[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Hazlet 3-16-1982 by Ord. No. 555-82 as Sec. 7-11 of the 1982 Revised General Ordinances; amended in its entirety 9-1-1998 by Ord. No. 1091-98 (Ch. 321 of the 1993 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
For the purpose of this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings set forth herein:
- ADMINISTRATIVE CHARGES
- Charge for post-accident services, including hut not limited to services such as physical inspection, telephone and/or fax calls, removal of personal items and additional paperwork This charge must be documented as to what service was performed.
- Driving an unengaged wrecker along a public street at a slow rate of speed or in any other fashion calculated for the obvious purpose of soliciting business along the public roadway or highway.
- Any vehicle authorized by law to be seized, towed and held in the custody of an approved outside secured impound or storage yard as approved by the Police Department.
- OUTSIDE SECURED
- Any 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.
- Recovery can be achieved by several actions which may include but are not limited to winching and rigging. A recovery is when the tow operator applies his knowledge in a skillful manner to preserve the condition of the motor vehicle while moving the damaged vehicle to a towable position.
- VEHICLE REMOVAL CHARGE
- Charge for a motor vehicle towed into the storage facility of the primary tower that is not movable and must be towed out of the primary towers storage facility to a public street for towing by the secondary tower.
- WAITING TIME
- Additional time a tow operator spends at the scene other than the time required for the actual tow and/or recovery. Examples of waiting time may include but are not limited to EMS services or police investigations.
- The process of moving a motor vehicle by the use of the cable from a position that is not accessible for direct hookup by conventional means for loading onto a tow vehicle. Winching is not pulling a vehicle onto a tilt bed or carrier, nor lifting a motor vehicle with a conventional tow sling.
- A vehicle driven by mechanical power and employed for the purpose of towing, transporting, conveying and removing vehicles which are unable to be operated under their own power.
No person shall operate a wrecker within the Township or engage in the business of operating a wrecker within the Township unless a license has first been obtained for such wrecker, as provided herein. Every vehicle operated as a wrecker shall have its own separate license even though it is owned or operated by a person or business entity having other validly licensed wreckers.
No license issued hereunder may be transferred from one license to another or from one wrecker to another wrecker.
Except as provided in § 470-14 thereof, this chapter shall not apply to any person who is not engaged in the business of operating a wrecker within the Township and who causes a wrecker owned, leased or operated by it to:
Tow a disabled vehicle through the Township from a point outside the Township to a destination also outside the Township.
Pick up a disabled vehicle outside the Township and tow it to a destination within the Township.
Pick up a disabled vehicle within the Township and tow it to a destination outside the Township.
Application for licenses for wreckers shall be made by the owner, lessee or bailee thereof on blank forms to be furnished by the Municipal Clerk.
Such applications shall contain the full name and address of the owner, lessee or bailee of the wrecker, as well as the full name and address of the applicant.
A description of each wrecker for which a license is sought shall be set forth, as well as the location of the premises where such wrecker is usually stored.
The Municipal Clerk shall forthwith submit the application to the Chief of Police. Within 10 business days after receipt of an application, as provided for herein, the Chief of Police or his or her designee shall cause an investigation to be made and completed of the applicant, his or her business operation and the wreckers sought to be licensed for the purpose of determining compliance with this chapter. A report of such investigation, along with a recommendation as to whether such license should be issued, shall be promptly forwarded to the Municipal Clerk within 15 business days.
All wreckers licensed hereunder shall contain a card, decal or metal plate, in a form to be approved by the Chief of Police, where it can be easily read, stating the license number and license plate number of the wrecker and the rates to be charged.
Each license issued hereunder prior to June 30 of any year shall expire on June 30 of the year of issuance. Each license issued after June 30 of any year shall expire on June 30 of the year following the year in which it is issued.
The fee for the issuance of a wrecker's license shall be the sum of $50 for each wrecker licensed.
No license shall be issued for a wrecker unless there is in force, with respect to such vehicle, a valid policy of insurance issued by an insurance company authorized to do business in the State of New Jersey. The weight classifications and insurance limits are:
[Amended 6-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1172-01]
To be eligible for inclusion in the Police Department call list, as provided for in § 470-16 hereof, each insurance policy referred to in this section shall specifically name the Township as an insured party.
Proof of compliance with the requirements of this section shall be evidenced by a certificate of insurance issued by the insurance carrier at the time of application for the license(s).
Each wrecker sought to be licensed hereunder shall:
Be in good mechanical working order.
Contain emergency lights which flash and are capable of being seen at least 1/4 of a mile away and are of sufficient height so that they are visible over the towed vehicle.
Contain no rotating lights or sirens except by permission granted by the State Director of Motor Vehicles (amber light permit).
Carry a fire extinguisher, five pounds CO2 or dry powder or equivalent.
Carry a broom.
Carry an absorbent material for fluid spills.
Meet such other reasonable safety standards as may from time to time be established by the Township Committee.
The maximum rates that may be charged for the use of a wrecker, whether licensed or unlicensed, for towing a disabled vehicle from a point within the Township to a destination also within the Township are as follows:
Basic towing (24 hours): $85.
