Chapter 5.20


5.20.010    Definitions.

5.20.020    License – Required – Application.

5.20.030    License – Application – Inspection report required.

5.20.040    License – Application – Information required.

5.20.050    License – Application – Registration of drivers required.

5.20.060    License – Issuance – Fee.

5.20.070    License – Insurance requirements.

5.20.080    License – Recommendation by police chief.

5.20.090    Appeal procedure.

5.20.100    Inspection of vehicles.

5.20.110    Regulations for drivers.

5.20.120    Location and base of operations.

5.20.130    Twenty-four-hour service.

5.20.140    Rates.

5.20.150    Preparation of bills.

5.20.160    Lifting and towing requirements.

5.20.170    Emergency lighting.

5.20.180    Safety devices.

5.20.190    Other licenses required.

5.20.200    Additional rules.

5.20.210    Enforcement.

5.20.010 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words shall be defined as follows:

A. “Tow truck” means any vehicle designed or intended to tow vehicles, remove vehicles from the scene of an accident, disability; or impounding.

B. “Wrecker” or “towing operator” means any person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of offering towing service. (Ord. 280 § 1, 1971).

5.20.020 License – Required – Application.

It is unlawful for any person, firm or corporation engaged in the business of motor vehicle wrecker or towing operator as defined in MICC 5.20.010 to tow or otherwise remove motor vehicles from the scene of an accident, disability or impounding, without first obtaining a license pursuant of the provisions of this chapter, by making written application to the city clerk for such license. (Ord. 280 § 2, 1971).

5.20.030 License – Application – Inspection report required.

When filed, said application shall also be accompanied by an inspection report on the vehicles and equipment based on inspection by the chief of police or his authorized representative, to insure compliance with the state requirements for the operation of tow trucks and wreckers. (Ord. 280 § 3, 1971).

5.20.040 License – Application – Information required.

The applicant shall furnish full information concerning ownership; number and classification of vehicles to be operated; the name under which the applicant intends to operate; and such other information as may be deemed by the chief of police to be necessary for proper supervision and regulation of such vehicles. (Ord. 280 § 6, 1974).

5.20.050 License – Application – Registration of drivers required.

Each operator must submit to the chief of police, with his application, a list of proposed drivers, said list of drivers to be kept current at all times during the period of the license. (Ord. 280 § 8, 1971).

5.20.060 License – Issuance – Fee.

A. Every application shall be referred to the chief of police, whose duty it shall be to investigate the applicant and, if satisfied with his qualifications, recommend to the city clerk that a license be issued.

B. The city clerk shall, upon receipt of the annual license fee, issue a license which shall expire on December 31 of the year in which it is issued. The annual license fee shall be $25 for each vehicle to be operated. A separate license shall be required for each vehicle, describing the specifically licensed vehicle. (Ord. 280 § 5, 1971).

5.20.070 License – Insurance requirements.

Every operator shall file with the city clerk a policy or policies of public liability insurance, issued by an insurance company or companies authorized to do business in the state, providing indemnity for or protection to the city as well as providing public liability insurance coverage for each and every vehicle owned, operated and/or leased by the applicant, for injury to or death of persons, passengers or otherwise, in accidents resulting from any cause by which the owner and/or operator of said vehicle would be liable on account of any liability imposed upon him by law, regardless of whether the vehicle was being driven by the owner or his agent and as against damage to the property of another, including personal property under like circumstances, in the sum of $100,000 for the injury or death of one person, or $300,000 for the injury or death of more than one person in any one accident, and $50,000 for property damage. Any copy of such insurance policy shall be subject to approval as to sufficiency by the city clerk and as to form by the city attorney. Every such policy of insurance shall provide that the liability of the insured shall not be affected by the insolvency or bankruptcy of the insured. The policy shall be for the benefit of any and all judgment creditors and shall extend for the period to be covered by the license applied for, and the insurer shall give not less than 10 days’ written notice to the city clerk in the event of change or cancellation. (Ord. 280 § 4, 1971).

5.20.080 License – Recommendation by police chief.

If the chief of police finds from his investigation and from the information obtained that the applicant is a financially responsible person and the bona fide owner of the vehicles for which licenses are sought, and has met all of the requirements of this chapter, that the vehicles are safe and equipped with valid state licenses, that they are properly bonded for the protection of the public as required by the motor vehicle laws of the state, and the convenience and necessity of the city will be promoted by granting such applicant one or more licenses, the chief of police shall recommend to the city clerk that the license be granted. (Ord. 280 § 7, 1971).

5.20.090 Appeal procedure.

Any applicant who has applied for a license under this chapter and has been refused a license by the chief of police or the city clerk shall have the right to appeal to the city council. Any licensee whose license is revoked or suspended shall have the right to appeal to the city council from such revocation or suspension by filing with the city council a written notice thereof within five days after the notice of entry of the order of revocation or suspension. The notice of appeal shall specify an address at which the licensee may be given notice of hearing on the appeal. The city council shall hear the appeal or may refer the same to a committee of hearing. At the hearing, the licensee shall be entitled to appear in person and offer evidence pertinent to the revocation or suspension, and the chief of police or city clerk shall likewise be entitled to be heard at the hearing and to offer evidence in support of his order of revocation or suspension. A committee, if appointed, shall hear the appeal and its actions shall be final and conclusive. From the time of filing the written notice of appeal until the hearing and action by the city council, the order of the chief of police of revocation or suspension shall be effective. Any suspended or revoked license shall be surrendered to the chief of police. (Ord. 280 § 19, 1971).

