[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Freehold by Ord. No. O-92-05 (§ 6-19 of the Revised General Ordinances), as amended through Ord. No. O-99-25. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to regulate the towing and storage of private motor vehicles which result from Police Department calls for assistance within the Township in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49 and N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5(1)(u).
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
- A private passenger automobile of a private passenger or station wagon type that is owned or hired and is neither used as a public or livery conveyance for passengers, nor rented to others with a driver; and a motor vehicle with a pickup body, or delivery sedan, a van, or a panel truck or a camper-type vehicle used for recreational purposes owned by an individual or by husband or wife who are residents of the same household, not customarily used in the occupation, profession or business of the insured, other than farming.
- 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 incident 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.
- DISABLED VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle which is unable to operate under its own
power.[Added 4-27-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-6]
- IMPOUNDED VEHICLE
- A vehicle which, at the direction of the police department,
is taken into police custody because the operator of the vehicle was
alleged by a police officer to be engaged in a violation of the law,
including but not limited to, the operator being arrested on a DWI
charge, the operator having been arrested for driving without registration
or insurance, or the operator having been arrested for stealing the
motor vehicle, or the vehicle having been involved in a serious accident.[Added 4-27-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-6]
- STORAGE RATE CHARGES
- Begin at 12:01 a.m. of the next day and each day shall end at 11:59 p.m.
- TOW LIST
- A list of towing and storage contractors maintained by the Police Department containing the names and addresses of towing and storage contractors who will be called on a rotating basis when the Police Department determines that the assistance of such services are required within the Township.
- TOWNSHIP STORAGE FACILITY
- A storage area or lot owned and operated by the Township
of Freehold.[Added 4-27-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-6]
- TOW VEHICLE
- Only those vehicles equipped with a broom or brooms, winches, slings, tilt beds, wheel lifts or under-reach equipment specifically designed by its manufacturer for the removal or transport of private passenger automobiles.
The Chief of Police or member of the Police Department designated by him/her is authorized to enforce the provisions set forth in this chapter.
The Chief of Police or his/her designee shall establish a list of towing and storage contractors designated to provide towing and storage services required by the Police Department. Any towing and storage contractors qualifying pursuant to this chapter shall be included on the list and those on the list shall be called on a rotating basis to provide the required towing and storage services. Whenever a towing and storage contractor is called through the Police Department, whether as a result of being next on the tow list, or for another reason, that towing and storage contractor will rotate to the bottom of the list. The Chief of Police or his/her designee shall establish such other written procedures for the operation of the tow list as he/she shall deem appropriate. Nothing contained herein shall prevent the Chief of Police or his/her designee from requesting additional towing service from others, if, in the judgment of such person, the size, nature or scope of the accident conditions or the performance of the called towing service requires that assistance be rendered.
All towing and storage contractors desiring to be included on the tow list shall annually file an application with the Police Department on a form to be approved by the Chief of Police, together with an application fee as provided in Chapter 150, Fee. By filing such application, the applicant shall agree to the conditions outlined on the application, including compliance with all provisions of this chapter. Said application must be filed by January 30 of each calendar year.
The following are the minimum standards/qualifications required to be considered for inclusion on the tow list:
Accidents involving large vehicles. The towing and storage contractors must be prepared to promptly clear the roadway of any or all types of disabled vehicles. Where the vehicles are too large for the service to remove from the scene, after clearing the roadway, the service may call for assistance of others. The towing and storage contractor is required to have appropriate arrangements for this assistance at all times.
The towing and storage contractor must meet the following response times within the Township of Freehold:
Response time determination is to be initiated when the police call requesting towing is completed. Where the police cannot reach the next eligible contractor on the list, that contractor shall be deemed to have forfeited its position and the next succeeding contractor on the list shall be called.
Performance standards. The towing and storage contractor will meet the following response performance standards:
Ninety percent of all calls referred will be answered (towing vehicle on scene) within the response time outlined above.
Not more than 10% of the calls will be answered within an additional 10 minutes (day or night).
