[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Old Bridge 9-9-2002 by Ord. No. 42-02 (Sec. 5-13 of the 1973 Revised General Ordinances). Amendments noted where applicable.]
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 463.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- ABSORBENT MATERIAL
- Material such as sand or Speedy Dry used to collect liquids
such as radiator fluid, oil, gasoline or diesel fuel spills.[Added 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
- ADMINISTRATIVE FEE
- Shall not be included in standard tow. This fee is for postaccident
service to include insurance inspection, telephone calls or faxes,
removal of personal items and additional paperwork. This shall be
assessed only one time per vehicle.[Added 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
- BASIC TOWING SERVICE
- The removal and transportation of a vehicle 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.
- CATEGORY I VEHICLE
- All vehicles 0 to 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
- CATEGORY II VEHICLE
- All vehicles over 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
- Removal and/or disposal of any debris left on the roadway
or property as a result of a motor vehicle accident or recovery.[Added 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
- The operation of an unengaged tow truck along the public streets in any fashion intended or calculated to solicit business.
- GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT
- The registration weight, the manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating or actual weight.
- Any person employed by a licensee to operate a wrecker.
- RESPONSE TIME
- The time the operator receives the telephone call from the
Old Bridge Township Police Department until the time the operator
arrives on the scene.[Added 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
- SERVICE CALL
- A response to a motorist to provide aid for the changing
of flat tires and/or providing fuel.[Added 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
- Any automobile truck, trailer, motorcycle, minibike, moped,
go-cart, bus, farm equipment, or any other mechanically powered conveyance
which shall be or become disabled or which is required to be removed
from the scene of a crash, or other removal of which is necessary
in order to safeguard the public health, safety and welfare. Vehicle
weight must be less than four tons (8,001 pounds).[Added 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
- The process of moving a 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. It is neither lifting a motor vehicle
with a conventional tow sling nor pulling it with a chain hooked to
a wrecker.[Added 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
- A vehicle used to tow or remove other vehicles usually so damaged or disabled that they cannot proceed under their own power. Class I wreckers are capable of towing or removing a category I vehicle and class II wreckers are capable of removing or towing a category II vehicle.
A license shall be required to perform police-requested towing and roadside repair services on roadways within the Township of Old Bridge. Any person or entity wishing to obtain a license pursuant to this chapter shall submit a license application to the Township Clerk.
Licenses shall be issued by the Township Clerk. Each license shall be issued for a maximum term of one year and shall terminate on January 1 of the year following its issuance.
No person or entity shall be eligible for the issuance of a license unless the following requirements are fulfilled:
All towing equipment utilized by applicants shall be in compliance with state, federal and local laws.
Applicants shall have the following minimum equipment:
One wrecker capable of removing any category I vehicle.
Safety equipment to be carried on all trucks shall include: a universal towing sling, except flatbeds; J-hooks and chains; one snatch block for three-eighths- to one-half-inch cable, two high-test safety chains; auxiliary safety light kit to place on rear of towed vehicle; four-lamp or three-lamp revolving amber light or lamp bars of at least 500 candlepower pointed to the rear, mounted so as not to be obstructed by the towed vehicle(s) and said lights must be engaged during the removal of the vehicle(s); at least three flares or other suitable warning devices visible for a distance of not less than 1,000 feet from the disabled vehicle(s); toolbox with assortment of hand tools; rear working lights and rear marker lights; cab lights; body-clearing lights located to clear towed vehicle; blocking choke for wrecker while working; safety cones; shovels and broom; steering wheel lock or tie-down; and an operational fire extinguisher designed for vehicular fires which must be 25 pounds BC dry chemical; and five gallons of absorbent granules for cleaning up fluid spills.
All wreckers must be properly and permanently lettered on both sides according to Title 39 of the Motor Vehicle Code of New Jersey.
