[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Middletown 12-4-2000. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Refers to the business of offering the services of a vehicle wrecker or towing services whereby motor vehicles are towed or otherwise removed from the place where they are located by use of a vehicle so designated for that purpose.
- The City of Middletown.
- MEMBER OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY
- Limited to spouse, children, parents, brothers or sisters residing with the same household.
- Any person, firm, association, partnership, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
- PRINCIPAL PLACE OF BUSINESS
- A licensed or registered facility at a location where the public can gain access and speak with an employee of the company in order to have a vehicle released and/or receive services. The licensed and registered facility shall be in operation in the City of Middletown for a period of at least one year prior to the business applying for a permit.
- REGULAR BUSINESS HOURS
- Any eight-hour period between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- A person engaged in the business of offering the services of a vehicle wrecker or towing services whereby motor vehicles are towed or otherwise removed from the place where they are located by use of a wrecker so designated for that purpose. For the purposes of this chapter, a wrecker shall be deemed to be any vehicle approved for that purpose by the State Department of Motor Vehicles.
The Chief of Police shall adopt reasonable regulations for wreckers.
The Chief of Police shall prepare and maintain lists of licensed wreckers who shall be eligible to provide wrecker services in the City.
The municipal wreckers lists shall include any licensed wrecker with a principal place of business in the City who shall apply for inclusion and who shall meet the following standards:
Each licensee must be licensed or registered by the Department of Motor Vehicles of the State of Connecticut as a new or used car dealer or as a repairer.
All persons operating any vehicle licensed under this chapter must be properly licensed by the state to operate such equipment.
Licensees must provide inside storage space at their principal place of business for a minimum of two automobiles. Outside storage facilities, if provided, shall be located at the principal place of business of each licensee, and shall be protected by an enclosure to prevent the intrusion of vandals or thieves or must be attended 24 hours per day. Licensees shall store motor vehicles in accordance with the provisions contained herein.
Minimally, the facility is to be open for business during regular business hours. Each principal place of business shall provide a dedicated phone line during regular business hours.
There will be two rotation lists. One list will be provided for heavy-duty wreckers and the other list will be for all other calls.
On each list that the wrecker business has applied for and been approved for inclusion, said business shall be listed on the specific municipal wreckers list in alphabetical order. Each business shall be entitled to one place on each of the municipal wreckers lists. Assignment from the municipal wreckers lists shall be made on a strict rotation basis as set forth in this chapter.
Wreckers shall either be registered to the the principal place of business or leased to the principal place of business. Leased vehicles shall be insured by the principal place of business.
A heavy-duty wrecker leased or registered to a principal place of business shall be entitled to one place on the heavy-duty rotation list.
The towing of abandoned vehicles that are not considered a menace to traffic will be strictly voluntary. Those licensees wishing to tow abandoned vehicles are to provide a letter to the Traffic Division of the City of Middletown Police Department indicating that the City of Middletown will not be charged for the removal or storage of such vehicles. The Traffic Division will manage this tow list.
Administration or assignment of wreckers shall be delegated to Police Department headquarters personnel or dispatch personnel as appropriate. Police headquarters and/or dispatch personnel shall at all times keep and maintain exact records of all calls and dispatches pursuant to this chapter, which shall be available for public inspection during regular business hours.
No licensee or employee or owner of a garage or repair shop holding a license shall go to the scene where a wrecker is needed unless dispatched to the scene by an authorized member of the Police Department or the operator of a disabled motor vehicle.
It shall be unlawful for any wrecker, whether or not licensed under the provisions of this chapter, to go to the scene where a wrecker is needed with the intent to solicit repair or tow jobs.
It be unlawful for any member of the Police Department to solicit business for any wrecker.
Disabled motor vehicles; operator requests.
