The following information is a summary of the research conducted regarding Towing in the State of New Jersey.

Regulations:
Definitions: (according to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission)

Towing Company - any person or entity owning or operating a two-truck service for compensation.

Tow Truck - a motor vehicle equipped with a boom or booms, winches, slings, tilt beds or similar equipment designed for the towing or recovery of vehicles and other objects.

Transporter - equipment designed to transport more than one vehicle on a non-emergency basis.

Towing Vehicle - a road tractor or truck tractor.

Towed Vehicle - a motor-drawn vehicle, pole trailer, semi trailer or trailer.

Towing and Storage Service contracts with the NJ Highway Authority N.J.S.A. 27:12B05.2 The NJ Highway Authority makes and enters into contracts and agreements for towing and storage services. These services contracted by the Highway Authority are subject to a fixed maximum for towing and storage fees. The criteria for selecting towing and storage services include the following: reliability, experience, response time, acceptance of credit cards and prepaid towing contracts, adequate equipment to safely handle a sufficient volume of vehicles under a variety of traffic and weather conditions, location of storage and repair facilities, security of vehicles towed or stored, financial return to the authority, maintenance of adequate liability insurance and appropriate safeguards to protect the personal safety of customers, including considerations related to the criminal background of employees.

Markers and License Plates for Tow Tricks N.J.S.A. 39:3-84.7 Under this act, distinctive markers or license plates for tow trucks are required and are to be issued for 12 months, with a $25 annual fee, in addition to DMV vehicle registration fees. These license plates or markers may be issued upon filing an application and paying the registration fee. The license plates shall be available for tow trucks in two gross weight categories: light-medium duty and heavy duty. A person shall not operate or offer to operate a tow truck to tow, winch, or otherwise move a motor vehicle for compensation unless the tow truck displays the proper marker or valid tow truck license plate issued by DMV. The application for a tow truck registration is composed of the following:
Name and address of the towing company's principal owner or owners.

Address of the principal business office of the towing company.

The location of any garage, parking lot, or other storage area, where motor vehicles or other objects moved by the towing company may be stored or placed.

A valid certificate of insurance and a schedule of insured vehicles that are to be utilized by the towing company from an insurer authorized to be business in the state.

Documentation of the manufacturer's gross vehicle weight rating for each tow truck.

If a system for the licensure of towing companies has been established, the towing company shall include in the application a copy of the license issued.

Municipalities Regulations concerning Towing and Storage fees N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.49 a municipality may regulate the removal of motor vehicles from private or public property by regulating the following:
A schedule of fees or other charges, which an operator may charge vehicle owners for towing services, storage services, or both. A minimum standard of operator performance, including but not limited to standards concerning the adequacy of equipment and facilities, availability and response time, and the security of vehicles towed and stored. Designation of a municipal officer or agency to enforce the provisions of the ordinance. Requiring that such regulations and fee schedules of individual towers is made available to the public during normal business hours of the municipality.

Fee Limits (40:48-2.50) all fees paid to an operator by a municipality for the storage of removed motor vehicles shall not exceed the following:
  1. A limit of $3.00 per day for the first 30 days of storage per vehicle, and

  2. limit of $2.00 per day for the 31st day of storage and any day thereafter, and

  3. limit of $400.00 per vehicle stored regardless of the duration of the storage.

Penalties for Violation of Fee Limits N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.51 An operator who engages in a pattern or practice of knowingly violating the fee limits may be liable to the municipality for a civil penalty of not less than $25.00 or more than $50.00 for each motor vehicle stored with the operator.

Removal of Disabled Motor Vehicles by Towing Service Under Contract N.J.S.A. 39:4-56.8 Any towing service under contract to a public or private entity to tow disabled motor vehicles which fails to remove from public roads or highways any motor vehicle debris or material in the area surrounding that vehicle shall be subject to a fine of not less than $25 and no more than $50.00. A towing service shall not be required to remove any debris or material which may be hazardous or which the service is not equipped to remove.

Towing Methods N.J.S.A. 39:4-54 Trailers, when operated on the highways of NJ, shall be connected to the towing vehicle by at least one chain or cable, in addition to the hitch bar, of sufficient strength to hold the motor-drawn vehicle on a hill if the hitching bar becomes disconnected, or shall be provided with an adequate device to prevent its rolling backward.