5.20.100 Inspection of vehicles.

All vehicles operated under the authority of this chapter shall be available for inspection at any responsible time and place by the chief of police, or his authorized representative. The chief of police, or his authorized representative, shall inspect a vehicle to determine cleanliness, proper equipment, good appearance, safe operating condition and shall in all cases be the sole judge in this determination, and the chief of police, or his authorized representative, shall at the time of his inspection ascertain that the vehicle is carrying the permits issued by the Department of Licenses of the state showing such vehicles to be properly bonded for the public operation, and also the license issued pursuant to this chapter. If the chief of police or his authorized representative determines during his inspection that the condition of any vehicle needs correction, he shall issue to the operator or driver thereof a notice in writing specifying such defects and same shall be remedied at a reasonable date to be fixed by the chief of police in such notice. The chief of police shall order any such vehicle for hire to cease operation immediately if in his determination the vehicle is in an unsafe condition and shall notify the operator or driver in writing. (Ord. 280 § 9, 1971).

5.20.110 Regulations for drivers.

It is unlawful for any operator to knowingly employ any driver who has been convicted of a felony and who has not, at the time of employment, had full civil rights restored and is no longer under supervision of any parole or probation officer. Each driver shall possess a valid state operator’s license. All drivers must be at least 19 years of age. In the event a new operator is being trained, an experienced operator shall be in attendance. (Ord. 280 § 10, 1971).

5.20.120 Location and base of operations.

Premises used for central offices and/or dispatching points shall be located so as to comply with city zoning requirements. It is unlawful for a tow truck to be stored, parked or dispatched at any point other than that specifically named in the application for license, except that any vehicle may be parked at or dispatched from the residence of any driver whose name is on the file with the police department. (Ord. 280 § 12, 1971).

5.20.130 Twenty-four-hour service.

Each license secured as provided in this chapter shall be granted upon the express condition that the person, firm or corporation securing said license shall provide service to the public on a 24-hour basis with reasonable response to each call, and that:

A. Suitable single party telephone service be obtained and maintained;

B. That radio equipment be installed at the place of business or other dispatching point and, in each of the vehicles, all radio equipment shall be maintained in good working order at all times. It shall be the responsibility of the operator to advise the police department when he will be unavailable for service and also when he is again available. (Ord. 280 § 13, 1971).

5.20.140 Rates.

The rates and charges for towing of vehicles, if requested by city, shall be established by the city council by resolution from time to time. Three copies of the resolution shall be on file in the office of the city clerk. (Ord. A-32 § 1, 1984; Ord. 490 § 1, 1980; Ord. 280 § 11, 1971).

5.20.150 Preparation of bills.

Every operator, his agent, or employee, after towing any disabled vehicle away shall prepare a bill in duplicate; the original shall be given to the owner of such vehicle or his authorized representative, and the copy retained by the operator at his place of business for a period of one year, and shall be exhibited upon demand of the chief of police, or his duly authorized representatives. This bill shall contain the following information:

A. Name, address and place of business and name of operator;

B. Name and address of person calling for and engaging the tow truck;

C. State license number and description of disabled vehicle;

D. The company number of the wrecker or other vehicle used for towing purposes;

E. Total amount charged for towing and storage; the time and place from which towing commenced and terminated.

All vehicles impounded by the police department shall not be released to anyone without specific authorization from the police department. (Ord. 280 § 14, 1971).

5.20.160 Lifting and towing requirements.

Any vehicle used to tow another vehicle for any fee shall be designed and constructed specifically for this purpose. Minimum lifting capacity per boom shall be 6,000 pounds and no part of the mechanism (winches, booms, blocks, winch brakes and cable) shall be rated less than 6,000 pounds. No tow truck shall be used to lift any vehicle to such weight that the rated capacity is less than one and one-half times the lifted weight. (Ord. 280 § 15, 1971).

5.20.170 Emergency lighting.

Any tow truck at the scene of an accident or disabled vehicle, or while towing a damaged or disabled vehicle, shall display flashing red lights visible 360 degrees from the tow truck and such other marker lamps and warning lamps as prescribed by the Commission on Equipment of the state. (Ord. 280 § 16, 1971).

5.20.180 Safety devices.

A. Towed vehicles may be towed by either slings and/or cables but, in addition, shall be secured to the tow truck by means of a draw bar or other connection of sufficient strength to hold the towed vehicle on any grade where operated or under conditions of severe braking and shall effectively eliminate whipping or weaving of the towed vehicle. Effective boom locking devices shall be used and, in addition, safety chains shall be attached to the towed vehicle.

B. On tow trucks equipped with double booms, both booms shall be secured to prevent side swing. When one boom is used for lifting the towed vehicle, the unused boom shall be secured to prevent movement while tow truck is in motion. Each vehicle shall be equipped with scotch blocks to prevent movement of vehicle while stopped. (Ord. 280 § 17, 1971).

5.20.190 Other licenses required.

The operation of any tow truck business as defined in this chapter shall not be declared ancillary to the operation of any other business, and both or all such businesses shall be required to have a valid business license, as prescribed by Ordinance No. 265 of the city. (Ord. 280 § 21, 1971).

5.20.200 Additional rules.

The chief of police may make and enforce reasonable rules and regulations consistent with this chapter, including provisions for inspection by him or his representatives of vehicles used under this chapter. (Ord. 280 § 20, 1971).

5.20.210 Enforcement.

The chief of police and his authorized representatives shall enforce this chapter. If the chief of police finds that any licensee has violated or failed to comply with any provisions of this chapter, he shall make a written record of such findings, and shall specify therein the particulars and he may revoke or suspend the license for a period to be fixed by him, in which event the license shall be surrendered and canceled by him in case of revocation, or returned to the licensee on expiration of the period suspension; provided, however, such revocation for violation of any provisions of this chapter shall not relieve the licensee of the penalties provided in this chapter. (Ord. 280 § 18, 1971).