Chapter 24A
TOWING SERVICES1

Sections:

24A.1    Definitions.

24A.2    Towing list; application.

24A.3    Towing list; establishment.

24A.4    Appeal of disqualification.

24A.5    Insurance requirements.

24A.6    Duties of towing services.

24A.7    Towing service response.

24A.8    Regulations.

24A.9    Records and inspections.

24A.10    Use of towing list.

24A.11    Removal from towing list.

24A.12    Removal from private property; infraction.

24A.1 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

“Towing list” shall mean a list maintained by the police department containing the names of towing services authorized by the city to respond to requests for the towing of motor vehicles made by the police department. The list shall include at least one towing service authorized by the American Automobile Association and one by the National Automobile Club to provide road service to members.

“Towing service” shall mean any person engaged in the business of, or offering the services of, a vehicle towing service whereby motor vehicles are or may be towed or otherwise removed from one place to another by use of a tow truck adapted to and assigned for that purpose. (Ord. No. 81-25, § 1, 8-17-81)

24A.2 Towing list; application.

Any person desiring to be authorized to perform towing services shall submit an “application for towing service” to the chief of the police department. The application shall include the name and business address of the applicant, the name and residence address of the owner or owners of the applicant; the twenty-four-hour telephone number by which the applicant may be summoned; the name of any club or organization by which the applicant is authorized to provide road service to members; the location, size and security features of the storage facilities on which vehicles not otherwise consigned will be stored as well as the location to which the public must come to claim stored vehicles; a statement that towing services will be provided on a twenty-four-hour a day basis for each day of the year and that the applicant will accept responsibility for any and all personal property left in towed and stored vehicles; a current business license; and a copy of the board of equalization license required by the California Revenue and Taxation Code. (Ord. No. 81-25, § 1, 8-17-81; Ord. No. 84-7, § 1, 5-21-84)

24A.3 Towing list; establishment.

Within thirty (30) days of receiving an application for towing service, the chief of police shall conduct an investigation to determine the suitability of the applicant. If the chief finds the applicant qualified, he shall add the name to the towing list in chronological order. If the chief finds the applicant not to be qualified, the applicant shall be given the reasons for disqualification in writing. (Ord. No. 81-25, § 1, 8-17-81)

24A.4 Appeal of disqualification.

Any applicant requesting to be on the towing list may appeal the decision of the chief of police not to place the applicant on the towing list by filing written notice thereof with the city administrator within ten (10) days of the receipt of the reasons for disqualification from the chief. The city administrator shall hold a hearing on the application following receipt of the appeal. The decision of the city administrator may be appealed to the city council following the above process. Decision of the city council shall be final. (Ord. No. 81-25, § 1, 8-17-81)

24A.5 Insurance requirements.

All towing services on the towing list shall maintain with the chief of police evidence of a garage keeper’s legal liability policy with minimum coverage of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00), and a policy covering the owner and driver of each of the vehicles described in such permit insuring against public liability as a result of the ownership, operation or other use thereof, the minimum liability limits upon each such vehicle being not less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) on account of personal injury to or death of any one person in any one occurrence and three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.00) on account of personal injuries or death of two (2) or more persons in any one occurrence and minimum liability limits upon each such vehicle being not less than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) for damage to or destruction of property in any one occurrence.

Each policy required herein shall be endorsed to provide thirty (30) days’ notice to the city of cancellation. A letter from the insurance company or a copy of the policy must be forwarded to Gilroy Police Department as proof of coverage to comply with this chapter. (Ord. No. 81-25, § 1, 8-17-81)

24A.6 Duties of towing services.

All tow trucks used by towing services shall be equipped with warning lights as required by the California Vehicle Code and have working, two-way radio communications. There shall be an attendant on-duty at all times to receive calls for service and dispatching tow trucks as requested. No vehicle impounded directly by the Gilroy Police Department shall be released to or inspected by the owner without the written authorization of the police department. The current price schedule for all services to be rendered by the towing service shall be maintained with the police department and no other price shall be charged. (Ord. No. 81-25, § 1, 8-17-81)

24A.7 Towing service response.

No towing service shall respond to the scene of an accident or emergency for the purpose of towing motor vehicles unless called there by the police or one of the persons involved in the accident or emergency. (Ord. No. 81-25, § 1, 8-17-81)

24A.8 Regulations.

The city council by resolution may regulate towing charges and may make such rules and regulations as are necessary to effectuate this chapter and to provide adequate service to the public at the scene of the accident or emergency. (Ord. No. 81-25, § 1, 8-17-81)

24A.9 Records and inspections.

The towing service shall maintain approved records and claims check systems to assure the release of vehicles to the proper persons. Such records shall be open to the Gilroy Police Department for investigation of specific complaints and for compiling surveys. The owner of any towing service approved for the towing list shall permit the chief of police or his designate to inspect the equipment and vehicles used in the towing of motor vehicles and the security facilities maintained for the storage of towed vehicles and personal property. (Ord. No. 81-25, § 1, 8-17-81)

24A.10 Use of towing list.

All towing shall be on a “rotation” basis. The towing service next on the towing list shall be summoned by the police for all accidents or emergencies unless the persons involved in the accident or emergency request a specific towing service. Provided, however, when it is known that the towing service is unable to handle the particular accident or emergency because of size of equipment needed the next in rotation may be summoned or specialized services requested from an unlisted towing service. If the towing service called is not able to respond within a reasonable time, the next in rotation shall be called without taking the first off the list unless the towing service first called had failed to respond after indicating ability to respond. No unlisted towing service shall be called except when all listed services are unavailable or specifically requested. (Ord. No. 81-25, § 1, 8-17-81)

24A.11 Removal from towing list.

A towing service may be removed from the towing list by the chief of police at the request of the towing service if he finds that:

(a) The approval of the application was obtained by fraud or by the concealment of a material fact or facts which, if known, would have caused the disqualification of the applicant.

(b) The towing service has violated any of the requirements of the rules or regulations established.

(c) Cancellation or expiration of required insurance.

(d) The services rendered or the cooperation which the city has received are unsatisfactory and inadequate as determined by the chief of police.

The towing service shall be notified in writing of the decision of the chief of police and may appeal the decision to the chief within ten (10) days of receipt of such notice. The chief shall hear the appeal within ten (10) days of a request and shall make his decision in writing within ten (10) days of such hearing. The decision of the chief of police may be appealed as provided for original disqualification. (Ord. No. 81-25, § 1, 8-17-81)

24A.12 Removal from private property; infraction.

It shall be unlawful and an infraction for a towing service to impose a charge on the owner of a motor vehicle for hooking up or removing that vehicle under the provisions of Vehicle Code Section 22658 without first complying with sections 24A.2, 24A.5, 24A.6 and 24A.8 of this chapter.

Any purported charge or fee imposed in violation of this section is hereby declared illegal against public policy, voidable and unenforceable. (Ord. No. 84-7, § 2, 5-21-84)


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Cross referencesMotor vehicles and traffic generally, Ch. 15; abandoned, wrecked motor vehicles, § 15.111 et seq.