TIPS FOR WHEN YOUR VEHICLE BECOMES DISABLED: (Reprinted with permission of AAA, Hamilton, NJ).
  1. Always note your vehicle's location. It is important to note street names, landmarks, mile markers, and exit numbers. This information will assist when requesting assistance.

  2. Assess your vehicle's operating problem. Watch for warning lights, off noises, difficulty in the handling of your vehicle, and check the various oil, gas and temperature gauges. This information is important to relay to a towing operator.

  3. Pull off the road. If your vehicle becomes disabled immediately pull off the road onto the shoulder on the right. Put your flashers on and be cautious of passing traffic.

  4. Alert other motorists. In addition to using your flashers you may raise your vehicle's hood or tie a white handkerchief to the left side of the vehicle. Be careful to stay out of the way on on-coming traffic.

  5. Communicate the situation. Contact the State Police, your Emergency Road Service Provider, or a local towing operator to assist you with your disabled vehicle. You may also want to contact a friend or family member for additional assistance; you may either use a cellular phone, or carefully walk to a nearby telephone. If you are on one of NJ's major roadways, you may wait with your vehicle for the State Police to patrol the roadway and assist you.
  6. Remain with the vehicle. It is generally safest to remain with your vehicle until a law enforcement officer or tow truck operator arrives.

  7. What to expect from Emergency Road Service. Road service providers can usually provide gasoline, attempt to change a tire or boost a battery. However, if the problem is more serious then the vehicle may need to be towed. An extra charge, usually paid in advance, often applies for longer distance tows.

  8. Know your service provider. Many people either participate in Emergency Road Service programs or maintain a Road Side Assistance service. If you subscribe to such a service be sure to carry your membership card with all necessary contact numbers with you at all times, to enable you to properly contact your provider.

  9. What to tell the operator. Upon contacting a road service provider be sure to have the following information available: a phone number, your exact location, a description of the vehicle (year, make, model, color, and license plate number) Indicate if you will need alternative transportation, the number of passengers to be transported, and the name of a nearby reputable repair shop, if needed.

  10. Be sure to ask the estimated cost for the towing service. If you are not using an Emergency Road Service, be sure to ask for an estimated coast for towing. As towing services primarily charge a certain rate per mile, an exact cost for your vehicle may not be possible to obtain prior to towing. Be sure to ask the towing company their rate per mile, any extra charges that may occur, acceptable methods of payment, and when payment is due so that you can have a general idea of the total cost.

  11. Request an invoice. An invoice will provide you with the name, address, and business phone number to serve as a record of the services provided.

  12. Determine when service should arrive. Ask for an approximate time when a tow truck should arrive. Depending on traffic, weather, and location, a tow could arrive within 30 minutes or not for several hours, so be prepared for an estimated time of arrival.

  13. What to do when help arrives. Remain calm and cooperative. If you need transportation, ask to ride with the tow-truck operator to the towing destination.

  14. Storage Fees. Sometimes when a vehicle is towed, it must be stored at a location until either a repair shop can inspect the vehicle for problems or until the consumer authorizes repairs to be performed. You should check upon contacting a towing company whether or not they charge storage fees. If the towing company is not associated with the business performing the vehicle repairs, than it will be necessary to ask the repair shop if they charge storage fees and if so, the daily rate.

  15. Be Pro-Active. When driving in inclement weather or taking long trips, be sure to have your vehicle inspected prior to driving. Make sure the fluids in your vehicle are at the proper levels and that you have a sufficient amount of fuel to reach your destination. When driving in cold weather, keep a blanket, gloves, flashlight, and bottled water in your vehicle in case if becomes disabled. P.L. 2002, c.67 - Requires certain towing operators to accept cash or credit or charge cards for payment of services. www.njleg.state.nj.us/2002/Bills/AL02/67_.HTM

New Jersey Roadways:
Garden State Parkway: The Parkway has made arrangements with nearby local garages to provide towing and other vehicle services in emergencies at reasonable rates.
Emergency Service: If your vehicle becomes disabled while driving on the Parkway, pull off to the shoulder of the road on the right side, activate the vehicle hazard flashers, and stay away from passing traffic. If you choose to make your own repairs, you may do so, but you are reminded to stay off the pavement and away from passing traffic. If you need assistance, remain with your vehicle and await State Police Patrol. If using your cell phone you may dial 911 to expedite the assistance of the State Police. For safety reasons and proper regulations, ONLY the State Police can summon assistance. The State Police patrol the Parkway around the clock. You may also tie a white handkerchief to the left-hand side door handle, raise your car's hood, or blink your lights to alert passing motorists you need assistance. Passing motorists are asked to report such signals at the next toll plaza. Please DO NOT ATTEMPT to waive-down passing motorists as it is dangerous to your safety as well as theirs.

