Township of Maplewood, NJ
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Maplewood 7-7-1998 by Ord. No. 2067-98. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 257.

§ 251-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:
CRUISING
The operation of a tow truck in and upon a roadway within the Township of Maplewood to solicit vehicle towing and/or storage business except in response to a police request.
HEAVY-DUTY
A tow truck with dual wheels, capable of towing large trucks and shall meet the following minimum requirements: gross vehicle weight (GVW), 30,000 pounds; gross combination weight rating (GCWR), 80,000 pounds; boom rating, 50,000 pounds; winch rating, 50,000 pounds; cable size and length, 5/8 inch and 200 feet; equipped with chassis lift; and extended rating, 12,000 pounds.
LEASE
A vehicle leased by the licensee through a leasing company and showing the licensee on the registration as the owner or lessee. If the registration is such that the lessee is not listed, the licensee will be required to show a lease agreement.
LICENSE
The document approved and issued by the Township of Maplewood granting the privilege to tow and store vehicles and perform other towing operations for the Township of Maplewood.
LICENSEE
A towing operator having a license granted by the township pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
LIGHT-DUTY WRECKER
A tow truck with dual wheels, capable of towing passenger cars and shall meet the following minimum requirements: GVW, 14,000 pounds; GCWR, 18,000 pounds; boom rating, 8,000 pounds; winch rating, 8,000 pounds; cable size and length, 3/8 inch and 100 feet; wheel lift retracted rating, 6,000 pounds; and extended rating, 3,000 pounds.
LIGHT-DUTY FLAT BED
A car carrier of the rollback and tilt-type, with dual wheels, capable of removing and transporting passenger cars damage free and shall meet the following minimum requirements: GVW, 14,500 pounds; winch rating: 8,000 pounds; cable size and length, 3/8 inch and 50 feet; Bed length, 16 feet; bed width, 84 inches inside side rails; wheel lift retracted rating, 6,000 pounds; and extended rating, 3,000 pounds.
MEDIUM-DUTY WRECKER
A tow truck with dual wheels, capable of towing small trucks and shall meet the following minimum requirements: GVW, 18,000 pounds; GCWR, 30,000 pounds; boom rating, 16,000 pounds; winch rating, 16,000 pounds; cable size and length, 1/2 inch and 200 feet; wheel lift retracted rating, 10,500 pounds; and extended rating, 8,500 pounds.
MEDIUM-DUTY FLAT BED
A car carrier of the rollback- and tilt-type, with dual wheels, capable of removing and transporting small trucks, full-size vans or large passenger cars damage free and shall meet the following minimum requirements: GVW, 18,000 pounds; winch rating, 8,000 pounds; cable size and length, 3/8 inch and 50 feet; bed length, 19 feet; bed width, 84 inches inside side rails; wheel lift retracted rating, 6,000 pounds; and extended rating, 3,000 pounds.
OWNER
An individual or entity who or which owns or leases and/or operates, parks or abandons a vehicle within the township.
POLICE
The Police Department of the Township of Maplewood or of any jurisdiction having authority in the subject matter.
PRINCIPAL LOCATION
The business office of an applicant/license, where the licensee shall conduct business associated with the towing and storage of vehicles under authority of the towing license issued by the Township of Maplewood.
ROUTINE CALLS FOR SERVICE
A police request for road service of a disabled vehicle, i.e., dead batteries, flat tires, out of gas or other services that do not require towing.
STORAGE SERVICES
The storage, housing or holding of vehicles, indoors or outdoors by a licensee under authority of this chapter.
TEMPORARY LICENSE
A towing license, authorized by the Chief of Police and issued by the Township of Maplewood, for the purpose of replacing a current license, whether that replacement be due to the closing of the business or the revocation of the licensee's towing license for a violation of this chapter. This license is for emergency situations only, and the cost will be pro rated on a monthly basis.
TOWING OPERATOR
An individual or entity engaged in the business of providing towing and storage services.
TOWING SERVICE
The towing service and/or on-site vehicle repair, including tire changes, jump starts or furnishing fuel, rendered by a towing operator.
VEHICLE
Every device in, upon or by which a person or property is or may be transported upon a highway, excepting devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks or motorized bicycles.
WAITING TIME
The time a licensee has equipment and personnel waiting at a scene to perform a towing operation.