License applicants shall submit a detailed list of all wreckers and service vehicles, as well as supplemental/auxiliary equipment owned or leased which will be used in performance of this chapter. A copy of the vehicle registration, amber light permit(s), certificate of insurance for vehicles and property, insurance cards and leases must also be provided with the list. The list must contain the following information: type of vehicle, year/make, capacity and condition of the vehicle.
License applicants shall demonstrate that they maintain a storage facility properly zoned for such use. Each license applicant must have an outdoor storage area large enough to accommodate at least 10 class I vehicles. Each license applicant may have an indoor, secured storage area sufficient to house at least two vehicles and provide twenty-four-hour security for the same for the storing of impounded vehicles involved in criminal matters.
License applicants shall maintain the following insurance:
[Amended 1-9-2006 by Ord. No. 38-2005; 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
A garage keeper’s liability policy as set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:3-84.8 covering fire, theft and explosion in the minimum amount of $100,000.
A garage liability policy covering the operation of the licensee’s equipment or vehicles for the amount of $300,000 for any one person killed or injured in any one accident and $100,000 for all property damage from one accident.
Automobile liability insurance as set forth in N.J.S.A. 39:3-84.8 in an amount of not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit for bodily injury and property damage liability.
Workers’ compensation insurance insuring the obligation of the wrecker operator under the New Jersey Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Disease Laws.
Insurance policies shall provide collision coverage for vehicles in tow.
Each licensee shall have his/her insurance agent submit a certificate of coverage to the Township. The Township of Old Bridge shall be listed as an additional insured.
Certificate of insurance must be submitted to the Township of Old Bridge prior to the renewal date.
Insurance carriers shall notify the Township of Old Bridge immediately if a policy is canceled.
The insurance carrier shall make written notification to the Township of Old Bridge of any changes in insurance coverage at least 10 days prior to the change.
License applicants shall submit the following for the applicant and all employees: name, address, date of birth, social security number, photocopies of all New Jersey drivers’ licenses (including commercial driver’s licenses), signature, name and address of an individual to contact in case of emergency. The Old Bridge Police Department shall conduct background investigations of all license applicants and their employees. Any person with a criminal record will not be allowed to perform Police Department towing and service and/or be issued a license.
[Amended 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
Each licensee shall execute an indemnification agreement indemnifying the Township of Old Bridge and holding it harmless from any and all claims arising directly or indirectly from the actions of the licensee.
[Added 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
All licensees shall comply with the following requirements of conduct and performance:
Signs in view of the public shall be posted at storage facilities which contain the licensee's license number, business name, phone number, hours of operation and towing fee schedule as outlined in this chapter in its entirety. Such signs shall be at least two feet by two feet in size.
Outdoor storage areas must be able to be entirely lit from dusk through dawn and must be entirely enclosed and secured by a sturdy fence at least eight feet in height, unless any statute or regulation requires otherwise. Storage areas shall be kept clean so as to be reasonably accommodating to persons who may come upon said premises.
Licensees shall not store towed vehicles on top of one another, shall not park any said vehicles on public roadways or sidewalks, nor shall licensees block any public roadways or sidewalks with towed vehicles.
Employees of licensees must be registered with the Old Bridge Police Department prior to performing any services for licensees. Information on employees shall be updated every 90 days in order to keep current with changes in personnel.
Licensees and/or their employees must possess a valid New Jersey driver's license.
Licensees and/or their employees shall be fully trained and knowledgeable in the operation of all required equipment.
Licensees and/or their employees must be equipped with and trained in the basic tools necessary to perform minor roadside repairs.
Licensees and/or their employees must be equipped with and trained in the necessary tools and equipment to perform all facets of the safe and efficient removal of all types of motor vehicles under this chapter regardless of the physical condition of the vehicle.
Licensees are responsible for the removal of all debris from an accident scene, which includes sweeping the roadway. Licensees and/or their employees must be equipped with and trained in the necessary equipment needed to completely remove, and must remove, all nonhazardous debris from the scene of the accident. Debris must be placed in a container or bag. Any minor fluid spills will be picked up by the wrecker operator and may be put out in the regular trash after 24 hours.
