Township of Clinton, NJ
Hunterdon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Clinton 9-25-2002 by Ord. No. 791-02. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Semipublic parking areas — See Ch. 187.
Handicapped parking — See Ch. 190.
Parking on municipally owned property — See Ch. 198.
Inoperable vehicles — See Ch. 264.
This chapter shall be known as the "Towing Ordinance of the Township of Clinton."
A. 
Word usage. When not inconsistent with the context, words used in the present tense include the future; words in the plural include the singular; and words in the singular include the plural. The word "shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.
B. 
Definitions. For purposes of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations shall have the meaning given herein:
CHIEF OF POLICE
The Chief or, in the absence of a Chief, the Police Director, of the Police Department of the Township of Clinton or any member of the Police Department as may be assigned responsibility for implementation of this chapter as determined by either.
[Amended 2-27-2008 by Ord. No. 950-08]
PERSON
Any person, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
TOWING LIST
A list maintained 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.
TOWNSHIP
The Township of Clinton.
WRECKER
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 the use of a motor vehicle adapted to and designated for that purpose.
[Amended 2-27-2008 by Ord. No. 950-08]
The Township, at the beginning of each thirty-six-month period, shall secure a contract with those licensed wreckers providing the services specified in this chapter, which wreckers shall be called upon by the Chief of Police when required. The contract shall provide for an annual review of the wreckers services and compliance with this chapter. The contract will prohibit subcontracting by the wrecker. The maximum number of contracts for any thirty-six-month period shall be seven unless, upon recommendation of the Chief of Police to the Township Council reasonably based upon the Townships needs for towing services, the Council determines to add contracts.
Any person who wishes to engage in business as a wrecker in the Township to tow vehicles on public and private property at the request of the Police Department shall be licensed by the Township pursuant to this chapter. The license is nontransferable or assignable.
[Amended 2-27-2008 by Ord. No. 950-08; 2-23-2011 by Ord. No. 1015-11]
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, accompanied by a fee of $300, made payable to the Township. The application shall set forth the following information:
A. 
The full name, address and telephone number of the applicant; if the applicant is a corporation, the name of the corporation and the name and address of the officers, directors, principals and its registered agent; if the application is a partnership, the names and addresses of all partners.
B. 
The year, make and type of each wrecker used in said wrecker business by the applicant, the wrecker's serial number, registration number, a clear photograph of each wrecker showing the registration plate, and the name and address of its registered owner.
C. 
The address where the wrecker or wreckers will be regularly garaged, stored and located.
D. 
The telephone number or numbers available on a twenty-four-hour, seven-day per week basis, and the names, addresses and New Jersey motor vehicle driver's license numbers of all wrecker operators.
E. 
The wrecker agrees to ensure that the storage facility is safe and secure, utilizing all reasonable means to prevent theft, vandalism, damage to vehicles and/or any criminal activity.
F. 
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 conform to Chapter 165, Land Use Regulations, of this Code. The storage lot shall not be located more than seven miles by roadway from any municipal border of the Township.
G. 
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.
H. 
A certified statement of the willingness of the wrecker to be available on a twenty-four-hour, seven-day-per-week basis, to abide by the instructions and directions of the Chief of Police, and members of the Police Department and the provisions of this chapter, and to accept all major credit cards for payment of services.
A. 
The Chief of Police shall investigate each application submitted to determine:
(1) 
The truth and accuracy of all information contained in the application.
(2) 
Whether public convenience and/or necessity will be served by awarding the license to the applicant wrecker.
(3) 
The applicant's practical and technical ability to perform the wrecker service as described in this chapter.
(4) 
The applicant's and his operators' fitness to engage in the wrecker business licensed pursuant to this chapter.
(5) 
Whether the applicant has demonstrated, by the adequacy of its equipment and facilities, availability and response time (see requirements of § 257-10) and the security of its storage facilities that it shall be able to comply with the requirements of this chapter.
(6) 
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 chapter, as well as any applicable provision of New Jersey law, including without limitation, New Jersey motor vehicle laws.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 39:1-1 et seq.
