City of East Orange, NJ
Essex County
By using eCode360 you agree to be legally bound by the Terms of Use. If you do not agree to the Terms of Use, please do not use eCode360.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of East Orange 2-11-1985 by Ord. No. 6-1985; amended in its entirety 5-27-2008 by Ord. No. 11-2008. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Motor vehicle repair garages — See Ch. 175.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 260.

§ 264-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AUTOMOBILE
A two- or four-wheeled motor vehicle suitable for use on a street or roadway; usually propelled by an internal combustion engine [using volatile inflammable liquids (i.e., gasoline), steam engines or electric motors].
CHIEF LICENSE INSPECTOR
The Supervisor of the Licensing Subdivision of the Division of Tax Collection and Revenue.
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE
Any vehicle used for nonpersonal use, including but not limited to omnibuses, limousines and commercially registered vehicles.
CONSUMER
A natural person.
[Added 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
DECOUPLING
Releasing a motor vehicle to its owner or operator when the motor vehicle has been or is about to be hooked to or lifted by a wrecker, but prior to the motor vehicle actually having been moved or removed from the property.
[Added 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLE
A motor vehicle with an automotive drive mechanism in which all four wheels are linked to the source of the driving power.
HEAVY EQUIPMENT
Any commercially registered vehicle weighing over 20,001 pounds.
MOTOR VEHICLE
All vehicles propelled other than by muscular power, excepting such vehicles as run only by rails or tracks and motorized bicycles, motorized scooters, motorized wheelchairs and motorized skateboards.
[Added 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
NONCONSENSUAL TOWING
The towing of a motor vehicle without the consent of the owner or operator of the vehicle. "Nonconsensual towing" includes towing a motor vehicle when law enforcement orders the vehicle to be towed whether or not the owner consents.
[Added 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
NOTICE
The procedure by which the wrecker company owner or driver is informed of a violation of this chapter either by the Municipal Court of the City of East Orange or by the Licensing Subdivision of the Division of Tax Collection and Revenue. Pursuant to Rules 4:4-4 and 7:2-4 of the New Jersey Court Rules, notice shall be delivered simultaneously by regular and certified mail to the wrecker company owner or driver at the last known mailing address. Consistent with due process of law, service by simultaneous mailing shall constitute effective notice unless the mail is returned either to the court or the Licensing Subdivision by the postal service marked "Moved, Left No Address," "Attempted Not Known," "No Such Number," "No Such Street," "Insufficient Address" or "Not Deliverable as Addressed - Unable to Forward.” However, if the certified mail is returned either to the Court or Licensing Subdivision marked "Refused" or "Unclaimed," notice is effective, providing that the ordinary mail has not been returned.
PARKING LOT
An off-street area utilizing a minimum of 10 spaces used for the parking of private motor vehicles.
PICKUP TRUCK
A light truck with an open body and low sides.
PRIVATE PROPERTY TOWING
Nonconsensual towing from private property or from a storage facility by a motor vehicle of a consumer's motor vehicle that is parked illegally, parked during a time at which such parking is not permitted or otherwise parked without authorization, or the immobilization of or preparation for moving or removing of such motor vehicle, for which a service charge is made, either directly or indirectly. This term shall not apply to towing of a motor vehicle that has been abandoned on private property in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.5, provided that the abandoned vehicle is reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency prior to removal and the vehicle is removed in accordance with N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.6.
[Added 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
SPORT UTILITY VEHICLE
A high-performance motor vehicle built upon a truck chassis.
TRACTOR
An automotive vehicle with a short chassis equipped with a swivel for attaching a trailer and used especially for the highway hauling of freight.
TRUCK
Any commercially registered vehicle weighing up to 10 tons.
VAN
A usually enclosed wagon used for transportation of goods or animals; a multipurpose enclosed motor vehicle having a boxlike shape, rear or side doors and side panels often with windows.
WRECKER
Any vehicle which can be used to tow or otherwise move another vehicle and which is for hire or used in connection with another business.

§ 264-2 Wrecker license; fee.

A. 
No person shall operate or cause to be operated a wrecker upon all the streets of the City of East Orange without first obtaining a license from the Chief License Inspector. The license shall expire on February 1 of every calendar year, unless sooner suspended or revoked by the Chief License Inspector. The annual fee for such a license shall be $1,000.
[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
B. 
The license (or a copy thereof) shall be affixed to the interior of the wrecker in a conspicuous position.

