[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Wells as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 212.
[Adopted 7-7-1987 by the Board of Selectmen]
This article is enacted pursuant to the authority delegated to the municipal officers by 30-A M.R.S.A. § 3009. In order to protect persons who operate motor vehicles within the municipal boundaries of the Town of Wells, to ensure that the streets and public ways of the Town remain open and free of hazard to the public and to further effectuate the efficient enforcement of the Town's traffic, parking, snow removal and other ordinances, it is necessary to authorize the towing of vehicles and to regulate persons engaged in the business of providing vehicle wrecker or towing and required repair services, to establish maximum rates for such service and to regulate the storage and disposition of vehicles so towed.
The following words and terms as used in this article shall have the meaning ascribed herein, unless the context otherwise indicates:
- TOWING LIST
- A list maintained by the Police Department containing the names of those wreckers authorized by the Town to respond to requests for the towing of vehicles made by the Police Department.
- A person engaged in the business of, or offering the service of, a vehicle wrecker or towing service, whereby motor vehicles are or may be towed or otherwise removed from one place to another by the use of a motor vehicle adapted to and designed for that purpose.
All wreckers operating within the Town of Wells shall comply with this article and the regulations denominated the "Vehicle Towing Policy," as the same shall be established and from time to time amended by the Chief of Police, provided that the Board of Selectmen shall review and approve the policy and all amendments thereto.
The following vehicles may be removed, towed, stored and disposed of pursuant to the provisions of this article until all waiver fees established pursuant to 30-A M.R.S.A. § 3009 for all such outstanding notices of violation, if applicable, and also the charges authorized by this article have been paid or until the requirements of this article have been met:
Any vehicle which has accumulated three or more notices of violation of any Town parking regulation for which there has been neither payment of waiver fees nor issuance of court process and which is parked in violation of any such provision; or
Any vehicle which is parked or left standing between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. in a Town parking lot or a parking lot managed by the Town in which overnight parking is not allowed when a police officer determines that the vehicle is obstructing the operation of street sweeping or other maintenance equipment in the parking lot.
Any vehicle which has been immobilized as a result of an accident or which, in the opinion of the police officer at the scene, cannot be safely driven from the scene shall be removed in accordance with the Vehicle Towing Policy, except that the wrecker may submit additional reasonable towing charges for any extra expenses resulting from the accident; provided, however, that any such additional charge shall be subject to approval, modification or disapproval by the Chief of Police or his designee.
Any vehicle operated by a person who has been arrested for a moving violation, the nature of which prevents the person so arrested from continuing to lawfully operate the vehicle, shall be removed in accordance with the Vehicle Towing Policy.
Any police officer requesting removal of a vehicle under this article shall, at the time of such removal, or within a reasonable time thereafter if the police officer determines that a delay is justifiable, notify the dispatcher of the intended storage location of the subject motor vehicle. Such information shall be recorded by the dispatcher for use of the Chief of Police. The Chief of Police shall notify by certified mail, return receipt requested, the owner of such vehicle within five business days of the impoundment thereof, the storage location of such vehicle and the requirement of release as set forth in § 207-8. This section shall not apply where an impounded vehicle has been released within the five-day period.
Any wrecker shall, within 15 days of the towing and storage of a vehicle pursuant to the provisions of this article, notify by registered mail the registered owner of such vehicle or a holder of a security interest therein, if his or her identity can be readily ascertained, that the vehicle has been taken into custody.
If the wrecker has not been able to ascertain the identity of such owner or holder of the security interest therein, he or she shall cause the notice to be published once a week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town. A copy of such notice shall also be mailed to the Chief of the state police. The notice shall be tendered on forms prescribed and provided by the Chief of Police and shall:
Describe the year, make, model and serial number of the stored vehicle;
Identify the location of the facility where the vehicle is being held;
Note the right to reclaim such vehicle within 60 days after the date of the mailing of the notice or of the final published notice by paying all towing and storage charges and properly following the procedure for doing so; and
Indicate that the failure to reclaim such vehicle within the time provided shall be deemed to transfer all rights, title and interest in the vehicle to the wrecker.
Upon failure to reclaim such vehicles within the time period specified above, the licensed wrecker may dispose of such vehicle in the manner authorized by 29-A M.R.S.A. § 1858.
Whenever a vehicle has been removed and stored pursuant to the provisions of this article, it shall not be released until:
The individual requesting release of such a vehicle presents satisfactory evidence of his or her right to possession and signs a receipt therefor; and
The Chief of Police or his designee certifies that all waiver fees and all charges described in this article have been paid, including all costs for towing, required notices and storage of the vehicle; or
Until a bond is posted equal to all fees and charges as set forth in § 207-10 of this article; or
Upon certification by the Chief of Police or his designee that the individual requesting release of such a vehicle has demonstrated, by providing satisfactory proof of such status, that he or she is unable to pay any accumulated waiver fees by reason of poverty; provided, however, that such person shall have accepted service of process initiating the court proceeding to determine his or her liability for the prescribed penalty for the alleged violation of this article and that such person has paid all charges for towing and storage.