(7) 
That the applicant wrecker's equipment meets the minimum standards set forth below:
(a) 
At least one light-duty wrecker with a minimum chassis rating of 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and equipped with a lifting device with a minimum capacity of 1.75 tons; or
(b) 
At least one flatbed-type wrecker with a minimum chassis rating of 11,000 pounds gross vehicle weight;
(c) 
All vehicles must be equipped with cab-mounted amber emergency warning lights (conforming to New Jersey motor vehicle law standards and all light permits being obtained), tow sling-type bars with rubber straps and/or wheel lifts with safety straps or approved strapless-type wheel lift to prevent damage to towed vehicles and with steering locks for towing vehicles from the rear.
B. 
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 § 257-11 of this chapter.
[Amended 2-23-2011 by Ord. No. 1015-11]
The Township Clerk of the Township shall issue a license to the applicant wrecker, with a copy to the Chief of Police, upon receipt of notice from the Township Chief of Police that the applicant has been approved by the Township Council, has complied with all the requirements of this chapter and the Township Clerk has been provided with a fully executed contract (which complies with § 257-3 of this chapter). The fee for a three-year license shall be $300, paid to the Township.
Any contract entered into by the Township with a wrecker pursuant to this chapter shall include a provision whereupon the licensed wrecker assumes all liability and shall indemnify and save the Township, its subdivisions, departments, agents, and employees, harmless from damages or losses sustained by vehicles while being towed, stored or released from wrecker's possession and from all personal injuries and property damage occurring to any persons, or property, as a result of the performance of the wrecker's services, including, but not limited to, towing, storage, or other such activities relating to the licensed contracted wrecker's services. All responsibility for the release of a stored vehicle shall be on the wrecker only.
Any contract between the Township and a licensed wrecker shall provide for and require the following insurance policies, naming the Township as an additional insured, be deposited with the Chief of Police:
A. 
Garagekeeper's policy. A garagekeeper's liability policy in the minimum amount of $100,000 for each vehicle damaged on a separate claim.
B. 
Garage liability policy. A garage liability policy covering the applicant's business, equipment and vehicles in the minimum amount of $500,000 for any one person injured or killed, and a minimum of $1,000,000 for more than one person killed or injured in any accident and an additional $100,000 for any damage arising from injury or destruction to property, and/or a combined single limit of $1,000,000. In addition to each policy containing an endorsement showing the Township as an additional insured, such policy shall also provide an endorsement entitling the Township to 30 days' prior written notice to the Chief of Police in the event of any change in coverage under the policy, or in the event of the cancellation of the policy.
C. 
Worker's compensation policy. A workers' compensation policy covering all of the applicant's employees and operators, containing statutory coverage including liability coverage of at least $100,000 for each accident per person, $500,000 policy aggregate limit per disease, and $100,000 for each disease per person.
All operators of licensed wreckers who have entered into contracts with the Township shall be obligated to comply with the following duties:
A. 
Remove and tow to the designated storage facility all vehicles directed by the Chief of Police to be removed and towed because such vehicles are, in the Chief of Police's sole discretion, designated as abandoned, illegally parked, disabled, involved in an accident, or to be impounded because of criminal or other investigation. In the event that a tow job is beyond the capabilities of a wrecker's equipment, the police officer on the scene will obtain the services of a wrecker with equipment capable of completing the tow job.
B. 
Store such vehicles and move such vehicles as directed by Chief of Police or his designees.
C. 
Provide twenty-four-hour, seven-day a week service to the Township during the term of the contract.
D. 
Respond promptly to all requests for towing services by the Chief of Police. In any event, the wrecker shall respond and be present at the location (all locations within the Township) for towing services within 25 minutes of receipt of notice of the towing required between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (hereinafter "daytime"), and within 30 minutes of receipt of notice between the hours of 7:01 p.m. and 6:59 a.m. (hereinafter "nighttime"). In the event a wrecker does not arrive at the tow location within the above time periods, the police officer on the scene shall have the right to have a substitute wrecker called to the location, who will then have the right to perform the tow service; the originally called wrecker shall have no right to payment from any party.
E. 
Not charge any fee for replacement of equipment or materials provided at the scene of the tow.
F. 
Tow any and all disabled Township-owned or -operated vehicle upon request by the Chief of Police to a location within the Township. The wrecker will not charge the Township for the towing of passenger vehicles or pickup trucks within two miles of the Township border.
G. 
Clean up all broken glass and debris at the scene of accidents. All wreckers must be equipped with a broom and a shovel. All wreckers must be equipped with a drying substance which is acceptable to the Chief of Police. The use of winch equipment and use of dollies and like equipment to remove parked cars, which work may be billed to the vehicle owner, provided that the work exceeds 10 minutes. Wreckers are subject to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.8b.
H. 
Furnish additional towing equipment and services during storm periods, periods of snow emergencies, traffic emergencies, natural or other disasters, any acts of God, and for any other reason when so designated by the Chief of Police. Such standby service shall begin when the Chief of Police notifies the wrecker and shall end when the Chief of Police notifies the wrecker. The Township reserves the right, during any such emergency, to designate temporary areas owned or leased by the Township and/or the wrecker for the storage of disabled vehicles, and to direct the wrecker to remove such disabled vehicles to said areas.
I. 
Record all vehicles towed and/or stored on forms provided by the Chief of Police as soon as possible after each vehicle is towed, but no later than the end of each wrecker's rotation pursuant to § 257-11 below, and retain such records for a period of seven years. The Township shall be provided with a copy of any and all records evidencing that a vehicle has been towed and/or stored by the wrecker. Such records shall include a report of all personal property found within a towed vehicle that can be observed by the wrecker's operator at the time the vehicle came into the wrecker's possession, an accounting of all monies received for fees for towing, and a separate accounting of all monies received for fees for storage services pursuant to this chapter. The Chief of Police shall have access, upon demand, to any and all records required to be kept by this chapter.
J. 
In all of the wrecker's dealings with the public, the wrecker shall act in a professional manner, courteous at all times, and respectful to members of the public, as well as representatives of the Township. Reports of discourteous behavior by the wrecker or his operators which may be substantiated and documented shall be considered by the Township as sufficient cause for revocation and termination of the wrecker's license and be considered as material default under any contract entered into with a wrecker pursuant to this chapter.
K. 
All vehicles must be towed from their location by wrecker, not driven.
L. 
The police officer on the scene will decide if a vehicle is to be towed or not, even after a wrecker has been summoned to the location.
M. 
The wrecker shall notify the Chief of Police if any car held by wrecker in storage is not retrieved by its owner within seven days of its initial storage date.
N. 
The wrecker must have a permanent place of business.
O. 
Each wrecker shall carry five gallons of gas on its wrecker, jumper cables, tools for tire changes, two-ton jack, universal lug wrench, flashlight, plastic bags and tie downs.
P. 
The wrecker shall comply with any reasonable request of the motorist either to repair the vehicle or transport it to a site where the repair may be made. If the wrecker cannot repair the inoperable vehicle to the satisfaction of the motorist, the operator shall, with the motorist's consent, transport the vehicle to a location designated by the motorist. The vehicle, once repaired, may be retained in the wrecker's possession pending payment, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:44-20 et seq. The wrecker shall be eligible, pursuant to the terms hereof, for reimbursement for transporting the vehicle to the repair site. If the estimated cost of repairs exceeds $50, the motorist shall be given a written estimate of the repair costs.
Q. 
The wrecker shall accept payment in either cash or a valid major credit card of which the operator is the owner.
R. 
All licensed wreckers shall, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 56:13-15: 1) have a business office open to the public between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. at least five days a week, excluding holidays; 2) have or use a storage facility that is secured and, if it is an outdoor storage facility, lighted from dusk to dawn; and 3) provide reasonable accommodations for after-hours release of stored motor vehicles. Police authorization or physical presence at the storage facility is not required prior to releasing a vehicle from storage, with the exception of vehicles that have been impounded because of criminal or other investigation, which shall not be released unless and until authorized by the Chief of Police.