§ 264-3 Powers and duties of Chief License Inspector.

A. 
The Chief License Inspector, under the supervision of the Tax Collector, is hereby authorized and empowered to establish reasonable rules and regulations governing the inspection and operation of wreckers pursuant to § 5-51 of the Code of the City of East Orange.
B. 
The Chief License Inspector, under supervision of the Tax Collector, shall, after receiving a complaint involving a wrecker owner's or driver's conduct pursuant to the provisions of this chapter or any rules or regulations established hereunder, refer the matter to the East Orange Police Department for investigation. If any investigation conducted by the East Orange Police Department determines that a violation under this chapter has been committed, a summons shall be issued by a sworn member of the East Orange Police Department. However, the Chief License Inspector shall maintain concurrent jurisdiction and shall have the authority to issue summonses. Any summons issued under the provisions of this chapter shall be under the jurisdiction of the City's Municipal Court. However, a copy of any summons issued and disposition of the same shall be provided to the Chief License Inspector.
C. 
The Chief License Inspector, under supervision of the Tax Collector, after providing an owner or driver with notice of a hearing, shall have the power, consistent with due process of law, to suspend, revoke or not renew a wrecker owner's or driver's license for violations of safety standards or rules and regulations of operation under this chapter or any rules or regulations established hereunder. Said hearing shall be conducted by the Tax Collector or an authorized designee. This provision shall apply in addition to the penalties for violations of this chapter as described in § 264-10. This provision shall not apply to sanctions imposed under § 264-4 of this chapter.
[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
D. 
The Chief License Inspector shall maintain proper records of licenses issued and inspections made and shall also require all licensees to keep proper business records as to date towed, locations towed to and from, person(s) authorizing tow, year, make and vehicle identification number of vehicle being towed, and to have them available for inspection by the East Orange Police Department and the Licensing Subdivision.
E. 
The Tax Collector's authority and duties to act under this chapter shall be under the supervision of the Director of the Department of Finance.

§ 264-4 Insurance.

A. 
No licensee shall operate nor cause to operate a wrecker upon the streets of the City of East Orange until said wrecker is covered by an insurance policy which is acceptable to the Chief License Inspector in coverage amounts of at least of $750,000 for a wrecker capable of towing a motor vehicle up to 26,000 pounds and $1,000,000 for wreckers capable of towing a motor vehicle that is more than 26,000 pounds, and $100,000 garage-keeper legal liability and "on-hook" coverage. Said coverage shall comply with state and federal regulations. No license shall be issued until the applicant presents evidence to the Chief License Inspector that this requirement has been met.
[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
B. 
When a licensee changes insurance companies or renews an existing policy, he must immediately notify the Chief License Inspector of this change.
C. 
When a licensee's insurance has been canceled or he has received notice that his insurance will be canceled by the insurance company, he must notify the Chief License Inspector immediately. The licensee's license shall, upon termination of insurance coverage and notice that the previous coverage will not be reinstated, be suspended automatically as an operation of law pursuant to Title 39 of the New Jersey Statutes Annotated until the Chief License Inspector receives either a letter of reinstatement or a letter of new coverage from the insurance carrier. Upon receipt by the Chief License Inspector of said notice, the license shall be reinstated.
D. 
The City of East Orange must be listed as an additional insured as well as certificate holder on the insurance policy. Furthermore, the licensee shall execute a hold-harmless agreement releasing the City from any liability incurred as a result of the licensee's towing activities within the City.

§ 264-5 Wrecker driver's license; fee.

