[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson 9-20-2004 by L.L. No. 5-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 135.
Vehicless and traffic — See Ch. 155.
Abandoned, junkland or inoperative vehicles — See Ch. 160.
Editor's Note: Former Ch. 148, Theaters, adopted 7-20-1964 and readopted 2-22-1967, was deleted 11-26-1963 pursuant to L.L. No. 4-1963.
The Village Board of Trustees hereby determines that providing regulations for the prompt and safe removal of disabled and abandoned vehicles from public roadways within the Village is necessary for the public health, safety and general welfare of residents and traveling public within the Village. This chapter will not supersede any specific orders issued by police agencies addressing specific situations (such as vehicles impounded for criminal investigative purposes).
Whenever used in this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, the following terms will have the meanings indicated:
- Any incident or occurrence in which one or more vehicles contact each other or other objects, thereby causing personal injury or property damage.
- Any person driving a tow truck for hire upon public roadways.
- FOR HIRE
- Any incident where a fee, charge or other consideration is directly or indirectly imposed for towing, carrying or removing of a vehicle, including any case where any person makes repairs on a towed vehicle for compensation, even if no charge is expressly imposed for towing such vehicle.
- The control and direction of the use of vehicles for towing for hire for places within the Village.
- Owning, leasing, renting or controlling one or more tow trucks for hire and driving or operating or causing any such vehicle to be operated upon the public roadways.
- Any individual, sole proprietorship, firm, partnership, association, corporation or other organization, and the singular or plural, masculine, feminine or neuter thereof, unless the contrary is clearly expressed.
- The retrieval of a disabled or abandoned motor vehicle from off the paved portion of a street by another vehicle for hire.
- REGISTERED MOTOR VEHICLE REPAIR SHOP
- Any person who, for compensation, is wholly or partially engaged in the business of repairing or diagnosing motor vehicle malfunctions or repairing motor vehicle bodies, fenders or other components damaged by accident or otherwise and currently registered with the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles according to the Vehicle and Traffic Law of New York State.
- SERVICE CALL
- A request for assistance from a tow truck which does not involve towing but is limited to rendering emergency assistance for such categories as battery charges, flat tires, lockouts or gasoline supply.
- The moving or removing of disabled or abandoned motor vehicles by another vehicle for hire. Towing includes recovery unless the context indicates otherwise.
- TOW TRUCK
- A motor vehicle for hire which is either equipped for carrying, lifting and removing of any disabled motor vehicle or used in the business of removing disabled motor vehicles.
It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in the business of towing within the Village of Cornwall on Hudson unless a license therefor shall first have been obtained from the Village Clerk as hereinafter provided, except no license shall be required for persons whose business consists solely of towing to and from registered motor vehicle repair shops.
Except as herein otherwise provided, every person who wants to operate a tow truck or otherwise engage in the business of towing upon the public roadways within the Village shall apply to the Village Board of Trustees on a form provided by the Village Clerk. The applicant shall subscribe the application under an oath and provide the following information thereon:
The name and address of the applicant and the address of the place in which tow trucks are proposed to be garaged and dispatched. For an unincorporated association, the application shall include the names and addresses of each member thereof. For a corporation, the application shall contain the names and addresses of each officer, director and shareholder.
All crimes, if any, in which the applicant, member, officer, director or shareholder has been convicted, stating the name and location of the courts in which convicted and the dates on which such convictions were had and the penalties imposed therefor.
The experience of the applicant or, if an unincorporated association or a corporation, of its members, officers, directors and shareholders in the towing of vehicles for hire.
The number of vehicles proposed to be operated by the applicant and a description of each such vehicle, including the make, model, year of manufacture, New York registration number and vehicle identification number.
The name, address and driver's license number of each driver employed by the applicant.
The location and description of any and all registered motor vehicle repair shops proposed to be used by the applicant, with a photograph of each.
Whether the applicant wishes his name to appear in the towing roster as detailed herein.
Proof of insurance in a form approved by the Village Attorney and in the minimum amount of $1,000,000 single limit general liability coverage naming the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson as an additional insured.
Proof of valid registration and inspection of each tow truck to be operated.
Any other relevant information which the Village Board of Trustees may require from time to time as it deems appropriate.
Within seven days after receipt of an application, the Village Clerk shall refer the application to the Village of Cornwall on Hudson Police Department for investigation. The Chief of Police shall cause an investigation to be made of the applicant and of his proposed business operation to be licensed. All applicants shall execute consents for release of information as may be required. The Chief of Police may delegate the inspection to an independent person, who may or who may not be engaged in business in the Village, who shall be qualified by experience and training to make such inspection and who shall report to the Chief of Police. Within 14 days after referral, the Chief of Police shall report to the Village Board of Trustees the results of the investigation.
