Township of Cedar Grove, NJ
Essex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Cedar Grove 6-7-2001 by Ord. No. 01-560. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Police Department — See Ch. 55.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 251.
The purpose of this chapter is to establish, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:11-5(1)(u), a list of towing contractors to provide towing services for the Township of Cedar Grove ("Township") on a rotating basis, and to establish, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49, regulations governing contractors engaged in the removal of motor vehicles.
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless context clearly indicates otherwise:
ABANDONED
Any automobile which is parked in a public place or on a person's property without the property owner's consent, without the current year's registration or license plates, as required by law, for a period of more than 48 hours or is positioned so as to constitute an obstruction to traffic.
AUTOMOBILE
A private passenger automobile of a private passenger, station wagon, or sport utility vehicle type that is owned or leased and is neither used as a public or livery conveyance for passengers not 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, not customarily used in the occupation, profession or business of the owner(s).
BASE OF SERVICE
The location where the towing contractor stations its tow vehicle(s) when not in use.
BASIC TOWING SERVICE
The removal and transportation of an automobile at the request or call of authorized personnel or members of the Police Department as may be required when abandoned, disabled, damaged in accidents, illegally parked, recovered after being stolen or in cases of emergency, 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.
CAR CARRIER
A car carrier shall have a commercially manufactured chassis certified by the manufacturer. The vehicle shall be equipped with a hydraulically powered winch. The tilt bed or slide back shall be hydraulically operated. The vehicle shall also be equipped with tie-down chains, proper safety lights and amber rotation emergency flashing lights.
CHIEF OF POLICE
The Chief of the Police Department of the Township or his/her designee.
LIGHT DUTY
A light duty wrecker shall have a commercially manufactured chassis certified by the manufacturer for light duty towing. Each shall be equipped with a commercially manufactured lifting apparatus with dual rear wheels, safety chains, proper safety lights, rear floodlights and amber rotation emergency flashing lights.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
An occurrence in which a private passenger automobile comes in contact with any other object for which the private passenger automobile must be towed or removed for placement in a storage facility. This includes all situations which are accidental to one person even if caused by the intentional acts of another.
NONBASIC TOWING SERVICES
All towing services which are not basic towing services or private passenger automobiles, as defined herein.
STORAGE SERVICES
The maximum allowable amount of storage charges to be charged per twenty-four-hour period or a fraction thereof. Each new twenty-four-hour period begins at 12:01 a.m.
TOWING CONTRACTOR
A licensed individual or entity placed upon the rotary list that performs towing services for the Township.
TOWNSHIP STORAGE FACILITY
A storage area or lot owned by the Township.
TOW VEHICLE
Only those vehicles equipped with a boom or booms, winches, slings, tiltbeds, wheel lifts, or under reach equipment specifically designed by its manufacturer for the removal or transport of private passenger automobiles.
A. 
This chapter establishes a list of towing contractors to provide basic and nonbasic towing services for the Township on a rotating basis. The Police Department will maintain the rotary list and determine the time period for each rotation. The list of towing contractors shall be determined by and under the direct supervision of the Chief of Police.
B. 
A towing contractor shall be placed on the rotary list in the order in which its application was approved. Each new towing contractor shall initially be placed last on the list. No towing contractor may be listed more than once and no contractor shall be permitted to lease its tow vehicles to another licensed tow contractor in order to receive multiple listings.
C. 
Towing services must be provided on a twenty-four-hour, seven-days-per-week basis. It is required that a tow vehicle be on the site of the event within 15 minutes of the time of the call from the Police Department. If a towing contractor is called and for any reason does not or cannot perform the requested towing service, the next towing contractor on the list will be called to perform the towing service.
D. 
If no towing contractor on the rotating list is able to perform towing services when necessary, the Township is entitled to have said service performed by a towing contractor not contained on the rotating list.
E. 
During adverse weather conditions or other emergency conditions, all towing contractors on the rotating list shall give priority to requests for towing services made by the Township over requests made by third parties.
A. 
A person or entity seeking placement on the rotary list shall be required to submit an application and receive the approval of the Police Department before issuance of a towing contractor's license.
B. 
