Township of Middle, NJ
Cape May County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Middle 1-5-1998 by Ord. No. 1001-97. Amendments noted where applicable.]
A. 
There is hereby created a township towing rotation list (TRL). The list shall be utilized for the dispatching of towing vehicles by the Township Police Department. Those towing businesses on the TRL shall be dispatched in the order they appear on the list.
B. 
Any individual wishing to operate a truck for the purpose of participation on the township towing rotation list within the confines of the Township of Middle shall apply to the Township Clerk for a towing license. No towing business or service station operating solely for the purpose of towing vehicles at the request of the owner or operator shall be required to obtain a towing license.
C. 
For purposes of this chapter, "towing" shall be defined as the removal of a vehicle from public or private property at the request of the Middle Township Police Department or any law enforcement agency and the transport thereof to a secured facility designated by the township or by the owner, as the case may be.
[Added 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001]
A. 
For the convenience of the public and the Middle Township Police Department and to reduce excessive mileage charges, any business applying for a towing license shall have a place of business and storing yard located within the confines of the Township of Middle. Any vehicles used to tow vehicles under the provisions of this chapter also must be principally garaged within the confines of the Township of Middle.
B. 
The application for a towing license shall include the provision of the following information: description of each vehicle to be used for towing, including model, year, gross vehicle weight, license plate number, vehicle identification number, type of towing mechanism, name and address of owner(s) and operator(s), location of place of business and storage yard(s). If the applicant is a corporation, limited liability company or partnership, the application shall disclose the name and address of every shareholder and/or principal, together with the percentage of ownership. Each applicant must pay an application fee of $450 per year.
[Amended 4-17-2006 by Ord. No. 1218-06[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: The effective date for licensing fees amended by this ordinance is 1-1-2007.
C. 
Each tow firm is required to maintain a minimum of two flatbed or wrecker-type tow vehicles.
[Added 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001]
Upon approval said license shall be prominently displayed at the place of business in Middle Township. In addition, each vehicle shall be issued a sticker as provided in § 229-4 which must be displayed on the driver side door of the vehicle. Each sticker shall be assigned to a single vehicle and may not be interchanged with other vehicles. Each vehicle can only be registered to one place of business.
A. 
Each truck shall be inspected by a person authorized and designated by township. Trucks will be inspected to ensure they are equipped as directed by this chapter.
B. 
Each applicant shall purchase a sticker for each vehicle which has passed inspection and is intended for use for towing as defined herein within the confines of the Township of Middle. Each truck utilized for towing shall display the said sticker on the front lefthand door of the vehicle driver's side. The fee for each said sticker shall be $50, per year.
[Amended 4-17-2006 by Ord. No. 1218-06[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: The effective date for licensing fees amended by this ordinance is 1-1-2007.
C. 
Each licensee shall provide the township with proof of its maintenance of workmen's compensation insurance coverage as required by law.
[Added 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001]
Each truck operator shall maintain general liability insurance for his business in the amount of $300,000 incident and $1,000,000 aggregate and garagekeepers legal liability insurance in the amount of $50,000 for comprehensive and collision per incident. In addition, the Township of Middle shall be designated as additional insured.
A. 
When licensed tow truck drivers are called from the rotation list, the Police Department has jurisdiction over which vehicle will be towed first. This condition will remain in effect regardless of bow many tow truck companies are called to the aid of the Police Department or how many vehicles need the services of a tow truck at each occurrence.
B. 
Prior to towing a vehicle, the driver of the licensed tow truck shall inspect the vehicle to be towed and make written record of any vehicle defects observed on prenumbered approved (by Chief of Police) forms. Following the tow, the total mileage traveled will be noted on the written record, as well as any additional charges, and a copy shall immediately be provided to the owner.
C. 
Every towing service operator shall keep a log of all vehicles towed by his trucks. The log shall be in a bound book and shall contain, with respect to each tow, the form number for that tow as enumerated in Subsection B above, the date, time, location of from where the vehicle was towed, license plate, number, and date of the vehicle, make and model, and notes of any defects noticed in inspecting the vehicle.
D. 
Verbal notification of a tow shall be made to Police Dispatch within 30 minutes of the completion of the tow. A record of each tow shall be filed with the Middle Township Police Department on a form prescribed by the Police Department. This form must be filed within two hours of the tow if the tow occurs before 9:00 p.m. After 9:00 p.m. it must be filed by noon of the following day. This record shall consist of a copy of the form listed in Subsection B above and may be filed electronically.
E. 
Each tow truck shall be minimally equipped with the following:
(1) 
Amber emergency flashing lights (strobe or revolving).
