept in a safe condition for transporting and hauling disabled vehicles and shall have the right at all times to inspect all licensed wreckers. Should the Chief of Police at any time determine that the equipment being used is unsafe, he shall have the power and authority to direct the immediate correction or repair of the same within a specified period of time and, if said corrections or repairs are not made in a satisfactory manner, the license relating to said vehicle may be suspended or revoked on notice to the licensee and hearing thereon to be held within 10 days of service of the notice of suspension or revocation.
B. 
The Chief of Police is also hereby authorized and empowered to establish and publish, from time to time, such additional rules and regulations, not inconsistent herewith, as may be reasonable and necessary in carrying out the provisions of this regulation.
C. 
The Chief of Police shall keep a record of names of all persons owning or operating wreckers approved under this regulation, together with the license number and a description of the wreckers and the date and complete record of inspections made of them.
A. 
An appeal of the Police Chief's rulings shall be filed with the City Clerk within 10 business days of the Chief's decision. A hearing shall be held within 45 calendar days of the date of filing of the appeal.
B. 
The appeal shall be heard by the City Council of the City of South Amboy, whose duty it shall be to make a determination as to any appeal filed pursuant to Subsection A above. The Council shall render its determination within 20 calendar days of the conclusion of the final hearing before it. The determination, as rendered, shall be final and conclusive under this chapter.
A wrecker license hereunder shall be issued subject to the following conditions:
A. 
No licensee or his agents or servants shall engage in cruising.
B. 
No licensee or his agents or servants shall solicit or attempt to divert prospective patrons from another holder of a wrecker license nor shall be solicit or divert prospective patrons from one garage in the city to any other garage.
C. 
No licensee or his agents shall solicit, demand or receive from any persons any pay, commission or emolument whatever except the proper fee authorized for transporting the disabled vehicle in accordance with the schedule of service rates listed herein.
D. 
Licensees, their agents and servants shall keep and maintain towing equipment which is adequate to perform such towing in a reasonable, workmanlike manner.
E. 
No licensee or his agents or servants shall pay any gratuity, tip or emolument to any person for information as to the location of any accident or for soliciting the employment of the licensee's services.
F. 
Each and every licensee hereunder shall record in a book kept solely for such purpose the details of each disabled vehicle towed, serviced or transported by him or his agents or servants or employees, together with full information concerning the details surrounding the hire, the name of the owner of the towed vehicle and of the patron engaging him, which book shall be kept open for inspection at all times to a duly authorized representative of the Police Department of the city or a duly authorized representative of the Police Chief.
G. 
Licensees and their agents and servants shall clean up all debris which may be at the scene of the accident.
H. 
No licensee shall place a vehicle on public property or in municipal streets. All vehicles shall be immediately placed in areas designated on the application for license.
A. 
All companies on the towing list shall maintain a record regarding all vehicles impounded at the request of the South Amboy Police Department, for example, abandoned vehicles, recovered stolen vehicles or vehicles held for investigation by the Department. This record shall be made available to any police officer for inspection upon request and shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The date, time, location and name of the wrecker driver who towed the vehicle at the Department's request.
(2) 
The name of the police officer who requested the vehicle be impounded.
(3) 
The physical location of the vehicle after being towed.
(4) 
Identification of the impounded vehicle, to include the make, year, model, color, vehicle identification number, license number and the name of the registered owner, if known.
B. 
A vehicle impounded by the police shall not be released without a written tow order release form authorizing said release.
C. 
A written record shall be kept or maintained by the towing service indicating the name of the person releasing the vehicle, the type of proof of ownership presented and the name of the person receiving said vehicle.
D. 
It shall be the responsibility of the towing company to obtain proper proof of ownership and identification prior to the release of any vehicle.
A. 
Wreckers performing services under these regulations shall perform on a rotating basis. The rotating list shall be limited to those approved wreckers having a response time of 10 minutes or less. The Chief of Police is hereby authorized to establish a system of rotation in the assignment of wreckers in the area. Wreckers shall be assigned from the rotating list only. No person shall respond to the scene of an accident except upon notification by the officer in charge of police headquarters or upon request of the driver or owner of the disabled vehicle.
B. 
The refusal to respond to a request by the Police Department to remove or service a vehicle shall be grounds to have an action taken by the Chief of Police, provided that the licensee has refused to respond to a request and a satisfactory excuse is not given. The Chief of Police shall have the authority to suspend the licensee for two turns on the rotating list.
C. 
Additional rules and regulations regarding the rotation of wreckers as may be promulgated hereunder by the Chief of Police shall take effect immediately after service of a copy thereof to all permit holders for wreckers in the city, which may be made by addressing the same to the permit holders by mail at their last known address.
The number of wrecker licenses to be issued and approved by the approving authority shall be limited to four. Any license existing at the time that this chapter is approved shall remain valid for its term and can be renewed or transferred with the approval of the approving authority. Any licensee seeking to renew its wrecker license shall submit the required application between April 15 and April 30 of each year. Any license not submitted for renewal shall be deemed abandoned. Applications for new licenses shall be accepted between May 1 and May 15 of each year. Applications shall be considered in the order submitted, with the first approved applicant receiving the next available license.
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the South Amboy Police Department.
A. 
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not to exceed $500 or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment, and each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and each day there is a violation thereof shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense.
B. 
Penalty for violation of fee limits.
An operator engaged in the removal of motor vehicles, or any employee, officer or agent thereof, who engages in a pattern or practice of knowingly violating the fee limits set in section 3 of P.L.1987, c. 127 (C. 40:48-2.50) may be liable to the municipality for a civil penalty of not less than $25 or more than $50 for each motor vehicle stored with the operator. (N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.51)