A. 
No person shall engage in the operation of a wrecker in the City of East Orange unless he first applies for and receives a wrecker driver's license from the Licensing Subdivision.
B. 
The Chief License Inspector shall establish reasonable rules and regulations governing the issuance of such licenses, which rules and regulations shall include the provision that a license will not be issued unless the applicant:
(1) 
Is over 18 years of age.
(2) 
Has a valid New Jersey driver's license in effect.
(3) 
Is not addicted to the use of any narcotic or intoxicating beverage.
(4) 
Has not been convicted of any crime of the first, second or third degree or a crime of similar seriousness in a foreign jurisdiction within the 10 years preceding the application.
(5) 
Every applicant for a wrecker driver's or wrecker owner's license shall be fingerprinted and shall submit to a comprehensive nationwide criminal record history check by the East Orange Police Department for his initial license. Thereafter, a comprehensive nationwide criminal history record check shall be required every year upon the renewal of the license. The applicant shall have the record check done through the East Orange Police Department with the results being forwarded to the Chief License Inspector. Furthermore, the applicant shall be responsible for all fees associated with obtaining a record check. The refusal or failure of any applicant to comply with the provisions of this section shall be grounds for denial of the issuance of a license. Furthermore, at the request of the Chief License Inspector, the East Orange Police Department shall conduct comprehensive nationwide criminal history record checks on any wrecker owner or wrecker driver at any time during the year after the license has been issued. The East Orange Police Department shall report the findings of such searches to the Chief License Inspector. Any wrecker owner or driver who has obtained a criminal conviction as discussed in § 264-5B(4) since the issuance of his or her initial or renewal license shall be subject to the suspension or revocation of his or her license by the Chief License Inspector under the provisions of § 264-3.
[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
(6) 
The applicant must be a citizen of the United States or a legal resident alien. Should the applicant not be a citizen of the United States, the applicant shall provide a copy of the resident alien or work authorization card.
C. 
When issued, the wrecker driver's license shall bear a photograph of the licensee. The licensee shall have the license in his possession whenever he drives or operates a wrecker.
D. 
A wrecker driver's license shall be issued at the fee of $300 and shall expire on February 1 of every calendar year, unless sooner suspended or revoked by the Chief License Inspector.
[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
E. 
No wrecker driver's license is transferable.

§ 264-6 Required equipment.

A. 
All wreckers must be equipped with a rotary or flashing amber light, approved-type fire extinguisher for gasoline and electrical fires, and road flares.
B. 
All wreckers must be kept in good running condition, including but not limited to tires, brakes, steering mechanism, lights and body and tow body (boom mechanism).
C. 
All wreckers will have the name of the registered owner, city and state of the business painted in three-inch letters and numerals on both sides of the wrecker.
D. 
If the applicant's business is not located in the City of East Orange, the applicant shall provide the Chief License Inspector with a copy of the applicant's current license from the city from which the licensee's business is located. If the applicant fails to provide the license, the applicant shall not be granted a license to operate a wrecker in the City of East Orange.

§ 264-7 Notification of towing.

A. 
A licensee must notify the East Orange Police Department of any and all vehicles towed from private property within the City of East Orange at the time of the tow.
B. 
Any licensee who tows a vehicle from private property must notify the owners of both the property and the vehicle towed by certified mail within 48 hours of the time said vehicle is towed.
C. 
No vehicle subject to nonconsensual towing shall be towed from public or private property until the East Orange Police Department has issued a summons and upon notification of the property owner or his agent. Said provision shall not apply when emergency or accident conditions exist as determined by the East Orange Police Department. Said summons shall only be written by a sworn officer of the East Orange Police Department on active and official tour of duty at the time the summons is issued. In the event that a vehicle is towed from private property, the summons shall be executed by the property owner or his agent, or the tenant of the premises to whom the parking space is permitted, who shall provide written documentation at the time the summons and tow are requested that they are authorized as such to execute said summons, except that no wrecker company owner or employee of said wrecker company shall be authorized to execute a summons. Such documentation provided by the agent shall include the correct name, address and telephone number of the agent. Further, each property owner shall at the time of initial or renewal license application through the wrecker company owner provide the Police Department, with copy to the Chief License Inspector, in writing, with the name, address, and telephone number of his/her current agent.
[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
D. 
The wrecker company shall provide the Chief License Inspector with copies of all contracts within the City of East Orange and shall submit any new contracts awarded by property owner or agent within the City of East Orange at the time of application or renewal. Furthermore, the wrecker company shall provide to the Chief License Inspector at the time of initial application or renewal a written certification from the property owner or agent on a form to be provided by the Chief License Inspector that all present tenants residing in the property have been given a copy of the provisions of this chapter related to nonconsensual towing. Failure to provide same shall constitute a violation of this chapter and the company shall be subject to penalties including suspension or revocation of license or permit pursuant to § 264-3.
[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
E. 
The wrecker company shall provide the Chief Licensing Inspector with a monthly report of all vehicles towed off of private property within the City of East Orange. Failure to provide same shall constitute a violation of this chapter, and the company shall be subject to penalties including suspension or revocation of license or permit pursuant to § 264-3.
[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
F. 
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to those wrecker companies who are under contract to remove vehicles from private property with said vehicle belonging to either the property owner or an authorized tenant of the property. Said companies shall include private companies, as well as wrecker companies associated with automobile agencies (i.e., AAA).

