Published On: Mon, Oct 17th, 2022

Policy establishes fees for towing cars

PHILIPSBURG — Towed cars could cost their owners or users between $75 and $115 plus a daily storage fee of $15, it appears from the towing policy published in the National Gazette of October 14.

The towing fee depends on the moment a car is towed: $75 before 6 p.m., $95 between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. and $115 on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays.

The policy defines under which circumstances there is a legal basis for towing a car. Leaving cars that are not drivable or defective on public roads for longer than two times 24 hours is prohibited based on the Road Traffic Ordinance. Cars can also (immediately) be towed it they are hindering traffic. And the rules don’t just apply to cars, because the traffic ordinance defines vehicles as “motor vehicles, bicycles and all other vehicles with the exception of wheelbarrows, strollers and similar small objects.” Motorbikes can also be towed.

Minister of Justice Anna Richardson’s policy makes a distinction between not drivable or defective cars and car wrecks. The removal of car wrecks remains the responsibility of the Ministry of Public Housing, Urban Planning, Infrastructure and Environment (VROMI).

There is another catch: not drivable or otherwise defective does not mean that a car needs to be in a neglected condition to qualify for towing. “Leaving a vehicle with a flat tire could be sufficient for towing,” the policy states. Parking at bus- or taxi stops could also result in towing.

Both the owner and the user of a car can be held liable for the costs associated with towing and storage. If they cannot be found, the state will publish a towing and storage decision in the Daily Herald; the cost of such a publication – 150 guilders (around $84) – is for the account of owner and/or user of the car.

The Justice ministry also wants the communities in St. Maarten to do their part because the policy states that individual citizens can report parking offenses and dangerous situations causes by parked cars to the police by using the ‘see something share something’ Whatsapp-tool on the website of the police force. Naturally, the police can also discover and report these situations.

With the policy, the justice ministry introduces a Rotational Towing Program that regulates under which conditions towing companies can participate in towing cars. Participating towing operators will have to pay a yet to be established annual participation fee and they are not allowed to subcontract towing. Storage of towed cars may be subcontracted and the subcontractor must provide a fenced or enclosed facility with a properly functioning surveillance camera system.


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