Township of Washington, NJ
Morris 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 Township Committee of the Township of Washington 11-16-1998 by Ord. No. 35-98. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Motor-driven vehicles — See Ch. 207.
The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
AUTOMOBILE
A private passenger automobile, station wagon, van, sport utility vehicle or pickup truck.
BASIC TOWING SERVICE
The removal and transportation of an automobile from a highway, street or other public or private road or a parking area or from a storage facility, and other services normally incident thereto, but does not include recovery of an automobile that has left the roadway and does not include any additional labor required to clean up the scene.
DAYTIME HOURS
From 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., prevailing time, excluding all day Sunday.
[Amended 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
INSIDE BUILDING
A vehicle storage facility that is completely indoors, having one or more openings in the walls for storage and removal of vehicles and is secured by a locking device on each opening.
MILEAGE
A charge for mileage traveled by the tow truck, from the towing company's place of business to the location of the start of the tow and the return trip, by the shortest route possible.
[Added 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
MOTORCYCLE
A motorcycle, motorbike or bicycle with motor attached and any other motor-operated vehicle similar to a bicycle or tricycle, including all-terrain vehicles.
NIGHTTIME HOURS
From 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 a.m., prevailing time, and all day Sunday.
[Amended 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
OUTSIDE SECURED
An automobile storage facility that is not indoors and is secured by a fence, wall or other man-made barrier that is at least six feet high. The facility is to be lighted at night.
[Amended 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
OUTSIDE UNSECURED
An automobile storage facility that is not indoors and is not secured by a fence, wall or other man-made barrier, and all other storage facilities not defined above as inside building or outside secured.
RECOVERY OF VEHICLE
The recovery of an automobile from a position beyond the right-of-way berm or from being impaled upon any other object within the right-of-way or berm. It shall also include the recovery of a vehicle which is overturned or on its side.
ROAD SERVICE
Assisting a motor vehicle without towing or hookup. Service such as providing fuel (plus cost of fuel), a jump start, change of flat tire (with available spare), simple opening of vehicle lockout, etc.
[Added 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
TRUCK
Any motor vehicle other than an automobile or motorcycle as defined above and which requires medium or heavy-duty towing. Medium duty is 10,001 pounds to 26,000 pounds GVW. Heavy duty is 26,001 pounds GVW and up.
[Amended 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
TOW VEHICLE
A vehicle equipped with a boom or booms, winches, slings, tilt beds, wheel lifts or under-reach equipment specifically designed by its manufacturer for the removal and transport of private passenger automobiles.
WINCHING
Moving a vehicle by use of the cable or winch from a position that is not accessible for direct hookup by conventional means of loading onto a tow vehicle. It shall not include pulling a motor vehicle onto a tilt bed or car carrier or lifting a vehicle with a conventional tow sling.
YARD TOW
The removal of the vehicle from the towing operator's storage yard for the benefit of another towing operator who is taking the vehicle from the storage site and whose tow vehicle is physically unable to gain access to the vehicle while it is inside the storage yard.
A. 
Removal of motor vehicles. Whenever a police officer orders the removal of automobiles from private or public property, the officer shall utilize the rotation lists established in § 192-2C of this chapter.
[Amended 3-21-2016 by Ord. No. 05-16]
B. 
An officer may allow the driver of a vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident or a disabled motor vehicle to arrange for their own selection of a wrecker to tow said vehicle, provided that such a request does not impair traffic and will not require the officer to remain at the scene after his normal responsibility is concluded.
[Added 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
C. 
Towing operators. Every three years the Township Committee shall establish by resolution a list of automobile-towing operators and a list of truck-towing operators to be utilized by the Police Department on a rotating basis. An operator may, if qualified, be on both lists. These lists will divide Washington Township into two geographical areas, north (District 1) and south (District 2). Such lists shall be utilized by members of the Police Department on a nonexclusionary and nondiscriminatory basis. Only those towing operators who meet the minimum standards of operator performance set forth in this chapter shall be included on such lists. There shall be no limit on the number of operators on either list. Operators may be added to the list at any time.
[Amended 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
(1) 
Application. Applicants shall obtain a criminal history background check through www.niportal.com/nisp/criminalrecords (additional information is available from the Police Department) and follow the instructions for obtaining a criminal history background check, which includes making an appointment to be fingerprinted by the state contract vendor. Applicants who fail to obtain a criminal history background check or otherwise refuse to consent to or cooperate in securing a criminal history check shall not be considered for inclusion on the list. If the applicant is a corporation then this requirement shall apply to the officers of the corporation. This investigation shall also apply to any and all personnel who operate towing equipment for the owner of the towing service, if that person is engaged to provide service as requested by Washington Township. As a result of such investigation, the Chief of Police shall note, in writing, his recommendation, and his reasons therefore to the Township Clerk. The Township Clerk shall present the completed application, along with the recommendation from the Chief of Police as to whether the application shall be approved, at the next regularly scheduled public meeting. If the Township Committee so directs, the Township Clerk shall advise the applicant that the application has been approved.