§ 264-7.1 Wrecker inspection; display of inspection sticker.

A. 
Prior to use and operation of any wrecker under the provisions of this chapter, said wrecker must pass the state motor vehicle services inspection.
B. 
No wrecker shall operate upon the streets of the City of East Orange without a current New Jersey state inspection sticker.

§ 264-7.2 Towing storage location; redemption of vehicle.

[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
A. 
The wrecker company shall at the time of the initial or renewal application of a license provide to the Chief License Inspector the location and address of the wrecker company's storage yard or lot for any vehicles towed off of private property in the City of East Orange. Said yard or lot shall be physically located within or no more than five miles in any direction from the boundary limits of the City of East Orange. Furthermore, the wrecker company at the time of initial or renewal application shall provide the Chief License Inspector with proof of permission to store towed automobiles at the storage location. Said proof shall consist of a deed of ownership, tenancy lease or use-and-occupancy agreement between the wrecker company and property owner. The wrecker company shall notify the Chief License Inspector of a change of towing storage location immediately, but no later than three business days after changing locations, and shall comply with all other provisions of this section. Failure to comply shall subject the wrecker company to suspension or revocation of license under § 264-3.
B. 
The Chief License Inspector, under the supervision of the Tax Collector and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, shall with the assistance of the East Orange Police and Public Works Departments physically determine if the storage yard is in compliance with the provisions of § 264-7.2A and shall deny any initial or renewal application or suspend or revoke any issued license of a wrecker company that fails to comply with the provisions of this section.
C. 
The storage facility shall have business hours open to the public Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. The wrecker company shall have someone at the premises at all times during operation authorized to release a vehicle to the motor vehicle owner or someone authorized to retrieve the motor vehicle. Furthermore, should a wrecker company that engages in nonconsensual towing from private property tow and store a motor vehicle after hours (including Saturdays, Sundays and holidays), the wrecker company shall provide or arrange for after-hours release within one hour of the vehicle being stored in the storage location. Failure to comply with the provisions of this section shall constitute a violation and shall subject the wrecker company to suspension and revocation of license under § 264-3.
D. 
For services rendered, or to redeem a motor vehicle from storage, the wrecker company shall accept payment in the form of cash, a check issued by an insurance company, a valid debit card or a valid major credit card, subject to the provisions of § 264-7.2E of this chapter.
E. 
The wrecker company may request identification before releasing the motor vehicle. Unless the motor vehicle owner or representative authorized to retrieve the motor vehicle is unable to produce such identification, or the wrecker company owner or representative has a bona fide reason to believe the card or other identification is fictitious, altered, stolen, expired or revoked or not valid for any other cause or is clearly offered with the intent to defraud the issuer, the debit or credit card shall be deemed an acceptable form of payment in lieu of cash if the wrecker company ordinarily accepts the card at his place of business. Nothing in this chapter shall preclude payment by a motor vehicle owner or representative in the form of a check or money order, if this form of payment is acceptable to the wrecker company.
F. 
If a wrecker company charges a consumer a fee for a private property or nonconsensual towing service that is disputed by the consumer, or is inconsistent with the fees established under this chapter, the parties shall make a good faith effort to resolve the dispute. If the parties are unable to resolve the dispute and the Chief License Inspector determines the fees to be inconsistent and unreasonable under the fees established under this chapter, the Chief License Inspector may order the wrecker company to reimburse the consumer for an amount equal to the difference between the charged fee and the fees established under this chapter. Failure of a wrecker company to return an amount after being ordered by the Chief License Inspector shall constitute a violation and shall subject the wrecker company to suspension or revocation of license under § 264-3.
G. 
Nothing in the provisions of this section shall prohibit or restrict the powers and duties granted to the Chief License Inspector under any other provision of this chapter.

§ 264-8 Wrecker license to be nontransferable.

No wrecker license is transferable.

§ 264-9 Service rates and charges.

