Town of Babylon, NY
Suffolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 12-9-1969[1]; amended in its entirety 1-22-2008 by L.L. No. 2-2008]
[1]
Editor's Note: These provisions are derived from Ch. 14 of the 1969 Unified Code of Ordinances of the Town of Babylon.
It is hereby declared and found that the towing of disabled motor vehicles in the streets of the Town is a matter affecting the public interest and should be subject to supervision and administrative control for the purpose of safeguarding the public against fraud and exorbitant rates and similar abuses and that it is of vital importance to the traveling public that disabled vehicles be removed from the highways as promptly as possible to avoid retarding the movement of traffic and possible accidents.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit towing work at the scene of any motor vehicle accident on private property or on a public highway within the Town or on a public highway within the villages within the Town, provided that the villages have approved, adopted or ratified these provisions.
B. 
No person shall monitor, directly or indirectly, the police radio of the Suffolk County Police Department for the purpose of soliciting towing work.
It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit towing work or authorization at the scene of an accident unless such tow operator is a licensed tower duly called to the scene by the Suffolk County Police Department.
No person shall operate a truck or other type of motor vehicle designed and capable to tow other motor vehicles for hire within the Town or used in connection with any business operated within the Town, unless a license shall first have been obtained for such vehicle from the Town Clerk as herein provided.
The Town Board shall adopt a schedule of reasonable fees to be charged by licensees under this chapter. Such schedule shall be adopted by resolution, subject to a public notice and hearing in the manner provided by law for the adoption of ordinances.
[Amended 8-8-2018 by L.L. No. 20-2018]
Applications for a license or license renewal required herein shall be filed with the Town Clerk, on a form supplied by the Town Clerk. The applicant must be the owner of the business or majority shareholder of the corporation. Said application shall be in the form of a sworn affidavit by the applicant, stating that all information is true and accurate, which shall include the following information:
A. 
Personal and business information.
(1) 
Personal information: the name, address, and telephone number of the applicant. Applicant must present a current government-issued photo identification of the applicant.
(2) 
Business information: the name, address, and telephone number of the business located within the Town or the address and telephone number of the location from which tow vehicles are proposed to be garaged and dispatched specifying, in the case of any unincorporated association, the names and addresses of each member thereof and, in the case of any corporation, the names and addresses of each officer, director and stockholder thereof.
(3) 
Business certificate: copies of certificates on file with a County Clerk, New York Secretary of State or other appropriate office, if applicant employs a trade or assumed name, such as "doing business as" (DBA), corporation or partnership under which the business is operated.
B. 
A statement that the applicant has read, understands and is familiar with the provisions of this article and will abide by them if issued a license.
C. 
The age and citizenship of the applicant and each member thereof, if an unincorporated association, and each officer, director and stockholder thereof, if a corporation.
D. 
The vehicle registration number and vehicle identification number of the tow truck to be operated.
E. 
A certificate of insurance that contains the amount of liability and property damage insurance on the tow truck, the name of the insurance company and the policy number. Said policy shall provide that each tow truck is covered with $100,000/$300,000 automobile liability, $5,000 property damage insurance and $5,000 garage liability insurance and shall include the Town of Babylon, its agents, servants, employees, directors and officers as additional insureds. Each licensee must have valid worker's compensation coverage or a valid worker's compensation waiver form. All insurance documents must be current and original; no photocopies will be accepted.
F. 
The schedule of maximum prices the licensee agrees to charge during the term of the license for towing motor vehicles from points within the Town and for the legal storage of such vehicles at its public garage. Such schedule may be based upon the distance that each motor vehicle is to be towed, upon the weight of the vehicle towed and upon the time of day or night such services are performed.
G. 
Whether or not the licensee wishes to be placed on the nonaccident roster.
H. 
Any other information the Town Clerk shall deem necessary for the purpose of administering the provisions of this article or to assist in determining the applicant's fitness to engage in the business of towing. Such information shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) 
Material identifying the applicant physically, referencing the applicant's good character and business responsibility, such as a current New York State driver's license.
(2) 
Record of convictions for felonies, misdemeanors or violations, including municipal codes and traffic infractions.
(3) 
The location of a storage or impoundment facility to which vehicles are to be towed may be required on the application form.
I. 
No license shall be issued or renewed until all provisions of this chapter have been complied with and the application has been approved by the Town Clerk. The applicant will be notified of the decision of the Town Clerk within 30 days from submission of a complete application.
J. 
Before issuance of a license, the Town Clerk may, at her sole discretion, require the applicant, and any others having knowledge of any facts, to submit to an examination under oath and to produce evidence relating thereto.