[Amended 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02; 5-18-2009 by Ord. No. 08-09; 3-21-2016 by Ord. No. 05-16]
(2) 
Equipment. All towing operators shall meet the following requirements:
(a) 
For classification as an automobile towing service, the operator must possess one flatbed-style tow vehicle and one hoist-type tow vehicle with a sling and wheel lift.
(b) 
For classification as a truck towing service, the operator must have one heavy duty tow vehicle capable of towing a fully loaded tractor-trailer weighing 80,000 pounds.
(c) 
All tow vehicles must carry the following equipment:
[1] 
Shovel.
[2] 
Fire extinguisher.
[3] 
Jumper cables.
[4] 
Tire changing equipment and portable air tank.
[5] 
Jack and hammer.
[6] 
Pry bar or similar tool.
[7] 
Speedy Dry or similar liquid absorbent and disposal container.
[8] 
Push broom.
[9] 
Two-way radio communication system or cellular telephone.
[Amended 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
(d) 
All towing vehicles must have amber emergency warning lights mounted on the vehicle so as to warn approaching traffic of their presence. The size and location of these lights must conform to New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicle standards. The operator must have an amber light permit.
(e) 
All towing vehicles must carry a copy of the rate schedule established by Washington Township. Said schedule must also be displayed in a conspicuous manner at the operator's place of business.
(3) 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection C(3), Facilities, as amended, was repealed 3-21-2016 by Ord. No. 05-16.
(4) 
Availability and response time. Each operator must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and must respond as follows: for tows of all vehicles except heavy-duty trucks: within 20 minutes during daylight hours and 30 minutes during nighttime hours of the original telephone call request by the Police Department; and for tows of heavy-duty trucks: within 30 minutes during daylight hours and 40 minutes during nighttime hours of the original telephone call request by the Police Department.
[Amended 3-21-2016 by Ord. No. 05-16]
(5) 
Each operator must comply with the provisions of L. 1999, c. 396 (N.J.S.A. 39:3-84.6 et seq.) and any regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
[Added 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
[Amended 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
A. 
Automobiles and motorcycles. The fee schedule for towing services and storage shall be established by the Township Committee by resolution.
B. 
Trucks. The fee schedule for towing services and storage shall be established by the Township Committee by resolution.
C. 
Inclement weather conditions. The towing operator may, during inclement weather conditions, such as but not limited to snow storm, ice storm, black ice conditions, flooding or during a state of emergency, charge an extra twenty percent of the final invoice (if towed under normal conditions) for towing services provided as set forth in the fee schedule.
A. 
Release of impounded vehicles.
[Amended 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02; 3-18-2002 by Ord. No. 10-02]
(1) 
Release of impounded vehicles. No impounded vehicle is to be released without proper authorization from the Police Department. Vehicle release arrangements shall be available every day between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., provided that when the vehicle was impounded as a result of an arrest for driving while intoxicated, the vehicle may be reclaimed at any time by the owner or lessee who was not the operator of the vehicle at the time it was impounded or after at least 12 hours has elapsed since the arrest, in the case of reclamation by the operator of the vehicle who was arrested for driving while intoxicated, by paying the appropriate fees as set forth in the fee schedule adopted by resolution of the Township Committee.
(2) 
The owner of the vehicle (or his designee) shall provide a paid receipt from the towing operator and then respond to the Washington Township Police Department to arrange for the release of his/her vehicle from the police impound yard or towing operator's facility, as the case may be. Additionally, the Washington Township Police may accept cash payment on behalf of the towing service and forward the money to the towing service. An invoice for the towing service provided (when a vehicle is towed to the police impound yard) will be left with the vehicle, as well as the keys for said vehicle. The police department will retain custody of both the invoice and keys for all vehicles towed to the police impound yard. All transactions of this type will be recorded in a log book and the principal of the towing establishment will be required to sign the log book to acknowledge receipt of said payment.
(3) 
Appointment for release of the vehicle shall be made through the shift supervisor, who shall be responsible to ensure that all laws and procedures concerning the release of vehicles are followed. The Township shall supply junk titles or good titles for abandoned vehicles in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:10-1 et seq. for vehicles unclaimed over 30 days. The Township shall compensate the towing service for the towing bill for such vehicles unclaimed for over 30 days for vehicles stored in the police impound yard. A junk title shall be applied for, and the towing invoice paid, after the Township recovers the value of the vehicle. For any vehicles that are towed and stored by the towing operator, the Township shall apply for a junk title, and compensate the towing operator for towing fees and storage, up to the limit of the value of said vehicle.
B. 
Insurance; indemnity.
(1) 
Each operator on the approved lists shall furnish the Township Clerk with a certificate of insurance from an insurance company satisfactory to the Township. Each certificate of insurance shall identify the coverage provided and shall provide that such insurance shall not be changed or canceled without giving 10 days prior written notice to the Township by certified mail, return receipt requested. Specific reference to the rotating lists of towing operators shall be made on all policies of insurance.
