[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Wappinger 9-10-2007 by L.L. No. 12-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Town Board hereby declares and finds that it is of vital importance to the public traveling on state, county or Town highways within the Town of Wappinger that disabled vehicles be removed from the highways as promptly as possible and that delay in removal of disabled vehicles unnecessarily retards the movement of traffic, impedes the access of emergency vehicles within the Town, and has the potential to further facilitate accidents. The Town Board finds that the towing of disabled vehicles from the highways of the Town of Wappinger is a matter affecting the public interest, safety and well-being.
The Town Board further finds that it has been a practice of some tow truck operators to monitor police radio transmissions to learn of motor vehicle accidents and then to rush to accident sites with the intent of securing the towing and repair work; in so doing, speed limits and other traffic regulations are often violated, posing a greater threat to life and property. Additionally, the arrival of multiple tow trucks at the scene of an accident further disrupts traffic, hampers the efforts of rescue personnel at the scene and impedes accident investigation by the police.
The Town Board finds that the most effective way to curb the current practices of towers is to allow only such towing operators as are actually necessary to respond to an accident. To accomplish this purpose, the provisions of this chapter will require that only tow truck operators placed on a rotational list prepared by the police agency responding to the scene of the accident or the disabled vehicle shall be authorized to respond to the scene of the accident or the disabled vehicle.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, an owner or operator of a disabled motor vehicle or motor vehicle involved in an accident shall be free to select a tow truck operator of his or her choice.
The Town Board finds further that in order to discourage tow truck operators from rushing to accident sites, it is necessary to prohibit such operators from soliciting business at the accident scene and to prohibit them from approaching within 500 of the accident. The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to vehicles having a gross vehicle weight in excess of 15,000 pounds.
For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
- DISABLED VEHICLE
- Any vehicle for which towing is necessary because of a vehicular accident or for which towing is necessary because of the vehicle's inability to proceed under its own motive power due to reasons other than a vehicular accident.
- A tow truck operator who has been placed on a rotational list prepared by the police agency responding to the scene of a motor vehicle accident or to a disabled vehicle.
- PERSON IN CHARGE OF A VEHICLE
- The operator or owner of a vehicle or any person designated by the owner to contract for the towing or repairing of such vehicle.
- POLICE AGENCY
- Either the New York State Police or the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office.
- POLICE OFFICER
- A police officer as defined by New York Criminal Procedure Law § 1.20, Subdivision 34.
- ROTATIONAL TOW TRUCK OPERATOR'S LIST
- A list prepared by a police agency of authorized tow truck operators who shall be authorized to respond to disabled vehicles or motor vehicle accidents within the Town of Wappinger.
- TOW TRUCK
- A vehicle that is equipped with a crane, winch, tow bar, push plate, or other device designed to pull or push a vehicle or to raise a vehicle or the front or rear end thereof.
- TOW TRUCK NOTIFICATION OPERATOR
- Shall be the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office dispatcher, the New York State Police dispatcher, or such other person or agency that is responsible for the dispatching of tow trucks to the scene of a disabled vehicle within the Town of Wappinger.
- TOW TRUCK OPERATOR
- A person or business entity engaged in the business of towing for hire.
- TOWN OF WAPPINGER
- The geographical boundaries of the Town of Wappinger exclusive of the Village of Wappingers Falls.
- A vehicle as defined in § 159 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law and having a maximum gross vehicle weight of less than 15,000 pounds.
No tow truck operator shall respond to the scene of a disabled vehicle or a motor vehicle accident unless directed to respond to the scene by the dispatcher of the police agency responding to the scene or unless directly requested to respond to the scene by the owner or operator of the disabled vehicle.
When an owner or operator requests a particular tow truck operator, the owner or operator must so advise the police officer responding to the scene.
It shall be unlawful for any person or any agent, servant or employee of a tow truck operator engaged in a towing or wrecking service to solicit business at the scene of an accident.
No tow truck or tow truck operator shall come within 500 feet of the scene of any accident within the Town of Wappinger unless a specific request for the services of such tow truck or tow truck operator has been requested by the person in charge of the disabled vehicle, the tow truck notification operator, a police officer or other emergency personnel.
A violation of this section shall be deemed an offense punishable by:
The dispatcher for the police agency responding to the scene or the police officer or other emergency personnel in charge at the scene shall make all requests for wrecking, towing and storage services for disabled vehicles located within the Town of Wappinger.
Any vehicle which cannot be safely driven under its own power must be removed from the scene of the accident by the tow truck notified pursuant to the provisions of § 227-5. The police officer at the scene shall make the determination whether any disabled vehicle may be safely driven under its own power.
Any tow truck called to the scene of an accident must remove any debris, vehicle parts or other road hazards resulting from the disabled vehicle. Except in the case of a major fuel or fluid spill, the tow truck operator shall place speedy dry, sand or other substance to absorb the fuel or fluid spill.