All applicants are required to complete a form furnished by the Township Clerk, providing any and all information prescribed by the Chief of Police. This information includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(1) 
The name, business address, telephone number, driver's license number, social security number of the owner of the towing company. If the owner is a corporation, the application shall contain the name, residence, business address, and telephone number of every stockholder owning more than 10% of issued stock, as well as the entity's employer identification number.
(2) 
Policies or certificates of insurance coverage as provided in this chapter.
(3) 
The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of two business references who have known the applicant for at least two years.
(4) 
Certification that the applicant will be able to provide towing services anywhere in the Township with a maximum response time of 15 minutes.
(5) 
Certification that storage facilities and service will be available as provided in this chapter.
(6) 
Certification of consent to appointing Township Clerk as the applicant's true and lawful attorney for the purpose of accepting and acknowledging service of legal process by any court of competent jurisdiction against the applicant.
(7) 
A sketch plan indicating the location of the storage area, the number of vehicles that can be properly stored, and the total square footage of the storage area.
C. 
Each towing contractor must be able to demonstrate to the Township that it is thoroughly qualified and experienced in the towing and removal of vehicles of all types, and that it has adequate facilities, equipment, expertise, licensing, and personnel to perform the services required by these specifications in a manner satisfactory to the Police Department. Among other requirements promulgated from time to time by the Police Department, these specifications include storage capacity of up to 30 vehicles, storage facility equipped with a security fence, ample lighting, and twenty-four-hour security cameras. The towing contractor's storage facilities shall not be located more than 2.5 miles from any Township border.
[Amended 6-20-2005 by Ord. No. 05-631]
D. 
The Police Department will conduct a background check of the towing contractor, its officers, and employees prior to making a determination of placement on the towing list. Any persistent violations and/or high incident of motor vehicle accidents in the past 10 years may warrant a driver ineligible. A conviction of a felony will disqualify any contractor unless waived by the Township upon application and for good cause.
E. 
A towing license may be denied, suspended, or revoked upon any of the following grounds:
(1) 
Submitting a fraudulent or misleading application.
(2) 
A criminal conviction of the towing operator or a named principal of the towing operator.
(3) 
Failure to respond reliably and promptly to calls for assistance or any other unsatisfactory performance action which interferes with the proper operation of the rotating system maintained by the Police Department.
(4) 
Failure to utilize safe and adequate equipment as defined in this chapter.
(5) 
Violations of motor vehicle laws and/or municipal ordinances.
(6) 
Failure or refusal to tow or remove a motor vehicle when requested to do so by an appropriate municipal official.
(7) 
Violations of Chapter 268, Zoning, or any other applicable ordinances or codes of the Township pertaining to the use or condition of the premises used by the licensee in conducting the towing business.
(8) 
Violations of the provisions of this chapter or any of its rules, regulations, and policies promulgated under it.
F. 
Licenses shall be issued for a period from January 1 to December 31 and renewed for the succeeding year if all qualifications are met.
A. 
When an application for a license is denied by the Township, the applicant may request a hearing on said application by the service of a notice requesting a hearing. Said notice shall be served on the Township Clerk. At the next regularly scheduled meeting of the governing body, a hearing date shall be set which shall be no less than seven days nor more than 30 days from the date of governing body's scheduled meeting.
B. 
Proceedings for the suspension or revocation of a license shall be initiated by the service of a notice of charges proffered against the licensee. Said notice shall be served by the Chief of Police or his/her designee, either personally or by certified mail, return receipt requested, and shall contain a date, time and place for a hearing to be held by the governing body of the Township. Said hearing shall be scheduled no less than seven days nor more than 30 days after the notice of the proposed suspension or revocation shall be served upon the licensee. The licensee shall have the right to file an answer to the notice and to appear in person, or be represented by counsel, and give testimony at the place and time fixed for the hearing.
The Police Department in general and the Chief of Police in particular shall enforce the provisions of this chapter as well as rules and regulations adopted under it.
A. 
Cards and statement of rates.
(1) 
The contractor, at its own expense, shall prepare a written statement of rates on three-inch-by-five-inch printed cards which will be provided to the Police Department for distribution to vehicle owners at the scene of an accident.
