ORDINANCE NO. BL2000-247
An ordinance regulating the licensure and operation of towing services, the towing of vehicles from private property without the consent of the owners of said vehicles, requiring wrecker companies to accept checks and major credit cards for towing and storage of vehicles, providing penalties for the violation of the wrecker regulations, and for the assistance of police officers in the enforcement of the regulations.
Whereas, there is a need to ensure that towing services are operated in a manner consistent with public safety; and
Whereas, numerous complaints have been received from owners and operators of vehicles; and
Whereas, recent federal court cases have interpreted federal statutes as partially preempting the regulation of wrecker services; and
Whereas, it is therefore deemed to be in the best interest of the Metropolitan Government to require wrecker companies to comply with the following requirements and to establish penalties for the violation of the wrecker regulations.
Now, therefore, be it enacted by the Council of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County:
Section 1. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of laws is amended by substituting the words "Metropolitan Transportation Licensing Commission" for the words "Metropolitan Taxicab and Wrecker Licensing Board" wherever those words appear within that Chapter.
Section 2. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by adding the following definition to Section 6.80.010 thereof:
"Unauthorized vehicle" means a vehicle parked on private property without the consent of the owner of the property or his agent or the lessee of the property.
Section 3. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by adding the following section thereto:
6.80.040. Assistance in enforcement by police officers.
Officers of the Department of Metropolitan Police shall assist in the enforcement of this chapter. A police officer, upon observing a violation of this chapter or of any regulation established by the director pursuant to this chapter, shall take necessary enforcement action to insure effective regulation of vehicle tow services and vehicle storage facilities.
Section 4. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by deleting subsection 7 of Section 6.80.120 thereof and renumbering the remaining subsections appropriately.
Section 5. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by deleting the words "metropolitan clerk in her capacity as" in Sections 6.80.140(A) and 6.80.145(A) thereof.
Section 6. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by substituting the words "one hundred" for the words "seventy-five" in subsection 6.80.160(A) thereof.
Section 7. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by adding the following subsection thereto:
6.80.170(C). Private property towing authorization.
Wrecker service operators shall comply with all federal state and local laws concerning the towing of vehicles from private property.
Section 8. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by adding the following section thereto:
6.80.175. Police department impound lot notification requirements.
The towing of any vehicle without the consent of the owner must be reported to the metropolitan police department within one hour of the completion of the towing of the vehicle.
Section 9. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by adding the following section thereto.
6.80.185. Vehicle tow service requirements and records.
A. Except as otherwise provided in subsection B and C below, for each vehicle towed by a vehicle tow service, a licensee shall retain at the licensee's principal place of business all documents related to the towing of the vehicle along with any records required pursuant to this chapter, including, but not limited to, towing agreements, written authorizations for removal, and wrecker slips or tickets. Such records shall be maintained for not less than one year from the date of removal of the vehicle. The licensee shall make the vehicle tow service records available for inspection by the commission or any designated representative at any time.
B. Upon towing of any vehicle by a wrecker service, the wrecker service shall maintain records which shall include the following information:
1. The date and time the call was received by the wrecker service;
2. The name of the caller;
3. The date and time of initial towing;
4. The place of initial towing;
5. The date and time of arrival at the impound lot;
6. The MPD impound lot control/notification number;
7. The date and time of release to the owner;
8. The name of the wrecker driver and helper; and
9. The name of the person authorizing towing action.
C. The records required by subsection B of this section shall be maintained at a location where the vehicle is stored until the vehicle is recovered. Thereafter such records shall be stored at a location within the Metropolitan Nashville area where members of the public may obtain such information by telephone or in person during regular business hours. Further, all wrecker services, public and private, which tow impounded vehicles, shall register with the Metropolitan Transportation Licensing Commission and Metro impound lot, as set forth in subsection A above, the current telephone number of the person responsible for releasing vehicles on their behalf.
D. A person desiring to engage in vehicle tow service shall register with the director of the Metropolitan Transportation Licensing Commission a trade name that clearly differentiates the person's company from all other companies engaging in vehicle tow services and shall use no other trade name in conducting vehicle tow services.