§ 251-2 License required.

No towing operator shall operate within the township for police-requested towing services and/or storage services unless the towing operator has obtained a license issued by the township.

§ 251-3 Exemptions.

A. 
Owner-requested service. No license shall be required for the on-site repair and/or towing or storage of any vehicle when the request therefor is received by the towing operator from the owner or the owner's agent prior to a police request therefor.
B. 
Towing from private property. No license shall be required by the police to tow any vehicle from private property with the consent of the owner and private property owner except on the express instruction of the police in the event of an emergency.

§ 251-4 Term of license.

Licenses to tow shall be issued for one calendar year commencing January 1 of the calendar year.

§ 251-5 Application for license.

A. 
Form; required information. An application for a license shall be in writing, signed by the applicant on the form furnished by the township, and shall contain all information necessary to evidence the applicant's identity and legal address, compliance with the requirements of this chapter and ability to perform the towing services and storage services contemplated by this chapter.
B. 
Filing. Applications shall be filed by October 1 of the year prior to the license year with the Township Clerk, together with the application fee specified in § 251-8A.

§ 251-6 Review of application.

A. 
Reference to Chief of Police. Applications received by the Township Clerk shall be referred within two business days to the Township Chief of Police for his review.
B. 
Inspection/recommendations. After such examination of the applications and such inspections as the Township Chief of Police may consider necessary to evaluate the applicant's compliance with and ability to continue to comply with the requirements of this chapter, the applications shall be returned to the Township Clerk with the recommended approval or disapproval of each application by the Township Chief of Police based upon his/her examinations, inspections and evaluations.
C. 
Applicants and licensees shall cooperate with any and all investigations conducted by the Township Chief of Police or his/her designee or other law enforcement agency working in conjunction with the township police. The requirement of cooperation shall continue throughout the period of application, the duration of the license and the storage of vehicles even if a license is no longer in effect. A license may be denied for fraud, misrepresentation or false statement in the application.

§ 251-7 Number of licenses.

A. 
Authorization. The Township Committee shall, at a public meeting, by resolution, authorize the issuance of not more than four licenses after consideration of the applications and the recommendations of the Township Chief of Police. Minor irregularities in the application may be waived by the Township Committee. In the event that more than four applicants qualify for a license, the names of all qualified applicants shall be placed in a bowl, on uniform slips of paper with the identity of every applicant concealed, and the Township Clerk shall draw four slips from the bowl after all applicants have received at least 10 calendar days notice of the time and place where the drawing will occur. Licenses shall be issued to each of the four applicants selected at the drawing. Licenses shall be reevaluated every year and must have the recommendation of the Chief of Police prior to the new license being issued.
B. 
Issuance. The authorized license or licenses shall be issued by the Township Clerk in writing upon payment by the towing operator of the license fee specified in § 251-8B.

§ 251-8 Fees.

The following schedule of nonrefundable fees is adopted for the obtaining of a towing license:
A. 
Application fee. One hundred dollars.
B. 
License fee. Six hundred dollars per year, payable before January 1 of the license year. For a temporary license for a period of less than 12 months, the fee shall be pro rated on a monthly basis.

§ 251-9 Suspension or revocation.

