Stillwater Adopts Driving Ordinance
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 • 9:51am
STILLWATER, NJ – Anyone driving a township vehicle must be over 21 years old and have a drivers license for at least three years under an ordinance adopted by the township committee on Tuesday, July 17.
Township Committeeman Timmy Fisher explained the ordinance was on the recommendation of the municipal insurance agent.
It applies to all Department of Public Works vehicles as well as fire department and rescue squad vehicles.
Mayor George Scott explained fire department vehicles are exempt from the rule that large trucks can only be operated by people with a commercial drivers license. He pointed out without that exemption, emergency services groups would have a problem finding volunteers who could drive.
Fire Chief David VanGorden pointed out there is a fireman in his department who is an employee of Newton’s DPW and has a CDL, but is not yet 21. He can drive DPW trucks on his job, but can no longer drive a fire truck in Stillwater.
Committeewoman Lisa Chammings said she agreed with the chief and suggested tabling the ordinance to allow someone under 21 with a CDL to drive the vehicles.
Committeewoman Anita Straway said the township could not grandfather in one person. Committeeman Charles Gross said sometimes it is easier to adopt an ordinance and amend it later than to table it and try to fix it.
The committee voted to adopt the ordinance with Chammings dissenting.
In answer to a question from the audience, Straway said the chiefs of the fire department and captain of the rescue squad make sure all those eligible to drive are trained for it.
“They have driving training and they run drills,” she said. “And the DPW guys train new people on all the equipment.”
The ordinance also states in order to be qualified to drive a township vehicle, a person cannot have a DWI arrest, reckless driving citation or more than 10 points on his or her license. Any of these will result in a three-year suspension from driving a municipal vehicle.
In addition, the chiefs and captain can suspend driving privileges on township vehicles for a period of their choice for cause including operating a township vehicle carelessly.
Another township vote also involved municipal emergency services.
The committee approved a resolution authorizing emergency personnel to thank non-squad or fire department members who have stopped to help in an emergency and ask them to step away.
Scott explained if someone stops to help in an emergency before emergency service personnel have arrived on the scene, the emergency service personnel should thank them, but ask them to step back. If the non-squad-member does not, the emergency service member can call the state police to have them removed from the site.
Gross said there was no incident that triggered this resolution. He suggested it in a memo to the township committee and a copy of the memo will be sent to the fire chiefs and the squad captain.
The committee also voted to purchase a laptop computer for the DPW at a cost of $775 plus $200 for a software package. Chammings explained the laptop was $75 more than the desktop they looked at, but she recommended the laptop because DPW personnel may want to bring it from their building to town hall.