[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Riverton 11-14-2012 by Ord. No. 4-2012. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purposes of this chapter are to:
Establish a requirement and procedure for the licensing of individuals and entities providing towing and storage services to the Borough Police Department.
Establish, in the interest of public safety, a uniform policy for the towing and storage of motor vehicles towed and stored at the request of the Borough Police Department.
Establish uniform fees for towing and storage services.
This chapter shall apply to all motor vehicle towing and storage operations performed at the request of the Riverton Police Department.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A private passenger motor vehicle.
- 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 incidental thereto, but does not include recovery of an automobile from a position beyond the right-of-way or berm or from being impaled upon any other object within the right-of-way or berm.
- The Borough of Riverton.
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Includes all vehicles propelled otherwise than by muscular power, except such vehicles as run only upon rails or tracts or motorized bicycles.
- TOW OPERATOR
- A person engaged in the business of towing and storing motor vehicles or offering the services of a tow vehicle or tow truck and storage services.
- TOW VEHICLE or TOW TRUCK
- Those vehicles equipped with a boom or booms, winches, slings, tilt beds, wheel lifts or under-reach equipment specifically designed by their manufacturer for the removal or transport of motor vehicles, including flatbed vehicles, employed for the purpose of towing, transporting, conveying and/or removing motor vehicles which are unable to be operated under their own power from one place to another for which a charge or fee is extracted.
No person shall engage in the business of towing or storing motor vehicles at the direction of the Borough of Riverton Police Department without first obtaining a tow operator's license therefor. Nothing herein shall require licensing for the rendering of road service or for the provision of towing and storage services within the Borough other than at the request of the Borough Police Department.
Applicants for a license under this chapter shall file with the Borough Clerk a sworn application on a form to be furnished by the Clerk, which shall include the following information and certification:
The full name and address of the applicant. If the application is made for a corporation, it shall state the names and addresses of the officers and directors thereof, its registered agent and the names and residential addresses of every stockholder owning more than 10% of the issued stock.
The year, make and type of each tow vehicle used in said business, its serial number, registration number and registered owner.
The address where the tow vehicle or vehicles shall be regularly garaged, the telephone number or numbers and the hours during which service is available at those numbers and the names, addresses and New Jersey driver's license numbers of all operators.
The location, size and security features of the storage lot or space in which towed vehicles will be stored, including the number of spaces available. The storage lot shall be designated either as:
"Inside building": a vehicle storage facility that is completely indoors, having one or more openings in the walls for storage and removal of vehicles that are secured by a locking device on each opening; or
"Outside secured": a vehicle storage facility that is not indoors and is secured by a fence, walls or other man-made barrier that is at least six feet high. The facility is to be lighted at night so that all vehicles may be plainly visible.
The name and address of the insurance carriers and the policy numbers of all insurance policies as required by § 122-9 of this chapter.
A copy of the operator's current fee schedule for towing and storage services, separately listing towing and storage fees for automobiles and other motor vehicles.
A certification that on-call towing and storage services will be available 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
A certification that the fees and procedures required by this chapter shall be complied with at all times.
A statement that the Chief of Police or his designee may at any reasonable time conduct an inspection of the tow vehicles or storage facility of any applicant or licensee for the purpose of determining compliance with this chapter.
Such other information as the Borough Clerk or Chief of Police may reasonably prescribe.
All applications for a tow operator's license shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable fee of $100 to cover the Borough's costs in processing the application. Renewal applications shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable fee of $50.
The Borough Clerk shall forward all complete applications to the Police Department, which shall conduct or cause to be conducted such investigation as it deems necessary to determine the truth and accuracy of the information contained in the application and whether the applicant meets the following minimum standards:
Neither the applicant nor any tow vehicle operator has any criminal convictions or prior motor vehicle infractions which might adversely affect public safety or welfare.
The applicant has the ability to respond to the scene in response to any request for assistance within 25 minutes after notification.
The applicant can provide on-call towing services 24 hours per day, every day of the year.
The tow trucks and equipment are in safe and sound condition and in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations. All applicants must meet minimum standards of operator performance, including but not limited to standards concerning the adequacy of the applicant's equipment and storage facilities and availability.
The applicant owns or has a valid lease to a storage facility within 10 miles of the Borough, in an area legally zoned for such use.
The applicant is in compliance with and/or has the ability to comply with all other requirements and standards set forth herein.
In addition to the minimum standards of performance referred to in the preceding subsection, all applicants are subject to disqualification if found deficient in any one of the following areas:
The Borough Police Department shall endorse its approval or disapproval of the application within 30 days of receipt. If the application is disapproved, the reasons therefor shall be set forth in writing. The Borough Clerk shall notify the applicant in writing that the application has been granted or denied. If the application is denied, the reasons for such denial shall be set forth in the notice, along with the applicant's right to appeal the denial to the Borough Council pursuant to § 122-8.