A. 
General.
(1) 
The Township Committee shall have the right to suspend or revoke any license issued under this chapter for good cause upon written complaint of the Chief of Police following his determination that there is probable cause for suspension or revocation based upon violation of this chapter.
(2) 
A license may be denied, suspended or revoked for fraud, misrepresentation or false statement in the course of conducting the towing operation, for violation of this chapter or for the conviction of the applicant, its officers or a person or entity holding a 10% or larger interest in the applicant, of a crime involving moral turpitude or relating to the towing business. A license may also be denied if the applicant has had a towing license or contract revoked while working for any other municipal, county or state agency. Such revocation shall have occurred within a twelve-month period prior to making application to the Township of Maplewood.
(3) 
Written notice of such complaint and the basis of the complaint shall be given to the licensee, and the licensee shall be entitled to a hearing before the Township Committee prior to final determination of the complaint by the Township Committee. If, after the hearing, a majority of the members of the Township Committee present and voting decide that there has been a violation, they may terminate or suspend the license.
B. 
Emergency suspension. A license may be suspended by the Township Chief of Police whenever the Chief, in his reasonable judgment, considers such suspension necessary for reasons of safety or has reason to believe that the licensee is not covered by the insurance required by this chapter. Such suspension shall continue until terminated by the Chief, provided that if the suspension is not terminated within three business days, the Chief shall file a complaint for suspension or revocation as required, and the suspension shall remain in effect pending a determination of the complaint.
C. 
Temporary license.
(1) 
In the event of an emergency suspension or other failure of the licensee to perform its duties under this chapter, the Chief of Police may issue a temporary license to a towing operator to operate during any licensee's failure to perform should the replacement of said licensee be deemed necessary. The issuance of a temporary license shall be reported to the Township Committee immediately upon issuance.
[Amended 9-15-1998 by Ord. No. 2075-98]
(2) 
Temporary licenses may be issued for a thirty-day period which may be extended for two additional thirty-day periods.

§ 251-10 Equipment.

A. 
Required equipment. A towing operator, when filing an application for and at all times while holding a license under this chapter, shall own or lease for use in performing the services required by the license the following items of equipment:
(1) 
Two light-duty wreckers or flat beds, both types to be equipped with wheel lift.
(2) 
One medium-duty wrecker with wheel lift.
(3) 
Two medium-duty flatbed trucks with wheel lift.
(4) 
One heavy-duty wrecker with chassis lift/underreach.
NOTE: The above-mentioned equipment classes (light/medium/heavy) must meet the standards as stated in this chapter.
(5) 
Safety equipment to be carried on all trucks shall include:
(a) 
Wheel lift or chassis lift/underreach.
(b) 
J hooks and chains or tie downs.
(c) 
Snatch block.
(d) 
Two high-test safety chains.
(6) 
Auxiliary safety light kit to be placed on the rear of a towed vehicle that does not have functioning tail light flashers.
(7) 
Rotating amber emergency lights mounted on top of the truck (state-issued permit required; must be in truck).
(8) 
Two white work lights facing the rear of the vehicle.
(9) 
Two safety cones w/reflective strip (minimum height 18 inches).
(10) 
One shovel.
(11) 
One broom.
(12) 
Steering wheel tie-down.
(13) 
Two-way communication system, radio or cellular, with communication between the licensee's base and all of the required trucks, as well as from truck to truck.
(14) 
Jumper cables or jump box.
(15) 
One fuel can capable of carrying five United States gallons of fuel.
(16) 
Toolbox with assorted hand tools.
B. 
Tow truck lettering. All tow trucks operated by the licensee shall be permanently lettered on both sides in accordance with N.J.S.A. Title 39. Newly purchased vehicles will be allowed a four-week grace period during which time a pair of magnetic signs may be used.
C. 
Required communication. Licensee shall maintain a twenty-four-hour telephone number which is manned by the licensee's personnel. Such personnel must have constant two-way communication, radio or cellular, with the licensee's vehicles. Telephone calls may be forwarded from the principal business location to a residence during evening hours as long as two-way communication can be maintained with licensee's vehicles.
D. 
The licensee shall notify the Township Chief of Police of any change in equipment during the license period. Should the licensee fail to notify the Chief of Police of any change in equipment, this may be cause for termination of the license.
[Added 9-15-1998 by Ord. No. 2075-98]

§ 251-11 Storage and garage facilities.