New Jersey Turnpike: Emergency Service: If your vehicle becomes disabled while driving on the NJ Turnpike, pull off to the shoulder of the road on the right side, activate the vehicle hazard flashers, and stay away from passing traffic. If you choose to make your own repairs, you may do so, but you are reminded to stay off the pavement and away from passing traffic. If you need assistance, remain with your vehicle and await the State Police Patrol. If using your cell phone you may dial 911 or #95 to expedite the assistance of the State Police. Both toll and air time for #95 are free for most major NJ cellular networks. The State Police patrol the NJ Turnpike around the clock. You may also tie a white handkerchief to the left-hand side door handle, raise your car's hood, or blink your lights to alert passing motorists you need assistance. Passing motorists may alert the State Police of accidents, disabled vehicles, or traffic congestion by calling #95 on their cellular phone or by advising the toll collector when you exit. Please note the location of the vehicle by using the green and white mile marker signs on the right shoulder. Please DO NOT ATTEMPT to waive-down passing motorists as it is dangerous to your safety as well as theirs.

ATLANTIC City Expressway: The Atlantic City Expressway has authorized nearby garages to provide around-the-clock towing as well as other related services. Emergency Service: If your vehicle becomes disabled when driving on the A.C. Expressway, pull off to the shoulder of the road on the right side, activate the vehicle hazard flashers, and stay away from passing traffic. If you chose to make your own repairs, you may do so for up to 2 hours. If you need assistance, Emergency Signal Call Boxes are located at one-mile intervals along the right-hand shoulder of the road. Following the instructions at these locations to utilize the call boxes. After pressing the signal button, return to your vehicle and wait for the State Police to arrive. If using your cell phone you may dial 911 or #ACE to report an emergency situation. Your call will be transferred immediately to the State Police. If you are unable to signal the State Police, remain with your vehicle and await the State Police. The State Police monitor the Expressway around the clock. You may also tie a white handkerchief to the left-hand side door, raise you car's hood, or blink your lights to alert passing motorists you need assistance. Passing motorists are asked to report such signals at the next toll plaza or dial #ACE. Please DO NOT ATTEMPT to waive-down passing motorists as it is dangerous to your safety as well as theirs.
Cost: You will be charged a service charge, plus the cost of gasoline, oil, labor, parts, tires, or other materials needed to repair your vehicle. A schedule of towing charges has been fixed by the Expressway and is printed on the reverse side of the towing service invoice.

Legislation:
A-1743 (Johnson / Ahearn): This bill requires certain towing operators to accept cash, credit, or charge cards for payment of services. If a towing operator fails to accept a form of payment or credit card, which is ordinarily accepted at his place of business, a $500.00 fine will be issued for the first offense and a fine not to exceed $1,000.00, will be issued for the second and any subsequent offenses. This bill also requited if an operator is unable to repair a vehicle to the motorist's satisfaction he shall, with the motorist consent, be able to transport the vehicle to his place of business to perform the repairs. If the estimated cost of repairs exceeds $50.00, than the motorist shall be given a written estimate of the repair costs. This bill passes both houses on 6/24/02 and is on the Governor's desk as of 8/8/02.

S-239 (Suliga . Stender / Green): This bill requires operators awarded towing and storage contracts with on of the State's toll road authorities to abide by certain practices such as registering with the respective authority; conspicuously posting notices and decals issued from the respective authority on their vehicles; informing motorists of towing fees; and being subject to penalties for non-compliance, which will be enforced by the toll road authority or the Division of Consumer Affairs. This bill passes both houses on 6/13/02 and is on the Governor's desk as of 8/8/02.

P.L. 2002, c. 77 - Requires toll road authorities' towing & storage operators to inform motorists of towing fees; established penalties for non-compliance. www.njleg.state.nj.us/2002/Bills/AL02/77_.HTM