[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Plainsboro 3-12-1990 by Ord. No. 0-90-2; amended in its entirety 4-14-2010 by Ord. No. 0-10-06. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
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, station wagon or pickup truck.
- 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.
- TOW VEHICLE
- A vehicle equipped with a boom or booms, winches, slings, tilt beds, wheel lifts or underreach equipment specifically designed by its manufacturer for the removal and transport of private passenger automobiles.
- Any motor vehicle other than an automobile as defined above and which requires heavy-duty towing.
Whenever a police officer orders the removal of automobiles from private or public property, the officer shall utilize the rotation lists established in § 97-3 of this chapter.
Towing contractors shall submit, no later than March 31 each year, a detailed certification certifying that the towing contractor meets the requirements of this chapter. Said certification shall be submitted to the Director of Public Safety for his or her review and approval. Failure to submit the certification or failure to continue to abide by the requirements of this chapter shall subject the official tower to removal from the towing list.
The Township Committee shall establish annually, by resolution, a list of automobile towing contractors and a list of truck towing contractors to be utilized by the Police Department on a rotating basis. An operator may, if qualified, be on both lists. Such lists shall be utilized by members of the Police Department on a nonexclusionary and nondiscriminatory basis.
All towing service operators on the list shall comply with the following:
Road service must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Towing services must respond to all service requests made. Service requests missed by the operator shall be reviewed by the Director of Public Safety and may be construed as a violation of this chapter.
Towing services must respond within 15 minutes of receipt of the original phone call request by the Police Department.
Vehicle release must be available from the hours of 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. During all other hours and legal holidays, vehicles may be released at the discretion of the tow contractor. Refer to miscellaneous service fees.
All towing operators shall meet the following equipment requirements:
For classification as an automobile towing service, the operator must possess an adequate number of flat-bed-style tow trucks and hoist-type tow trucks to meet the requirements outlined in § 97-4.
All towing vehicles must have amber emergency warning lights mounted on the vehicle so as to warn approaching traffic of their presence. The size and location of these lights must conform to New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicle standards. The operator must have an amber light permit.
All equipment must be maintained in good working order and be available for periodic inspection by a member of the Plainsboro Township Police Department. These inspections will be conducted, at a minimum, on a yearly basis.
The operator shall employ a sufficient number of employees to comply with the minimum operator requirements.
No person shall be employed by the operator for this service unless he or she has obtained a record check and has been approved by the Director of Public Safety. A conviction of a criminal offense or suspension of a driver's license within the past year shall be a cause for disqualification as a driver.
All drivers of the operator shall be over the age of 18 years and must have a valid New Jersey State driver's license.
The operator shall, at the time of his or her application, submit to the Township names, addresses and driver's license numbers of all proposed drivers and employees who will be rendering services on behalf of the operator. In order to keep information current, the contractor shall be required to submit any and all changes of drivers to the Director of Public Safety immediately upon the change.
The service, equipment and personnel are subject to periodic inspections and approval by the Township.
Complaints of any kind, relative to service, overcharging, theft of parts, damage to towed or stored vehicles, discourteous treatment and the like shall be referred to the Director of Public Safety for investigation. Such complaints may be cause for imposition of the penalties enumerated under § 97-16 of this chapter.
[Amended 3-14-2012 by Ord. No. 0-12-01]
Fees for towing and storage of private passenger vehicles, damaged in an accident, recovered after being stolen or impounded by police are set in accordance with the Vehicle Towing and Storage Act, N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49.
The following is the fee schedule for towing and roadside services:
Any time of day or day of week: $115 per hour per vehicle.
A cleanup fee of $45 per vehicle will apply for cleanup at the collision scene.
A fee for absorbent material for fluids on the roadways: $20 per bag.
Roadside assists such as changing flat tires, jump starting a dead battery, lockouts, etc., will be charged a fee not to exceed $50.
Gas services shall not be included in this service. Pending roadway condition and safety concerns, a tow company has no obligation to perform such a service, but rather tow the vehicle to a safe location at the above-scheduled towing fee.
The following is the fee schedule for storage services. These fees shall commence on the date the vehicle is stored at the impound/tow yard.
Fee for storage: $30 per day.
Release of vehicle other than normal hours: a flat rate of $30.
Yard service fee (a one-time fee to cover the cost of handling the vehicle while in the tow yard): $25.
Administration fee (a one-time fee for time spent with customers, insurance companies, police, making copies of files, faxing or sending e-mails by staff): $25.
A flat fee of $100 for the recovery of vehicles off the roadway, or not on all wheels as normal driving/resting position, requiring the use of a winch.