No response will be later than 25 minutes, whether day or night, with the exception of Subsection B(1)(c) above.
The performance standard will be reviewed periodically. Where the towing and storage contractor performance record is found to be unsatisfactory, it will be removed from the tow list for at least six months and until it shall have provided satisfactory evidence to the Chief of Police that it has undertaken effective steps and implemented such procedures as are necessary to meet the foregoing performance standards.
Equipment specification. The towing and storage contractor must have specialized towing equipment in good repair which meets the following specifications:
Tow vehicle. The towing service must have ownership of two professionally constructed tow vehicles, one of which being a flatbed-type tow vehicle capable of removing certain types of damaged vehicles or those, which by design, cannot be removed by conventional wreckers without sustaining additional damage. The towing service must also have available, by ownership or agreement, two additional tow vehicles in case of emergency. All towing vehicles used in performance of the contract must meet the standards specified by the State of New Jersey Motor Vehicle Codes and this specification in all respects. Each applicant is required to list all equipment/vehicles to be used including registered name, type and license number of each.
Safety equipment. Each vehicle shall have beacon and warning lights, tow vehicle illumination and stop lights and portable fire extinguishers.
Specialized equipment. At least one of the available tow vehicles must be equipped for dolly service and winching.
All tow vehicles must carry road cleanup equipment and supplies such as brooms, rakes, trash cans and shovels.
The towing service is responsible for the prompt and safe removal of the disabled vehicle and for the prompt and complete removal of all litter and debris resulting from the accident.
Disabled vehicle storage. The towing service must operate a suitable, fenced and secure vehicle storage area in an area zoned for such use. The lot must be able to store at least 25 full-size vehicles. Said storage yard must be within a one-mile radius of the Township of Freehold. If there is in excess of 25 vehicles to be stored, they may be stored elsewhere as long as the alternate lot complies with the specifications of the regular storage lot, and appears on the towing and storage contractor's insurance certificate. Upon request, authorized personnel of the Police Department shall be able to have access to vehicles 24 hours per day within the storage area.
The towing and storage contractor shall maintain the following minimum insurance coverage in the name of the applicant:
Automobile liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limits.
Workers' compensation as required by statute.
Garage keeper's liability in an amount not less than $60,000 per location.
Garage liability in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit.
Policies in force to provide collision coverage for vehicles in tow.
Certificate of insurance. At time of application, the towing and storage contractor shall present a certificate of insurance evidencing the above coverage by an insurance company licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey. Included on such certificate shall be a statement that the insurance company or agent will notify the Chief of Police immediately of any change, cancellation or lapse of such coverage. Such statement shall not include language making such notification permissive, nor language absolving the company/agent from liability for failure to notify.
By virtue of making application to be included on the tow list, the applicant will be deemed to agree to indemnify and hold the Township of Freehold and its officers and employees harmless from any liability, expense or costs of suit, including reasonable attorney's fees, arising out of or resulting from any action of the applicant in performing towing and storage services in the Township of Freehold.
The applicant agrees to notify the Chief of Police immediately of any change, cancellation or lapse of insurance coverage.
Prohibition of oral inquiry. No towing and storage contractor included on the tow list shall make oral inquiry regarding its position on the tow list, violations by other towing and storage contractors or any other matters relating to performance under this chapter. All other inquiries must be made in writing addressed to the Chief of Police.
Customer fees and billing. Each applicant shall attach a copy of its current fee schedule, which must not be in excess of that provided for in § 327-7. In the event an applicant is included on the tow list and will be amending its fee schedule from that previously filed with the Chief of Police, such applicant shall notify the Chief of Police, in writing, of such amendment, together with a complete amended fee schedule at least 30 days prior to implementing and charging pursuant to such amended fee schedule. The fact of filing a fee schedule with the Chief of Police shall not in any way be construed as authority to charge any fees in excess of those permitted by § 327-7. All customer bills must be in an amount not exceeding the rates provided for herein.
