[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Great Neck Plaza 3-4-1987 as L.L. No. 4-1987. Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is hereby declared and found that it is of vital importance to the traveling public that disabled vehicles are removed from the highways as promptly as possible; that any delay in such removal may result in retarding the movement of traffic unnecessarily and may cause street accidents; and that the towing of motor vehicles from public highways and private property within the Village of Great Neck Plaza is a matter affecting the public interest and, consequently, should be subject to supervision and administrative control for the purpose of safeguarding the public against fraud and the imposition of exorbitant towing charges or any similar abuse.
Unless otherwise expressly provided, for the purpose of this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings herein indicated:
- Any incident or occurrence in which one or more vehicles come into contact with each other or another object, thereby causing personal injury or property damage.
- Any person driving a tow car for hire within the enforcement jurisdiction of the Village of Great Neck Plaza.
- FOR HIRE
- Any incident where a fee, charge or other consideration is directly or indirectly imposed for towing, carrying or removing any vehicle and shall be inclusive of repairs made on a towed vehicle for a consideration although no charge is expressly imposed for the towing of such vehicle. For the purpose of this chapter, the towing of a motor vehicle with a registration different from the tow car shall be presumed to be "for hire."
- The control and direction of the use of a vehicle for towing from places within the enforcement jurisdiction of the Village of Great Neck Plaza.
- A person owning, leasing or controlling one or more tow cars and driving, operating or causing any such vehicle to be operated for hire within the enforcement jurisdiction of the Village of Great Neck Plaza.
- An individual, partnership, unincorporated association, corporation or other entity.
- RESTRICTED LICENSE
- That license issued to the owners of towing cars and authorizing the holder thereof to engage in all tow car operations, except that he may not respond to the scene of an accident or remove a disabled vehicle from the scene of an accident; nor may be solicit any person involved in an accident at the scene of such accident for the towing of such vehicle, whether directly or indirectly, on his behalf or on behalf of any other person, firm or corporation; nor may be at the scene of an accident where towing is required make an estimate of the cost of repairs or offer to make such an estimate or offer to make such repairs, although no charge is imposed for towing. No such solicitation shall be made at the scene of the accident nor from private property in the vicinity of the scene of the accident.
- SCENE OF ACCIDENT
- Any area of a street or private property where a vehicular accident has occurred or to which a vehicle is removed to prevent obstruction of traffic and will remain so until the vehicle or vehicles are removed either under its/their own power or by a properly licensed tow car.
- To entreat, to approach with a request or plea, to strongly urge, to accost or to try to obtain by asking.
- Any place of business maintaining twenty-four-hour service and located within the Village of Great Neck Plaza or within an incorporated Village located within the area of the Town of North Hempstead where the licensee, as the sole business activity conducted on the premises, or in conjunction with a business activity on the premises owned or operated by the licensee, maintains a licensed tow car to respond to calls regarding motor vehicles.
- The moving or removing of a motor vehicle by another vehicle or tow car for hire.
- TOWING CAR or TOW CAR
- A vehicle which either is towing or is equipped with a crane, winch or similar device designed to raise, remove, push, pull or carry a motor vehicle or the front or rear end thereof. For the purpose of this section, the following shall not be considered "towing cars":
- A. Vehicles of a governmental agency.
- B. Vehicles used exclusively for towing motor vehicles which are owned, leased or operated by the owner or lessee of the towing vehicle or by a person, firm or corporation which is affiliated with the owner or lessee of the towing vehicle, and such vehicles having legibly inscribed on each side, in letters not less than three inches high, the legend "not for public hire."
- UNRESTRICTED LICENSE
- That license which is issued to the owners of towing cars, authorizing the holder thereof to engage in all tow car operations, including responding to the scene of an accident as hereinafter provided. The Village Clerk shall have authority to limit the number of unrestricted towing car licenses to be issued hereunder to any one licensee in accordance with such reasonable standards as he or she may establish.
License required. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any tow car owned or controlled by him or permit the same to be operated within the enforcement jurisdiction of the Village of Great Neck Plaza without first having obtained and then having in force a valid owner's license issued by the Town of North Hempstead.
