§ 8-126. Police-authorized tow service agreement (PATSA)  

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  • (a) The chief of police may execute agreements for the mayor and on behalf of the city with persons to perform police-authorized tows. The right to enter into such agreements shall be extended on a uniform basis to all eligible persons.

    (b) The chief of police may refuse to enter into an agreement hereunder if the tow operator (including partners if a partnership and stockholders if a corporation) or any employee has had an agreement terminated for cause within the preceding period of five years. The police chief may require an affidavit and the furnishing of business records to demonstrate compliance with the foregoing provision. The foregoing provision shall apply to police-authorized tow service agreements that are not renewed or are terminated by the tow operator under threat of termination for cause in the same manner as to those that have actually been terminated for cause.

    (b-1) Auto wrecker requirements. Each auto wrecker that will be utilized under the terms of a police authorized tow service agreement shall:

    (1) Be registered with the city under a current PATSA agreement. The police department shall inspect the auto wrecker and if it is found in compliance, shall issue proof of registration (a medallion) that shall be attached to the auto wrecker in the same manner as provided in section 8-111(e); registration under this section shall also serve as registration for private property tows;

    (2) Have a mounted light bar that conforms to the requirements of Chapter 547 of the Texas Transportation Code;

    (3) Be equipped with wheel dollies, except on heavy duty wreckers and rollback type trucks; and

    (4) Carry at all times:

    a. Warning devices for stopped vehicles consisting of:

    [1] Three flares, each of which shall be capable of being seen at a distance of not less than 600 feet under normal conditions at nighttime, or

    [2] Three emergency reflective triangles that conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 125;

    b. A push broom with a handle of not less than 36 inches and a head of not less than 18 inches;

    c. No less than five gallons of dry sand or other absorbent that is at least as effective as sand in absorbing liquid;

    d. A container to carry glass and debris cleaned from the roadway when picking up a wrecked vehicle;

    e. A shovel with a flat edge of not less than nine inches and a handle of not less than 36 inches;

    f. A wrecking bar of not less than 36 inches in length, with a wedge-shaped head; and

    g. At least one ten pound fire extinguisher or two five pound multiple purpose fire extinguishers, in good working condition.

    (b-2) Wrecker driver requirements. Tow operators shall require their wrecker drivers who will drive auto wreckers under the terms of a PATSA to wear:

    (1) A Class 3, Level 2 reflective vest, shirt, or jacket meeting the ANSI/ISEA requirements for high visibility safety apparel at all times while working outside of the auto wrecker;

    (2) Closed toe shoes; and

    (3) A vest or shirt displaying, on the front of the shirt or vest, the name of the tow operator as it is registered with the city.

    (b-3) Wrecker driver trainees. Tow operators operating pursuant to a current and valid PATSA may utilize wrecker driver trainees to provide recovery services and assistance to wrecker drivers. Wrecker driver trainees shall be licensed in accordance with section 8-131 of this Code.

    (c) An annual agreement fee in the amount stated for this provision in the city fee schedule per covered auto wrecker shall be paid by the tow operator to the city for each agreement. A tow operator may add an additional auto wrecker to an agreement upon payment of the annual fee, which may be prorated.

    (d) Agreements under this section are not exclusive. The city shall not be precluded from using city-owned auto wreckers to perform police-authorized tows, such as for certain vehicles that are detained for criminal investigation needs, or from entering into other contracts and agreements, such as for towing of vehicles involved in parking violations.

    (e) The agreements shall conform to the following requirements and terms, which shall be incorporated therein by reference:

    (1) Each auto wrecker shall be allowed to perform police-authorized tows in only one 'zone,' which for purposes of the agreements shall mean one of the five service areas that are described and depicted in Exhibits A and B to Ordinance 84-560. Consistent with the foregoing requirement, the agreement shall include the following clause:

    "Operator shall choose one specific zone for each auto wrecker that is to be utilized by the Operator to perform police-authorized tows. Operator shall not allow an auto wrecker to tow any vehicle outside of the approved zone, except when authorized by the police department. No tow hereunder shall exceed a maximum distance of 20 miles unless the tow destination is located within the zone. Violation of this provision is grounds for revocation of this Agreement."

    (2) The agreement shall include the following clause regarding insurance requirements:

    "The Operator shall obtain and maintain in effect during the term of this Agreement insurance coverage as set out below and shall furnish certificates of insurance, prior to the beginning of the term of this Agreement. All such policies, except Worker's Compensation or Occupational Safety Insurance, shall be primary to any other insurance and shall name the city as an additional insured. All liability policies shall be issued by a company with a Certificate of Authority from the State Department of Insurance to conduct insurance business in Texas or a rating of at least B+ and a financial size of Class VI or better according to the current year's Best's rating. Operator shall maintain the following insurance coverage in the following amounts:

    A. Automobile liability insurance, $1,000,000.00 combined single limit per occurrence.

    B. Cargo on hook coverage, $50,000.00 per vehicle.

    C. Workers compensation or occupational safety insurance.

    D. All drivers of auto wreckers shall be named insured on Operator's liability insurance policy."

    (3) The agreement shall include the following clause regarding fee requirements:

    "The Operator shall charge no fees for servicing a police scene in excess of the fees authorized under city ordinance for vehicles towed without the consent of a vehicle owner. Further, the Operator shall not obligate the owner of a vehicle removed from a police scene and placed in storage to pay any fees in excess of those authorized for a vehicle delivered to a state licensed vehicle storage facility without the consent of the vehicle owner. Under no circumstances will a vehicle owner be charged a fee of any type in excess of the fees applicable had the vehicle been towed without the vehicle owner's consent."

    (f) It shall be unlawful for the driver of any auto wrecker that is not then being operated under a current and valid police-authorized tow service agreement to respond to a police scene or be or remain at a police scene if the police scene is not situated in the traffic management area (zone) for which the auto wrecker has been authorized under subsection 8-126(e)(1) of this Code. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the driver of the auto wrecker was called to the police scene by the law enforcement officer in charge of the scene or by a vehicle owner requiring towing services from the police scene.

    (g) Tow operators and auto wrecker drivers operating pursuant to a current and valid police-authorized tow service agreement shall report the towing of vehicles via an authorized electronic reporting system implemented by the police department.

(Ord. No. 04-497, § 3, 5-26-04; Ord. No. 05-1271, § 7, 9-22-05; Ord. No. 07-1040, § 1, 9-12-07; Ord. No. 09-631, § 5, 6-30-09; Ord. No. 2010-1016, § 2, 12-15-2010; Ord. No. 2011-1168, § 13, 12-14-2011; Ord. No. 2014-482, §§ 6—9, 5-28-2014)