Vehicle preparation before a vehicle can be towed, such as when vehicles are locked, stuck in gear, or have large parts such as doors, bumpers, exhaust systems or moldings hanging from them, where the labor extends past one-quarter hour, shall entitle the tow operator to charge a fee of $50 per quarter hour.
An unusual or unforeseen circumstance which requires a special charge or additional billing outside the scope of the schedule must be documented by the towing service and provided to the Director of Public Safety within 48 hours of the event.
Fees for towing and storage of private passenger vehicles, other than those damaged in an accident or recovered after being stolen, shall be the same as those set forth in Subsection A if the official tower is called to the scene by the Police Department of the Township of Plainsboro in accordance with this chapter. Any other towing services to private passenger vehicles not involved in accidents or recovered after being stolen when requested privately by individuals shall be at the rates as agreed to between the individual and the tower.
The following is the fee schedule for heavy-duty towing services:
Conventional tow (or recovery), 9,500 pounds to 18,000 pounds. Flat rate to towing service base or destination within Plainsboro Township and/or required recovery time: $175 per hour per truck (two-hour minimum).
Conventional tow (or recovery), 18,000 pounds to 80,000 pounds. Flat rate to towing service base or destination within Plainsboro Township and/or required recovery time: $350 per hour per truck (two-hour minimum).
Specialized equipment. Forty-eight-foot hydraulic tilt trailer service, heavy-duty underreach, box trailer or flatbed trailer or flatbed trailer with driver: $225 per hour portal to portal (two-hour minimum).
Winching and recovery rates: $450 per hour portal to portal (two-hour minimum).
Extra personnel to assist with removing the recovered vehicles and freight: $80 per hour per person.
No impounded vehicle is to be released without proper authorization from the Police Department. Vehicle release must be available as set forth in § 97-4C of this chapter. The operator may dispose of abandoned vehicles in accordance with the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:10A-8 et seq.
Titles shall be processed in accordance with New Jersey laws and regulations. No fee will be paid to the Township by the towing service for processing of a junk or clear title.
Each operator on the approved lists shall furnish the Township Clerk with a certificate of insurance from an insurance company satisfactory to the Township. Each certificate of insurance shall not be changed or canceled without giving 10 days' prior written notice to the Township by certified mail, return receipt requested. Specific reference to the rotating lists of towing operators shall be made on all policies of insurance.
Each operator must have bodily injury liability, property damage liability, employer's liability and motor vehicle liability coverages with combined policy limits of $1,000,000. Each approved operator must also have statutorily required workers' compensation coverage.
Each operator shall indemnify and save the Township harmless from all damages and claims for damages which may be made by any person for bodily injury or property damages as a result of the operator's performing pursuant to this chapter.
The Police Department is designated to enforce the provisions of this chapter in accordance with due process law. In carrying out the provisions of this chapter, the Director of Public Safety is hereby authorized to adopt additional reasonable regulations which are not inconsistent with this chapter.
This chapter, all regulations adopted by the Director of Public Safety and the fee schedules of individual towers shall be available to the public during normal business hours.
In all of his or her dealings with the public in connection with the contract, the operator is expected always to act in a professional manner and at all times to be courteous and respectful toward members of the public, as well as representatives of the Township of Plainsboro. 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 operator, the operator is expected to exercise restraint and not to respond in kind and thereby reflect unfavorably on the Township of Plainsboro and/or the Police Department.
Repeated reports of discourteous behavior by the operator, which can be substantiated and documented, may be considered by the Township as sufficient cause for termination of the contract.
Any contractor who violates any section of this chapter, except § 97-10, Abandoned or unclaimed vehicles, shall be subject to suspension of towing privileges for one month for a first offense, three months for a second offense and six months for a third offense. If the contractor commits a fourth offense, its right to provide towing services to the Township shall be permanently revoked.
Any contractor who violates the operator rate schedule shall receive a fine of $100 and suspension of towing privileges for one month. A second violation will result in a fine of $250 and suspension of towing privileges for six months. A third violation will result in a fine of $500 and permanent revocation of towing privileges. A periodic inquiry of customer billing to ensure the contractor is conforming to the rate schedule may be performed by a member of the Plainsboro Township Police Department.
In all cases, if a contractor overcharges a vehicle owner, the excess moneys paid will be returned by the contractor.
A towing operator may be removed from the annual list by resolution of the Township Committee if its performance is determined to be unreliable or inadequate. If there is a breach of any of the provisions of this chapter or applicable regulations, an operator may be removed from the list by the Chief of Police pending action by the Township Committee.