Effect of suspension on revocation hearing. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any tow car owned or controlled by him or permit the same to be operated within the enforcement jurisdiction of the Village of Great Neck Plaza, even if such person has in force a valid owner's license issued by the Town of North Hempstead, if it has been determined, in accordance with § 197-14 of this chapter, that such person's license and permission to operate within the enforcement jurisdiction of the Village of Great Neck Plaza has been suspended or revoked.
License required. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a tow car for hire within the Village of Great Neck Plaza as a driver or otherwise without first having obtained and then having in force a valid tow car driver's license issued by the Town of North Hempstead.
Effect of suspension on revocation hearing. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate any tow car as a driver or otherwise within the enforcement jurisdiction of the Village of Great Neck Plaza, even if such person has in force a valid tow car driver's license issued by the Town of North Hempstead, if it has been determined, in accordance with § 197-14 of this chapter, that such person's license and permission to operate within the enforcement jurisdiction of the Village of Great Neck Plaza has been suspended or revoked.
Identification of vehicle. Each tow car operated hereunder shall have inscribed on the outside of each front door the trade name and terminal address of the owner, in letters not less than two inches in height, either painted or otherwise securely affixed. The medallion shall be affixed to the left front door or in a conspicuous place adjacent to the front door.
Display of rates. A tow car owner shall have legibly inscribed on each side of the tow car, in letters and numerals not less than 1 1/2 inches in height, the lawful towing rates, except that the Village Clerk may waive this provision upon the determination that this provision is in conflict with requirements of other state or municipal authorities.
Towing, storage and labor charges. The charges for towing, storage and labor shall not exceed those authorized by the Town of North Hempstead.
Estimates and repairs. No fee shall be charged either directly or indirectly for making an estimate for repairs on any motor vehicle in an accident or otherwise disabled without the prior written consent of the owner of the disabled vehicle. The agreement form for repairs required hereunder must be in substantially the following form, or in substantially the form approved by the Town of North Hempstead.
Towing authorization. Except as provided hereafter, no motor vehicle shall be towed without an authorization on a form prescribed by the Clerk of the Town of North Hempstead or the Village of Great Neck Plaza signed by the owner of the vehicle or other person in charge thereof. Such authorization shall be for the towing, labor and storage of the vehicle only and shall show the rates to be charged for the towing, labor and storage of said vehicle. Such signed authorization shall be retained for a period of six months and shall be exhibited upon demand to an official of the Village or any member of the Nassau County Police Department or other police department. The towing authorization required hereunder must be in substantially the following form, or in substantially the form authorized by the Town of North Hempstead.
Towing from private property. No motor vehicle which is parked on private property without authorization of the property owner shall be towed therefrom unless the following conditions are met:
The property owner or his authorized agent shall file with the police precinct having jurisdiction a copy of a written agreement authorizing one or more tow car owners to tow unauthorized parked cars.
The property owner shall post in a conspicuous place or places, and at all entrances, signs stating that unauthorized parked cars will be towed away at the owner's expense and stating where the vehicle can be recovered.
The authorized tow car owner shall tow unauthorized parked cars only upon the direction of the property owner or his authorized agent.
The tow car owner shall notify or cause to be notified the police precinct having jurisdiction of the towing of an unauthorized parked car and the location to which it is being towed.
Bill for towing.
The owner of a tow car shall have prepared a pad of prenumbered bills containing a printed billhead showing the name and address of his place of business. The operator of a tow car shall prepare a bill on this billhead form in duplicate, the original of which shall be furnished to the owner of the motor vehicle or his authorized representative. This bill must be printed in a form approved by the Clerk of the Village of Great Neck Plaza or by the Clerk of the Town of North Hempstead and shall contain the following information:
Full name and address of person engaging the tow car.
State registration number of the motor vehicle.
Total amount to be charged for towing, labor and storage (rate per 24 hours or part thereof).
Full name and address of operator of tow car.
State registration number of tow car.
Tow car license number.
The duplicate of the bill shall be retained by the tow car owner for a period of six months at his place of business as set forth on his license. These bills shall be exhibited upon demand of any official of the Village or any member of the Nassau County Police Department. Upon payment of the bill given to the owner of the motor vehicle or his authorized representative, the licensee shall acknowledge receipt of payment of such bill.
