§2-371 The Directed Accident Response Program (DARP).
(a) Applicants must be licensed to engage in the business of towing by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. Applicants who apply to be in the DARP program must be licensed to engage in the business of towing for a period of not less than one year immediately prior to the date of their application. The applicant's business premises, which include the applicant's storage facilities and auxiliary storage facilities, must be located within the geographic boundaries of New York City. In addition, all of the tow truck operators employed by the licensee must be licensed as such by the Department and comply with all applicable laws and rules.
(b) Any vehicle with a maximum gross vehicle weight of less than fifteen thousand pounds which has been involved in a vehicular accident and which cannot be safely driven under its own power must be removed from the accident scene by the authorized DARP tower to the premises address on the responding company's license or to a location designated by a person in charge of such vehicle; provided, however, that such location is within the boundaries of the City of New York and placement of such vehicle is not in violation of any other law. A police officer may make the determination whether the vehicle may be safely driven under its own power. No vehicle removed from the accident scene to the DARP tower's premises address shall be left by a licensee on the street in front of, or adjacent to, the licensee's business premises (which include the licensee's storage facilities and auxiliary storage facilities).
(c) Applicants who apply to be in the DARP program must make application to participate only in the zone in which their business premises is located. Such premises shall be under the exclusive control of the applicant, shall not be used by any other towing company and shall consist of a location that is open to the public, where towing company personnel are employed, calls requesting towing service are received and towers are dispatched, and where all records required by subchapter 31 of chapter 2 of title 20 of the New York City Administrative Code are maintained. An applicant's approval to participate in DARP is valid only for such applicant's business premises as identified in its application that has been inspected and has qualified for participation in DARP. Such approval to participate in DARP is revoked when the business premises of such applicant is moved from the location that was identified in the application unless such move has been approved
as provided in subdivision (aaa) of this section.
(d) Applications for the DARP program will be accepted by the Department on an ongoing basis. Upon approval, new participants will initially be placed at the bottom of the rotation list for the zone for which they have been accepted.
(e) In the event that a sufficient number of qualified, licensed companies do not make application for participation in a particular zone, the Commissioner may modify the proposed zones and assign qualified companies to such zones.
(f) Applicants for DARP must be willing and able to provide towing services, in the zone(s) for which they have applied to participate, seven days a week on a twenty-four hour a day basis.
(g) Applicants for DARP must immediately respond to a rotation call. To be eligible to participate in a particular zone, an applicant must be able to provide a tow truck at the disabled vehicle's location within thirty minutes after notification by the tow truck notification operator. If no DARP participant is available in the zone where the disabled vehicle is located the tow truck notification operator may call a DARP participant in a geographically adjacent zone.
(k) Applicants must have a minimum of two (2) tow trucks for each zone for which they apply to participate, at least one of which must be a flat-bed tow truck suitable for removing accident vehicles.
(l) Applicants must own or possess and have at their immediate disposal equipment to tow vehicles with damaged or missing wheels.
(m) Applicants must own, lease, or sublease business premises, which include either indoor, or lighted and fenced outdoor, storage facilities. The storage facilities must have a locked gate and be suitable for the storage of vehicles. The minimum footage requirements for storage of DARP vehicles is 1,200 square feet per licensed tow truck over and above any storage requirements for the Rotation Tow Program. Applicants who apply to be in the DARP program on or after December 6, 1994 must demonstrate that the towing company owns, leases or subleases its business premises by providing the Department with a deed if the applicant owns such premises or by providing the Department with the actual lease or sublease agreement if the applicant leases or subleases such premises. Common or shared business premises, including storage facilities and auxiliary storage facilities, with another towing company is not permitted.
(n) Applicants must separate the storage facilities that they share with another company other than a towing company by a physical separation, such as a fence. Upon approval by the Department, applicants may use auxiliary storage facilities to satisfy the minimum footage requirements of subdivision (m) of this section. For those applicants who apply to be in the DARP program on or after December 6, 1994, any such auxiliary storage facilities shall be within 2,640 feet of the applicant's premises address. At the request of the owner of the disabled vehicle, his or her agent or an authorized insurance company representative, a vehicle being stored at the applicant's auxiliary storage facilities shall be immediately produced at the applicant's premises address and no fee other than fee authorized by section 2-368 of these rules may be imposed for such production of such vehicle at the applicant's premises address.
(o) Participants shall take reasonable care to prevent damage to or loss of a customer's vehicle or personal property contained therein.
(p) Participants shall not be required to tow motor vehicles with a maximum gross vehicle weight of at least fifteen thousand pounds.
(q) Participants may withdraw from the DARP program thirty days after they have notified the Department, in writing, by regular mail, of their intention to end their participation.
(r) Participants shall pay a biennial fee of $300.
(t) Participants must abide by all lawful instructions, directions and requests of the police official in charge of the accident.
