Town of Highlands, NY
Orange County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Highlands 7-1-1979 by L.L. No. 1-1979. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 186-1 Title.

This chapter is entitled the "Towing Regulations Local Law of the Town of Highlands."

§ 186-2 License required; exception.

[Amended 5-13-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]
No person, firm or corporation shall operate for hire a truck or other type of motor vehicle designed and able to provide road service and tow other motor vehicles within the Town of Highlands unless a license therefor shall first have been obtained from the Clerk of the Town of Highlands as hereinafter provided. Only one license will be issued per establishment. However, tow truck operators doing business and based from outside the Town of Highlands may enter the Town of Highlands without a license to remove a motor vehicle from any garage, private residence or any street by permission of the owner.

§ 186-3 License application; insurance requirements.

No such license shall be issued unless an affidavit of application therefor has been filed with the Town Clerk by the applicant, duly sworn to by said applicant before a duly licensed notary public of the State of New York, and thereafter approved. The application shall include the following information:
A. 
The name and business address of the applicant, and if a natural person, his age and residence address.
B. 
The registration number of the tow truck to be operated, and the New York State repair garage license number.
C. 
The amount of liability insurance for personal injury and property damage on said service or tow truck; the name of the insurance company, which must be licensed to do business in the State of New York, and the policy number. The limits shall be not less than $300,000 for each person and $500,000 for each occurrence and not less than $25,000 for property damage.
[Amended 7-10-1990 by L.L. No. 2-1990]
D. 
A certificate of insurance shall be provided which requires notice to the Town in the event of cancellation or nonrenewal.

§ 186-4 Towing rates; copy to Clerk.

[Amended 5-13-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]
A. 
No such license shall be issued unless the applicant agrees to charge reasonable rates for towing within the Town of Highlands.
B. 
No such license shall be issued unless the applicant provides the Clerk with a copy of the applicant's rates for towing within the Town of Highlands for the license year.

§ 186-5 Service rates; copy to Clerk.

[Amended 5-13-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]
A. 
No such license shall be issued unless the applicant agrees to charge reasonable rates for towing within the Town of Highlands.
B. 
No such license shall be issued unless the applicant provides the Clerk with a copy of the applicant's rates for service within the Town of Highlands for the license year.

§ 186-6 Expiration and transfer of license.

Every license issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire on the 20th day of January following the issuance thereof, and no such license is transferable from one operator to another nor from one truck to another without the prior consent of the Town Board.

§ 186-7 License fee.

[Amended 11-12-1991; 3-10-1998 by L.L. No. 1-1998]
The annual license fee, for 12 months or part thereof, payable to the Town Clerk, for each such license or renewal thereof, which license may cover all tow truck or trucks owned and listed by licensee, shall be set from time to time by resolution of the Town Board.

§ 186-8 Inscription on trucks.

On each side of every tow truck for which a license has been granted, there shall be legibly inscribed, in letters not less than three inches high, the name and address of the owner of such tow truck or the person, firm or corporation having the license number assigned to such tow or service truck by the Town Clerk and the license number, posted in cab.

§ 186-9 Eligibility for license; leasing of trucks prohibited.

[Amended 5-13-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]
Each person, firm or corporation owning an establishment in the Town of Highlands and operating a tow truck business from that establishment may obtain a license for all tow truck(s) it desires to operate, provided that such person, firm or corporation abides by the regulations set forth herein. No individual truck may be licensed by more than one applicant. All tow trucks must be registered to the licensed business, and not leased to nor from any other towing business, and insured in the same manner.