A tow operator's license shall be issued by the Borough Clerk to an approved applicant upon provision of an insurance certification pursuant to § 122-9 and approval by the Police Department. The Borough Clerk shall send a copy of the license to the Police Department for filing and shall keep a permanent record of all licenses issued.
All licenses under this chapter shall expire at the end of the calendar year in which issued. Applications for renewal, certifying any changes to the original application or certifying no change, shall be filed with the Borough Clerk at least 30 days before expiration on forms provided by the Borough Clerk. Renewal applications will be forwarded to the Borough Police Department for review and any necessary investigation in accordance with the procedures and standards set forth in § 122-5. If approved, a renewal license shall be issued.
All licenses issued under this chapter are nontransferable.
Licenses issued under this chapter may be revoked by the Borough Police Department after reasonable notice and hearing pursuant to § 122-8 for any of the following reasons:
False or materially inaccurate information in the application or a change of circumstances which would have caused disapproval of the application if existing at the time of approval.
Failure to comply with any of the requirements of this chapter, any additional regulations promulgated by the Borough Chief of Police or any state, federal or local law relating to motor vehicle operation or storage.
Unsatisfactory service which jeopardizes public safety. More than three unexcused failures to respond and/or valid complaints (as determined by the Borough Police Department after investigation) within a twelve-month period shall be considered grounds for suspension and/or revocation.
Any complaint relative to service, overcharging, theft of parts, damage, discourteous treatment or the like.
Any person aggrieved by the action of the Borough Police Department or the Borough Clerk in the denial of an application for a license or in revocation thereof or in the suspension from the Borough's on-call towing list may appeal to the Borough Council Public Safety Committee by filing with the Municipal Clerk, within 14 days after notice of the action complained of has been mailed to such person's last known address, a written request for a hearing, setting forth fully the grounds for the appeal. The Clerk will set a time and place for a hearing on such appeal, and notice shall be served on or mailed to the applicant or licensee at least five days prior to the hearing. The Public Safety Committee will forward its recommendation to Borough Council, who will make the final decision.
Every licensee shall carry insurance as follows:
Comprehensive automobile liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limits;
Workers' compensation coverage as required by state law;
Garage keeper's liability in an amount not less than $60,000 per location;
Garage liability in an amount not less than $500,000 combined single limits;
Comprehensive general liability coverage in an amount not less than $500,000 for each person and $500,000 for each accident;
Endorsements providing for collision coverage for vehicles in tow;
Endorsement naming the Borough as an additional insured in all insurance policies (except workers' compensation policies) for licensees on the Borough's on-call list.
All licensees shall hold harmless and indemnify the Borough, its officers, employees and agents from any and all liability claims, losses or damage arising or alleged to arise from the performance of the towing services requested of or rendered by the licensee. The foregoing indemnification language shall be incorporated in the general comprehensive liability policy required by § 122-9A.
All insurance policies shall be written by insurance companies acceptable to the Borough and authorized to do business in the State of New Jersey.
No license shall be issued or renewed until the applicant has filed with the Borough Clerk certificates of insurance evidencing the insurance coverage and endorsements required in § 122-9A. All certificates must provide for 30 days' prior written notice to the Borough of policy cancellation or material change.
The Borough Police Department shall maintain a list of those tow operators licensed by the Borough to respond to calls from the Borough Police Department. In order to be included on the on-call towing list, an applicant must meet all of the requirements of this chapter and shall enter into an agreement with the Borough for a term of one year.
Calls to tow operators on the on-call list shall be made on a nondiscriminatory rotating basis pursuant to procedures established by the Borough Police Department. Nothing herein shall prohibit the Borough Police Department from calling a tow operator out of sequence or seeking the services of a tow operator not on the on-call list if the circumstances require specialized equipment or if the interest of public safety so requires. If the tow operator selected does not respond to the scene within the 25 minutes after notification, the Borough Police Department shall be permitted to summon the next available tow operator. The Borough Police Department may summon another tow operator prior to the expiration of 25 minutes if circumstances so warrant. When any unusual situation occurs which may be dangerous to the safety of the public, such as a spill of toxic material or other dangerous cargo, the Borough Police Department may select any qualified tow operator.
The fees to be charged for the towing and storage services of automobiles shall be as set forth in § 122-11. In addition, the tow operator, on behalf of the Borough, shall collect an administrative fee of $20 for each vehicle towed and transmit that administrative fee to the Borough on a monthly basis. The Borough shall not be liable for the cost of any towing and/or storage services unless those services are performed on a municipal vehicle.