(2) 
The rate card shall provide information on claiming a vehicle, the name of the business, its owner, tower's license number, as well as the business location, telephone number and hours of operation for the public. The card shall also state its rates for towing services, and include all methods of acceptable payment.
(3) 
The rates applicable to towing services performed shall be posted in a conspicuous place, visible to the public at the contractor's place of business.
(4) 
The contractor shall, at its expense, prepare a printed bill for distribution to the customer, reflecting the fee to be paid in accordance with the rates stated on the printed card, unless otherwise approved by the Police Department. The bill shall also include the information set forth in Subsection A(2), as well as a statement to the effect that all complaints shall be referred to the Police Department. The format of this form shall be approved by the Township Manager.
(5) 
The contractor shall accept from any owner, or his representative, methods of payment in the form of cash, certified check, money order and by at least one major credit card. A major credit card is defined as one issued under American Express, Discover, Master Card, or Visa. The contractor is not obligated to accept personal checks for payment.
B. 
Hours of service.
(1) 
Towing services must be provided on a twenty-four-hour, seven-day-per-week basis. It is required that a tow vehicle be on the site of the event within 15 minutes of the time of the call from the Police Department. The contractor shall provide the Police Department a telephone number which will be manned at all times to quickly dispatch tow vehicles.
(2) 
The contractor's normal hours of operation for the public shall be from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Police Department shall be provided twenty-four-hour access to the tow contractor's yard.
C. 
Employees.
(1) 
The towing contractor shall employ a sufficient number of employees to comply with the minimum operational requirements.
(2) 
No person shall be employed by the contractor for towing under this chapter unless he or she has submitted to a background check and has been approved by the Police Department.
(3) 
All drivers of the contractor shall be over the age of 18 years and must have a valid, current, New Jersey State driver's license, shall be in good health, and shall possess good community standing.
(4) 
In order to keep information current, the contractor will be required to submit a roster of drivers to the Police Department on a monthly basis. No driver shall perform services unless previously listed by the contractor and approved by the Police Department.
(5) 
Complaints of any kind, relative to service, overcharging, theft of parts, damage to towed vehicles, discourteous treatment, and the like, shall be referred to the Police Department for investigations.
(6) 
All employees of the contractor shall wear uniform clothing with a name patch indicating the employee's first name and name of the contractor's company. All employees shall be clean, neat, and make a good appearance. All employees of the contractor will be required to wear photo identification badges.
(7) 
The contractor agrees that the owners or officers of the contractor shall be responsible, except as otherwise provided by law, for the negligent acts of their employees while acting under this chapter.
D. 
Conduct of contractors and operators generally. No person owning or operating a tow vehicle shall:
(1) 
Stand at any public street, intersection, or any public property, awaiting for employment, without first obtaining the consent of a police officer, or stand on any private property without first obtaining the consent of the owner of the property.
(2) 
Seek employment by repeatedly and persistently driving his tow vehicle in a short space in front of any disabled vehicle or by otherwise interfering with the properly and orderly progress of traffic along the public highways. The contractor shall wait until it receives official notification from the Police Department of the Township before commencing operations.
(3) 
Permit or invite loitering within or near the tow vehicle.
(4) 
Solicit, demand, or receive from any person any pay, commission or compensation whatsoever, except the proper fee for transporting the disabled vehicle in accordance with the schedule of service rates listed in those specifications.
(5) 
Pay any gratuity, tip, moneys or compensation of any kind to any third person not involved in the accident or to any Township employee, for information as to the location of the accident, or for soliciting the employment of licensee's services, nor give any gratuities, fees or other compensation or gifts to any Township employee.
(6) 
Act in an unprofessional manner, be discourteous or disrespectful to members of the public as well as representatives of the Township. While members of the public, especially those whose cars may have been towed or impounded, may at times resort to strong language, threats and unbecoming behavior toward the contractor, the contractor and its employees are expected to exercise restraint and not to respond in kind, and thereby reflect unfavorably on the Township.
E. 
Classification of equipment.