Section 10. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended adding the following section thereto:
6.80.190. A licensee shall provide a vehicle owner the option of paying the fee for vehicle tow service by cash, check, or major credit cards. Licensees shall accept payment by at least two of these methods. When checks or credit cards are accepted in lieu of cash, there shall be no additional charge for such payments. For purposes of this subsection, the term "major credit card" means a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and Diner's Club card. The director shall transmit a copy of this subsection to each wrecker service provider.
Section 11. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by deleting subsection 6.80.330(A) and substituting the following new subsection 6.80.330(A):
A. A driver's permit issued by the board to a driver or driver's helper permitting such person to drive, ride in or assist in the operation of a wrecker shall be issued for a period of two years at a fee of twenty dollars, plus an additional ten dollars for an investigation of the person applying for the permit.
Section 12. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by adding the following language at the end of subsection 6.80.425 (A) thereof:
"to ensure the safe operation of the wrecker."
Section 13. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by deleting the first sentence of Section 6.80.435 in its entirety and substituting the following sentence in lieu thereof:
The driver of any wrecker shall render to the operator or owner of any vehicle to be towed a receipt for the amount charged, either by a mechanically printed receipt or by a specially prepared receipt on which shall be the name of the licensee, amount of charges and appropriate taxes, date of transaction and the mileage and type of vehicle towed.
Section 14. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by deleting subparagraph D from Section 6.80.450 in its entirety and substituting the following:
D. To wait for employment by standing or parking upon any street, alley, road, highway or thoroughfare or upon public property.
Section 15. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by deleting subparagraphs H and J of Section 6.80.450 in their entirety and by re-designating the remaining subparagraphs appropriately.
Section 16. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by adding the following subparagraph to Section 6.80.450 thereof:
Flashing Lights. Any person operating a wrecker may utilize flashing lights only when standing on the roadway for the purpose of removing a vehicle and while actually towing any vehicle. Wreckers are prohibited from using flashing lights while going or returning from the location of vehicles if not engaged in towing such vehicles. Further, the operators of tow vehicles shall observe all traffic regulations while going to or returning from the locations of vehicles or while engaged in the towing of vehicles.
Section 17. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by deleting reference to "Section 6.80.410" within Section 6.80.525 (A), and substituting reference to "Section 6.80.610" in lieu thereof.
Section 18. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by substituting the words "five hundred" for the words "three hundred" and the words "one hundred" for the words "seventy-five" in subsection 6.80.535(A) thereof.
Section 19. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by adding the following sentence at the end of Section 6.80.535 thereof:
D. No licensee shall operate a wrecker or automobile used for towing purposes to remove vehicles from any street, alley, road, highway or thoroughfare or property, whether public or private, located within the area of the metropolitan government or for towing vehicles over the streets, alleys, roads, highways and thoroughfares within the area of the metropolitan government unless a license decal is obtained from the commission annually for each such wrecker or automobile.
Section 20. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by deleting subsection C of Section 6.80.545 in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof a new subsection C and new subsection D:
C. Response Time. Zone wrecker companies must respond to calls within their zones within thirty (30) minutes when traffic and weather conditions are normal. Excessive response time in normal conditions may result in a review of their zone privileges.
D. Transfer of Zone Assignments.
(1) No licensee designated by the board to provide emergency wrecker service within an assigned emergency wrecker service zone shall sell, assign, mortgage, bequeath, or otherwise transfer the right to service such assigned zone without board approval following a public hearing as required in subsection D(2) below.
(2) Prior to the transfer of any zone assignment, the board shall hold a public hearing for the request. The board shall establish the time and date for the public hearing and shall publish in a newspaper of general circulation within the area of the Metropolitan Government notice of the proposed public hearing, giving the time and place of such hearing. A nonrefundable fee of two hundred fifty dollars will be charged for each transfer request by any applicant assuming ownership of a wrecker company which already holds a zone assignment. Other applicants for the zone assignment will be charged a nonrefundable fee of two hundred fifty dollars.