A. 
Any person licensed to operate his vehicle in the City of East Orange must comply with the rates in this section. These rates are subject solely to the repeal, modification, addition and deletion by operation of law enacted by the City of East Orange. The charge(s) for services rendered by any licensee operating in the City of East Orange shall not exceed the following rates:
[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
Service
Rate
Towing fees
Automobiles (including sport utility vehicles, vans, pickup trucks, motorcycles, mopeds and scooters), utilizing nonflatbed towing service
$125
Trucks, buses, tractors and other heavy equipment
$200
Tractor(s) with trailer(s) attached
$300
Storage fees (daily)
$25
B. 
All rates shall be posted on a card at least three inches by five inches inside the wrecker in a conspicuous place.
C. 
All rates pertaining to the City of East Orange shall be posted on a card at least 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches in a conspicuous place near the payment area. Failure to comply with said rates shall result in the issuance of a summons and possible suspension and revocation of licensing and towing privileges in the City of East Orange.
D. 
Vehicle owners or their agents shall be provided with a copy of the rates for review at a reasonable time prior to making payment.
E. 
All fees shall be the same, regardless of whether the vehicle towed is privately or commercially registered.
F. 
Storage fees shall be based upon full twenty-four-hour periods a motor vehicle is in the storage facility. For example, if a motor vehicle is towed to a storage facility at 7:00 p.m. on one day and the owner of the motor vehicle retrieve the motor vehicle before 7:00 p.m. the next day, the wrecker company shall charge for only on day of storage. If a motor vehicle is stored for more than 24 hours but less than 48 hours, the towing company may charge for two days of storage.
[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
G. 
Parking lot owners shall install signage at each and every entrance and exit of their respective parking lots. Such sign shall be a minimum of 36 inches wide by 36 inches high with a minimum letter height of two inches. The sign shall list the following information, provided the parking lot owner is under contract with the wrecker company:
[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
(1) 
The purpose or purposes for which parking is authorized and the times during which such parking is permitted;
(2) 
That unauthorized parking is prohibited and unauthorized motor vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense;
(3) 
The name, address and telephone number of the towing company that will perform the towing;
(4) 
The charges for the towing and storage of towed automobiles;
(5) 
The street address of the storage facility where the towed vehicles can be redeemed after payment of posted charges and the times during which the vehicle may be redeemed and the days and hours of operation of the storage facility; and
(6) 
That a consumer may contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by calling 1-800-242-5846, prompt number 4.
H. 
The wrecker company owner or operator must provide to the vehicle owner or driver of the vehicle an itemized receipt, including the wrecker owner's name, address and telephone number, listing all fees charged. The wrecker company owner or operator must also include on the receipt the time the vehicle was towed, the time the vehicle was deposited in its storage lot and what type of towing service was utilized. Failure to comply with the provisions of any portion of this section shall constitute a violation and shall subject the wrecker company to suspension or revocation of license under § 264-3.
[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]

§ 264-10 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
Violation of any provision of this chapter shall be punishable by a fine of no less than $1,000 for a first offense; no less than $2,000, or imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a period of community service not exceeding 90 days for a second offense and subsequent offenses. Each subsequent offense shall be deemed continuous with prior offenses if occurring within one year of the previous offense. Furthermore, any wrecker owner or operator who receives more than six sustained violations in a calendar year shall have his or her license revoked by the Chief License Inspector for a period of not less than three years.

§ 264-10.1 Additional towing fee requirement.

[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
If an automobile owner or person authorized to drive the automobile arrives at the scene of a tow and his or her vehicle has been connected to a wrecker but not yet moved or removed from the property, the vehicle shall be decoupled and released at the scene for a fee of $25, provided the owner or driver has the fee available for payment at that time and place. If the vehicle has not been connected to the wrecker, then there shall be no charge to the owner or driver. Failure of a wrecker company owner or operator to comply with this decoupling provision shall constitute a violation and shall be subject to penalties including suspension or revocation of license or permit pursuant to § 264-3.

§ 264-11 Applicability.

[Amended 8-17-2009 by Ord. No. 7-2009]
This chapter shall apply to any persons who are property owners or agents of the property owner or tenants of the premises to whom a parking space is assigned, who engage or contract with wrecker companies for services to have automobiles nonconsensually towed from property in the City of East Orange pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. This chapter shall also apply to any persons who apply for or are issued a wrecker owner's or wrecker driver's license by the Subdivision of Licensing of the Division of Tax Collection and Revenue in the City of East Orange pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.