§ 186-10 Requirements and restrictions; vehicles involved in accidents.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to service or tow away any motor vehicle which has been involved in an accident without prior consent of the owner or operator, or the police officer at the scene of the accident. No motor vehicle shall be serviced or removed from the scene of an accident where the police officer requires or requests that an examination be made of the damaged vehicles to determine whether the vehicle was defective or where the police officer requires or requests that photographs and/or diagrams of the scene be made. It shall be unlawful for any licensed operator to move, remove or tow away any motor vehicle involved in an accident without the licensed operator first notifying the police agency having jurisdiction of the motor vehicle accident and obtaining their approval to move or remove said vehicle(s) involved in any such accident.
B. 
All licensees engaged in towing and storing vehicles shall have a garage keepers' legal liability policy to cover fire, theft and property damage that will cover any vehicle towed, impounded or stored and will keep such policy in effect throughout their license period, and insurance limits not less than in § 186-3C.
C. 
All firms called upon to impound a vehicle for the Town of Highlands Police Department must store the vehicle within the limits of the Town of Highlands unless directed otherwise by a member of the Police Department.
D. 
No vehicle shall be licensed under this chapter unless the vehicle to be licensed is properly registered and inspected as required by the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York and unless the address at which it is registered is the place of business within the Town of Highlands of the applicant.
E. 
The licensed firm shall be responsible for the collection of all fees for service, towing or storage of any vehicle. Neither the Town of Highlands nor any of its agencies or employees shall act as agent for the collection of any fees, nor shall they be held responsible in the event of nonpayment of any moneys due to any licensed firm as a result of services performed in accordance with this chapter. All licensed tow operators are authorized to collect reasonable fee in the event the Town requests towing or impounding.
F. 
When called to the scene of an accident, the licensed firm shall be responsible for removing debris from the roadway, such as glass, metal fragments, etc., leaving the roadway free from such debris.

§ 186-11 Solicitation prohibited.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to drive along any public street or highway within the Town of Highlands for the purpose of soliciting towing and/or repair work.
B. 
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to solicit towing or repair work at the scene of any motor vehicle accident on private property or on a public highway within the Town of Highlands.
C. 
The stopping of any tow truck or service truck within 500 feet of the scene of any accident or disabled vehicle on any public street or highway in the Town of Highlands without the prior authorization of the operator of the vehicle, owner of the vehicle, a member of the Town of Highlands Police Department or a member of the New York State Police shall be presumptive evidence of the intent of the operator of a tow truck or service truck to solicit towing or repair work, except if owner flags down a passing tow or service truck.
D. 
Cruising.
(1) 
Cruising shall be defined as driving along the public highways or roadways solely for the purpose of soliciting towing or repair work, and without having been first called or otherwise requested to provide service.
(2) 
Cruising for the purpose of solicitation of towing or repair work shall be unlawful.

§ 186-12 Licensee list; calls for assistance.

A. 
List.
(1) 
The Communication Dispatcher shall maintain a rotating list of all tow truck establishments licensed by the Village of Highland Falls, and the Town Police shall designate tow truck establishments on a rotating basis. When a motor vehicle is in the need of service, the owner or operator may specify the licensed tow operator to be called. Village and Town Police shall each establish a list of tow truck operators. Any licensed tow operator shall be listed upon request.
(2) 
Calls to the Communications Dispatcher for towing assistance shall be referred to the firm requested by the owner or operator of the vehicle needing assistance. If no such firm is specified as the choice of the owner or operator, such calls shall be referred to the tow truck firm next on the list. If such firm is not available, the next name on said list shall be called.
(3) 
A call referred to a licensed tow operator at the specific request of the owner or operator shall not affect said firm's entitlement to receive calls on the rotating list.
B. 
In the event that a firm called for towing or service assistance is unable or fails to arrive at the location where assistance is requested within 15 minutes commencing from the time the firm is notified, the next firm shall be called and the first firm called shall not be entitled to any compensation.
C. 
The Chief of Police or his designated representative shall cause to be inspected each licensee's place of business and licensed vehicle(s) not less than but not limited to twice each year. In the event the licensed firm fails to comply with the provisions herein contained, the Chief of Police shall suspend the licensed firm from the list of licensed firms maintained at the Police Department and so notify the Town Board, in writing. The licensed firm shall remain suspended until all violations are corrected. Said firm shall be entitled upon request within seven days to a public hearing before the Town Board to review and approve or terminate said suspension.
D. 
Police Tow calls will be prioritized as follows:
[Added 5-13-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]
(1) 
PRIORITY 1: MVA, disabled in the roadway on Route 9W between Route 293/218 interchange and the Cornwall Town line. Maximum response time is 15 minutes.
(2) 
PRIORITY 2: MVA disabled in the roadway. Maximum response time is 20 minutes.
(3) 
PRIORITY 3: Vehicle off the roadway and not impeding traffic. No time limit.
E. 
No tow service provider will be permitted to contract with any other tow service to cover his or her turn on the rotation. If they cannot provide service, they shall be removed from the list until such time as they can provide service as required herein.
[Added 5-13-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]

§ 186-13 Denial or revocation of license.