Section 21. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by deleting section 6.80.550 therefrom in its entirety and substituting the following section in lieu thereof:
6.80.550. Fees charged.
The schedule of all maximum non-consent wrecker service fees shall be posted in plain view at the location where vehicles are stored and recovered and inside each towing vehicle. In the event a service vehicle is summoned by the police and the service vehicle arrives at the scene to which summoned and assistance is offered but no longer needed, the maximum fee which may be charged shall be the established drop fee set-forth at section G below.
RATE SCHEDULE FOR NONCONSENT TOWING
A. Vehicles Under Five Thousand Pounds.
a. Vehicles towed to the Metro Impound Lot to and within the I-265 Loop; $60.00 maximum. [No additional fees may be charged for using other equipment, including dollies, trailers, lifts, slim-jims, go-jacks, winching, or for mileage*].
b. Vehicles towed to Metro Impound Lot outside the I-265 Loop, to and including Briley Parkway/White Bridge Road/Woodmont Avenue/Thompson Lane Circle; $65.00 maximum.
c. Vehicles towed to Metro Impound Lot from outside Briley Parkway/White Bridge Road/Woodmont Avenue/Thompson Lane Circle out to the Davidson County line. $75.00 maximum. [No additional fees may be charged for using other equipment, including dollies, trailers, lifts, slimjims, go-jacks, winching, or for mileage*].
d. Vehicles towed to Company Lot; [No additional fees may be charged for using other equipment, including dollies, trailers, lifts, slim jims, go-jacks, winching, or for mileage*].
|1. Vehicles involved in an accident||$75.00 maximum.|
|2. All other vehicles.||$65.00 maximum|
Charges for labor, including winching, may be charged only after the first hour, and may not exceed a rate of $12.00 per quarter hour (Class A, B and D wreckers). If more than one wrecker is required to remove a vehicle, the rate chargeable for the first hour is $55.00 and charges for labor, including winching, may not exceed a fee of $12.00 per quarter hour thereafter.
*Mileage charges may only be incurred for out-of-county miles and only when towing at a police officer's request. This rate is not to exceed $2.00 per mile for vehicles 5,000 lbs. and under. For vehicles over 5,000 lbs. a fee at the rate of $2.00 may be charged for up to a maximum of ten miles for non-consent towing.
Storage rate per day, after first two hours: $10.00 maximum (Charges for the second day of storage may not be charged until vehicle has been held on lot for 26 hours).
B. Vehicle Over Five Thousand Pounds:
a. Towing only, base rate:
i. Straight trucks, vans, etc. $ 70.00
ii. Tandem axle, not loaded $ 80.00
iii. Tandem axle, loaded $ 95.00
b. Mileage rate, per mile:
i. Loaded $ 4.00
ii. Not loaded $ 3.00
c. Hourly rate:
i. Labor, preparation for towing $ 40.00
ii. Labor, operation of wrecker $ 40.00
(a) Class B wrecker (after first hour) $ 65.00
(b) Class C wrecker (after first hour) $175.00
2. Other vehicles:
a. Towing only, base rate:
i. Recreational vehicles:
(a) Twenty-six feet or under in length $ 65.00
(b) Over twenty-six feet in length $ 70.00
ii. Buses $ 95.00
(a) Mileage rate, per mile $ 3.00
(b) Hourly rate (for necessary preparation or for removal of bumpers, drive shaft, etc., before towing is possible) $ 40.00
C. All Vehicles:
1. Recovery of vehicle submerged in water:
a. Base rate $ 80.00
2. Storage rate (per day) after first two** hours at lot:
a. Base rate $ 10.00
b. Rate for trailer, semi or house, and commercial buses $ 25.00
c. Metro tow-in lot:
|Motorcycles, ATVs||$ 10.00|
|Mowers, miscellaneous equipment||$ 10.00|
|Motor home (less than twenty-six feet)||$ 20.00|
|Motor home (more than twenty-six feet)||$ 25.00|
|Boats (under nineteen feet)||$ 10.00|
|Boats (nineteen feet to twenty-six feet)||$ 20.00|
|Boats (over twenty-six feet)||$ 25.00|
**No storage fee may be charged for vehicles stored two hours or less.
D. For all vehicles over ten thousand pounds gross vehicle weight which are burned or completely off the roadway and for vehicles which are submerged in water, charges in addition to the above rates may be added for cargo transfers, waiting time or handling of hazardous material.