K. 
Any change in circumstances with regard to information required hereinabove shall be reported to the Town Clerk within 30 days of occurrence.
A. 
The Town Clerk shall not issue a license under this article to any applicant found upon investigation to have made a materially false statement or misrepresentation in his application; or whose associated storage or impoundment facility is in violation of the zoning, building or fire laws, ordinances or regulations of the municipality in which it is located; or who has been convicted of a felony in the operation of a motor vehicle, of a felony in connection with the operation of a towing business or of a felony either against the person or involving fraud.
B. 
Only one corporation, business, operator, principal or entity may operate out of any given parcel, structure, location or lot and only when said parcel, structure, location or lot has been approved by any required department, division, board or official of the Town of Babylon. Only one approved entity, corporation, business, operator or principal may operate out of any given parcel, structure, location or lot. Even if more than one business, entity, certificate of assumed name or person uses any given parcel, structure, location or lot as its address or place of business, only one tow license shall be issued and/or valid for any given parcel, structure, location or lot. Only one entry on any annual tow list shall be permitted for any given parcel, structure, location or lot.
C. 
If found to be in violation of any of the aforementioned provisions, a licensee shall be barred from reapplying for a license for two calendar years.
Each license issued pursuant to this chapter shall expire on the first day of January following the issuance thereof.
No license issued pursuant to this chapter shall be transferable from one person to another.
The fee for a license hereunder or for a renewal thereof shall be $250. The fee shall be payable to the Town Clerk.
Upon the return of the license to the Town Clerk by the licensee, the license fee will be returned to the licensee on a prorated basis, provided that the licensee has committed no acts of misconduct during the period in which the license was in force.
A license issued pursuant to this chapter shall cover only one tow truck.
The business name, address and telephone number shall be permanently affixed and legibly inscribed in letters not less than three inches high on each side of every tow truck for which a license has been granted under this chapter.
The Town Clerk shall prepare and certify the nonaccident roster to the Babylon Precinct Commander of the County Police Department in the order in which the licensees are approved for such listing. An additional fee of $200 shall be charged to be placed upon this roster.
The tow trucks of licensees on the nonaccident roster shall be equipped at all times with emergency flashing amber lights visible from front and rear, a CO2 or dry-powder fire extinguisher with a minimum capacity of 15 pounds, a carton containing at least one dozen red railroad-type flares, a dolly, a shovel and a broom for clearing highway of debris, if any. All equipment shall be maintained in good condition and in satisfactory working order.
A. 
Motor vehicles not involved in accidents but which are otherwise disabled and which are disrupting the flow of traffic and whose owners do not otherwise request assistance from a licensee or motor vehicles which are to be impounded for other reasons shall be towed away by licensees from the nonaccident roster on a rotating basis.
B. 
All vehicles directed to be impounded by a police officer will be towed to the place of impoundment designated by the police officer.
C. 
In the event that a licensee is called pursuant to this section, it shall be unlawful for the licensee to charge more than the rates provided for in § 198-17E.
Any licensee, as hereinbefore provided, who files with the Town Clerk on a form prescribed therefor, which shall include but not be limited to Subsections A through G, and who pays to the Town Clerk as provided in § 198-10 an additional fee of $200 shall be placed upon an accident roster which the County Police Department in the Town shall call upon to remove disabled vehicles from the scene of accidents. The licensee shall swear, under oath, as follows:
A. 
That he owns, operates, maintains or uses by agreement with another, to terminate at a time after the expiration of the period for which the license is to be issued, a place of storage, impoundment or repair of towed vehicles. Such place shall be located within the limits of the Town of Babylon and owned or operated by a tower operating within the limits of the Town of Babylon. Such place shall be maintained in accordance with the zoning, building and fire laws of the municipality in which it is located.
B. 
That such public garage maintains twenty-four-hour service to answer emergency calls regarding motor vehicles.
C. 
That the tow truck or trucks of such licensee are equipped with a lifting boom on the rear of the truck with a minimum ton-and-a-half power winch, equipped with 150 feet of three-eighths-inch steel cable, dual rear wheels, a CO2 or dry-powder fire extinguisher with a minimum capacity of 15 pounds, a crowbar, emergency flashing amber lights visible from front and rear, a broom, a hacksaw, an axe, a dolly, a shovel and a carton containing at least one dozen red railroad-type flares.
D. 