A. 
Inside building secured storage.
(1) 
Each licensee shall have an inside building secured storage space sufficient to accommodate at least three vehicles for exclusive use of the Police Department in connection with vehicles being held as evidence or under investigation. All storage areas must meet the requirements of N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.2 (definitions) which states: " 'Inside buildings' means a vehicle storage facility that is completely indoors, having one or more openings in the wall, for storage and removal of vehicles and that is secured by a locking device on each opening." Inside building secured storage must be within three driving miles of 574 Valley Street, Maplewood, New Jersey.
(2) 
The inside building storage space shall be capable of being locked/safeguarded against access by unauthorized persons/employees.
B. 
Outside secured storage. Each licensee shall have an outside secured storage area to accommodate at least 50 vehicles at any one time. All storage areas must meet the requirements of N.J.A.C. 11:3-38.2 (definitions) which states: " 'Outdoor secured' means an automobile storage facility that is not indoors and is secured by a fence, wall or other man-made banner, that is at least six feet high and is installed with a passive alarm system or a similar on-site security measure." The facility is to be lighted at night. Outside secured storage must be within three driving miles of 574 Valley Street, Maplewood, New Jersey.
C. 
Equipment facility. Each licensee shall have an area and facility adequate for the storage and servicing of the required equipment specified in this chapter when not in use. Such equipment must be within three driving miles of 574 Valley Street, Maplewood, New Jersey.
D. 
Location/hours/condition. The required storage and equipment facilities shall be as follows:
(1) 
The principal location must be within three driving miles of 574 Valley Street, Maplewood, New Jersey.
(2) 
The outside secured storage facility (50 vehicle capacity) and inside building secured storage facility (three-vehicle capacity) must be within three driving miles of 574 Valley Street, Maplewood, New Jersey.
(3) 
The hours of recovery of vehicles from storage shall be no less than Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and prominently posted at all of the above-mentioned facilities of the licensee and also made available at Township Police Headquarters. The vehicle shall be made available by the licensee immediately upon an emergency request by the Township Police Department. Facilities shall be kept clean and in good order to accommodate persons who may enter facilities with respect to any vehicles stored therein. The principal location, in addition to the above-mentioned items, shall have adequate rest room facilities, with running water, that are clean and in good working order available to persons who may enter the facility with respect to any vehicle towed by the licensee.
E. 
Unsecured outside storage. No unsecured storage area of any kind will be permitted for use by the licensee.

§ 251-12 Licensee's personnel.

A. 
All tow truck drivers must have an appropriate, valid New Jersey driver's license with no restrictions or conditional endorsements except conditions requiring glasses. Each driver/employee shall be of good moral character, mentally alert and present a neat appearance at all times. Drivers and employees shall wear clothing bearing the licensee's name. Drivers and employees shall behave in a professional and courteous manner at all times when dealing with the Police Department and the public. Possession of a commercial license with appropriate endorsements when required by law shall be a minimum mandatory requirement of this chapter.
B. 
Light- and medium-duty drivers must obtain Level 1 driver certification from a tow truck operators' training course. New hires must obtain certification within nine months from the start of employment.
C. 
Heavy-duty drivers must obtain Level 2 driver certification from a tow truck operators' training course. New hires must obtain certification within nine months from the start of employment. Heavy-duty drivers must have CDL endorsement on their license.
D. 
Recovery supervisor must obtain Level 3 driver certification from a tow truck operators' training course within nine months of availability and have training from an industry-recognized recovery course. On the recovery scene, not all personnel need to be recovery qualified but a responsible recovery supervisor must have the listed requirements.
E. 
The licensee must certify that it has provided ongoing training and education of its employees. The towing operator shall show proof of a minimum of six hours of training per employee per year. If good cause exists to question the training, knowledge or driving record of any tow truck driver or other personnel, the Township Police Department shall inform the applicant or licensee which shall then be given an opportunity to show cause to the contrary.
F. 
At the time of the application or at any time a new tow truck driver is assigned, the licensee shall submit to the Township Clerk the name, driver's license number, social security number and date of birth of the tow truck driver prior to the driver's operation of any tow truck pursuant to a Township Police Department request.
G. 
No licensee shall employ, directly or indirectly, any officers of the Township Police Department.

§ 251-13 Towing and storage services.