E. Labor charges for operation of the non-consent emergency wreckers shall not start until after the first hour. Hourly rates can only be charged for non-consent emergency wreckers in use or ordered to wait by a law enforcement officer.
F. Use of Class C emergency wreckers or cranes in non-consent situations must be approved by a superior officer.
G. All licensees who engage in the business of towing vehicles from public or private property shall post a notice on each vehicle, in letters not less than two (2) inches high and appearing in a legible manner on the boom or rear of the wrecker as follows:
"FEE TO DROP VEHICLE BEFORE DEPARTING: $ 25.00"
If the owner or operator of the vehicle is present and removes the vehicle to be towed from the premises before it is connected to the towing vehicle, the owner or operator shall not be charged any fee. If the owner or operator of the vehicle is present after the towing vehicle has been connected to the vehicle to be towed, the vehicle shall not be towed, but the owner or operator of the vehicle shall be liable for a reasonable fee not to exceed twenty-five dollars ($25.00), in lieu of towing, provided the owner or operator of the vehicle forthwith removes the vehicle from the premises. A vehicle shall be deemed connected if every procedure required to secure the vehicle to the wrecker or wrecker equipment so that the vehicle may be safely towed has been completed at the time the owner or operator arrives, including the attachment of any safety chains.
H. Any towing and storage firm engaged in the business of non-consent towing shall not charge the owner of any towed vehicle or personal property in excess of $55 for the removal of a vehicle or personal property or in excess of $10 per day for storage fees. The fee of $55 shall be all inclusive; no additional fees may be charges for using dollies, trailers, lifts, slim jims or any other equipment or service, or for mileage.
Section 22. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by deleting the words "emergency wrecker operating under this chapter and every" from Section 6.80.555.
Section 23. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by deleting Section 6.80.575 therefrom in its entirety and substituting the following section in lieu thereof:
6.80.575. Storage facility requirements.
Each site to which vehicles are towed shall comply with the following requirements, and no tow truck operator may take a vehicle to a storage lot which does not meet these standards:
A. No towing company shall tow a vehicle from private property under orders of one not the owner of the vehicle to a storage lot which is outside the geographic limits of Davidson County. All licensees shall, immediately upon connecting the towing vehicle to a vehicle to be towed from private property under orders of one not the owner of such vehicle, tow the vehicle directly to a storage lot owned or operated by such licensee located within the geographic lines of Davidson County. Such towed vehicle shall not be dropped or left at any other lot or on any other property without the consent of the owner for any period of time. No towed vehicle shall be stored on a public street.
B. A storage site shall be fenced or enclosed on all sides to a height of not less than six (6) feet and shall be lighted during the hours of darkness to afford distinct visibility to all sides of the facility. Lighting shall be provided at a minimum average maintained foot-candle value of two on a horizontal plane at the finished surface or grade level.
C. A towed vehicle shall not be stored more than a reasonable walking distance from the area where towing and storage fee payments are received.
D. The operator shall exercise reasonable care to keep towed vehicle and their contents secure at all times.
E. Personal property in vehicles must be released in accordance with State law.
F. Whenever a storage lot is closed or has a gate locked, a conspicuous sign must be posted at the entrance of the storage lot which provides instructions and a local telephone number for obtaining release of a vehicle when the lot is not open. The local telephone number posted shall be answered twenty-four (24) hours a day and someone must be available at the storage lot to release vehicles within a reasonable time after inquiry is made.
G. Any person operating a wrecker upon the streets Davidson County and maintaining a storage lot shall maintain personnel with authority to accept payment and to release any impounded vehicle, on duty seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. each day, and available within a maximum one-hour period to release or provide access to a vehicle upon the request of the owner, from 10 p.m. to 6.00 a.m.