Storage of vehicles at terminal.
Any vehicle stored upon a premises designated by a licensed tow car owner as his terminal shall be presumed to be so stored with the full knowledge, permission and consent of said tow car owner.
No tow car owner shall permit his terminal to be used for storage of vehicles towed upon his terminal premises unless the tow car delivering such vehicle is duly licensed pursuant to this chapter.
Any bill for storage of vehicles at his terminal shall contain the name and business address of the tow car owner who towed the vehicle onto the premises.
Condition of vehicle. Every vehicle operated within the Village as a tow car shall be kept mechanically fit, of good appearance and in a good, safe condition for towing.
Inspection of vehicle required. The Village Clerk may establish reasonable rules and regulations for the inspection of tow cars operated upon the streets of the Village.
Requirements of drivers. A licensed tow car driver shall:
Have his identification card in good condition in his possession at all times while engaged in his occupation as a tow car driver and while so engaged shall also be in possession of his operator's license.
Not permit any other person to use his identification card.
Not be engaged on an unlicensed tow car or on a tow car for which the license has been suspended or revoked.
Promptly report the loss of his identification card to the Village and/or Town Clerk.
Report change of address to the Village and/or Town Clerk within 48 hours.
Have with him at all times while engaged in his occupation as a tow car driver properly authorized forms for towing and repair, such forms to be printed and maintained by tow car owners.
Conduct at accidents. Each tow car driver at the scene of an accident shall:
Exhibit his identification card to the owner of the disabled vehicle or any member of the Nassau County Police Department or a designated representative of the Village or Town Clerk's office.
Not remove any vehicle from the scene of an accident until proper authorization has been signed by the owner of the disabled vehicle or person in charge thereof or ordered by a police officer.
Not remove any vehicle involved in an accident in which a person has been injured until released by a duly authorized member of the police department having jurisdiction at the scene of said accident.
Obedience to civil statutes mandatory. Every tow car driver shall obey all traffic laws, ordinances, local laws, rules and regulations while operating a tow car and, upon his conviction for any violation of such ordinance, shall report the same within three days to the Village and/or Town Clerk, advising him or her of the nature of the offense charged and the name and location of the court. The reporting requirement set forth herein shall not apply to parking violations.
It shall be unlawful for any person to drive along any street or bridge in the Village of Great Neck Plaza and actively solicit towing work. Solicitation of towing work by the operator or other occupant of a tow car while parking or standing on any street or bridge is also prohibited. A tow car operator shall not stop, stand or park at the scene of an accident involving one or more vehicles without having been requested or notified to do so by the owner of the disabled vehicle or his authorized representative or the police. Responding to a call merely upon notification from gas station attendants, taxicab drivers or other unauthorized persons shall be considered in violation of this provision.
A police officer present at the scene of an accident will present a list of authorized tow car operators to the owner or driver of any disabled motor vehicle, provided that such person is physically able and capable of making such choice of services, and said owner or driver shall have the right to require the services of any available licensed tow car. It shall be unlawful for any owner or driver of any licensed tow car to refuse to render such services if such owner or driver of such disabled motor vehicle is able and willing to pay the fee prescribed as set forth herein; provided, however, that it is physically possible for such tow car to tow such disabled motor vehicle and that such tow car is not already going to or returning from a job.
Licensed tow car owners and drivers, when required, will answer all communications received from the Village Clerk and will provide any information which the Village Clerk, in his or her discretion, deems necessary for the satisfaction of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person to demand or receive any payment in excess of the maximum charges permitted by this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any tow car owner or driver or any other person to make repairs or to charge a fee, directly or indirectly, for making an estimate for repairs on any motor vehicle involved in an accident or otherwise disabled without entering into a signed agreement with the owner or other person in charge of said disabled motor vehicle fixing the cost on a form heretofore prescribed.
It shall be unlawful for any tow car owner or driver or any other person to enter into an agreement for the repair or for the estimate for repairs where the owner or person in charge of the motor vehicle involved in an accident is to be hospitalized because of such accident until the expiration of at least 24 hours from the time of such accident, unless the injured person has, before the expiration of said time, been discharged from the hospital.