Release of any towed vehicle or any accessory or part thereof from the lot or storage area of the wrecker without written permission from the Chief of Police, if not otherwise punishable under state law, shall be considered a civil violation. This shall apply to any person not the wrecker or owner of the storage area, including the owner of such vehicles.
Whenever any person requests the right to post bond pursuant to § 207-9, such bond shall be given in cash and a receipt shall be given therefor. Such bond money shall be refunded in the amount of the waiver fee for each alleged violation of this article upon acceptance by such person of service of process initiating a court proceeding to determine his or her liability for the prescribed penalty for the alleged violation of this article. Any bond shall be forfeited unless the person posting it requests and accepts service of such process from the Chief of Police within 30 days of posting unless prevented from so doing by the actions or inaction of the Town.
Whenever any person obtains a determination from a court of competent jurisdiction that a vehicle was not parked in violation of this article or any other ordinance of the Town at the time it was impounded pursuant to § 207-4, such person shall be reimbursed for the charges for immobilization or for towing and storage pursuant to this article, if paid, and if such charges have not been paid they shall be promptly paid or canceled by the Town.
[Adopted 7-28-1987 by the Board of Selectmen]
This Vehicle Towing Policy is established pursuant to § 207-3. The purpose of this policy is to ensure efficient enforcement of the Vehicle Towing Ordinance and other ordinances of the Town of Wells and to regulate the towing, storage and disposition of the vehicles which are towed, stored or disposed of pursuant to the Vehicle Towing Ordinance.
Any wrecker who applies to the Chief of Police or his designee shall be added to the towing list provided that:
Application is submitted on a form provided by the Police Department.
The applicant provides with the application a complete list and description of all equipment and facilities, including vehicles, dollies, storage capacity in the Town of Wells and any other information which the Chief of Police may require.
The Chief of Police shall conduct an investigation into the background of the applicant. If the applicant operated a wrecker service in another jurisdiction the Chief shall contact the law enforcement agency with authority in that jurisdiction and inquire into the background of the applicant. The Chief shall consider any and all consumer complaints, civil and criminal complaints and the driving record of the applicant. The Chief may approve, deny or approve with reasonable conditions based upon the background investigation. If the application is denied or conditions are imposed on the applicant by the Chief of Police, he shall issue a written decision stating the reasons for the denial. The wrecker operator may appeal the Chief's decision to the Wells Board of Selectmen within 10 days of the denial.
Wreckers shall be added to the towing list in the order in which their applications are received by the Chief of Police.
Assignments shall be made in the order in which wreckers appear on the towing list. After an assignment is made to a wrecker, that wrecker shall be rotated to the end of the towing list and all other wreckers on the towing list shall move forward one slot.
Any wrecker who refuses any assignment for any reason other than that the assignment requires specialized equipment which the wrecker does not have shall be considered to have accepted the assignment for purposes of the towing list rotation.
All wreckers shall maintain the following insurance policies and shall render proof of the same to the Chief of Police:
Garagekeepers' policy to cover fire, theft, windstorm, vandalism and explosion in the amount of at least $50,000. Each vehicle suffering damage or loss shall be deemed a separate claim.
Garagekeepers' liability covering bodily injury, death or property damage. The policy shall be maintained at a minimum of $250,000 per claim, $500,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage.
Road service liability covering the lifting, hoisting, towing and servicing of vehicles in a minimum amount of $25,000.
Each policy described in Subsection A above shall include an endorsement by the insurer:
Providing 30 days' notice to the Chief of Police and the insured of any proposed change in coverage or cancellation.
Any wrecker who does not maintain insurance as required by this section or who receives notice that his coverage has lapsed or no longer conforms to this section shall be removed from the towing list immediately.
Wreckers shall notify the Chief of Police or his designee of any and all claims made under the insurance policies required by this section.
No wrecker shall respond to the scene of an accident or emergency for the purpose of towing any vehicle involved therein without having received an assignment pursuant to the Vehicle Towing Ordinance.
All wreckers shall enter into an indemnification agreement with the Town of Wells which shall hold the Town and its police officers and other employees harmless from all claims for damages to property and injuries to persons resulting from a wrecker's negligence in removing, towing, storing or disposing of a vehicle.
If a request is received from a vehicle owner or operator at the scene for a specific wrecker, that request shall be honored if practicable, and the wrecker requested shall not lose his place on the towing list.
No police officer, employee, officer or agent of the Town of Wells shall recommend a wrecker to the public or any member thereof.
The Chief of Police shall maintain a record of complaints against wreckers. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the Chief of Police may notify that wrecker that, within 10 days, he is to appear before the Selectmen at a public hearing in order to show cause as to why his name should not be removed from the towing list.