Applicants for a license will be required to pay a nonrefundable fee in the amount established by resolution of the Village Board of Trustees. A schedule of such fees shall be on file with the Village Clerk. All fees shall be payable to the Village Clerk.
As a minimum, all applicants must be able to demonstrate, before issuance of a license, that they meet the following qualifications as a prerequisite to obtaining a license:
The applicant owns, leases, operates or maintains, or has a contract with, a bona fide registered motor vehicle repair shop, as those terms are defined herein, within the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson or within a ten-mile distance of the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson Village line. If the applicant does not own the premises on which the motor vehicle repair shop is situated, a written lease for use of the premises, or for service from the motor vehicle repair shop covering the term of the towing license, must be provided.
The applicant maintains twenty-four-hour capability to answer emergency calls regarding motor vehicles. The applicant or one of its employees shall be reachable by phone at all times at a designated phone number or numbers. Applicants must respond to all calls for towing on a twenty-four-hour-per-day seven-day-per-week basis, without exception, and be on the scene within 20 minutes of being requested.
Equipment. The applicant must have a minimum of one or more suitable towing vehicles, reasonably equipped as required by § 148-13 hereof to furnish emergency towing services. Towing vehicle(s), if not owned by the applicant, shall be under sole lease by the applicant for the term of the towing license.
An applicant must own or lease, for the term of the license, a secure storage lot for a minimum of five cars. Such storage lot shall be within 1/2 mile from the applicant's repair facility.
An applicant shall demonstrate the equipment in use at the time of inspection is capable of two-way communication between the point of incoming calls for assistance and the farthest point in the zone. Either radio or mobile telephone shall be considered adequate for this purpose.
The applicant demonstrates an ability to meet all other conditions of this chapter.
Upon the adoption of a resolution by the Village Board of Trustees approving the application, the Village Clerk shall issue a license to the applicant, a copy of which must be kept in all towing vehicles at all times while conducting operations under the license. All licenses issued hereunder shall expire on the 31st day of December next succeeding the date of issuance, unless sooner suspended or revoked by the Cornwall on Hudson Village Board of Trustees as hereinafter provided. Licenses are not transferable, delegable or assignable.
No license shall be issued or renewed which shall permit the use of any vehicle as a tow truck unless or until the Chief of Police has inspected and certified it as conforming to the requirements of this chapter and having been duly inspected as required by the Vehicle and Traffic Law of New York State.
On each side of every truck, the owner shall display, by painting, magnetic sign or other similar means, the name, address and telephone number of the licensee by letters and numbers of not less than three inches high. Leased trucks must also have the licensee's name, address and telephone number similarly affixed to each side of the truck.
Any license issued hereunder may be renewed annually for an additional one-year period upon filing of an application containing all the information required by the provisions of this chapter for original applications, upon payment of the required fee, and upon satisfactory completion of the required inspections and investigations.
No person shall drive a tow truck who is under the age of 18 years and who has not in his possession a CDL A, B, C or Non-CDL C class driver's license with a tow truck endorsement duly issued to him to operate a tow truck vehicle in the State of New York.
A tow truck license hereunder shall be issued subject to the following conditions:
Licensees, their agents and servants shall keep and maintain towing equipment which is adequate to perform such towing in a reasonably competent manner.
Each licensee hereunder shall record the details of each disabled vehicle towed, serviced or transported by him or his agents or servants or employees, with full information concerning the details surrounding the hire, the name of the owner of the towed vehicle and the name of the patron engaging him, which records shall be kept open for inspection at all times to a duly authorized representative of the Police Department of the Village or of the Village Board of Trustees.
Insurance and indemnification. The licensee shall assume all responsibility and liability for damages to persons or property that may accrue during the operation of any of the licensee's vehicles through the negligence of itself, its agents or employees, or from any other cause, and agrees to hold harmless the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson. For such purposes, the licensee shall obtain and maintain, at the licensee's own cost and expense, for the term of the tow license, protective liability insurance in accordance with the minimum requirements. This insurance is to protect the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson and all employees of the named insured. There shall be no coinsured parties covered by this policy. The policy shall cover liability of the named insured for damages for any actions resulting from the use of the license, including omissions and supervisory actions of the Village. The subscribing company shall agree that no policy insured shall be changed or canceled until 30 days' notice has been given to the Village. Failure to maintain proper insurance on file with the Village will result in immediate suspension or termination.