Inclusion on the on-call towing list shall be automatically revoked upon expiration or revocation of the tow operator's license. The Borough Police Department may also suspend a licensed tow operator's inclusion on the on-call towing list for such period of time as it considers appropriate for violations of this chapter, after a hearing on such violations. Suspensions may be appealed pursuant to the procedures set forth in § 122-8.
Nothing in this section shall prohibit a motorist or motor vehicle owner from summoning a tow operator of his or her own choosing, except that any Borough police officer at the scene of an incident requiring towing services shall be responsible for making the final determination as to when towing shall take place and which tow operator shall be called.
All vehicles towed at the request of the Borough Police Department must be removed to an approved storage facility unless the owner or operator of the vehicle specifically requests that it be towed to another destination. Any Borough police officer at the scene shall be responsible for making the final determination as to the towing destination.
No vehicle shall be released by the tow operator until the owner or agent of the vehicle produces a release form from the Borough Police Department. No verbal releases are to be accepted. The Borough is not responsible for any costs, compensation or damage which a tow operator may suffer by the Borough agreeing for a vehicle to be released. Vehicles may only be retrieved during the normal working hours of the tow operator.
No tow operator shall dispose of, destroy, remove, sell or otherwise transfer any vehicle towed at the request of the Borough Police Department without first complying with all applicable laws of the State of New Jersey and notifying the Borough Police Department of its intention to do so, in writing, at least 14 days prior to effectuating the same.
Prior to commencing any tow, the tow operator shall sign the tow report prepared by the officer on location acknowledging receipt of the vehicle.
Upon request by the Borough Police Department, the tow operator shall store a motor vehicle in an inside building as defined in § 122-4A(4). Vehicles designated by the police as being suspected as being used in criminal activity shall be stored in a separate space for the exclusive use of the Police Department and shall not be released without the written permission of the Chief of Police or detective in charge of the investigation.
In addition to any requirements set forth elsewhere in this chapter, all approved towing services must provide, in writing, an employment nondiscrimination statement prior to the issuance of said approval and must agree to comply with all state and federal laws and regulations concerning wages, hours and terms of employment.
Employees of an approved towing service shall in no way be deemed to represent or be employed by this municipality, and all such towing services shall be responsible for the conduct of their employees.
All towing and storage fees shall be disclosed in an appropriate notice on the front or top page of all invoices and receipts. Additionally, adequate public postings of such fees must be made at the storage area, in easy view of the public.
Tow operators shall advise members of the public of their right to file a complaint with the Borough Clerk. The Borough Clerk shall evaluate all such written complaints in determining whether action is required under § 122-7A. Tow operators shall maintain a detailed list of all complaints received for inspection by the Borough Clerk, which shall include, at least, the name and address of the complaining party; the date, time and place of the tow; the nature of the complaint; and the disposition of the complaint.
Fee schedule enumerated; restrictions.
No person shall be liable to any tow operator who tows or stores an automobile, including but not limited to any automobile which was damaged in an accident or recovered after being reported stolen, for any fees in excess of the schedule of fees as set forth in the enabling resolution, which is incorporated by reference.
Editor's Note: The schedule of fees is on file in the Borough offices.
For all towing services other than those defined as "basic towing service," and all vehicles other than those defined as "automobiles," the tow operator shall set reasonable and customary fees for the Burlington County area for the towing and storage of such vehicles. The tow operator shall submit annually, as part of its application or renewal thereof, its fee schedule for the towing and storage of all motor vehicles other than automobiles, which shall be subject to the review and approval of the Borough Chief of Police.
Towers are required to submit monthly, to the Borough Police Department, a copy of impound reports and invoices for each vehicle towed that month.
No person shall be liable to any tow operator for any other towing or storage services for any fees in excess of the licensee's approved fee schedule. Current fee schedules shall be submitted for approval on an annual basis at the time of application for license renewal.
When basic towing services are rendered for any automobile, there shall be no additional charges other than those provided for in Subsection A and the enabling resolution referenced therein including, but not limited to, flatbedding, waiting time, winching, cleanup costs and additional labor.
Tow vehicles transporting multiple vehicles at one time may charge the applicable fee for each vehicle transported.
Prior to hookup or flatbedding of a motor vehicle, the tow operator shall present a copy of his or her fee schedule to the owner or operator of the vehicle. The fee schedule shall also contain the name, address and telephone number of the tow operator and a statement of the hours when the motor vehicle may be claimed.
Any rates charged to a municipality must be limited in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.50.
The Borough Police Department shall promulgate such rules, regulations and procedures, not inconsistent with this chapter, as may be reasonable and necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter. Copies thereof shall be provided to all licensed tow operators and shall be made available to the public, along with copies of current fee schedules, during normal business hours. Failure to comply with applicable rules, regulations and procedures may be cause for revocation of a tow operator's license.
The Borough Police Department is hereby designated to enforce the provisions of this chapter and any applicable rules and regulations.