Towing and storage services shall be governed by the following provisions:
A. 
The schedule when a licensee will be on duty will be set by the Township Police Department's Traffic Bureau and approved by the Chief of Police.
B. 
A licensee will respond to all police requests for towing and/or road service when requested by a police dispatcher or any other police officer expressly authorized to communicate such a request. The licensee will respond with the number of tow trucks requested to the scene within a reasonable time. Such "reasonable time" shall be deemed to be within 20 minutes under normal atmospheric conditions.
C. 
If a licensee is wholly or partially unable to respond due to failure of any equipment or personnel insufficiencies, the licensee will immediately notify the Police Department who will contact the next towing company in the rotation to handle the request. If such an incident occurs, the licensee will furnish, in writing within five business days, the details of the circumstances which caused the failure to respond to the Township Police Department's Traffic Bureau, which will make a determination if a follow-up investigation and/or inspection of the licensee's facility is required.
D. 
Tow trucks of a licensee shall not cruise roadways within the township for business and shall not respond to any scene where towing may be required except under request of the Township Police Department or as permitted under this chapter.
E. 
No rotating or flashing lights or sirens shall be used on a tow truck, except as permitted by the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles (NJDMV)/Department of Transportation (DOT) (N.J.S.A. 39:3-50) and all vehicles operated by the licensee shall have a current permit for said lights issued by the DOT along with all other required vehicle documents.
F. 
All tow trucks shall be operated in accordance with all existing traffic regulations and in a safe and prudent manner. Tow truck drivers will request police assistance when they find it necessary to turn around, back up, tow in a direction opposite the flow of traffic, cross a median or other hazardous situation during the course of providing service or towing.
G. 
Each licensee will be responsible for all vehicles and visible contents in their custody that are towed off the roads under direction of the police and shall make an inventory at the scene to note such contents of each vehicle.
H. 
No vehicle will be removed from any roadway within the township without proper authorization from the police at the scene or the vehicle owner or operator as the case may be.
I. 
No licensee shall be required to tow to an area farther than the licensed storage area between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. unless said licensee agrees to tow farther. If licensee agrees to tow farther than the licensed storage area between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., he/she will only do so if adequate towing coverage will be available to the township.
J. 
The investigating officer and/or supervisor at the incident scene is in complete charge of the incident scene, excluding actual towing operations, and all tow truck drivers shall comply with the officer/supervisor's instructions.
K. 
Each licensee, prior to departing from the scene of the towing services, shall be required to clean and clear the roadway of any debris resulting from any accident at such scene when rendering towing services and at all times carry the necessary equipment to perform such cleaning services. Such equipment shall minimally include but is not limited to a broom and a shovel. The licensee may charge the owner's insurance company for the services rendered.
L. 
In the event that a licensee refuses to tow or render services at the scene of an accident or disabled vehicle when requested by the police or vehicle owner/operator, the officer assigned to the incident shall report the refusal to his supervisor with all pertinent details. Police Department standard operating procedure will be followed to secure a service to clear the scene and the report of the refusal shall be forwarded to the Township Chief of Police and Township Traffic Bureau as soon as possible for evaluation and follow-up of the licensee's refusal to perform its obligation under the license. No towing operator shall be required to tow any vehicle in an unsafe manner or in such a way as to cause unnecessary damage to the vehicle towed or that may cause damage to the towing vehicle.
M. 
Each licensee shall be required to keep up-to-date records of all vehicles towed in conjunction with this license. Each licensee shall provide the Township Police Traffic Bureau with a list of all vehicles towed by order of the police (impounded) that remain unclaimed in storage every Friday by 12:00 noon.

§ 251-14 Fees.