The licensee must furnish and use an invoice in a format approved by the Village, which shall include a rate schedule.
The tow trucks of licensees shall be equipped at all times with the equipment required by the Department of Transportation (DOT), including but not limited to emergency flashing amber lights, fire extinguishers, a winch with steel cable, DOT triangular road reflectors, red railroad-type flares, a broom, a shovel and an approved first-aid kit. All equipment shall be maintained in good condition and in satisfactory working order.
Every licensee who wants to add to the number of tow trucks he is duly licensed to operate shall pay to the Village Clerk the required fee established by the Village Board of Trustees and file a written application, under an oath, with the Village Clerk, stating:
The Village Board of Trustees of the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson hereby authorizes the establishment of towing rosters to coordinate service calls and the towing of disabled and/or abandoned motor vehicles from the streets and highways of the Village.
The Village Board of Trustees hereby authorizes and designates the Chief of Police of the Cornwall-on-Hudson Police Department to control and administer the towing roster. The roster shall be operated on a per-day rotational basis furnished to the Town of Cornwall dispatchers for police calls. The rosters shall be posted in the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson Police Department and Town of Cornwall Communications Center.
Any licensee, upon request, shall be placed on the towing roster to be called in rotation to remove vehicles from scenes of accidents, disabled vehicles or vehicles otherwise left in violation of law, if he complies with the following requirements:
The licensee swears under an oath that he has a contract with or owns, rents, operates or maintains a bona fide, legally permitted registered motor vehicle repair shop within a twenty-minute daytime and nighttime response time to all parts of the Village.
The licensee agrees to submit to the Village Board of Trustees for its approval a statement of charges which may be imposed for towing services, and those charges for towing services will not exceed the approved posted charges for such services. No licensee or his agents or servants shall solicit or demand from any person any pay, commission or emolument whatever, except the proper fee authorized for transporting the disabled vehicle in accordance with the schedule of service rates as established by resolution of the Village Board of Trustees and filed with the Village Clerk. The schedule of service rates may exclude regulation of fees which may be charged for service calls and discretionary, voluntary towing services.
If more than one licensee is needed at the scene of an accident, the dispatcher shall call the next licensee in rotation. Each licensee at the scene shall assist the police in clearing the motor vehicles from the public highways toward the shoulder of the highways.
A duly qualified licensee shall have but one place on the towing roster although he maintains several licensed tow trucks in the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson.
A licensee who does not answer a call for assistance or who fails to arrive at the designated location where assistance is requested within the required twenty-minute daytime and nighttime response time, or who is otherwise unavailable when called, shall lose his turn on the towing roster and must wait for the roster to be called in its entirety before he is eligible to be called again.
It shall be unlawful for any person who is not designated from the towing roster, or who does not have the prior consent and direction of a police officer at the scene or the owner of the vehicle, to tow away any motor vehicle which has been involved in an accident. The police officer at the scene of an accident will determine when a vehicle shall be removed. If no police officer is present at the scene of an accident, no vehicle shall be towed unless a police officer has been notified or has been at the scene.
It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit towing or body work at the scene of any motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway or on private property within the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson.
It shall be unlawful for any person to drive along any public street or highway within the Village for the purposes of soliciting towing work.
The stopping of any tow truck within 500 feet of the scene of any accident or disabled vehicle on any public street or highway in the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson without the prior authorization of the operator or owner of the vehicle, an officer of the Village Police Department or member of the New York State Police shall be presumptive evidence of the intent of the operator of the tow truck to solicit towing.
Each towing firm responding to a call for service must supply the owner/operator of the vehicle who is at the scene with a card containing the towing firm's business name, address, phone number, hours of operation and a written summary of the expected charges.
Nothing within this chapter shall prevent a vehicle owner from choosing to call a tower who is not on the Village towing roster; provided, however, that should that tower be unable to respond in what the police officer at the scene feels is a reasonable period of time, and the police officer at the scene has safety concerns regarding the vehicle's location, the officer may supersede the desires of the owner and call a tower based upon the roster.
The owner or driver of any disabled vehicle shall have the right to require the services of any available tow truck, and it shall be unlawful for any owner or driver of any licensed tow truck to refuse to render such services.
Licensed tow truck owners and drivers, when required, will answer all communications received from the Village Board of Trustees or the Chief of Police.