Licensees and their employees must wear orange reflective safety vests when engaged in the towing or repair of motor vehicles while on public roadways.
Licensees and their employees must follow the directions of law enforcement personnel.
Licensees and their employees are expected to always act in a professional manner and at all times to be courteous and respectful towards members of the public. Licensees and their employees shall not represent to any member of the public that they are employees of the Township of Old Bridge.
Licensees shall not engage in cruising.
Licensees shall be responsible for all vehicles and contents in their custody that were towed off the roadway under the direction of the police.
Licensees and their employees shall preserve evidence needed for potential criminal and civil cases at the direction of law enforcement personnel. Vehicles involved in criminal matters which are impounded and stored in a licensee's storage area shall not be removed from such storage area until written permission is obtained from the Old Bridge Police Department.
Licensees shall notify the Old Bridge Police Department on a monthly basis if they are in custody of any unclaimed vehicles. The Police Department will file for titles of abandoned motor vehicles left on a licensee's premises. Any licensee failing to notify the Old Bridge Police Department within 30 days that a vehicle has been abandoned shall forfeit storage fees for any days in excess of 30 days such vehicle is stored.
Licensees and their employees shall cooperate with other licensees and their drivers in the case of emergency services at the scene of accidents and/or disasters.
Licensees will dispatch, within the time permitted by this chapter, wreckers, when requested by the desk officer, to respond to a police request for service.
Wreckers shall be maintained and operated in a safe and prudent manner and in accordance with all existing traffic regulations.
Licensees shall maintain an accurate file of all vehicles towed. Such files shall be maintained for three years.
Licensees must maintain an accurate inventory of all towed vehicles stored in their impound sites.
Licensees must maintain a record of all property found anywhere in a towed vehicle, including trunk and glove compartment, if open. If a key is available, they shall be responsible for the safeguard and release of the contents to the owner.
Authorized representatives of the Old Bridge Police Department or their designees shall have access to any of the records required to be kept by licensees.
Licensees, upon receiving a vehicle and ownership information relating thereto, shall immediately contact the owner of the vehicle by telephone and/or in writing, and within 48 hours, to inform the owner that:
Licensees must maintain accurate records of owner notifications and attempted notifications.
Licensees must not release any impounded vehicle from an impound site unless it is authorized by the Old Bridge Police Department.
Licensees must follow the proper procedures and directions of all applicable laws for the disposal of vehicles not retrieved by the owner. Any vehicles which are not released according to proper procedure shall be reported to the Old Bridge Police Department.
Licensees shall be responsible for any vehicle and the contents thereof after receiving said vehicle in their custody and control, and shall reimburse the owner of such vehicle removed for any such damage or loss sustained to any vehicle while in the towing service company's custody and control.
Licensees shall not make any repairs to any vehicle towed or removed as provided for hereunder without first receiving written authorization of the owner thereof or its authorized agent.
Licensees shall use, at a minimum, the manufacturer's suggested towing or removal method for removal of damaged or impounded passenger cars or light vehicles, including pickup trucks, minivans, motorcycles and vans.
Storage facilities must be in compliance with all applicable codes and municipal ordinances and must be zoned for all of the uses for which they are, or will be, dedicated.
All storage facilities must satisfy all licensing requirements promulgated by the State of New Jersey and the municipality regarding all aspects of their use, and/or intended use, including but not limited to the towing, storage, repair and sale of motor vehicles.
No licensee shall charge fees in excess of the maximum fees set forth in this chapter.
All licensees shall maintain the insurance coverage required by the article.
A licensee may use another licensee to take a call after regular hours and on holidays and weekends; the towed vehicle must be towed to the original assigned licensee's facility immediately. Both the original assigned licensee and the replacement licensee will be held liable for any infractions. The original assigned licensee will be charged for the call. Licensees shall make all requests for replacement wreckers or for additional wreckers at the scene of an accident through the Old Bridge Police Department.