(u) Participants must record in a bound record book, or in an electronic format as prescribed in subparagraphs ii or iii of paragraph 3 of subdivision b of section 2-378 of this subchapter, all calls for service, all occasions when towing service was rendered and the reason for refusal of any call to which they were unable to respond. If the participant elects to use a bound record book, the inside cover of the book kept for this purpose shall contain the DARP towing company's business name, premises address, towing zone number(s) and the dates the book covers. Each double page shall be consecutively numbered and must contain the following information:
Date and time Police Department tow truck notification operator call was received
Name of person who accepted call
Reason for refusal
Location vehicle towed from
Time tow was completed
Location vehicle towed to
Tow fees/Storage fees
Fees paid by credit card: Y/N
(v) Participants must be open for redemption of vehicles towed in the DARP program during the hours of 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. In addition, they must be opened for redemption from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on either Saturday or Sunday, as such participant has informed the Department in writing, provided, however, that if such participant fails to so notify the Department, the participant shall be deemed to have elected to be open for redemption from 9 am to 4 pm on both Saturday and Sunday. In all instances, participants shall make vehicles immediately available for redemption to the owner of the disabled vehicle, his or her agent, or an authorized insurance company representative. The participant may be closed for redemption on New York City public holidays.
(w) No participant shall release a vehicle that has been involved in a vehicular accident and which cannot be safely driven under its own power to another towing company unless that towing company is licensed or otherwise exempt from the licensing provisions of subchapter 31 of chapter 2 of title 20 of the New York City Administrative Code, or that towing company is based outside of New York City and thereby is not required to be licensed pursuant to such provisions of the New York City Administrative Code.
(x) Participants shall not release vehicles towed in the DARP program unless the person redeeming the vehicle presents sufficient proof that he or she is the owner of the vehicle or is the owner's agent. Sufficient proof of ownership includes the vehicle's New York State Department of Motor Vehicles' registration receipt (or equivalent out-of-state vehicle registration) or certificate of title. If the vehicle is being redeemed by an insurance company as agent for the owner, the insurance company shall present a notarized "receipt for release form" on the insurance company's letterhead signed by a representative of the insurance company. Upon presentation of sufficient proof of ownership and payment of the authorized charges, the disabled vehicle shall be immediately released. Payment of the authorized charges may be made in legal tender, by a major credit card for which a decal is required to be affixed to a tow truck as provided in §2-368.1
of this subchapter, by a first party insurance check or in any other form acceptable to the licensee. At any time when a participant is required to be open for redemption pursuant to subdivision (v) of this section, any vehicle owner shall be permitted to inspect his or her vehicle and remove items of personal property contained therein if it can be dismantled and removed from the vehicle without the use of any tool, and any agent shall be permitted to inspect such vehicle, whether or not the payment for towing and storage has been made. No charge shall be assessed to the vehicle owner or the vehicle owner's agent for such inspection. The participant shall be given a receipt for any property removed from a vehicle while it is in the custody of the participant.
(y) After due notice and opportunity to be heard, the Commissioner may disqualify any towing company participating in the DARP program from continued participation in such program for violation of any of the provisions of §20-518 of the New York City Administrative Code or any rule promulgated thereunder or upon the occurrence of any one or more of the conditions set forth in subchapter 31 of chapter 2 of title 20 of the New York City Administrative Code which constitute grounds for suspension or revocation of any license issued under such subchapter. The Commissioner, for good cause, may, prior to giving notice and an opportunity to be heard, temporarily suspend a towing company from participation in the DARP program for up to ten days. Notice of such suspension shall be served on the towing company. The Commissioner shall provide the towing company with the opportunity for a hearing within ten days after the notification of suspension, after which the
Commissioner shall forthwith make a determination as to whether such suspension should continue and the length of such suspension, and in addition may impose any penalty or sanction authorized by subchapter 31 of chapter 2 of title 20 of the New York City Administrative Code.
(z) The DARP tower must affirmatively disclose that a customer has the right to have his or her vehicle repaired at the facility of the DARP tower or at any other facility of the customer's choice. Such disclosure shall include, but not be limited to, the posting of a sign in a conspicuous place in the repair shop stating that: NO TOWING COMPANY OR INSURANCE COMPANY MAY REQUIRE THAT REPAIRS BE MADE TO A MOTOR VEHICLE IN A PARTICULAR PLACE OR REPAIR SHOP. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO HAVE YOUR MOTOR VEHICLE REPAIRED IN THE SHOP OF YOUR CHOICE.
(aa) Unless otherwise provided by law or by rule, the term "applicant" shall include (1) persons who are applying to participate in the DARP; and (2) DARP participants who are currently applying for renewal of their license to engage in the business of towing.
(bb) A participant who is to relocate his or her business premises from the location which has been approved by the Department for participation in DARP shall remain in such program only if:
(1) Such participant first notifies the Department in writing of the address of its new business premises and the effective date of such relocation. Such written notification shall be made no later than 15 days before the effective date of such relocation;
(2) The Department, upon receiving timely relocation notification, determines that the new location qualifies the participant to continue in the DARP and furnishes such participant a contingent approval to relocate its premises subject to such conditions as are specified therein; and
(3) The participant provides a sworn statement and such other proof as the Department may require that such participant has fully and completely complied with each condition specified in such contingent approval that relates to DARP requirements that can be fulfilled only after such business premises are relocated, such as, but not limited to, the required lettering on tow trucks, the place where the DARP log book is to be kept, and the place where calls to the business are answered. Failure to provide such a sworn statement, and such other proof as the Department requires, not later than 15 days after the effective date of such relocation shall void such contingent approval to relocate, and the participant shall be immediately removed from the DARP.