H. There shall be posted at the entrance to the impound lot nearest the impound lot office a sign, at least 24 inches by 24 inches, painted or printed white with red lettering, stating the towing charge, the storage rate per day, that no storage fee may be charged if the vehicle has been held less than 2 hours and that these conditions are required by ordinance of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson county. In addition, such sign shall list the two forms of payment accepted and state that no additional fee may be charged for non-cash payment.
Section 24. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by adding the following subsections after subsection H of Section 6.80.575:
I. To tow a vehicle from a public street without authorization from a Metropolitan police officer;
J. To remove or cause the removal of any vehicle from private property to a vehicle storage facility that:
1. is not currently licensed by the Commission or not in compliance with this chapter or any rule or regulation promulgated pursuant thereto; or
2. is located outside Davidson County;
K. To fail to remove and transport a vehicle from public or private property to a vehicle storage facility by the most direct and expeditious route;
L. To stop, except for an emergency, at another location while transporting a vehicle removed from private property;
M. To charge more than the maximum fee allowed by this chapter;
N. To fail to notify the police department and obtain a tow control number within one hour after the removal of any vehicle from private property;
O. To interfere with or attempt to interfere with or refuse to cooperate with the director, an inspector or any law enforcement officer or with the conduct of any investigation or discharge of any duty by them.
P. To fail to comply with any rule or regulation established by the board.
Section 25. Chapter 6.80 of the Metropolitan Code of Laws is amended by adding the following section thereto:
6.80.585. Penalties for violations.
A. The penalty for the first violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be not less than two hundred dollars ($200). The penalty for the second and subsequent violations of any of the provisions of this chapter within a twenty-four (24) month period shall be not less than four hundred dollars ($400). Each twenty-four (24) hour period a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate violation.
B. The imposition of a penalty under (A) above does not prevent the use of other enforcement remedies or procedures applicable to the person or persons charged with the conduct or involved in the violation, including probation, suspension or revocation of their license or such other actions as are within the authority of the Board.
Section 26. This ordinance shall take effect from and after its passage, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.
Sponsored by: Earl Campbell & Leo Waters
AMENDMENT NO. 1
ORDINANCE NO. BL 2000247
I move to amend Ordinance No. BL 2000 - 247 as follows:
(1) By amending Section 3 by deleting the first sentence in Section 6.80.040 and substituting in lieu thereof the following new sentence:
"Officers of the Department of Metropolitan Police shall have authority to enforce this chapter."
(2) By amending Section 4 by inserting after the word "subsection" and before the number "7" the following: "B."
(3) By amending Section 10 by deleting the first two sentences in Section 6.80.190 and substituting in lieu thereof the following provisions:
"The licensee shall provide a vehicle owner the option of paying the fee for vehicle tow service by cash, debit card and major credit card, except the fee to drop vehicles before departing which fee may be paid by cash or major credit card. In addition to the aforesaid payment options, a licensee may accept payment by check."
(4) By amending Section 21 by amending Section 6.80.550 A. 1.b. by inserting the following provisions at the end of subparagraph b:
[No additional fees may by charged for using other equipment, including dollies, trailers, lifts, slim-jims, go-jacks, winching, or for mileage*]."
(5) By amending Section 24 as follows:
a. by deleting the letters "H., I. and J." wherein they appear and substituting in lieu thereof the letters "G. H. and I."; and
b. by deleting the phrase "Section 6.80.575" wherein it appears and substituting in lieu thereof the phrase "Section 6.80.580".
Sponsored by: Jim Shulman
Amendment Adopted: April 18, 2000
|Introduced:||April 4, 2000|
|Passed First Reading:||April 4, 2000|
& Finance Committee
Public Safety Committee
Transportation & Aviation Committee
|Amended:||April 18, 2000|
|Deferred:||April 18, 2000|
|Passed Second Reading:||May 16, 2000|
|Passed Third Reading:||June 6, 2000|
|Approved:||June 8, 2000|