There are numerous tow truck operators in Lakewood and its surrounding area.

The Lakewood Police Department provides official authorization to only some of these tow truck operators (Acme Towing, Barina Automotive, Barina Autobody, Freedom Towing, Tilton Bodyworks, and Total Transport) to come to crashes and tow crashed cars. The contracts for these authorized tow truck operators rotate on a weekly basis.

All of the other, non-authorized tow truck operators, often hear the crashes on their emergency channel scanners, rush to the scene and attempt to solicit their business from the drivers of the crashed vehicles - allegedly causing ruckus on the scene for the emergency responders as well as the crash victims.

From a review of the Township Committee meeting minutes over the past number of years it appears that this is not a new issue in Lakewood as it has been discussed before, however, now, at the request of local emergency responders, the Township Committee is cracking down by tightening their Tow Truck Operations ordinance.

The current ordinance reads:

Nothing in this section shall be construed so as to prevent any owner of a motor vehicle from calling any tower or wrecker of his own choice. However, if the tower or wrecker designated by the owner or operator of the motor vehicle is not immediately available or cannot respond in a timely manner, the tower or wrecker designated on the revolving list established herein shall be utilized.

At their upcoming meeting this Thursday, the Committee is scheduled to vote on an ordinance which will amend their existing Tow Truck Operations ordinance to include the following wording:

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent any owner or driver of a motor vehicle from calling any tower or wrecker of their own choice for a disabled vehicle on the roadway not involved in a motor vehicle accident.

However, if the Police Officer at the location of the disabled vehicle has safety concerns regarding the location of the vehicle or the towing service requested cannot respond within a timely manner, the Officer may supersede the owner's desires and call a tower based on the Police towing rotation list. Once the vehicle has been removed from the roadway and deemed safe by the Police Department, the owner can make arrangements to move their vehicle.

The ordinance will additionally amend the Township's definition of "cruising". The current definition of "cruising" is "the operation of an unengaged wrecker along the public streets in any fashion intended likely or calculated to solicit business". The amended definition will be "the operation of an unengaged wrecker or person soliciting a tow or repair on Township roadways interfering or hindering with a Police Investigation roadway or street within Lakewood Township in any fashion intended to or likely to solicit business."

The Township Committee will hold a public hearing and second reading of the proposed ordinance at their following meeting on December 8th.

Members of the public who wish to comment on this proposed ordinance may do so by submitting "public portion" comments for this week's meeting, and/or by submitting "second reading ordinance" comments via email up until 11:30 am on the day of the meeting at or during the meeting via Please include your name and address for the record.

Members of the public may also comment live during the meeting (which begins at 5:30pm) on the phone by calling (408) 418-9388, Meeting ID# is 2634-502-0366. All participants will be muted upon entry but may participate by using the *3 key on the phone to raise your hand (this will alert the Township that you wish to speak during the meeting).

To join a FAA WhatsApp Group, click here.

To join the FAA WhatsApp Status, click here.

No comments: