[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Coatesville 10-25-1993 as Ord. No. 932-93. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- A. A vehicle, other than a pedalcycle, shall be presumed to be abandoned under one (1) or more of the following circumstances, but the presumption is rebuttable by a preponderance of the evidence:
- B. The vehicle has remained on private property without the consent of the owner or person in control of the property for more than forty-eight (48) hours.
- C. Vehicles and equipment used or to be used in construction or in the operation or maintenance of highways or public utility facilities, which are left in a manner which does not interfere with the normal movement of traffic, will not be considered to be abandoned.
- DISABLED VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle which is inoperable due to mechanical failure or malfunction but is not wrecked.
- IMPOUNDING AUTHORITY
- The authority of the Chief of Police, any peace officer or official having such authority by law to impound any motor vehicle for any lawful reason(s).
- MOTOR VEHICLE
- Every vehicle which is self-propelled.
- Any person who holds the legal title of a motor vehicle or who has the legal right of possession thereof.
- STORAGE FACILITY
- A garage, parking lot or any type of facility owned by a person other than a governmental entity for storing or parking ten (10) or more vehicles which is in full compliance with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Motor Vehicles/Salvor Unit.
- Every device in or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a public highway, except devices moved only by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rail or tracks, and shall include trailers and semitrailers.
- WRECKED VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle which is disabled due to collision with another vehicle or object.
- Any motor vehicle used for the purpose of towing or removing disabled or wrecked vehicles.
- WRECKER BUSINESS
- The business of towing or removing disabled, wrecked or abandoned vehicles on the public street or right-of-way.
- WRECKER COMPANY
- Any person engaged in the wrecker business.
Every person desiring to engage in the wrecker business in the city shall, at the times of his or her application, first be authorized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to operate as a salvor and shall be so qualified in accordance with 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 7301 et seq. (relating to authorization of salvors). Further, the applicant shall be in complete compliance with the rules and regulations of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania pertaining to salvors as said rules and regulations are set forth in Chapter 253 of Title 67 of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Permit to operate: application; fee; nontransferable; expiration date. Every person desiring to engage in the wrecker business in the city shall make application in writing, on a form provided for that purpose, to the Code Administrator or his or her designee for a permit to engage in wrecker business and for a permit for each wrecker proposed to be operated, and such application shall contain the name, address, telephone number, the number and types of wrecker equipment operated and the true owner of the company concerned, along with other pertinent information. Every application when filed shall be sworn to by the applicant and accompanied by a permit application fee in the sum as provided in Chapter 108, Fees. No permit shall be transferable, and every permit shall expire on the 31st day of December of the calendar year in which it is issued.
Issuance of permit. The City Codes Department shall issue a permit to engage in the wrecker business to all applicants complying with the provisions of this section and shall issue a permit to all wreckers of such applicants so complying.
All towing vehicles shall be in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Department of Transportation of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with respect to equipment lighting, emergency equipment and safety features. This chapter hereby incorporates, by reference, herein the provisions of the rules and regulations of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as the same are set forth in Chapter 253 of Title 67 et seq. and in 75 Pa.C.S.A. § 7301 et seq. as the same are amended.
Insurance will be maintained as follows:
Every towing carrier shall be bonded in such amount as is required of salvors by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Every towing carrier shall obtain and keep in force at all times public liability and property damage insurance or surety bond providing the same coverage, issued by some insurance or surety company authorized to do business in the city by the city, which shall be in such form, with such schedules and endorsements as may be prescribed by the city, covering all towing vehicles which may, at any time, be operated by or for or which may be under the control of the towing carrier. Such coverage shall be accomplished by a waiver-of-description endorsement on each policy, which shall be attached to and become a part of the policy.
As evidence of such coverage, there shall be filed with the city a certificate of insurance in the form and manner prescribed by the city, which shall be executed by a duly authorized agent of the insurer. Such coverage shall be in no less amounts than the following:
Public liability and property damage for death or injury to any one (1) person: three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.).
Total liability in any one (1) accident: three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.).
Property damage: fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.).
Cargo coverage: The cargo coverage filed shall provide adequate coverage to the minimum extent of two thousand dollars ($2,000.) to cover the carrier's legal liability for loss or damage to property of any person or persons other than the assured carried in, upon or attached to the motor vehicle and/or trailers or dollies operated by or for or under the control of the assured (towing carrier). The original policy is to be retained by the assured and kept available for inspection by any authorized representative of the City of Coatesville.
All insurance coverage must be filed with the same name, initials, trade name or corporate name and address as listed on the application for the permit. Subsequent name and address changes and policy number changes shall be reflected on the certificate by the filing of an endorsement by the insurer.
Every insurance certificate required by and filed with the city shall be kept in force and effect unless and until canceled by thirty (30) days' written notice by the insurer, which time shall commence from the date the notice is actually received by the city, and the prescribed certificate of insurance shall contain a statement to this effect.