(1) 
The contractor must provide with its application a detailed listing of the equipment to be utilized while on the towing list. The listing shall include the following information: type of vehicle, storage location of vehicles and whether vehicle is owned or leased. All leased and rented equipment must be permanently located at the contractor's base of service at all times during the term of the contract. Each piece of the equipment must meet the minimum standards set forth herein. Equipment that cannot meet these minimum standards shall not be used for the towing list. The contractor is solely responsible for the safety, maintenance, and operation of each piece of equipment utilized while on the towing list. The contractor shall provide a minimum of one light duty wrecker, one car carrier vehicle and one of those vehicles shall be equipped with four-wheel drive.
(2) 
The Police Department shall keep a register of the names of all those owning or operating tow vehicles accepted on the towing list, together with the license number, the description of such wreckers and the date and complete record of inspections made of them by the Police Department. This register shall be maintained by the contractor. All operators being used on the tow list shall meet all of the licensing requirements of the Township.
(3) 
The towing contractor shall supply manufacturer's certification of the lifting capacities of the devices on each type of vehicle with application submission. A certified testing laboratory test result is also acceptable for rating lift capacity.
(4) 
Tow vehicles shall be equipped with two-way communications with tow contractor's office facilities. These communications shall be available 24 hours a day.
(5) 
Tow vehicles shall be equipped at all times with safety vests for operators, first aid kits, hand tools, lockout kits, flashlight, broom, shovel, work gloves and receipts for services rendered. No additional charge for use of this equipment is permitted.
(6) 
Tow vehicles shall be kept in a clean and neat appearance so as to be reasonably accommodating to persons who may come in contact with such vehicles.
(7) 
Tow vehicles shall have the name, address, and telephone number of the contractor painted on or permanently attached to both sides of the tow vehicle in compliance with Motor Vehicle and Traffic Laws of New Jersey (Title 39 of the Revised Statutes).
(8) 
All tow vehicles shall be properly permitted by the State of New Jersey for the use of flashing amber emergency lights. Permits shall be in compliance with Motor Vehicle and Traffic Laws as referenced above.
(9) 
All tow vehicles shall be registered in the name of the contractor in compliance with Motor Vehicle and Traffic Laws as referenced above.
F. 
Record book of vehicles towed.
(1) 
The contractor shall record all vehicles towed in a book kept for such purposes. The details of each disabled vehicle towed, serviced or transported together with full information of the towed vehicle and name and address of the owner and the charges paid for his services. Full information of the towed vehicle shall include, but not be limited to, the vehicle's license number, VIN registration number, make, model, color and year. The record book herein described shall be kept open for inspection at all times by any duly authorized representative of the Township. A monthly towing record containing the information herein stated above shall be filed with the Police Department and the Township Clerk setting forth the details of all tows by vehicle type, date, time of day, sector, and whether additional services were required. Each incident shall be reported using the invoice number used for billing. The form of these reports shall be approved by the Chief of Police.
(2) 
The contractor shall maintain a record of all personal property in a towed vehicle that it can observe in sight at the time the vehicle comes into possession.
(3) 
Authorized representatives of the Township shall have access to any of the records required to be kept by the contractor.
(4) 
There shall be a consecutive, sequential control number assigned by the Police Department to be used in every instance by the Township and the contractors. All forms, communications, and other documents memorializing the transaction shall use this control number.
G. 
Policies and procedures.
(1) 
The Chief of Police is hereby authorized and empowered to establish from time to time written policies and procedures as may be reasonable and necessary to obtain compliance with the terms of this chapter and the laws of the State of New Jersey. All written policies promulgated by the Chief of Police shall be approved by resolution of the Township Council.
(2) 
All regulations, policies and procedures as well as the tower's rate cards shall be made available for inspection by the public at the Township Clerk's office during normal business hours.
H. 
Disputes and adjustments.
(1) 
Complaints by motor vehicle owners of price gouging or any other objectionable practice by any tow contractor will be referred to the Chief of Police who shall promptly investigate and resolve any disputes.
(2) 
Any disputes over the interpretation of this chapter, including the reasonableness of any charges assessed, shall be settled amicably, if possible, through negotiations between the contractor, the Police Department and the Township Manager.
(3) 
In cases where the Township has mistakenly directed that a vehicle be towed or has acted on incorrect information supplied by official sources, the contractor will be reimbursed by the Township only for the minimum applicable towing fee as stipulated herein.
I. 