(2) 
Shovel and broom for cleaning debris.
(3) 
Flares.
(4) 
DOT approved emergency roadside reflectors.
(5) 
DOT approved fire extinguisher.
(6) 
Hand held lighting devices (1 per crew member).
(7) 
First aid kit.
(8) 
Bolt or heavy duty cable cutters.
(9) 
Reflectorized, day-glo orange safety vests (one per crew member).
(10) 
Business cards containing company name, location, day and evening phone numbers for distribution to vehicle owner/operators.
(11) 
Oil Dri or similar material for liquid spills.
(12) 
All necessary tools and implements for properly and safely towing vehicles.
F. 
All specified personal safety equipment must be utilized by tow company personnel while engaged in a township requested or authorized tow.
G. 
Each tow operator shall store each towed vehicle in an area which provides appropriate security and protection for the towed vehicle and which is in compliance with all state and township regulations. Appropriate security and protection shall mean within a locked, fenced-in area or building. Maximum daily storage fees shall be as follows:
(1) 
Outside storage (unsecured area): $12 per day.
(2) 
Outside storage (secured area): $20 per day.
[Amended 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1076-2001]
(3) 
Inside storage: $18 per day
(a) 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Former Subsection G(3)(a), regarding storage fees for vehicles towed as a result of theft or accident, was repealed 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001.
(b) 
Fees for storage on township property shall be regulated by Ordinance No. 870-93.[2]
[Amended 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001]
[2]
Editor's Note: Ordinance No. 870-93 is codified as Chapter 242 of this Code.
(4) 
No storage fees shall be imposed during the first day of storage. Fees will be applicable starting the second day. In accident- and theft-related incidents, if the vehicle is not picked up by the owner or his agent after the second day of storage, the tow firm then may impose storage fees beginning on the day of tow (first day).
[Amended 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001]
H. 
Each tow operator shall provide a form to release a vehicle to its owner or its representative and a receipt for payment of services. Such receipt shall include an itemized list of all charges and mileage.
I. 
Impounded vehicles will be towed to a storage facility directed by the Township of Middle Police Department, i.e., Public Works compound of the township. The Township of Middle shall assume any and all liability upon said impounded vehicles. The tow operator shall not be entitled to charge a storage fee for those impounded vehicles. The Police Department shall make every effort to release the impounded vehicle to the tow firm or the owner or his agent at the earliest possible convenience.
[Amended 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001]
J. 
Facilities; hours; transporting vehicles.
(1) 
Each tow operator shall deposit towed vehicles only at a facility providing personnel on site for the owner to recover his vehicle. Such location shall be open and personnel available to assist customers between the hours of 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday.[3] No tow operator shall unreasonably deny access to a vehicle by an owner or his agent for the purposes of removing the vehicle from its place of storage, providing all permitted fees for towing and storage are satisfied.
[3]
Editor's Note: Ord. No. 1218-06, adopted 4-17-2006, provided that: “Release of a vehicle on Sundays shall be between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. by appointment only. No fee shall be assessed by the towing company.”
(2) 
It shall be deemed, during normal business hours, the amount of time exceeding one hour to be deemed unreasonable in length.
[Added 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001]
(3) 
The owner or his designated agent shall make arrangements with the tow firm to make payment or to pick up the motor vehicle by first contacting the affected tow firm in person or by phone in advance; this in an attempt to alleviate any unreasonable delay in releasing the vehicle.
[Added 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001]
(4) 
During normal business hours if a vehicle's owner requests a vehicle involved in an accident or theft be transported to a facility other than the tow firm's storage yard, the tow firm shall make a reasonable effort to accommodate this request. After normal business hours and on weekends and holidays, the towed vehicle shall be taken to the tow firm's storage yard and arrangements made to have that vehicle transported to the owner's requested designation at the next earliest convenience.
[Added 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001]
K. 
All vehicles towed under the provisions of this chapter must be stored in the Township of Middle, unless the owner of the vehicle requests otherwise.
L. 
Each vehicle used to tow shall be identified on the driver and passenger side front doors with the following information in at least three inch letters; name of the operator, city of business, and phone number.
M. 
No tow operator shall pay a commission to any person who requests towing service.
N. 
A copy of the township's towing regulations shall be posted and available to the public at the tow operators place of business within the Middle Township and at any separate storage area operated by the licensee.
O. 
The tow operator shall notify the Township Police Department within 24 hours if a vehicle has not been claimed within 24 hours of the time it was towed. A vehicle shall be considered as claimed if the tow operator is contacted by the owner or his agent and arrangements have been made for release of the vehicle.
P. 