Notwithstanding any other provision herein to the contrary, when the operator or owner of any motor vehicle disabled at the scene of an accident or emergency is present, conscious, is able to make a choice and has a preference, such operator or owner or the agent of either of them shall be entitled to select whatever wrecker he desires, and a vehicle from said wrecker shall be dispatched by the Police Department. A wrecker, chosen pursuant to this section, need not be licensed under the provisions of this chapter. Any such wrecker must be able to respond to the location within a reasonable time period, not to exceed 25 minutes.
Whenever an operator or owner or the agent of either of them is not present at the scene, is unconscious or in any way unable to make a choice or has no preference, Police Department headquarters and/or dispatch personnel shall be notified immediately of the situation and of the need. Such information shall be entered in a log maintained for that purpose by the Police Department. Police headquarters or dispatch personnel shall then dispatch to the scene the requisite number of wrecker vehicles. An entry shall be made in the log reflecting the date and the time, the licensee notified, the identity of the licensee and employee that received the dispatch call and such additional information as the Chief of Police or his designee shall deem necessary. Each licensee shall be called in turn in the order in which it is listed upon the municipal wreckers list being utilized.
Failure of a wrecker to respond to the scene of an accident or emergency within 25 minutes of the time of dispatch will be deemed to be an unreasonable delay, and the next licensee on that particular municipal wreckers list will be called. Accumulation of 20 passed or missed calls in any license year may result in suspension from the municipal list involved for the following license year, after due notice and an opportunity to be heard. The Traffic Division will forward a notice to each wrecker business after a six-month period advising the company of its current status in this regard.
Whenever in the discretion of the investigating officer or officers, death, serious bodily injury, and/or serious traffic congestion are likely to occur or have occurred, unless the scheduled wrecker is able to respond immediately, a request shall be made to police headquarters or to dispatch personnel to dispatch a vehicle from that wrecker which is able to respond immediately.
Whenever a motor vehicle is disabled at the scene of an accident or emergency and is owned or operated by a firm which maintains its own towing facilities, it shall be permissible to summon the firm's wrecker vehicle, provided that such wrecker vehicle is available without unreasonable delay.
If the garage or repair shop requested by the owner or operator of the disabled vehicle or the agent of either of them is not open for service, or if the owner or operator or the agent of either of them is unable to make a selection on account of personal disability or absence from the scene, the vehicle will be taken to the premises of the licensee dispatched to await further instructions from the owner or operator or the agent of either of them.
Licensees must comply with all provisions of this chapter and any and all regulations promulgated hereunder.
Licensees must comply with all requirements of the General Statutes of the state and with the regulations of the Department of Motor Vehicles of the state.
Inspected and approved wreckers on the rotation list will have a permit sticker affixed to the lower left side of the windshield. The sticker will be provided by the Traffic Division of the Middletown Police Department.
Wreckers will be lettered in accordance with Department of Motor Vehicle regulations. Each approved wrecker will be lettered with the name of the principal place of business and the address or phone number of the business.
Upon a call for a rotation wrecker, that wrecker service, if accepting the call, will respond to the site. If this initial responding wrecker service requires any assistance at the scene, this initial responding wrecker service may make arrangements for any special equipment it deems necessary for the timely removal of the vehicle. Any special equipment must be through a service that has been inspected by this Department. Any special equipment must be approved for use in advance by this Department.
It is the responsibility of the initial responding wrecker at the scene to make arrangements with any additional service that is deemed necessary for a vehicle's prompt removal. Any damage that is sustained to a vehicle through negligence during its removal will be the responsibility of the initial responding wrecker service.
Financial matters between two or more wrecker services will not be the responsibility of the Middletown Police Department. Vehicles removed from a site will be taken to the principal place of business of the initial responding wrecker service, and will be the responsibility of the initial responding wrecker.
Licensees shall charge such rates for services rendered under this chapter as may be fixed by regulation of the Chief of Police as fixed by the Department of Motor Vehicles of the state.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to wrecker services on public highways under the primary jurisdiction of the State Police.