Subcontracts and leases.
(1) 
Towing contractors shall not lease or rent equipment without the written approval of the Township. The equipment must comply with the minimum requirements of these specifications and the contract to lease or rent equipment must be at least for the duration of service with the Township. All leased and rented equipment must be permanently located at the contractor's base of service at all times while the contractor is on the tow list. Copies of all leases must be filed with the Township Clerk.
(2) 
Except as set forth in Subsection I(3) below, the tow contractor shall not be able to subcontract his equipment or portions of the work to other tow contractors.
(3) 
In the event that a tow contract on the rotating list is unavailable due to vacation, the tow contractor may subcontract his equipment or work for a maximum of two weeks twice per year only to another tow contractor who is approved by the Chief of Police.
A. 
The following fees are established as being the usual, customary, and reasonable rates which shall be charged for towing and storage of automobiles defined as basic towing service:
(1) 
Towing of impounded cars: $95.
[Amended 9-8-2003 by Ord. No. 03-598; 2-14-2005 by Ord. No. 05-626]
(2) 
Towing cars (if flatbed is required): $100.
[Amended 9-8-2003 by Ord. No. 03-598; 2-14-2005 by Ord. No. 05-626]
(3) 
Storage: $30 for each calendar day.
[Amended 9-8-2003 by Ord. No. 03-598]
(4) 
Yard charge only for accidents: $40.
B. 
There shall be no additional charges, other than those provided in the fee schedule, including, but not limited to, flat-bedding, waiting time, winching, up-riding, cleanup costs, and additional labor.
C. 
The above towing charges shall not apply when the operator of vehicle elects either a specific tower or to be towed to a destination other than the licensed storage facility. In such cases, the towing charges shall be mutually agreed upon between the operator of the vehicle and the towing contractor.
This chapter is not intended to regulate or set fees for nonbasic towing services or the towing or storage of trucks and buses. Such service, if requested, shall be billed at reasonable prevailing rates. The towing contractor shall submit a list of fees in advance for nonbasic towing to the Chief of Police, who shall have the sole discretion in determining reasonable prevailing rates.
A. 
The towing fees set forth for basic towing service and those billed for nonbasic towing service are the amounts that the towing contractor will charge to the vehicle owner or representative. Unless otherwise provided in this chapter, the Township shall never be responsible for payment of any towing charges, except for Township-owned vehicles.
B. 
In the event the Police Department requires a vehicle involved in a crime or a fatal accident to be held for investigation, the Chief of Police may, after review of all of the circumstances, waive storage fees, or a portion thereof, incurred up to the date of release.
A. 
Towing contractors shall be required to purchase, maintain, and provide during the time of service on the rotary list proof of insurance furnished by a reputable insurance company licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey, containing the following coverage with liability limits as set forth below:
(1) 
Garage liability/comprehensive general liability insurance policy in an amount not less than $1,000,000 combined single limit covering bodily injury and property damage liability including but not limited to personal injury; products liability (where applicable), independent contractor, and completed operation coverage.
(2) 
Garagekeepers' legal liability insurance policy in an amount not less than $500,000. Said policy must include both comprehensive and collision, and an endorsement to include "on hook."
(3) 
Automobile liability insurance policy in an amount not less than $500,000 combined single limit covering bodily injury and property damage liability including but not limited to owned, nonowned, and hired vehicles.
(4) 
Workers' compensation insurance as required by law, including, but not limited to, statutory New Jersey workers' compensation benefits, and employers' liability of at least $100,000.
(5) 
Excess/umbrella liability. In the event that garage liability and/or automobile liability cannot be purchased up to the required $1,000,000 limit, an excess liability or umbrella liability policy must be purchased to effect a total liability limit of $1,000,000. Excess or umbrella liability policies will not be required for garage and automobile policies that meet or exceed the $1,000,000 minimum limit.
B. 
The garage liability and automobile liability policies shall name the Township as additional insured and certificate holder.
The towing contractor will execute an agreement to hold harmless, indemnify and defend, at contractor's expense, the Township, its employees and officials from any and all claims, demands, suit or action for personal injury or property damage brought against the Township, its employees and officials for any activities which arise out of any services performed under this chapter.