At his place of business, every unrestricted tow car owner shall maintain for one year a bound record book of all calls for towing service at the scene of an accident to be available for inspection by the police or office of the Village Clerk. Entries in this book shall be legible, made in ink and written in English at the time the call is received and shall specify:
The Village Clerk shall have the power to prescribe reasonable rules and regulations for the proper and efficient administration and enforcement of this chapter.
The license and permission of any person to operate or drive a tow car within the Village of Great Neck Plaza or to own or control a tow car operated within the Village of Great Neck Plaza may be suspended or revoked for a period to be determined by the Village Clerk, if such person shall violate any provision of this chapter, or any rule or regulation adopted hereunder, or of any local law or ordinance of the Village or any provision governing such person's license by the Town of North Hempstead, or if the holder thereof shall be convicted of a violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law of the State of New York, except parking violations, or of any ordinance or regulation of the State of New York, or of any municipality of the State of New York, or of any crime, or if the holder thereof shall be guilty of making a false statement or misrepresentation in his application to the Clerk of the Town of North Hempstead. No suspension or revocation hereunder shall be made by the Village Clerk without a hearing having been held thereupon not less than two business days after written notice thereof shall have been given to the licensee, either in person or by registered or certified mail.
The Village Clerk, upon receiving information giving him or her reasonable cause to believe that any licensee has violated any provision of this chapter or has been convicted of any violation referred to in this section or is guilty of having made a false statement or misrepresentation in his application, may temporarily suspend forthwith such person's license and permission to operate within the Village until such time as a hearing is held by the Village Clerk as provided hereinabove and the Village Clerk shall have rendered his or her determination thereon.
Violation of the following prohibition shall be a ground upon which the Village Clerk may suspend any towing license pursuant to final disposition in the manner set forth above. No person shall give or offer to give any payment, fee, reward or other thing of value, directly or indirectly, for obtaining information of a disabled vehicle, and it shall be unlawful to have printed any card or other notice offering to give a payment, fee, reward or other thing of value for such information.
Any suspension or revocation rendered hereunder by the Village Clerk may be reviewed by the Village Board of Trustees in accordance with the following procedures:
The application to review the Village Clerk's determination shall be in writing, signed and verified by the applicant, and shall state his reasons for claiming that the Village Clerk's determination was erroneous.
The application for such review must be filed with the Village Clerk within 20 days of the receipt of the applicant, either by mail or in person, of the denial of the Village Clerk.
Upon the filing of such application to review, the Village Board shall hold a hearing thereon within 30 days from the filing of the application referred to above, pursuant to the provisions hereinafter set forth.
Hearing by Village's Board.
Whenever it shall be provided herein that a hearing may be held by the Village's Board of Trustees, such hearing shall be held on a date and at a place and hour designated by the Village Board, but in no event shall this date exceed 30 days from the date of the filing of the application for review.
The Village Clerk shall give notice thereof, stating the name and address of the applicant or license holder concerned, the subject matter of the hearing and the date, place and hour designated therefor, by mailing a copy thereof to the applicant or license holder concerned at the address shown upon the most recent application of such applicant or licensee at least 10 days before such hearing.
At such hearing, the Village Board shall consider the application before the Village Clerk in relation to his or her determination and, in its discretion, may receive new or additional evidence in support of or in opposition to the determination under review.
The applicant or license holder involved shall be entitled to be represented by legal counsel and to present such competent and material testimony or other evidence on his own behalf as may be relevant to the subject matter of the hearing.
All witnesses shall be sworn and examined under oath.
Board's decision. The Village Board, after such hearing, may grant, refuse, suspend or revoke such license. The decision of the Board shall be subject to review by certiorari.
Any offense against any provision of this chapter shall be a violation of this chapter, which violation shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 days for each such offense, or by both such fine and imprisonment, except that any person or persons, association or corporation committing an offense against any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor, which shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment for a period not to exceed three months for each such offense, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
The Village of Great Neck Plaza hereby repeals Local Law No. 16 of 1984.