Aside from inspections of heavy-duty wreckers, the provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the provision of wrecker services for motor vehicles weighing five tons or more.
No wrecker shall be placed on the municipal wreckers lists under the provisions contained in § 305-3 without first obtaining a license as hereinafter provided. Nothing contained in this article shall prevent any unlicensed wrecker, not on the municipal wreckers lists, from engaging in the towing of disabled or unattended motor vehicles upon the public highways of the City.
Only one license for each wrecker business shall be required under the provisions of § 305-7.
Application for such license shall be made upon forms to be designed by the Chief of Police or his/her designee, duly authorized, and such forms may require such information as is reasonably necessary for the enforcement of this chapter.
Upon receipt of an application as hereinbefore provided, the Chief of Police or his designee shall cause an investigation to be conducted as to the suitability of the applicant and as to compliance with the provisions of this chapter. The Chief of Police, or his designee, within 30 days of the date of the application, shall report his findings, upon which report he shall endorse his opinion as to whether the application is approved or denied.
An application may be denied for one or more of the following reasons:
Failure to comply with the laws and regulations of the State of Connecticut relative to the wrecker service business, his employees, and his motor vehicles;
Documented unacceptable prior performance;
Repeated complaints by consumers; and
The applicant is either the owner of another wrecker business that has a license under this chapter or has an immediate family member with a wrecker service that has a license under this chapter.
The Chief of Police or his/her duly authorized designee shall issue such license once the requisite certificates of insurance are provided.
No license shall be issued an applicant hereunder until such applicant shall have furnished to the Chief of Police certificates of insurance, upon which certificates the applicant is the named insured, and the City of Middletown, its officers, agents, servants and employees are named as additional insureds.
Such policies of insurance shall be of the same nature and type as is required by the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes and the regulations of the Department of Motor Vehicles of Connecticut in order that such a wrecker truck might be licensed by the State of Connecticut with a minimum of $1,000,000 coverage.
Each policy of insurance required herein must contain an enforcement providing for 30 days' notice to the City in the event of any material change or cancellation. Upon cancellation of any such policy of insurance, the license provided for under this chapter shall be automatically suspended without further notice until such time as another policy of insurance is issued, which policy complies with the hereinbefore mentioned requirements.
The Chief of Police shall issue no such license or renewal thereof until the wrecker has paid a fee of $75 to the City for the term of such license. No rebate of such fee shall be paid.
Each such license shall be issued on a fiscal-year basis, which fiscal year shall coincide with the fiscal year of the City. Where application is made for a new license, only such portion of the fee required herein as relates to the remaining number of days in the fiscal year shall be charged.
All violations of this chapter or any of the regulations promulgated hereunder shall be reported to the Chief of Police or his designee. Reports of violations are to be submitted to the Traffic Division in writing for investigation. Notification of suspension or revocation shall be made in writing by the Traffic Division and forwarded to the licensee. Prior to instituting any suspension or license revocation, the applicant may appeal such decision to the Chief of Police or his designee. Such appeal must be made by the applicant in writing within 10 days of notification of suspension or revocation.
Unless such violation is deemed serious enough to warrant immediate suspension or revocation, the following guidelines shall be followed:
Any first violation: written reprimand.
Any second violation: One rotation call suspension.
Any third violation: Two rotation calls suspension.
Any fourth violation: Four rotation calls suspension.
Any fifth violation: sixty-day suspension.
Any sixth violation: revocation for remainder of license year.
Revocation of a license shall result in a review of the licensee and determination of whether the licensee will be renewed for the following license year.
The Chief of Police or his designee and head of the Traffic Division of the Middletown Police Department shall also take action as hereinbefore provided whenever complaint is made that a license was obtained by fraud, fraudulent conduct, deliberate misrepresentation or that a fact concerning an applicant was concealed at the time of application and such fact would have constituted just cause for refusal to issue such license.