All required forms will be supplied by the tow operator at his sole expense. The Police Department will provide the samples needed for forms necessary to comply with the license requirements of this chapter.
Q. 
All personnel employed or utilized by the tower while engaged in a township requested or authorized tow shall be at least 18 years of age. All such personnel must possess a valid driver's license.
[Amended 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001]
R. 
No person or entity may appear on the rotation list more than once. Any person or entity holding more than a 10% interest in any towing business shall disqualify from the rotation list any other towing business which he/it owns more than a 10% interest.
This provision shall not apply to persons holding an interest in more than one towing business if the businesses in question meet the following criteria:
(1) 
The businesses have different names.
(2) 
The businesses have different locations.
(3) 
The businesses utilize different storage lots.
(4) 
The businesses maintain separate insurance policies.
(5) 
The vehicles owned by the respective businesses are separately registered to the respective businesses.
A. 
No unlicensed tow operator may be placed on the Township of Middle towing rotation list to be called to tow vehicles as required by the Township Police Department.
B. 
The towing rotation list shall have two categories; one for regular tows (requiring a regular duty conventional or flatbed truck), and a heavy duty list which requires a heavy duty conventional or flatbed truck. Regular tows shall be vehicles under 26,001 pounds of gross vehicle weight rating. Heavy duty tows shall be vehicles over 26,001 pounds of gross vehicle weight rating. Companies may be on either or both lists.
C. 
The tow list shall be constructed in such a way that all tow operators are listed and are called on a rotating basis for each of the two categories of tows. If called by the Police Department for a tow, a tow operator must respond to the scene of the tow within 20 minutes of the call or the next operator on the list will be called and the tow will be forfeited. If a tow operator does not answer the telephone when called, his turn will also be forfeited, and the next operator will be called until one is reached and responds.
D. 
When a tow operator is requested to tow a vehicle from the scene of an accident, the tow operator shall clean and remove all vehicular debris from the area of the accident.
E. 
Direct refusal of a tow operator to respond to a tow and/or repeated failure to respond to a call within 20 minutes may be grounds for suspension from the public towing list. "Responding" (for the purpose of this section and defining a "call-out-fee") means that the tow truck has arrived at the scene as requested, and not enroute. "Repeated" means three or more occurrences within a two month period without prior notification of unavailability.
F. 
Any tow operator who is called pursuant to the towing rotation list and who shall designate another towing operator to appear in his place shall be deemed to be in violation of this chapter. No towing operator may utilize a vehicle from another entity to satisfy his obligation to appear under the terms of the rotation list. In the event that any tow operator shall do so, he shall be deemed to be in violation of this chapter.
[Added 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001]
A. 
The sale of abandoned and towed vehicles shall comply with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1 et seq.
B. 
Upon submission to the township of the appropriate forms by the tow operator after a vehicle has been held for 20 business days, the township shall make all necessary arrangements for the filing of said forms with the state and the holding of a public auction sale of the vehicle in accordance with law. Auctions will take place within the limits allowed by N.J.S.A. 39:10A-01.
C. 
When a vehicle is sold, the minimum bid price shall be a total of towing and storage fees accumulated on the vehicle as of the date of the sale. Should there be no bid on the vehicle the tow operator shall be assigned ownership of the vehicle by the township pursuant to the forms filed by the operator for a duplicate or junk title as liquidated damages for the accumulated fees. If bids are received, the township shall receive the fees and will then pay the tow operator the total of the accumulated fees. No other payment shall be made by the township or an owner. Once the vehicle is sold at auction within the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:10A-1 et seq. the owner of vehicle has given up all rights of ever taking possession of the vehicle.
A. 
For the purposes of this chapter, all licensed operators shall charge the following maximum fees:
[Amended 3-5-2001 by Ord. No. 1074-2001]
(1) 
The standard towing fee applicable for all days and evenings, weekends and holidays shall be $125.
[Amended 4-17-2006 by Ord. No. 1218-06]
(2) 
The fee for special tows shall be the same as the fees for accident tows.
(3) 
The fee for call out shall be $20.
(4) 
The fee for hookup (if a vehicle has been hooked up and ready to tow and then claimed by its owner) shall be $30.
(5) 
Accident-, theft-related tow, or impound: $125. This to include any normal cleanup at the incident location.
[Amended 4-17-2006 by Ord. No. 1218-06]
(6) 
Any scene cleanup that exceeds the normal amount, a flat fee will be imposed of $20.
(7) 
All waste deemed to be hazardous will be cleaned up by the local Fire Department. No fee will be imposed.
(8) 
If extra personnel is required at the scene of an accident- or theft-related tow, a fee will be imposed to cover the extra man/vehicle needed: $25.
