[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Closter 7-24-1996 by Ord. No. 1996:720. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- DISABLED VEHICLE
- A vehicle which has been abandoned, impounded or rendered inoperable as a result of a mechanical failure or involvement in an accident. A vehicle, the location of which constitutes a hazard to the motoring public, shall be deemed disabled for the purposes of this chapter.
- EMERGENCY DUTY CALL LIST
- An annual list kept by the Borough of Closter containing the names of towing operators who have been approved pursuant to this chapter.
- A person, firm or corporation who owns and/or operates a vehicle on the roads and highways within the Borough of Closter, which vehicle by reason or being abandoned or disabled on the public roadways of the Borough of Closter requires towing services.
- TOWING OPERATOR
- A person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of providing wrecking and storage services for vehicles towed.
- A vehicle driven by mechanical power and employed for the purpose of towing, transporting, conveying or removing any and all kinds of vehicles or parts of vehicles which are unable to be operated under this own power.
Towing operators who seek to provide wrecking, towing, storage and emergency road service within the Borough of Closter to motor vehicle owners at the request of the Police Department shall submit an application to be approved by the Chief of Police upon forms prepared and provided by the Chief of Police. If chosen, in accordance with the procedures set forth in this chapter, the towing operator will be placed on the annual emergency duty call list to be maintained at the Police Department. The emergency duty call list shall expire on December 31 of each year. Any towing operator on the prior year's list will have to file a new application to be approved for placement on the new emergency duty call list.
The application shall include as a minimum the following information:
The name of the firm.
Owner(s) of the firm.
The address of the primary place of business.
The corporate mailing address.
Telephone numbers of the firm and owner(s) of the firm.
A listing of all vehicles to be used.
Proof of heavy duty wrecker availability.
Proof of insurance.
Certificate of occupancy from the municipality where operation is located.
The responsible party for records maintenance.
A listing of all drivers.
The Chief of Police shall approve an application when he finds that the following requirements have been met by the applicant:
The insurance policies required herein have been obtained by the towing operator and approved by the municipality's risk manager.
The towing operator's wrecker(s) have been properly licensed and conform to state motor vehicle laws. All wreckers must display New Jersey commercial license plates.
The towing operators company name, address and telephone number are permanently displayed on both sides of the wrecker.
A cost list setting forth the maximum fees charged for towing, storage and road service within the Borough of Closter is conspicuously displayed on or in the wrecker used by the towing operator.
The towing operator shall clearly demonstrate the ability to respond within 20 minutes from receipt of the emergency duty call.
The requirements of this chapter and all other laws, statutes and ordinances have been satisfied.
All other requirements appended to the application for approval have been satisfied.
Emergency duty calls to approved towing operators will be based upon the establishment of a revolving towing operator list for services to be performed within the Borough of Closter. The Chief of Police is hereby authorized to establish a lottery system to assign towing operators on the revolving towing operator emergency duty call list to respond to disabled vehicles within the Borough of Closter. The lottery will take place within the final week of October and shall be conducted in public on notice to all towing operators who submitted applications. The list will become effective on the first day of January. The Chief of Police will maintain a revolving list or licensed towers to provide service where needed and shall instruct all officers to utilize said list. The first tower chosen from the lottery shall be placed at the top of the list with each subsequent tower chosen to occupy a subsequent sequential spot on the list. The first towing operator on the list shall provide towing services for two months, not necessarily in consecutive order. Thereafter, the second towing operator shall provide towing services for two months, not necessarily in consecutive order, and the list shall revolve in that manner until 12 months have expired and a new list is prepared.
The towing operator's charges for towing and related services provided pursuant to this chapter shall not exceed the maximum charges set forth on the fee schedule for removal and storage of vehicles set forth herein. The towing operator shall provide a copy of the cost list to the owner of the vehicle towed.
The towing operator shall, at the time of removing any motor vehicle in response to a police request, remove from the public or private roads or highways all vehicle debris or material in the area surrounding the vehicle, in accordance with the instructions of the senior police officer on the scene. Such cleanup shall be performed by the towing operator without charge to the Borough of Closter or the vehicle owner. Failure to provide these services satisfactorily may be cause for suspension or removal from the approved towing operator list as provided by this chapter. This does not include hazardous materials.
The towing operator shall, if called by the Borough of Closter, charge vehicle owners for service which it renders. In no instance shall the towing operator look to the Borough of Closter for payment of services performed pursuant to this chapter. This chapter shall not reduce or diminish the rights of the towing operator with regard to the owner under applicable statutes.
The Chief shall have the right at all times to inspect all wreckers and storage facilities providing services. Should the Chief at any time determine that the equipment or storage facilities being used do not comply with the requirements of this chapter, he shall have the power and authority to direct the immediate correction or repair of the same within a specified period of time. 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 chapter.
The Chief of Police shall have the power to suspend a towing operator from the emergency duty call list for a period of 30 days for failing to comply with any section of this chapter. A subsequent violation by the towing operator will result in the towing operator's permanent removal from the emergency duty call list. The Chief of Police shall investigate all complaints made by property owners for losses to their vehicles, complaints for excessive charges and incomplete cleanup, pursuant to this chapter.
An appeal of a removal by the Chief of Police may be filed with the Borough Administrator within 10 calendar days of the Chief's decision. Upon the filing of an appeal, a hearing shall be held by the Closter Borough Council within 30 calendar days after the receipt of the appeal. The Closter Borough Council shall render its determination within 20 calendar days of the conclusion of the final hearing date, and its determination as rendered shall be final and conclusive.
