Removal of Abandoned Vehicles by State Police

Section 106-B:31

    106-B:31 Requirements to Remain on the Tow List. –
I. Tow personnel shall perform a general cleanup of an accident area before leaving the scene, and remove any glass, vehicle parts, debris, or other substances dropped or spilled prior to leaving an incident scene. Vehicle fluids or hazardous substances shall not be intentionally drained or left on the road or surrounding environment. There will be no charge for normal highway cleanup of 30 minutes or less unless cleanup is a regular part of the itemized bill. If the debris field was caused by more than one vehicle all tow personnel shall share in the cleanup duties under the direction of the trooper in charge at the scene.
II. The tow business shall be responsible for securing and preserving personal property in a vehicle to be towed, unless the owner or person responsible is present and wishes to take custody of it.
III. The tow business shall employ reasonable safeguards and procedures so that all personal belongings and contents in the towed vehicle are intact and returned to the vehicle's owner or authorized agent upon release of the vehicle upon payment in full or mutual agreement for payment of fees with the exception of those essential items as provided.
IV. All personal property left in a vehicle and unclaimed shall be handled in accordance with applicable state laws.
V. No tow business shall accept a call if the employee who will be responding is under the influence of any substance that could cause impairment or has the odor of alcohol on his or her breath, nor shall a tow business employee respond in such a condition.
VI. The tow business shall maintain a log or ledger of all vehicles towed at the request of state police. It shall contain the date, time, and location of the tow, a description of the vehicle towed including the owner's name and address, vehicle identification number, registration plate number and state of registration, name of the tow vehicle operator, name and address of the person to whom the vehicle was released, and location to which the vehicle was towed. This record and any other records and equipment associated with compliance with these applicable state statutes and these rules shall be open to inspection by department of safety personnel during normal business hours and retained for the year when the record was made and one full year beyond.
VII. The owner, operator, and any employee of the tow business on the list shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws and local ordinances. In matters where conflict of laws arises the tow business shall follow the lawful direction of the law enforcement officer controlling the scene of the investigations and shall be held harmless from any conflicts.
VIII. All wrecker drivers shall have a valid driver's license for the class of vehicle they are operating. Wrecker drivers shall have a motor vehicle record free of convictions of serious motor vehicle offenses, or license revocations, or suspensions for serious motor vehicle offenses for the past 3 years.
IX. Tow companies on the tow list shall not permit any person to drive a wrecker if said person has been convicted for any felony against persons or property involving fraudulent activity, sex offenses, aggravated assaults, burglary, theft resulting in a felony conviction within the last 3 years. No tow company shall permit any person to drive a wrecker if the person is currently subject to probation, parole restrictions, or court order restricting the area the person may or may not be present in at any time.
X. Wreckers at the scene of a service call may be asked to provide minor on-site repairs, such as jump-starting a dead battery or changing a tire.
XI. Each tow vehicle shall carry at a minimum the following supplies and equipment in good working order, in addition to meeting the requirements herein for each class of vehicle that will be responding to wrecker calls:
(a) Emergency lights meeting statutory requirements, visible at 3/4 of a mile when illuminated, and visible over any vehicle being towed. Sirens are prohibited.
(b) At least one working spotlight capable of being aimed.
(c) One fire extinguisher, 5-lb. carbon monoxide or dry powder, fully charged and able to be operated.
(d) At least one heavy duty push broom and garbage container.
(e) A steering lock mechanism or capability to properly lock steering.
(f) A first aid kit.
(g) A reflectorized safety vest for each employee on the vehicle.
(h) For heavy duty vehicles and heavy-duty recovery vehicles, portable lighting equipment.
(i) Heavy duty wreckers and heavy-duty recovery vehicles shall have 10 of at least 2 of the following: reflector flare, road flare, colored LED flashing road flare. Lighter vehicles shall have at least 3 of 2 or more of the following: reflector flare, road flare, colored LED flashing road flare. Traffic cones may be substituted for one of the above on a clear day during the hours from dawn to dusk.
(j) At least one flat scoop type shovel.
(k) For heavy duty wreckers and heavy-duty recovery vehicles, necessary equipment to perform the tasks necessary for towing a vehicle.