That each tow truck is covered with $100,000/$300,000 automobile liability, $5,000 property damage insurance and $5,000 garage liability insurance and shall include the Town of Babylon, its agents, servants, employees, directors and officers as additional insureds. The certificate of insurance shall have the name of the insurance company and the policy number. Each licensee must have valid worker's compensation coverage or a valid worker's compensation waiver form. All insurance documents must be current and original; no photocopies will be accepted.
E. 
That the licensee shall charge no more than the following maximum rates for towing from the accident scene to his place of business or to any other place within the Town designated by the owner or operator of the motor vehicle, heavy-duty vehicle and extra-heavy-duty vehicle, regardless of distance within the Town, when called by the County Police Department:
[Amended 10-19-2010 by L.L. No. 30-2010]
(1) 
Passenger cars.
(a) 
For all passenger cars, regardless of weight, and other vehicles four tons and lighter:
[1] 
Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.: $85.
[2] 
At all other times: $95.
(b) 
For purposes of this section, all other times will include holidays, i.e., New Year's Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Election Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
(c) 
For dollying: $50. "Dollying" means, for the purpose of this section, to remove or convey on a dolly.
(d) 
For winching: $25 per 1/2 hour, or fraction thereof, up to a maximum of $75. "Winching" means, for the purpose of this section, to hoist, haul or push by a winch not connected to a boom.
(e) 
For labor, to upright an overturned motor vehicle: $50.
(f) 
For flatbed towing: In those cases where a damaged passenger vehicle cannot be towed from an accident scene and the use of a flatbed tow truck is requested by a police officer, the maximum rates for towing are as follows:
[1] 
Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m.: $100.
[2] 
At all other times: $125.
(2) 
Heavy-duty vehicles.
(a) 
For all heavy-duty vehicles between four tons and 10 tons:
[1] 
Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: $250.
[2] 
At all other times: $350.
(b) 
For purposes of this section, all other times will include holidays, i.e., New Year's Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Election Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
(c) 
For dollying: $100. "Dollying" means, for the purpose of this section, to remove or convey on a dolly.
(d) 
For winching: $50 per 1/2 hour, or fraction thereof, up to a maximum of $100. "Winching" means, for the purpose of this section, to hoist, haul or push by a winch not connected to a boom.
(e) 
For labor, to upright an overturned motor vehicle: $100.
(f) 
For flatbed towing: In those cases where a damaged heavy-duty vehicle cannot be towed from an accident scene and the use of a flatbed tow truck is requested by a police officer, the maximum rates for towing are as follows:
[1] 
Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: $300.
[2] 
At all other times: $350.
(3) 
Extra-heavy-duty vehicles.
(a) 
For all extra-heavy-duty vehicles 10 tons and greater:
[1] 
Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: $300.
[2] 
At all other times: $350.
(b) 
For purposes of this section, all other times will include holidays, i.e., New Year's Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Election Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
(c) 
For dollying: $100. "Dollying" means, for the purpose of this section, to remove or convey on a dolly.
(d) 
For winching: $50 per 1/2 hour, or fraction thereof, up to a maximum of $100. "Winching" means, for the purpose of this section, to hoist, haul or push by a winch not connected to a boom.
(e) 
For labor, to upright an overturned extra-heavy-duty vehicle: $100.
(f) 
For flatbed towing: In those cases where a damaged extra-heavy-duty vehicle cannot be towed from an accident scene and the use of a flatbed tow truck is requested by a police officer, the maximum rates for towing are as follows:
[1] 
Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.: $400.
[2] 
At all other times: $450.
F. 
That the licensee shall respond to all calls of the County Police Department as hereinafter provided, regardless of the hour of the day or distance to the scene, provided that its equipment is not otherwise employed.
G. 
That the licensee shall charge a maximum of $30 per day for storage.
[Amended 8-3-2016 by L.L. No. 10-2016]
[Amended 9-15-2010 by L.L. No. 25-2010]
The Town Clerk may remove from the duty list provided for herein any operator who the Town Clerk shall determine has failed to abide by any one of the requirements set forth in § 198-17. Within 30 days of removal from the duty list, a hearing shall be had or the operator must be put back on the duty list. If a hearing is held within 30 days of the removal of an operator from the duty list, the hearing officer may continue said removal for up to three years, suspend the operator’s license for up to three years or revoke said license for up to three years or reinstate said operator to said list with no further action required.
The Town Clerk shall prepare and certify the accident roster to the Babylon Precinct Commander of the County Police Department in the order, in which the licensees are approved for such listing, of the licensees who have equipment capable of righting and towing a vehicle up to 8,000 pounds. The extra-heavy-duty roster shall be composed of licensees who have extra-large equipment, which equipment is capable of righting and towing a vehicle over 8,000 pounds and has a manufacturer's certified capacity of at least a sixteen-ton wrecker with full air brakes and one-half-inch cable. An additional fee of $200 shall be charged to be placed upon this roster.