(9) 
Standby time. If a tow operator is called to the scene of an accident- or theft-related tow and is required to wait at that scene prior to removing the vehicle, this by direction of the Police Department, a fee to be imposed of $25 per hour.
(10) 
Yard fee. A fee to be imposed on accident-, theft-related tows or impound to cover any additional moving or inspection of said towed vehicle while vehicle is at the storage facility, a one-time fee to be imposed of $35.
[Amended 4-17-2006 by Ord. No. 1218-06]
(11) 
Winching/uprighting of vehicle: $2.25 per foot as measured from rear of tow truck.
[Amended 4-17-2006 by Ord. No. 1218-06]
(12) 
Towing of Township vehicles: $65.
(13) 
Towing of motorcycles: $125.
[Amended 4-17-2006 by Ord. No. 1218-06]
(14) 
Dual-wheeled light trucks up to 10,000 pounds: $125.
[Amended 4-17-2006 by Ord. No. 1218-06]
(15) 
Dual-wheeled trucks 10,000 to 18,000 pounds: $125.
[Amended 4-17-2006 by Ord. No. 1218-06]
(16) 
Other vehicles over 19,000 pounds gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) but under 26,001 pounds GVWR without air brakes: $125.
(17) 
Heavy tows, vehicles 26,001 pounds and above GVWR. The rates in this section shall apply to upright vehicles at the time the tow truck arrives on the scene.
(a) 
Minimum rate: $150.
(b) 
Heavy tow winching, use of two lines: $3.50 per foot.
(c) 
Extra personnel, if needed: $50 per hour.
(18) 
Mileage for heavy tow. No mileage fee will be imposed if the tow is within the Township of Middle.
(19) 
Show up fee for heavy tows: $100.
(20) 
Beach tows/and or major off-road tows, gravel, pits, etc.: $125.
(21) 
The following is the daily fee schedule for storage services:
[Amended 4-17-2006 by Ord. No. 1218-06; 12-17-2007 by Ord. No. 1283-07]
(a) 
Tow operators licensed by the Township of Middle shall have a maximum rate of $25 daily storage.
(b) 
Vehicles stored at the Township facilities that have been recovered as stolen, abandoned, and/or accident shall be charged a fee of $25 per day once the Township’s Police Department has documented notification that the owner of the vehicle has been requested to remove said vehicle. The rate of $25 per day shall begin five days after the Police Department has documented notification of the owner.
B. 
There shall be no other surcharges or service charges applied to any vehicles for whatever reason.
C. 
In no case will the Township of Middle be liable to the tow operator for towing, waiting, storage, or cancellation charges.
D. 
Complaints of any kind relative to overcharging, services, theft of parts, damage to towed or stored vehicles, and the like, shall be referred to the Chief of Police for investigation. Such violations may be cause for imposition of penalties by the Chief of Police pursuant to § 229-11 of the Code of the Township of Middle.
[Added 2-7-2005 by Ord. No. 1178-05]
E. 
Towers must provide customers with various ways to pay the towing fees, including personal check, credit card, debit card and cash. If tower does not provide customers with alternative ways of payment other than cash, tower will be in violation of this chapter.
[Added 2-7-2005 by Ord. No. 1178-05]
The Township Committee is hereby empowered to promulgate and adopt rules and regulations to implement the intent of this chapter.
A. 
Any person who violates any section of this chapter shall upon conviction thereof, be subject to imprisonment not exceeding 90 days and/or a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, and a license suspension for a period to be determined by the Chief of Police. Each day that any violation of any section of this chapter shall exist shall constitute a separate offense and shall be charged as separate offense by the issuance of additional process.
B. 
Removal from towing list
(1) 
In addition to any penalty set forth in Subsection A above, any tow operator who violates any provision of this chapter shall be subject to removal from the towing list. In the event that a complaint is lodged with the Township of Middle or any subdivision thereof, against any towing operator, the complaint shall be investigated by the Township Police Department.
(2) 
Upon completion of the investigation, the Chief of Police may, in his sole discretion suspend the offending tow operation from the public towing list for a term as follows:
First Offense - 30 days
Second Offense - 90 days
Third Offense - 1 year
Any subsequent offense - permanent removal.
(3) 
Any tow operator may contest the action of the Chief of Police by the filing of a written appeal. The written appeal must be submitted within 10 days of the determination of the Chief of Police. In the event of the filing of an appeal, the Chief of Police, or his designee, shall conduct a hearing at which the tow operator may present evidence of his own defense. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Chief of Police may affirm, modify, or reverse his prior determination.