Cleanup/absorbent charge, charged in 1/2 hour increments: $30.
Waiting time, charged in 1/2 hour increments: $42.50.
Storage, per day, after first 12 hours: $25.
Vehicle removal charge: $37.50.
Administrative charge: $22.50.
The maximum rates fixed in § 470-11 hereof shall apply to the towing and storage of all passenger vehicles, except all nonpassenger vehicles not exceeding two tons in weight, in the case of:
Service rendered to other types of vehicles.
Services rendered in extraordinary cases involving unusual conditions, the rates to be charged shall be determined by mutual agreement in writing prior to the rendering of such service. The maximum rates fixed in § 470-11 hereof shall not apply to a licensed or unlicensed wrecker for towing of a kind described in § 470-3.
The operator of a wrecker shall advise the customer of the charges for services to be rendered in advance of their rendition and give the customer a receipt for the fee paid.
No driver, operator, owner or licensee of any wrecker shall:
Engage in cruising as defined herein.
Seek employment by repeatedly and persistently driving a wrecker to and fro in a short space in front of any disabled vehicle or by otherwise interfering with the proper and orderly progress of traffic along the public highways.
At the scene of an accident, park a wrecker on any public street or intersection or any public or private property other than his or her own, without first obtaining the consent of a police officer or the owner of the property.
Solicit or attempt to divert prospective patrons of another wrecker or divert prospective patrons of one garage to another.
Solicit, demand or receive any commission or fee from any person, except the proper fee for service to and transportation of a disabled vehicle.
Offer to pay any gratuity, tip or emolument to any third person or to any police officer or Township employee for any information as to the location of any accident or disabled vehicle or for soliciting the employment of services described herein. The provisions of this section shall apply to the operation of any wrecker on the streets of the Township, whether or not such wrecker is licensed or unlicensed and without regard to whether or not the owner, operator or licensee of such wrecker is engaged in the business of operating a wrecker within the Township.
No storage or impoundment facility in the Township of Hazlet shall be used by more than one license holder for the storage of motor vehicles.
The weekday hours between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and Saturday hours between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon, with the exception of Sundays and holidays, shall be made available for the release of stored vehicles.
A license issued under this chapter may be suspended by the Township Committee for 30 days upon the first violation, 90 days for the second violation and revocation upon the third violation of any provision of this chapter or any regulation adopted hereunder. Under such suspension, the licensee shall be entitled, by application, in writing, to a hearing before the Township Committee at its next regular meeting following the suspension, as to whether such license should be restored, and the Township Committee shall have the authority to restore such license.
The Township Committee may, after hearing, revoke any license issued under this chapter for the violation of any provision of this chapter or any regulations adopted hereunder. The Township shall cause to be served upon such licensee, not less than five days before the hearing to be held for said revocation, written charges, and such applicant may file written answers thereto not less than two days prior to the hearing, and the licensee shall be entitled to be represented by counsel and present his or her defense to such charges.
The Township Committee shall establish and may amend from time to time a call list of wreckers performing towing service for the Township and to be called in rotation by a member of the Police Department in the event that the owner or driver of a disabled vehicle is unable to or fails to indicate any specific choice of a wrecker to remove the disabled vehicle. A current copy of the call list shall be provided to the Chief of Police, who shall assure that all members of the Police Department are aware of the same and shall be available for inspection by the public at the office of the Township Clerk and police building.
To be eligible for inclusion in call list, a wrecker shall:
Hold a current and valid wrecker's license issued under the terms of this chapter.
Be owned or operated by a person engaged in the business of operating a wrecker within the Township.
Comply with the requirements of § 470-9 hereof that the requisite insurance policies specifically name the Township as an insured party.
Be able to report to a disabled vehicle position no more than 25 minutes from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and no more than 30 minutes between 8:01 p.m. and 7:59 a.m. from the time of notification by a police dispatcher.
Maintain and operate a storage yard, duly approved for the impounding of vehicles within the boundaries of Hazlet Township or contiguous thereto, for whenever it is determined by the Hazlet Township Police Department that a vehicle is to be impounded.
The Township Committee may make such reasonable regulations concerning the call list as are necessary to expedite and facilitate the rendition of services described herein, including such procedures which ensure that all wreckers on the call list are summoned on a nondiscriminatory basis in rotating order. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Township Committee may adopt such equitable and reasonable procedures as it deems necessary, taking into account the fact that not all wreckers appearing on the call list have the mechanical capability of responding to and dealing with all conditions and types of disabled vehicles.
In the case of a disabled vehicle obstructing traffic or likely to create a traffic hazard, a police officer in charge shall have the right to summon a wrecker from the call list, notwithstanding the expressed desire of the owner or operator of the disabled vehicle that a specific wrecker be summoned, if in the opinion of such officer, the wrecker requested will not be able to respond to the call in sufficient time to assure the public safety and efficient flow of traffic.
The enforcement of the provisions of this chapter shall be under the control of the Police Department.
Every person found guilty of violating any of the provisions of this chapter may, in addition to the suspension or revocation of the license as provided for herein, be liable to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 or may be imprisoned in the county jail for a period of not more than 30 days, or both.