Inspections. All inspections to qualify for a permit shall be made by the Chief of Police or his designee inspector within the City Police Department. The inspector shall fill out an inspection sheet and sign the same. If the wrecker does not comply with the specifications of this chapter, the inspector shall make a notation on the inspection form of this fact. The inspection forms, as set out in this section, shall be kept by the City Codes Department. The police official in charge of the wreckers will be in charge of inspection.
In addition to a permit authorizing a person to engage in wrecker business, there shall be issued a permit for each approved wrecker vehicle owned by the permittee. Each permit for a wrecker vehicle shall state that such wrecker has been inspected by the Chief of Police or his designee inspector and approved by the City Secretary and shall be affixed securely to the inside of the windshield of the appropriate wrecker vehicle. No person shall operate a wrecker commercially on the public streets of the city unless a permit to engage in the wrecker business has been issued to the owner of such wrecker. No permit shall be transferable, and every permit shall expire at 12:00 midnight on the 31st day of December of the calendar year in which it was issued.
Each wrecker vehicle permit (sticker) shall be issued in a color different from the previous permit year.
Operation without permits. No person shall operate a wrecker commercially on the public streets of the city unless a current inspection permit has been duly issued for such vehicle by the City Codes Department. No person shall operate a wrecker on the public streets of the city unless the permit duly issued to such wrecker is posted on the windshield of such wrecker as provided in this section.
Wreckers responding to the scene or situs of an accident or collision may do so only if they are responding to a call by the Police Department or an individual. The prohibition of this section shall be inapplicable, provided that it is necessary to prevent death or bodily injury to any person involved in an accident or collision. If a wrecker driver is called to an accident by an individual, he must advise the Police Department of the person's name, the type of vehicle and the exact location of the accident or collision prior to arrival.
One (1) wrecker service may not authorize another wrecker service to handle calls for the other in the event that its wrecker/driver is not available.
Nothing in this section is to prevent a wrecker service who happens to be in the area, passing by, on no other business, from stopping to assist the wrecker service handling the wreck scene, provided that the dispatched wrecker has arrived at the scene.
No person shall solicit in any manner, directly or indirectly, on the streets of the city, the business of towing any vehicle which is wrecked or disabled due to accident or police action on a public street, regardless of whether the solicitation is for the purpose of soliciting the business of towing, removing, repairing, wrecking, storing, trading or purchasing said vehicle.
The police officer investigating the accident shall ask the individuals involved if they have a wrecker preference from among wrecker permit owners, and if they have such a preference, he or she shall instruct the dispatcher to call the wrecker preferred.
The wrecker operator must have well-lighted storage either inside storage which can be locked up at night or outside storage surrounded by a fence at least six (6) feet high which can be locked up at night. The permit owner must have these facilities located within a five-mile radius of the intersection of Lincoln Highway, East, and First Avenue.
The wrecker permit owner/driver must respond to all calls by the Police Department within twenty (20) minutes of the initial call.
A rotating list of all wrecker permit owners qualifying under § 210-6 shall be maintained in the City Police Department. The list shall provide for rotation among wrecker permit owners on a weekly basis, Sunday through Saturday. In the event that the individual has no preference or is unable to designate a call preference or the individual's preference does not answer or is unwilling or unable to provide a wrecker immediately, then the investigating officer shall call the wrecker designated on said rotating list. Said rotation shall, as nearly as possible, equitably distribute the wrecker calls to the above-mentioned wrecker permit owners. If there is no answer or the owners are unwilling or unable to provide a wrecker immediately, then the investigating officer shall call the next wrecker owner on said rotating list and shall continue in this manner until a wrecker is dispatched to the accident in question.
There shall be maintained a separate rotating list comprised of the wrecker permit owners qualifying under § 210-6 with a power-takeoff-driven winch of a capacity of not less than six thousand (6,000) pounds. When, in the opinion of the investigating officer, the condition of or location of a vehicle is such that a wrecker with power-takeoff-driven winch is required to safely and expeditiously remove the vehicle and the owner has no preference, then the officer shall call the next wrecker permit owner on the list of wrecker owners with power-takeoff-driven winches. If there is no answer or the wrecker owners are unwilling or unable to provide a wrecker immediately, then the investigation officer shall call the next wrecker owner on said list and shall continue in this manner until a wrecker is dispatched or until all wrecker owners on the list have been called and a wrecker has not been dispatched, the officer shall go to the rotating list of all wrecker permit owners established in Subsection B above and follow the procedures set forth therein until a wrecker is dispatched.
In order to be placed on the rotating list, a wrecker permit owner must comply with the following requirements:
The permit owner must have facilities complying with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Motor Vehicles/Salvor Unit, or must show proof of a contractual agreement between the permit owner and the owner of a facility which meets the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles/Salvor Unit. This facility must be located within a five-mile radius of the intersection of First Avenue and Lincoln Highway, East.