Licensees shall make their storage facilities open to the public Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
Licensees must post the fee schedule contained in this chapter in its entirety on each wrecker in easy view of the public. The fee schedule signs for wreckers will be purchased at the wrecker operator's expense through the Old Bridge Police Department.
Licensees shall fill out an abandoned vehicle form and bring it to the Old Bridge Police Department on the 31st day of holding a vehicle. If the vehicle is sold at a public auction, the minimum bid will be the cost of the tow and storage fees unless a lower bid is authorized by the licensee.
All licensees must have a phone number where they can be reached 24 hours a day to take calls for police-requested towing and service. Such phone number may not be a beeper number.
There will be at least one yearly meeting between all licensees and the Old Bridge Police Department. All licensees will have at least one representative present.
If a licensee fails to respond to a towing or service call in a timely manner, the next licensee on the appropriate list shall be called to handle the call. A wrecker which arrives at the site of a towing or service call after the time to respond has expired shall not be allowed to handle that call in the event a second licensee has already been called to handle the towing or service call.
A licensee shall only store towed vehicles at the licensee's storage facility unless advised otherwise by the Old Bridge Police Department.
Licensees may not transfer a license issued pursuant to this chapter under any circumstances.
All towing equipment utilized by licensees shall be in compliance with state, federal and local laws and shall be inspected by the Old Bridge Police Department on an annual basis.
[Amended 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
No storage fees may be charged for a vehicle retrieved within 12 hours after its initial placement at a licensee's storage facility.
No storage fees shall be imposed for the day an owner or motorist retrieves the vehicle, if such retrieval occurs before 11:00 a.m.
The following fees are the maximum fees which may be charged by licensees:
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.50, all fees to be paid to a licensee by the Township of Old Bridge for the storage of motor vehicles shall not exceed the following:
A limit of $3 per day for the first 30 days of storage per vehicle;
A limit of $2 per day for the 31st day of storage and any day thereafter, and
A limit of $400 per vehicle stored regardless of the duration of the storage, except that a waiver may be granted for good cause upon the request of a municipality by the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs.
Vehicles stored on the property of the Township of Old Bridge shall be subject to a storage fee of $40 per day, payable to the Township.
These additional Category II vehicle charges are for typical tows. Any additional charges must be justified, and there must be a documented need for additional personnel, equipment and/or supplies.
Licensees may accept Visa, MasterCard or cash as payment for services. Checks, if accepted, will be by mutual consent of tow company and motorist.
Cleanup fee for the cleanup of debris on the highway or at the scene of an accident and application of absorbent material may be charged at a rate of $45 per vehicle. The fee for absorbent material shall be $15 per bag.
A licensee may assess a one-time "administrative fee" in the amount of $25 for motor vehicle accidents only, to compensate for time spent on the telephone with the customers, insurance companies or police and time spent copying, faxing or sending e-mails by staff.
Mileage fees are not permitted within the borders of Old Bridge. No other fees or charges are permitted except as set forth above.
The Police Chief or his designee may suspend or revoke the license of any licensee if the licensee fails to comply with the requirements of this chapter.
The Chief of Police or his designee shall hold a hearing prior to suspending or revoking any license, except that the Chief of Police or his designee may order an immediate temporary licensee suspension in the interest of public health safety and welfare. Licensees shall be given notice of the hearing at least five business days prior to the hearing date. Licensees shall be entitled to a hearing within five business days of any temporary suspension to determine whether any further action is necessary.
The Police Department shall maintain current rotational lists of wrecker operators for police-requested service calls and towing calls. The Police Department shall maintain a list for service calls and two towing call lists, one for wreckers capable of towing category I vehicles and one for wreckers capable of towing category II vehicles.
[Amended 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
The Director of Police may promulgate rules and regulations to implement the provisions of this chapter.
[Added 5-11-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-12]
Effective January 1, 2010, the fees contained in this chapter shall increase by 2% per year on the first January each year.