(l) For any wreckers called to recover vehicles with air assisted brakes, the capability to provide air to the towed vehicle to facilitate brake operation.
(m) A current, valid motor vehicle registration and a current, valid state safety inspection sticker.
(n) An FCC licensed 2-way business radio or a wireless telephone.
(o) Portable lights for any vehicle being towed including taillights, stop lights, and directional signals.
(p) A minimum of 40 pounds of sand or other appropriate absorbent material designed and verified by the manufacturer to absorb hazardous waste and spills in an efficient and effective manner.
XII. The management of a towing business on the rotating list shall be primarily responsible to the division of state police to inspect and maintain an ongoing awareness of compliance with relevant rules, regulations, and laws affecting the business and to make prompt corrections of any discrepancies. Each tow business on the list shall annually, on or before January 15 of the following year, certify to the director of state police under penalty for unsworn falsification that it has conducted an internal inspection and that the business is in compliance with the provisions of this subdivision and any administrative rules adopted pursuant to it.
XIII. State troopers or other designated department of safety personnel may be assigned at the discretion of the state police director to conduct reviews from time to time of towing businesses, their records, and equipment to ensure compliance with relevant rules and laws and make a recommendation through the state police communications commander to the director as to the level of compliance and any appropriate action. Tow businesses participating in the tow list shall make, during normal business hours, their records, vehicles, facility, and equipment available for examination for such reviews by troopers or other department of safety employees. In cases of non-compliance, the state police communications commander shall recommend appropriate action to the director, which may include a verbal or written reprimand, suspension, or revocation from continued participation in the rotating list. Such action is discretionary and shall be based on the nature and seriousness of the discrepancy and any prior record of the business.
XIV. Before being removed from the rotating list for disciplinary reasons, a tow business or employee shall be served with a written notice of intent describing the reasons, and notified that it may request a hearing before the department of safety bureau of hearings prior to any such removal. A tow business that is removed from the list may contest the result of the hearing in superior court. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to confer any vested property rights upon a tow business or employee to remain on the state police rotating tow list.
XV. Tow vehicle owners, operators, and employees shall not be abusive, disrespectful, or use profane language when dealing with the public or officials and shall cooperate with the members of the state police.
XVI. Tow businesses shall employ only drivers who demonstrate an ability to perform required services in a safe, timely, courteous and civil manner and who satisfy all applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
XVII. The tow business shall tow disabled vehicles to any destination requested by the vehicle owner or person in charge of the vehicle after financial obligations have been finalized to the satisfaction of the tow business providing the service. The tow business may hold the vehicle for payment of services at the business location if not satisfied with payment on site.
XVIII. Access to the storage facility or yard by insurance inspectors, appraisers, attorneys and their assistants and private investigators shall be at their own risk and the tow business shall not be responsible for any injury sustained. A vehicle owner or the owner's authorized agent, upon presentation of suitable identification, may enter the yard at their own risk under supervision by the tow business to remove personal items or belongings.
XIX. A wrecker operator on the rotation list shall not offer towing services to the owner or operator of a vehicle currently under the supervision of state police unless dispatched by the rotation list or specifically hailed for service by the trooper or other law enforcement officer under emergency circumstances. Any activity done or designed for the purpose of circumventing the list shall be cause for the division to remove the business from the rotating list permanently or for a specific time determined by the division.
XX. Tow service vehicles shall not be driven at an unsafe or unreasonable speed, commit other moving motor vehicle violations or drive recklessly on the way to or from a towing service call, and may be removed from the list for such behavior.
XXI. State police shall not show any favoritism or circumvent the tow list to favor one or more businesses and shall be subject to divisional discipline for doing so.

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