Removal of Abandoned Vehicles by State Police

Section 106-B:29

    106-B:29 Use of Tow List. –
I. When a towing situation being handled by state police involves a vehicle that requires recovery, towing, or removal from the scene, the trooper in charge shall make a best effort attempt to allow the owner, operator, or other person lawfully responsible for the vehicle to contact a preferred tow business, unless doing so will delay the timely restoration of safe traffic movement, prolong a serious hazard, or compromise the preservation or collection of evidence. The preferred tow business when called shall notify state police communications of its estimated time of arrival. The trooper on scene shall determine if that time will unduly continue a hazardous condition or cause serious inconvenience for the public and, if so, state police communications shall summon the next appropriate tow business from the tow list. If there is no one on site who is the owner, operator, or other person lawfully responsible for the vehicle, and in the opinion of the trooper the vehicle presents a hazard or unreasonable delay to the public, the trooper on site shall request that state police communications contact the next appropriate tow business on the list.
II. To help ensure a timely and professional response and to promote fairness to individual towing businesses, the division of state police shall maintain a separate rotation list for each state police geographical troop area. In any case where distances involved could cause unreasonably long wrecker responses, the director of state police may authorize a separate rotational list by county or group of communities for that troop. The director may enlarge or shrink an area if necessary to provide a sufficient number of tow businesses to handle the number of calls in the area and the travel distances involved, and shall review the zones periodically to determine if needs are being met.
III. If the desired tow business is unable to respond to a call in a timely manner with the proper equipment, the tow business next in line on the rotation list will be called.
IV. Placement on the tow list shall be by order of application. Whenever a new tow business becomes authorized, it shall be placed on the bottom of the appropriate list or lists for which the director finds the tow business qualified. The director shall have authority to determine when a tow list is adequately staffed with towing businesses and may refuse to add a business to the list if he or she determines the amount and type of calls in that zone is insufficient to justify a larger list.
V. Separate rotation lists shall be maintained for each category of wrecker. When a situation requires services of a specific category of wrecker, such wrecker shall be called from the appropriate tow list unless the person responsible for the vehicle is present and has a preference for a different tow business with that category of wrecker, in which case the preferred wrecker shall be summoned if available within a reasonable response time.
VI. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to confer any vested property rights upon a tow business to continue on the rotating list.
VII. Calling a tow company from the list does not create a contract with or obligation on the part of the state police or state police personnel to reimburse any fee or towing charge, except when towing a vehicle owned or leased by the state police or that is later forfeited to the state police, or if a court determines that the state police wrongfully authorized the tow and orders the state police to pay transportation and storage fees.
VIII. Placement on the rotation list does not guarantee a particular number of calls, an equal number of calls to every tow business on the list, nor any compensation as a consequence of not being called in accordance with the list, or when removed from the rotation list. If a towing business responds to a state police call and the call is later canceled due to the vehicle no longer being disabled, or the circumstances change such that after calling a tow company the vehicle must be stored in a manner that preserves all evidence in or on the vehicle and the tow business is not so equipped, the tow business shall go back to the top of the list.
IX. A tow business shall, upon receiving a request from the state police, use its own equipment and shall not refer a call to another tow business.
X. A tow business may terminate or temporarily suspend its designation as a service provider and be removed from the rotation list by providing prompt written notice to state police communications. In the event of unforeseen circumstances such as death, fire, bankruptcy, or loss of equipment from accident or failure, a tow business on the tow list shall timely notify the director of state police in writing of its intent to suspend its designation as a service provider. If and when it desires to return to service, such tow company shall send a new application to the director. If approved to resume operation, they shall be placed at the bottom of the rotation list.
XI. New tow businesses, when qualified and accepted, shall be placed on the bottom of the rotation list.
XII. The trooper in charge at the scene of a towing situation shall have discretionary authority to deny a request for a specific tow business whenever time is of the essence and the request will delay the restoration of safe traffic movement.
XIII. If a motorcycle is to be towed, a tow sling, wheel lift, car carrier, or other comparable device shall be used that has the capability to transport motorcycles.
XIV. The division shall not call a tow business that, in its opinion, does not have a vehicle of sufficient size and equipment for a specific job. Under these conditions, the tow business not called will remain on the top of the rotation list.
XV. A tow business shall not sell, assign, transfer, pledge, surrender, encumber, or dispose of its place on the rotation list. By applying to be placed on the list, a tow business agrees to respond to all state police calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If for any reason the business cannot respond to a call, it rotates to the bottom of the list. Businesses that develop a pattern of non-response to calls may be subject to removal from the rotation list.
XVI. A tow business shall appear on the rotation list only once. The listing shall use the name of the business submitted at the time of application and a designation for any specialty in which the business is qualified. A tow business conducting business at a location shall not receive multiple listings or classifications by utilizing a different or fictitious name for trucks operating from the same location or trucks operating with the same name out of different locations within that zone.
XVII. When emergency conditions necessitate, the state police may request the services of the tow business that is best equipped to handle the emergency and can reach the scene in the shortest time, regardless of its position on the rotation list. A call made under these circumstances shall count as such business's next rotation call.
XVIII. Whenever heavy equipment or large vehicles are involved in an incident, and it is determined that the tow business next up on the rotation list lacks adequate equipment to handle the incident, the division may call a larger piece of equipment from a business on the list that can handle the situation. In such case, the tow business shall be repositioned on the rotation list accordingly. Having only one large rotation wrecker shall not justify for being called to all truck accidents.
XIX. In the event of an overturned truck, the state police shall determine at the time if the situation requires the use of only one tow business or if additional vehicles are required. The first named tow business shall determine the amount of assistance necessary to remove any public hazards. The tow business responding to the law enforcement request shall be responsible for contacting others meeting the qualifications to operate in New Hampshire and shall be the business responsible for efficient and safe handling of the recovery. Decisions made pursuant to this paragraph shall be based on the public safety concerns.
XX. At no time shall any towing vehicle exceed its manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating or the manufacturer's rated capacity for the towing assembly or be attached to a vehicle which by its size and or weight would make towing it an unsafe movement.

Source. 2021, 204:2, Pt. II, Sec. 2, eff. Oct. 9, 2021.