All vehicles towed or removed by the wrecker permit owner in response to a rotating list must be stored at the above-mentioned facility unless the wrecker permit owner is requested by the owner of the vehicle or a police official to transport the vehicle to another location.
The wrecker owner must make any vehicle stored at this facility available to the vehicle owner between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and shall have a sign clearly visible at the entrance, clearly readable from the street, setting out the name of the storage facility/lot, the street address and telephone number(s) where the facility owner/operator can be reached to release stored vehicles to owners. Access to stored vehicles shall not be unreasonably denied between 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., where the facility owner/operator is available to release the stored vehicle.
The wrecker permit owner/driver must respond to all calls by the Police Department within twenty (20) minutes of the initial call.
Eligibility for city rotation shall be determined initially by the Chief of Police on the foregoing requirements. Similarly, the Chief of Police summarily removes the wrecker permit owner from city rotation upon his or her determination of that owner's subsequent ineligibility. Any such decision of the Chief of Police may be appealed to the City Council by giving notice of such appeal within the ten-day period following the action of the Chief of Police.
The impounding of any vehicle in any vehicle storage facility which is in full compliance with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Bureau of Motor Vehicles/Salvor Unit, shall be at the direction of the Chief of Police, any peace officer or official having such authority by law. Police officers requiring access to any vehicle stored in a storage facility lot as part of an official investigation shall be permitted such access on a twenty-four-hour basis.
This chapter shall be cumulative of all laws of the commonwealth and the United States governing the subject matter of this chapter.
Any person, either by himself, herself or agent, who shall do any act or thing prohibited by the terms of this chapter or in any way violate the provisions thereof, upon conviction, shall be fined not more than six hundred dollars ($600.) or imprisoned for a period not to exceed ninety (90) days, or both such fine and imprisonment. It shall not be necessary for the complaint to allege or for proof to be made that the act was knowingly done, nor shall it be necessary for the complaint to negate any exception contained in this chapter concerning any prohibited act, but any such exception made therein may be urged as a defense by any person charged by such complaint.
The Chief of Police shall suspend the wrecker permit owner from the city rotation list for a period of thirty (30) days from the first violation.
In case of two (2) of such violations within a twelve-month period, the Chief of Police will suspend the wrecker permit owner from the city rotation list for a period of ninety (90) days.
Any such action on the part of the Chief of Police may be appealed by the wrecker permit owner to the City Council of the City of Coatesville by giving written notice to the City Secretary within ten (10) days after such action by the Chief of Police.
The Chief of Police is hereby authorized to allow wrecker owners without a permit to haul wrecked or disabled vehicles when police investigation is finished and the same is not in any way interfering with traffic.
While at the scene of an accident, the wrecker or wreckers which have been dispatched shall be under the direction of the police officer investigating the accident and shall carry out his or her instructions, including the cleaning of glass and debris.
A wrecker permit may be revoked by the City Council upon a determination by it that:
The owner of the wrecker for which such permit was issued or any employee or agent of such owner or the applicant for such permit or any employee or agent of such applicant has violated any provision of this chapter within the sixty (60) days immediately preceding the date of revocation.
The owner of the wrecker for which such permit was issued or the applicant for such permit is failing to comply and to maintain such wrecker in compliance with the requirements set forth in § 210-2D of this chapter for the issuance of such permit.
The owner of the wrecker for which such permit was issued or any employee or agent of such owner or the applicant for such permit or any employee or agent of such applicant has been convicted, within sixty (60) days immediately preceding the date of revocation, of a moving violation of the traffic laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or its political subdivisions, provided that such moving violation occurs while the violator is driving or operating a wrecker for which a permit has been issued under the provisions of this chapter.
The owner of the wrecker for which such permit was issued or any employee or agent of such owner or the applicant for such permit or any employee or agent of such applicant has used information received from a broadcast on the shortwave radio frequency of the Police Department or Fire Department for his or her own benefit or for the benefit of another person in connection with the operation of wrecker business within the sixty (60) days immediately preceding the date of revocation.
No towing carrier shall commence to tow any vehicle unless the conditions enumerated in at least one (1) of the following Subsections A through C are first met:
The towing service is requested by the custodian of the vehicle to be towed. "Owner" or "custodian of the vehicle," as used herein, shall include any person legally entitled to possession of said vehicle.
The towing service is to be performed pursuant to the direction of a duly constituted law enforcement officer.
The vehicle is to be towed from private property upon the direction of the owner of the property or an agent of the owner of such property to remove such vehicle therefrom. Such direction shall be in writing and shall identify the vehicle and the time and place of pickup of the vehicle and the destination or delivery point.
The authorized representatives of the City of Coatesville shall at times have the authority to inspect the books and records connected with the towing and storage operations of any towing carrier, and the carrier shall make his or her records available to the city's representative upon request by the representative during normal business hours.
The authorized representatives of the City of Coatesville shall at times have authority to inspect towing carriers' equipment and facilities used in providing storage and towing services during normal business hours.