The accident and extra-heavy-duty rosters provided for herein shall be the property of the Babylon Precinct Commander of the County Police Department. Said rosters, however, shall be posted in a public place to be chosen by said Precinct Commander during the hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, except Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.
The Babylon Precinct Commander of the County Police Department or his authorized agent is hereby authorized to designate licensees from the accident roster on a rotating basis for the purpose of towing motor vehicles from the scenes of accidents. In the event that extra-large towing equipment is needed, he shall designate a licensee from the extra-heavy-duty roster without changing the licensee's place on the accident roster.
A licensee duly qualified shall have but one place on the accident roster and/or the nonaccident roster although he may have several licensed tow trucks in the Town. For the purposes of this article, a garage owned by one or more individuals may have but one place on the accident roster.
It shall be unlawful for a licensee to assign his place on the accident or nonaccident roster to any other licensees or other person on the accident or nonaccident roster.
A licensee who does not answer the call of the Babylon Precinct Commander or who is not available when called shall lose his turn on the accident roster and shall wait for the roster to be called in its entirety before he is eligible to be called again.
A. 
It shall be unlawful for any licensee on the accident roster to willfully refuse to tow away a motor vehicle, after having appeared upon the accident scene, or to fail to arrive at the accident scene, after being duly designated and notified as hereinbefore provided, regardless of the hour of day or distance to the scene of the accident, absent good cause is shown for said refusal, such as, but not limited to, the fact that the tow truck is otherwise employed.
B. 
A conviction of violating this section shall result in an automatic suspension from the accident roster for 60 days.
It shall be unlawful for any licensee to charge any person more than the maximum prices set forth in the application for a license for the towing and storage of disabled motor vehicles.
The schedule of maximum prices to be charged by a licensee hereunder may be revised at the time application is made for a renewal of the license.
It shall be unlawful for any person who is not designated from the accident roster, as aforesaid, and who does not have the prior consent and direction of the police officer at the scene to tow away any motor vehicle which has been involved in an accident. The police officer in every case shall determine when the aforesaid motor vehicle shall be removed.
If more than one tow truck is needed at the scene of an accident, the Police Department, through its authorized agent shall call each licensee in rotation. In such event, the choice of disabled motor vehicles to be towed shall be determined by the licensees in the order in which the licensees where called, irrespective of the time a licensee arrives on the accident scene. The first licensee to appear on the scene shall, however, assist the police officer in clearing the motor vehicles from the public highway onto the shoulders or side of the highway.
Notwithstanding any provision contained in this chapter to the contrary, it shall be the right of any motor vehicle owner or operator, whose motor vehicle is to be removed by a tow truck for any reason, to direct the location to which such vehicle shall be towed.
A licensee called to the scene of an accident must sweep away or clean up any debris. The cost of such removal shall be calculated and included in the schedule of maximum towing rates adopted by the Town Board in accordance with the provisions of this article.
A. 
Required. No vehicle involved in an accident or otherwise disabled shall be removed without an authorization, on a form prescribed by the Town, signed by the owner of the vehicle or police officer in charge thereof. Such authorization shall be for the towing and storage of the vehicle only and shall show the rates to be charged for towing and storing said vehicle.
B. 
Preservation. Such signed authorization shall be retained by the licensee for a period of six months and shall be exhibited upon demand to an official of the Town or any member of the County Police Department.
C. 
Form. The towing authorization required hereunder must be in substantially the following form:
TOWING AUTHORIZATION
(Insert name, address and phone no. of licensee)
DATE __________
Name ________________________ (City)
Town
Address
Make and Type of Car
Year ________ State Registration No.
Towing Charges
(Amount shown on filed schedule not to exceed $2 for each 24 hours or part thereof.)
Tow Truck Driver's Name
Address
License No.
Medallion Number of Licensee
State Registration
I authorize the towing of the above automobile to the following place:
Signature of Owner or Police Officer in Charge
A. 
Required. A licensee shall have prepared a pad of bills containing a printed billhead showing the name and address of his place of business. A licensee shall prepare a bill on this billhead form, in duplicate, the original of which shall be furnished to the owner of the disabled vehicle or his authorized representative.
B. 
Contents. This bill must be printed in a form approved by the Town Clerk and shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The full name and address of the person engaging the tow truck. Prominently displayed beneath the billhead and above any form of authorization shall be the location to which the vehicle is to be towed, unless otherwise directed by the owner.