[Amended 9-15-1998 by Ord. No. 2075-98]
Towing and storage services shall be paid by the owner of a vehicle towed and/or stored by a licensee at the request of the police as follows:
A. 
Towing services. The following is the fee schedule for towing services:
(1) 
Day/night, including holidays: $70 within the Township of Maplewood or to the licensee's storage facility. An additional $3.50 per mile one way may be charged by the licensee for all other tows.
B. 
Storage services.
(1) 
Passenger cars.
(a) 
Storage outside in a secured facility: $25 per day.
(b) 
Storage inside in a security facility: $35 per day.
C. 
Road service: $45.00, plus cost of materials (gas, etc.).
D. 
Administrative fee: $25. This fee may be charged only once to a party other than the owner of a towed or stored vehicle.
E. 
Yard fee: $40 (to tow vehicles out of a storage facility that cannot be moved under their own power).
F. 
Debris cleanup: $25 per accident.
G. 
Winching: $105 per 30 minutes or part thereof.
H. 
Waiting time: After 15 minutes, $30 per 30 minutes or part thereof.
I. 
Heavy-duty towing: $175 per 30 minutes or part thereof.
J. 
The licensee shall accept a minimum of two major credit cards, 24 hours per day, and must be able to do so both at the principal location and by drivers on the road by the time service or tow is performed.
[Added 2-2-1999 by Ord. No. 2089-99]
K. 
The township and its Police Department shall not be liable to a licensee with respect to towing and/or services rendered to any owner pursuant to the license or otherwise. The licensee shall look to the registered owner of such vehicle for payment of towing and/or storage service charges or any other compensation.
[Added 2-2-1999 by Ord. No. 2089-99]
L. 
If a vehicle is towed by a licensee to premises controlled by the Police Department for the purpose of utilizing the vehicle or its contents as evidence, or in an on-going criminal investigation, such vehicle shall not be released from Police Department custody, except to the licensee, unless the owner of the vehicle furnishes the Police Department with a receipt that all applicable fees for towing and/or service has been paid in full. A second fee may be charged if the vehicle is removed to the licensee's storage area or other destination desired by the police or vehicle owner. If a vehicle is released by the police to any party, other than the licensee, without proper receipt, the township shall be responsible for all charges, but may pursue its remedy against the owner or other persons responsible.
[Added 2-2-1999 by Ord. No. 2089-99]

§ 251-15 Insurance.

The licensee shall have in effect, prior to application and at all times during the term of the license, the following insurance:
A. 
Garage keepers' liability policy in the amount of $500,000 for any one claimant and $1,000,000 for more than one claimant, with $500,000 coverage for property damage to any one event.
B. 
Liability coverage.
(1) 
Automobile liability insurance issued by a financially sound insurance company of or authorized to transact business in the State of New Jersey, insuring the licensee and every tow truck operator against liability imposed by law for damages because of bodily injury, including death, sustained by any person and injury to or destruction of property, including the loss of use thereof, caused by accident and arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the tow trucks of the licensee.
(2) 
The amount of the limits of liability coverage to be offered by such policy shall be $500,000 for bodily injury to each person, $1,000,000 for bodily injuries in each accident and $500,000 for property damage in each accident.
C. 
The licensee shall supply a certificate of insurance to the Township Clerk describing every policy of insurance and identifying the township as an insured party. Each such certificate of insurance shall contain a provision that no cancellation of the policy shall become effective until after the expiration of 15 days written notice of such proposed cancellation forwarded by the insurance company to the Township Clerk.

§ 251-16 Indemnity.

The application of any towing operator for a license pursuant to this chapter shall include an agreement by the towing operator that, upon the issuance of a license, the licensee shall indemnify the township against all claims of third parties relating to towing and/or storage service of the licensee.

§ 251-17 Motor vehicle information.

The Township Police Department shall provide, when requested, towing operators with Department of Motor Vehicle information regarding registered owners and lienholders. The information requested and given shall be in conformance with N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1 et seq. and shall not in any way violate the confidentiality that is reposed in the Police Department.

§ 251-18 Supplementary rules and regulations.

A. 
The Township Chief of Police may issue rules and regulations from time to time on the operation of towing services and storage facilities to implement but not exceed the purpose of this chapter.
B. 
Such rules and regulations shall be issued by publication in a newspaper in the township. Copies shall be mailed to any and all towing operators licensed by the township or any interested parties who shall request such copies.
C. 
Towing operators may, in writing, request a hearing before the Township Business Administrator within 30 days of the issuance of the rules and regulations.

§ 251-19 Enforcement.

The Township Chief of Police is hereby designated to enforce the provisions of this chapter in accordance with due process of law.

§ 251-20 Copies of regulations and fees.

Copies of such rules and regulations, this chapter and the fee schedules of the licensees shall be made available to the public at the Township Police Headquarters during normal business hours.