(2) 
Each operator must have bodily injury liability, property damage liability, employer's liability and motor vehicle liability coverage with combined policy limits of $1,000,000. Each approved operator must also have statutorily required workers' compensation coverage.
(3) 
Each operator shall indemnify and save the Township harmless from all damages and claims for damages which may be made by any person for bodily injury or property damages resulting from the operator's performance.
(4) 
Each operator shall have an on-hook vehicle rider on their towing insurance policy. This rider will provide insurance should the towed vehicle become uncoupled from the tow truck during towing operations.
[Added 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
C. 
Enforcement. The Police Department is designated to enforce the provisions of this chapter in accordance with due process of law. In carrying out the provisions of this chapter, the Police Chief is hereby authorized to adopt additional reasonable regulations which are not inconsistent with this chapter.
D. 
Abandoned or unclaimed vehicles.
[Amended 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
(1) 
Any vehicle which is not claimed by the owner within 30 days of impoundment shall be reported by the operator storing the vehicle to the Police Department, pursuant to N.J.S.A 39:10A-1 through 39:10A-7.
(2) 
After expiration of the thirty-day period, the Police Department shall make application for title to the Division of Motor Vehicles as per standing general orders. Vehicles which remain unclaimed after all requirements of the general orders are met shall be auctioned off to recover towing costs, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1 through 39:10A-7.
(3) 
Any operator found to be disposing of vehicles in violation of this procedure will be charged with misapplication of entrusted property (N.J.S.A. 2C:21-15) and will be prohibited from providing service to Washington Township.
E. 
Rights of owners.
(1) 
The owner of any vehicle towed shall have the right to remove property belonging to him or her from the stored vehicle unless a "police hold" is marked on the towing form.
(2) 
The vehicle owner or his or her representative shall have the right to take photographs of stored vehicles.
F. 
Public inspection. This chapter, all regulations adopted by the Police Chief and the fee schedules of individual tow operators, shall be available to the public during normal business hours.
G. 
Operator dealings with public.
(1) 
The operator shall always act in a professional manner and at all times be courteous and respectful toward members of the public, as well as representatives of the Township of Washington. If members of the public, especially those whose cars may have been towed or impounded, resort to strong language, threats and unbecoming behavior toward the operator, the operator is expected to exercise restraint and not to respond in kind and thereby reflect unfavorably on the Township of Washington and/or the Police Department.
(2) 
Repeated reports of discourteous behavior by the operator, which can be substantiated and documented, may be considered by the Township as sufficient cause for removal of the operator from the rotational list of automobile towing operators and truck towing operators as established consistent with § 192-2C.
[Amended 3-21-2016 by Ord. No. 05-16]
H. 
Removal of towed vehicles; location for storage.
[Added 2-18-2002 by Ord. No. 5-02]
(1) 
A vehicle that is removed by a towing company under this chapter, in which the Police Department has a duty to impound said vehicle for investigative or security reasons, shall be towed to the Police Department impound yard and stored there until all investigations are completed and/or proper paperwork to support the release of the motor vehicle back to the owner or his designee are presented for Police Department approval.
(2) 
A vehicle that is removed by a towing company that the Police Department has no interest in (i.e., disabled motor vehicle or one that is involved in an accident without further Police Department investigation required) may be towed back to the towing operator's facility or to a location of the vehicle owner's choice, provided the towing operator is in a position to comply with such a request.
A. 
Complaint and hearing. The governing body shall have the right to suspend or revoke any towing privileges issued pursuant to this section for good cause upon written complaint of the Police Chief. In the event that a towing operator fails or refuses to retain the proper equipment, personnel or facilities necessary to perform the services required for towing operators, or that the services performed are not satisfactory or violate any provision of this section, rule or regulation duly adopted, the Police Chief shall file a written complaint with the governing body that there is probable cause for revocation or suspension. Written notice of such complaint and the basis of the complaint shall be given to the towing operator and said operator shall be entitled to a hearing before the governing body prior to final determination of the complaint by the governing body.
B. 
Penalties.
(1) 
Any operator who violates any section of this chapter, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, shall be subject to suspension of towing privileges for one month for a first offense, three months for a second offense and six months for a third offense. If the operator commits a fourth offense, its right to provide towing services to the Township shall be permanently revoked, and the towing operator shall be removed from the list of approved operators.
(2) 
Any operator who violates the operator rate schedule shall receive a fine of $250 and suspension of towing privileges for one month. A second violation will result in a fine of $400 and suspension of towing privileges for six months. A third violation will result in a fine of $500 and permanent revocation of towing privileges.
(3) 
In all cases, if an operator overcharges a vehicle owner, the excess moneys paid shall be returned by the operator to the owner within 10 business days.
(4) 
A towing operator may be removed from the list adopted pursuant to § 192-2C by resolution of the Township Committee if its performance is determined to be unreliable or inadequate. If there is a breach of any of the provisions of this chapter or applicable regulations, an operator may be removed from the list by the Chief of Police pending action by the Township Committee.
[Amended 3-21-2016 by Ord. No. 05-16]