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000; and each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and each day the same is violated shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense.
In addition to the fine provided above, a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be cause for suspension and removal from the emergency duty call list.
The towing operator hereby agrees to defend at the towing operator's expense and to hold harmless and indemnify the Borough of Closter, its elected officials, boards, officers and employees from any and all obligations, expenses and/or damages arising out of any claims which may hereafter be asserted against the Borough of Closter by anyone for loss or damages to personal property, for personal injury or for any other damages in connection with the rendering of services pursuant to this chapter.
All vehicles towed at the request of the Police Department must be removed to a place within the borough or a mile radius outside the borough unless the owner or operator of the vehicle specifically requests that it be towed to a place outside the borough limits or to a location approved by the Chief of Police of the Borough of Closter. The towing firm must provide a safe area for the storage of towed vehicles. The area used for the storage of towed vehicles shall be illuminated. The fencing and illumination measures are to provide adequate security for the towed and stored vehicles and to prevent unsightliness.
Fees for towing and storage of private passenger vehicles, damaged in an accident or recovered after being stolen, may not exceed the fees established by the New Jersey Department of Insurance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 17:33B-47. Those towing and storage fees, which are set forth in N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.1 to N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.6 are incorporated herein by reference.
Pursuant to law, the fee schedules are reviewed by the New Jersey Commissioner of Insurance on an annual basis and may be revised if necessary. In the event that the fee schedules are revised by the Commissioner of Insurance, the revised fees shall be the maximum fees that may be charged by official towers, and this chapter shall be amended accordingly.
If the official tower is called to the scene by the Police Department of the Borough of Closter in accordance with this chapter, fees for towing and storage of private passenger vehicles, other than those damaged in an accident or recovered after being stolen, shall be by Schedule of Fees as adopted by resolution of the Mayor and Council on January 1 of the current year.
Fees for all other types of vehicles other than private passenger vehicles, pursuant to Subsections A and B of this section, shall be determined in accordance with this section.
The following maximum fee schedule for towing services shall be as set forth in Chapter A301, Fees and Deposits.
The fees set forth for nonpassenger vehicles in this section are maximum charges that shall apply for basic towing services. The official towers, however, shall be allowed for winching and wrecking services over and above the basic towing services additional fees per hour for light-duty wrecker, per hour for medium wrecker and per hour for heavy-duty wrecker, as set forth in Chapter A301, Fees and Deposits. There shall be no additional charges for any other services, including but not limited to waiting time, clean-up costs and additional labor when only basic towing services, as defined, are provided, except for speedy dry which is at a rate per bag as set forth in Chapter A301, Fees and Deposits.
No towing operator shall be called by the Police Department unless the towing operator has submitted as part of the application a certified copy of the required insurance policies or a certificate or certificates of insurance, in a form approved by the borough's risk management consultant, evidencing that there is in effect insurance policies with the following coverage:
Garage liability insurance. Limit of liability shall not be less than $300,000 combined single limit (bodily injury and property damage) per occurrence, including premises operations and products/completed operations.
Automobile liability insurance. Limit of liability shall not be less than $300,000 combined single limit (bodily injury and property damage) per occurrence.
Garage keepers insurance. Physical damage insurance policies shall be provided for vehicles in tow, possession of or storage on property owned or controlled by the contractor. Limit of said coverage shall be not less than $100,000.
Excess umbrella insurance. Limit of liability shall be not less than $500,000 providing protection in excess of the $300,000 garage and auto liability coverage. Note: This requirement may be waived if the limits of liability in Subsections A and B above are not less than $750,000 combined single limit.
[Amended 12-21-1998 by Ord. No. 1998:785]
On all liability policies, the municipality shall be added as an additional insured, and certified copies of insurance policies and insurance certificates shall indicate such coverage as primary coverage notwithstanding any insurance carried by the municipality.
[Amended 12-21-1998 by Ord. No. 1998:785]
Workers' compensation insurance. New Jersey statutory coverage, including employers liability coverage.
[Amended 4-22-1998 by Ord. No. 1998:758]
The contractor shall indemnify the municipality and the public against any loss due to injuries, accidents or damages of any character whatsoever where any such damage is the result of act or omission of the contractor, his agents or employees in or due to the execution of the work called for under the contract.
The applicant shall provide the municipality with certified copies of insurance policies or certificates of insurance, evidencing the coverages required above. Such certified copies of insurance policies or certificates shall provide that the municipality shall be given at least 30 days' prior written notice of any cancellation of, intention not to renew or material change in such coverage by certified mail, return receipt. Certified copies of insurance policies or certificates must be provided before commencing work in connection with the contract. Failure to submit this shall subject the contractor to immediate disqualification. The municipality shall also have the right to review those insurance policies of the contractor upon request if it accepts certificates of insurance.
The providing of any insurance required herein does not relieve the contractor of any of the responsibilities or obligations assumed by the contractor for which the contractor may be liable by law or otherwise.
If any policies contain deductibles or copayment, it shall be the responsibility of the contractor to pay such sums at the same time a claim is settled by the contractor's insurance company.
If any policies contain limits of liability with an aggregate limit, the contractor or the contractor's insurance company shall provide the municipality quarterly during the policy period, a statement evidencing the limits of liability required under this contract to be in force.
Failure to provide and continue in force such insurance as required above shall be deemed a material breach of the contract and shall cause an immediate termination thereof.
All policies shall be written in a company licensed in the State of New Jersey, Best's rated A-VII (A minus seven). They shall be written on an ISO (Insurance Service Office) form or better.
[Amended 4-22-1998 by Ord. No. 1998:758]