(2) 
The registration number of the disabled vehicle.
(3) 
The total amount to be charged for towing and storage rate per 24 hours or part thereof.
(4) 
The full name and address of the operator of the tow truck.
(5) 
The registration number of the tow truck.
(6) 
The licensee's medallion number.
The duplicate of a towing bill shall be retained by the licensee for a period of six months. These bills shall be exhibited upon demand of any official of the Town or any member of the County Police Department.
Upon payment of a bill given to the owner of a disabled vehicle or to his authorized representative, the licensee shall acknowledge receipt of payment of such bill.
No agreement between the owner or authorized operator of a vehicle to be towed under this chapter and a licensee under this chapter for the preparation of an estimate of the cost of repairs to said vehicle or for the performance of such repairs shall be enforceable by a licensee hereunder without a signed writing to that effect executed by the vehicle owner (not earlier than 48 hours after initial agreement) affirming such agreement.
Upon her own motion or upon any written complaint to the Town Clerk's office, the Town Clerk may require that a hearing be conducted by an administrative hearing officer appointed by the Town Attorney.
A. 
Permissive. Any license issued hereunder may be suspended or revoked by the administrative hearing officer if the licensee shall violate any provision of this article or any rule or regulation adopted hereunder or any ordinance of the Town or be convicted of the violation of any traffic law, ordinance or regulation of the state or of any municipality of the state or be guilty of making a false statement or misrepresentation in his application.
B. 
Mandatory. Any license issued hereunder shall be revoked by the administrative hearing officer if the holder thereof shall be convicted of the commission of any crime.
C. 
Hearing required. No license shall be either suspended or revoked by the administrative hearing officer hereunder without a public hearing thereof, held not less than 10 days after written notice thereof shall have been given to the licensee, either in person or by registered mail, addressed to the licensee at the address shown upon the most recent application of the license.
D. 
Administrative hearing officer. The Town Attorney may appoint an administrative hearing officer to conduct an appeal hearing on the suspension or revocation of the license. The hearing officer shall either revoke or suspend the license or dismiss the charges.
[Amended 8-10-2010 by L.L. No. 23-2010]
E. 
The Town Clerk may make an emergency suspension of any license under circumstances where she believes said licensee is a danger to the health, welfare or security of the community. Said suspension shall remain in effect until a hearing is conducted. A hearing must be conducted within 30 days of any emergency suspension.
A. 
Date; time; place. Whenever it shall be provided herein that a hearing shall be held, such hearing shall be held on a date and at a place and hour designated by the Town Attorney.
[Amended 8-10-2010 by L.L. No. 23-2010]
B. 
Notice. The Town Attorney 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 thereof designated therefor by mailing a copy thereof to the applicant or licensee concerned at the address shown upon the most recent application of such applicant or licensee at least 10 days before such hearing.
[Amended 8-10-2010 by L.L. No. 23-2010]
C. 
Regulations. The administrative hearing officer may suspend or revoke any license or permit under the circumstances set forth herein.
(1) 
Noncompliance: any violation of the provisions of this article, or any reason for which the original application could have been disapproved, including, but not limited to, an unacceptable business record based on a review of past complaints.
(2) 
Criminality: conviction of any crime or misdemeanor which, in the judgment of the administrative hearing officer, renders the licensee or vehicle unfit.
(3) 
Deception: fraud, misrepresentation or false statements contained in the application for license or made in the course of conducting towing for hire.
(4) 
Improper conduct: conducting towing for hire in an unlawful manner or in such a way as to constitute a breach of the peace or to constitute a menace to the health, safety or general welfare of the public.
D. 
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.
E. 
Examination of witnesses. All witnesses shall be sworn and examined under oath.
Every owner, upon the sale or other disposition of a licensed tow truck, shall, within 24 hours, notify the Town Clerk of such sale or other disposition and surrender the license or licenses.
[Amended 5-25-2010 by L.L. No. 4-2010]
A. 
Any person who shall violate any of the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for a period not to exceed one year, or both.
B. 
Upon application of the Town Attorney's office (Special Prosecutor), a violation of this article may be reduced to an "attempted violation" as established by the New York State Penal Law § 110.00. Penalties for the reduced charge of attempt shall be:
(1) 
Any person who shall attempt to violate any of the provisions of this article shall be guilty of a violation and, upon conviction thereof, a fine of not less than $2,000 nor more than $5,000 must be imposed and a term of imprisonment for a period not to exceed 15 days may be imposed, or both.