New Law on Towing Regulations----Chapter 193 (A-4053)
The effect of Chapter 193 on municipal towing ordinances have created many uncertainties but it is clear some municipal procedures have been invalidated. The Law shall take effect 360 days following enactment and Section 4 dealing with State registration requirements shall remain inoperative for 180 days following the effective date. It appears the time span will be at least one and a half years before this law is up and running. In the meantime, we are seeking clarification on whether municipal ordinances are still in effect doing this time.
A few major provisions of Chapter 193 (A-4053):
- Municipality preempted from requiring or issuing any registration or license of any towing company. (Sec. 14a…p10)
- Municipality not authorize to establish charges for towing services that are not included in schedule of services for which towing fee is established by Division of Consumer Affairs. (Sec. 23 d….p16)
- Permits towing company to charge lesser of charges established by municipal ordinance.
Municipality Not Precluded From:
- Requiring additional/higher liability insurance coverage with respect to contractual agreement with towing company. (Sec. 6c p6)
- Establishing contract rates (fees established under a contract) for towing and storage services as part of contractual agreement with towing company. (Sec. 8d p8)
- Under existing authority, municipality can license & collect general tax upon all businesses; or
- Impose additional requirements/conditions as part of a contractual agreement with towing company. (Sec. 14a para. 1&2….p10)
Director of Division of Consumer Affairs:
- Prescribes registration form, sets registration fee sufficient to defray administrative expenses, provides decals to be placed on towing vehicle. (Sec 4 a&b p3)
- Through regulation, establishes schedule of towing and storage services for which towing company may charge service fee. (Sec.8 p7)
- Specifies services included as part of basic towing services for which no fee is charged.
- Provides data on Internet website which data enables consumer to review fee charged for each towing service by each registered towing company in the State.
- May suspend/revoke registration for reasons listed in bill. (Sec.5a p4)
- Shall not engage in towing unless registered with Division of Consumer Affairs
- Shall apply for registration on annual basis accompanied by fee as set by Director
- Shall not tow vehicle from private property w/o consent of owner of vehicle.
- Requires towing company to maintain liability insurance which meets/exceeds such amount as determined by Director through regulations.
- Shall file with Division a list of services provided and fee charged for each service.
- Fee presumed excessive if exceeds 150% of average fee charged in county of towing company location or a different percentage established by Director,
C.39:3-84.9….The system of licensure of tow companies by Director (p14 of bill)
C.40:48-2.55…Model Schedule of towing, storage services for which municipality and county may charge fee.
C.56:8-2.26…..Charging of discriminatory or unusual rates for towing services.