New York Consolidated Laws, Vehicle and Traffic Law - VAT § 1111-c. Owner liability for failure of operator to comply with bus lane restrictions

<[Expires and deemed repealed Sept. 20, 2020, pursuant to L.2010, c. 59, pt. II, § 14 .]>

(a) 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the city of New York is hereby authorized and empowered to establish a bus rapid transit program imposing monetary liability on the owner of a vehicle for failure of an operator thereof to comply with bus lane restrictions in such city in accordance with the provisions of this section.  The New York city department of transportation or applicable mass transit agency, for purposes of the implementation of such program, shall operate bus lane photo devices only within designated bus lanes in such bus rapid transit program.  Such bus lane photo devices may be stationary or mobile and shall be activated at locations determined by such department of transportation and/or on buses selected by such department of transportation in consultation with the applicable mass transit agency, however, the applicable mass transit agency may also install no less than fifty mobile bus lane photo devices on buses operating on designated bus lanes in such bus rapid transit program below 96th street in the borough of Manhattan, in consultation with the New York city department of transportation for the purposes of this section.

2. Any image or images captured by bus lane photo devices shall be inadmissible in any disciplinary proceeding convened by the applicable mass transit agency or any subsidiary thereof and any proceeding initiated by the department involving licensure privileges of bus operators. Any mobile bus lane photo device mounted on a bus shall be directed outwardly from such bus to capture images of vehicles operated in violation of bus lane restrictions, and images produced by such device shall not be used for any other purpose in the absence of a court order requiring such images to be produced.

3. The city of New York shall adopt and enforce measures to protect the privacy of drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists whose identity and identifying information may be captured by a bus lane photo device.  Such measures shall include:

(i) utilization of necessary technologies to ensure, to the extent practicable, that images produced by such bus lane photo devices shall not include images that identify the driver, the passengers, or the contents of the vehicle, provided, however, that no notice of liability issued pursuant to this section shall be dismissed solely because an image allows for the identification of the driver, the passengers or other contents of a vehicle;

(ii) a prohibition on the use or dissemination of vehicles' license plate information and other information and images captured by bus lane photo devices except:  (A) as required to establish liability under this section or collect payment of penalties;  (B) as required by court order;  or (C) as otherwise required by law;

(iii) the installation of signage at regular intervals within restricted bus lanes stating that bus lane photo devices are used to enforce restrictions on vehicular traffic in bus lanes;  and

(iv) oversight procedures to ensure compliance with the aforementioned privacy protection measures.

4. Within the city of New York, such bus lane photo devices shall only be operated on designated bus lanes within the bus rapid transit program and only from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.  Warning notices of violation will be issued during the first sixty days that bus lane photo devices are operated on each route in the bus rapid transit program that is established after June fifteenth, two thousand fifteen.

(b) If the city of New York has established a bus rapid transit program pursuant to subdivision (a) of this section, the owner of a vehicle shall be liable for a penalty imposed pursuant to this section if such vehicle was used or operated with the permission of the owner, express or implied, in violation of any bus lane restrictions that apply to routes within such program, and such violation is evidenced by information obtained from a bus lane photo device;  provided however that no owner of a vehicle shall be liable for a penalty imposed pursuant to this section where the operator of such vehicle has been convicted of the underlying violation of any bus lane restrictions.

(c) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

1. “owner” shall have the meaning provided in article two-B of this chapter.

2. “bus lane photo device” shall mean a device that is capable of operating independently of an enforcement officer and produces one or more images of each vehicle at the time it is in violation of bus lane restrictions.

3. “bus lane restrictions” shall mean restrictions on the use of designated traffic lanes by vehicles other than buses imposed on routes within a bus rapid transit program by local law and signs erected by the department of transportation of a city that establishes such a program pursuant to this section.

4. “Bus Rapid Transit Phase I plan” shall mean the following five bus rapid transit routes as designated by the New York city department of transportation:  Fordham Road, First/Second Avenue, Nostrand Avenue, Thirty-Fourth Street, Hylan Boulevard, and an undesignated route in the borough of Queens not to exceed ten miles.

5. “bus rapid transit program” shall mean up to ten routes designated by the New York city department of transportation in consultation with the applicable mass transit agency, in addition to the Bus Rapid Transit Phase I plan routes, that operate on designated bus lanes and that may include upgraded signage, enhanced road markings, minimum bus stop spacing, off-board fare payment, traffic signal priority for buses, and any other enhancement that increases bus speed or reliability.

6. “designated bus lane” shall mean a lane dedicated for the exclusive use of buses with the exceptions allowed under 4-12(m) and 4-08(a)(3) of title 34 of the rules of the city of New York.