Authorized Township service receipt form. The towing and storage contractor will complete and file with the Police Department a towing service receipt form for every vehicle serviced on Township assignment.
A preprinted form supplied by the towing and storage contractor will include at least the following information:
The receipt will be multicopy and issued as follows:
Original: issued immediately to owner upon completion of service and payment of bill.
Police: issued monthly to Police Department upon completion of services.
Owner's accident receipt: issued at the accident site to the owner prior to removal of the vehicle. In the event the owner is incapacitated or disputes the assignment, the owner's accident receipt may be issued to the Police Department.
Copies: as deemed necessary by towing service.
Follow-up report. A monthly report must be filed with the Police Department containing the following information.
Description of each vehicle towed pursuant to request by Police Department during month for which report is given.
Name and address of title owner of vehicle.
Date vehicle was towed.
Amount charged for tow.
Amount charged for storage to date of report.
Date vehicle was released.
List of all vehicles towed pursuant to Police Department request which are unclaimed for over 30 days.
Storage provision during emergency condition. During emergency situations (snow storms, etc.) the towing and storage contractor must provide additional vehicle storage spaces as needed. Said storage space does not have to be located at the primary facility. Said spaces will only be used during the period of the aforesaid emergency.
No towing and storage contractor shall charge fees in excess of those set forth in this subsection. Allowable fees shall be as provided in Chapter 150, Fees.
Towing operators may charge additional rates for cleanup and labor rates, if additional labor other than basic towing services are provided.
Rates specified herein will be reviewed by the Finance Committee of the Township Committee on a yearly basis. Operators are permitted to petition the Township Committee, in writing, as to prevailing rates.
Special towing services.
If special towing services are required, the towing and storage contractor shall quote the vehicle owner or his authorized agent directly. In the event that the owner is incapacitated, a written copy of the price quote should be filed with the Police Department.
No release fees may be charged for the release of vehicles after normal business hours.
[Amended 4-27-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-6]
Nothing contained in this chapter shall prevent a person responsible for a disabled vehicle disabled upon the public streets or highways within Freehold Township to arrange for the prompt removal of the vehicle from the scene of an accident or disablement by wrecking or towing services of his/her own selection. The person responsible will be advised of the ability to select such towing service at the required time of removal, providing such person is present, fully conscious and capable of taking prompt action.
In the event that a person or entity shall fail to perform satisfactorily, or performs in violation of this chapter, such person or entity may immediately be removed from the tow list by the Chief of Police. As soon as practical after such removal, the Chief of Police shall cause written notice of such removal to be given to the person or entity removed. The notice shall set forth the reason(s) for such removal. The person or entity removed shall have the right to submit in writing such rebuttal as deemed appropriate and an explanation of the steps being taken and procedures being implemented to correct any deficiencies. After review of such response, the Chief of Police or his/her designee may continue the removal from the list, return the person or entity to the list either immediately, or after a specified period of time.
The Police Department and the office of the Township Clerk shall maintain copies of this chapter as well as copies of all fee schedules of towing and storage contractors submitted to the Township pursuant to § 327-6H, which section and fee schedule shall be available for inspection by the public during regular business hours of the municipality.
[Added 4-27-2010 by Ord. No. O-10-6; amended 5-28-2013 by Ord. No. O-13-19]
All impounded vehicles shall be removed to the Township Storage Facility unless otherwise directed by the Township Police. The towing contractor shall submit its bill for tow services to the Township, which shall process and make payment for same. To secure release of the vehicle after the police impound has been lifted, the vehicle owner must pay to the Township the daily storage fee provided in Chapter 150, any administrative fees for vehicle release or surrender of title fees charged by the Township, as provided in Chapter 150, plus the fee for tow services charged to the Township by the towing contractor.
Any person or entity who shall be found to have violated any subsection of this chapter, or to have submitted a false or misleading application shall, in addition to removal from the tow list, be subject to the penalties set forth in Chapter 1, Article II, General Penalty, of the Code of the Township of Freehold.