[Added 12-11-2019 by Ord. No. 1135-19]
[Amended 2-27-2008 by Ord. No. 950-08]
The Chief of Police is hereby authorized to establish a system of rotation for the assignment of licensed and contracted wreckers to provide the services required pursuant to this chapter within the Township. The rotation system shall be established on a nondiscriminatory and nonexclusionary basis. Only licensed wreckers shall be assigned to the rotation list. A licensed wrecker shall be added to the rotation list at any time upon obtaining a license and upon agreeing to the terms and conditions of a contract entered into pursuant to this chapter. All new licensed wreckers shall be assigned to the rotation list at the bottom of such list as they become licensed and contract with the Township for the services provided pursuant to this chapter. All licensed contracted wreckers shall provide services to the Township pursuant to this chapter on a rotating basis.
[Amended 2-27-2008 by Ord. No. 950-08]
The Chief of Police shall recommend to the Township Council rate schedules for storage of vehicles at wreckers' storage locations. Storage rate schedules shall be established by resolution of the Township Council. Storage fees to be charged to or on account of the Township for the storage of Township-owned or -operated vehicles shall not exceed those fees permitted by Section 3 of P.L. 1987, c. 127 (N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.50).
[Amended 2-27-2008 by Ord. No. 950-08]
From time to time, the Chief of Police shall recommend to the Township Council a rate schedule for towing to be charged by a wrecker in the Township pursuant to this chapter. Any such rate schedule approved by the Township Council shall be adopted by resolution and shall conform to the requirements of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.54.
All fee schedules and this chapter shall be made available to the public during normal business hours of the Township in the offices of the Clerk of the Township, and conspicuously posted at the wrecker's storage area and any repair garage operated by the wrecker. The police shall present to the owner or operator of the disabled vehicle, prior to commencing any service, a document clearly and concisely setting forth the wrecker's name, telephone number, location of its storage area, and a fee schedule (towing and storage) in plain language.
No wrecker or towing service, whether licensed or unlicensed by the Township, shall respond to the scene of an accident or emergency for the purposes of towing a vehicle unless specifically notified by the Chief of Police or his designee or the individual involved in the accident or emergency. All persons, wreckers and owners of towing equipment, are hereby prohibited from soliciting business at the scenes of accidents and emergencies within the Township.
The Chief of Police is hereby authorized to establish and cause the enforcement of such reasonable, nondiscriminatory and nonexclusionary regulations governing operators engaged in the business of removing and storing motor vehicles and to cause the enforcement of such reasonable regulations to effectuate this chapter as the Chief of Police may deem appropriate for the safety, well-being, and protection of citizens within this Township and their property. All regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter shall be made available to the public during the normal business hours of the Township at the offices of the Clerk of the Township.
The Chief of Police is hereby designated as the enforcement officer for this chapter and the Chief of Police may recommend to the Township Council the termination or suspension of any license or other actions concerning the same when the Chief of Police finds that:
A. 
The license was secured by fraud or that it contains misrepresentations or concealment of material facts or omits material facts which would have affected the granting of the license to the applicant; or
B. 
The licensee has violated any of the sections of this chapter or any of the regulations promulgated by the Chief of Police as authorized by this chapter, or has breached the contract with the Township entered into pursuant to this chapter.
Any person found guilty of violating or breaching any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable to the penalty set forth in Chapter 1, § 1-17.
An action required to be taken pursuant to this chapter by the Township Council may be authorized by a resolution of the Township Council.
[Amended 2-23-2011 by Ord. No. 1015-11]
Any person having a dispute or complaint arising from a specific act of towing or storage of motor vehicles by a wrecker which is regulated by this chapter shall present that complaint or dispute to the Chief of Police, for resolution. The Chief of Police, shall conduct a hearing within 10 days of receipt of said complaint or dispute. Such hearing can be in person, by telephone or on written presentation at the election of the Chief of Police. The Chief of Police shall render his decision within 10 days of the said hearing. In the event that a determination is made that a wrecker is not abiding by the regulations set forth in this chapter, the Chief of Police may recommend to the Township Council that the wrecker's license be suspended, terminated or other appropriate action be taken.