It shall be unlawful for any owner or driver to refuse to surrender a license or licenses to the Village Clerk, upon demand, after such license or licenses have been suspended, revoked or expired.
Any complaint about the application or enforcement of this chapter by any owner or driver of a tow truck directed at the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson Police Department shall be made in writing, stating the particulars thereto, and presented to the Chief of Police. It shall be the Chief of Police's responsibility to notify the Village Board of Trustees of all such complaints.
No licensee on the towing roster may charge for towing (excluding recovery) services, cleanup or storage covered by these regulations more than the schedule of charges established and/or approved by the Village Board of Trustees.
A licensee shall not require that a vehicle be towed to any particular shop for repairs but shall tow the vehicle to any location designated by the operator of the towed vehicle.
A licensee shall bill the operator of the disabled vehicle using an invoice approved in format by the Village according to § 148-12D hereof. No other invoice may be used.
No licensee shall induce or require any operator of a motor vehicle being charged for towing or other services to execute a waiver of liability for damages to his vehicle caused by the licensee, and no such waiver of liability shall be legally enforced. This shall not apply in cases of off-road recovery or lockouts.
No yard charges will be assessed for moving of vehicles while in the licensee's possession. Vehicles must be available for release at the rates approved by the Village Board of Trustees Monday through Saturday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Extra charges may be imposed for release of a vehicle after those hours as well as Sundays and the following holidays: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day (Fourth of July), Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
It is hereby found that the presence of abandoned motor vehicles on roadways within the Village is a public nuisance and danger and a potential traffic hazard. All licensees shall be obligated, at the direction of the police, to remove any and all abandoned vehicles and secure the vehicle in its impound lot until disposition is made pursuant to law. The Village shall not be liable to the licensee for the cost of such towing, storage or impounding. The licensee agrees to accept, as total compensation for any and all obligations resulting from towing, storage and impounding such vehicles, the rights granted to the licensee under the Vehicle and Traffic Law. Disposition of all impounded vehicles shall be according to the Vehicle and Traffic Law. Any vehicle impounded by order of the police shall not be released to the owner without written or verbal authorization from the Police Department.
The Police Department shall have the power to require tow trucks to remove vehicles where:
There is obstruction of a public right-of-way or private property.
A vehicle has been vandalized or presents a fire or safety hazard.
An abandoned vehicle bears no discernible registration or identification data.
An abandoned vehicle is not licensed or operable.
A vehicle is violating any emergency no-parking provisions as set forth in the Village Code.
Any other condition where permitted or required by law.
A licensee called to the scene of an accident must, if deemed necessary by the police officer on duty at the scene, sweep away or clean up any debris, provided that he is furnished with police protection against moving vehicles at the scene. A licensee may recoup any expenses incurred in connection with the disposal of hazardous wastes and the reasonable labor costs for cleanup of the site, provided that such labor charges are not more than the schedule of charges established and/or approved by the Village Board of Trustees.
Any license issued hereunder may be suspended by the Village Board of Trustees if the licensee thereof shall violate any provision of this chapter, any rule or regulation adopted hereunder or any local law of the Village or if the Licensee is convicted of the violation of any traffic law, ordinance or regulation of the State of New York or of any municipality of the State of New York or of any crime or is guilty of making a false statement or misrepresentation in his application. Any license issued hereunder may be suspended, pending a hearing for revocation, by the Village Board of Trustees if the holder thereof shall be convicted of the commission of any crime or offense.
No license shall be revoked by the Village Board of Trustees hereunder without a hearing thereon.
Notice. The Village Clerk shall give notice thereof, stating the name and address of the applicant or licensee concerned, the subject matter of the hearing and the date, place and hour designated therefor, by mailing a copy of the notice of hearing to the applicant or licensee concerned at the address shown upon the most recent application of such applicant or licensee at least 20 days before such hearing, by certified mail.
Rights of parties. Upon any hearing, the applicant or licensee involved shall be entitled to be represented by legal counsel and to present such competent and material testimony or other evidence in his own behalf as may be relevant to the subject matter of the hearing.
Examination of witnesses. All witnesses shall be sworn and examined under oath.
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine not to exceed $250 or by imprisonment for a period not to exceed 30 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each violation of any of the provisions of this chapter and each day there is a violation thereof shall be deemed and taken to be a separate and distinct offense. In addition, the Village Board of Trustees, after a hearing, may revoke or suspend any license issued hereunder or may refuse to renew any license previously issued hereunder for violation of any of the provisions of this chapter.