The Town Board may in each case, after a public hearing, either deny a license to any applicant whom the Board shall determine to be an undesirable person or incapable of property conducting a road service or tow truck business, or revoke the license or licenses of any licensee whom the Board shall determine has violated the provisions of this chapter.

§ 186-14 Insurance requirements, charges and fees subject to change.

The specified dollar amounts established herein for liability insurance requirements and license fees are subject to change by local law or resolution of the Town Board.

§ 186-15 Equipment.

A. 
Each wrecker or service truck shall be equipped with an amber rotating light mounted at the top of the cab of such vehicle and shall be of a type that contains at least two sealed beam bulbs and is visible 360° for a distance of not less than 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions, or equal lighting equipment.
B. 
Each wrecker or service truck shall be equipped with two flashing red lights (four-way flashers) so mounted as to show the width of the vehicle from the rear; said lights shall be visible for a distance of not less than 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions.
C. 
Each wrecker shall be equipped with two flashing lights so mounted as to show the height of the boom from the rear; said lights shall be visible for a distance of at least 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions.
D. 
Each wrecker or service truck shall be equipped with not less than 12 thirty-minute burning-type flares and three reflector-type flares.
E. 
Each wrecker or service truck shall be equipped with a fire extinguisher, the minimum rating of which shall be at least 10 pounds ABC.
F. 
Each wrecker shall be equipped with hoisting equipment of sufficient capacity to perform the service intended. The hoisting equipment of each wrecker shall be securely mounted to the frame of such vehicle. The winch of such hoisting equipment shall contain not less than 100 feet of 3/8 steel strand cable; said cable shall be one continuous length and shall be free of breaks, splits or knots.
G. 
Each wrecker or service truck shall be equipped with a broom, shovel and crow bar.
H. 
Each licensee shall be equipped with dolly wheels.
I. 
Each wrecker or service truck shall meet all the requirements of the Vehicle and Traffic Law for such vehicles.

§ 186-16 Penalties for offense.

[Amended 3-10-1998 by L.L. No. 1-1998; 5-13-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]
A. 
For failure to or inability to respond, without prior notification to police dispatch:
(1) 
First offense in thirty-day period: one week off list.
(2) 
Second offense: one month off list.
(3) 
Third offense: license revoked.
B. 
For soliciting and/or cruising, upon conviction, shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $2,000 or a term of imprisonment of not more than 15 days, or both.
C. 
Any person or entity committing any other offense against any other provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction therefor, be subject to a fine not to exceed $250 or a term of imprisonment of not more than 15 days, or both.

§ 186-17 Mutuality and cooperation.

If this chapter is adopted in identical form by the Village of Highlands Falls, then:
A. 
A tow operator with principal office or place of business in the Town of Highlands shall apply for a license hereunder to the Town of Highlands; a tow operator with a principal office or place of business in the Village of Highland Falls shall apply to said village, and such license shall be deemed for both the Town of Highlands outside the village and the Village of Highland Falls.
B. 
This provision shall be effective if and only so long as said two municipalities have similar local laws containing all these provisions.

§ 186-18 Impounds; insurance for stored vehicles.

[Amended 7-10-1990 by L.L. No. 2-1990; 3-10-1998 by L.L. No. 1-1998; 5-13-2002 by L.L. No. 1-2002]
If the police agency directs a licensed tow operator to tow and impound a motor vehicle, such operator shall provide the facilities to store said vehicle. The store charge will not be in excess of the rate provided to the Clerk in the copies of the towing and service rates. The operator shall provide liability insurance covering said stored vehicle in amounts not less than in § 186-3C, and said policy shall name the Town of Highlands as an additional insured.