7. Renumbered as par. 6 by L.2015, c. 239, § 4, eff. Sept. 18, 2015 .

(d) A certificate, sworn to or affirmed by a technician employed by the city in which the charged violation occurred, or a facsimile there-of, based upon inspection of photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images produced by a bus lane photo device, shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein.  Any photographs, microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images evidencing such a violation shall be available for inspection in any proceeding to adjudicate the liability for such violation pursuant to this section.

(e) An owner liable for a violation of a bus lane restriction imposed on any route within a bus rapid transit program shall be liable for monetary penalties in accordance with a schedule of fines and penalties promulgated by the parking violations bureau of the city of New York;  provided, however, that the monetary penalty for violating a bus lane restriction shall not exceed one hundred fifteen dollars;  provided, further, that an owner shall be liable for an additional penalty not to exceed twenty-five dollars for each violation for the failure to respond to a notice of liability within the prescribed time period.

(f) An imposition of liability pursuant to this section shall not be deemed a conviction of an operator and shall not be made part of the operating record of the person upon whom such liability is imposed, nor shall it be used for insurance purposes in the provision of motor vehicle insurance coverage.

(g) 1. A notice of liability shall be sent by first class mail to each person alleged to be liable as an owner for a violation of a bus lane restriction.  Personal delivery to the owner shall not be required.  A manual or automatic record of mailing prepared in the ordinary course of business shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein.

2. A notice of liability shall contain the name and address of the person alleged to be liable as an owner for a violation of a bus lane restriction, the registration number of the vehicle involved in such violation, the location where such violation took place including the street address or cross streets, one or more images identifying the violation, the date and time of such violation and the identification number of the bus lane photo device which recorded the violation or other document locator number.

3. The notice of liability shall contain information advising the person charged of the manner and the time in which he or she may contest the liability alleged in the notice.  Such notice of liability shall also contain a warning to advise the persons charged that failure to contest in the manner and time provided shall be deemed an admission of liability and that a default judgment may be entered thereon.

4. The notice of liability shall be prepared and mailed by the agency or agencies designated by the city of New York, or any other entity authorized by such city to prepare and mail such notification of violation.

5. Adjudication of the liability imposed upon owners by this section shall be by the New York city parking violations bureau.

(h) If an owner of a vehicle receives a notice of liability pursuant to this section for any time period during which such vehicle was reported to the police department as having been stolen, it shall be a valid defense to an allegation of liability for a violation of a bus lane restriction that the vehicle had been reported to the police as stolen prior to the time the violation occurred and had not been recovered by such time.  For purposes of asserting the defense provided by this subdivision it shall be sufficient that a certified copy of the police report on the stolen vehicle be sent by first class mail to the parking violations bureau of such city.

(i) 1. An owner who is a lessor of a vehicle to which a notice of liability was issued pursuant to subdivision (g) of this section shall not be liable for the violation of a bus lane restriction, provided that:

(i) prior to the violation, the lessor has filed with such parking violations bureau in accordance with the provisions of section two hundred thirty-nine of this chapter;  and

(ii) within thirty-seven days after receiving notice from such bureau of the date and time of a liability, together with the other information contained in the original notice of liability, the lessor submits to such bureau the correct name and address of the lessee of the vehicle identified in the notice of liability at the time of such violation, together with such other additional information contained in the rental, lease or other contract document, as may be reasonably required by such bureau pursuant to regulations that may be promulgated for such purpose.

2. Failure to comply with subparagraph (ii) of paragraph one of this subdivision shall render the lessor liable for the penalty prescribed in this section.

3. Where the lessor complies with the provisions of paragraph one of this subdivision, the lessee of such vehicle on the date of such violation shall be deemed to be the owner of such vehicle for purposes of this section, shall be subject to liability for such violation pursuant to this section and shall be sent a notice of liability pursuant to subdivision (g) of this section.

(j) If the owner liable for a violation of a bus lane restriction was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the violation, the owner may maintain an action for indemnification against the operator.

(k) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the liability of an operator of a vehicle for any violation of bus lane restrictions.

(l) If the city of New York adopts a bus rapid transit demonstration program pursuant to subdivision (a) of this section it shall submit a report on the results of the use of bus lane photo devices to the governor, the temporary president of the senate and the speaker of the assembly by April first, two thousand twelve and every two years thereafter.  Such report shall include, but not be limited to:

1. a description of the locations and/or buses where bus lane photo devices were used;

2. the total number of violations recorded on a monthly and annual basis;

3. the total number of notices of liability issued;

4. the number of fines and total amount of fines paid after the first notice of liability;

5. the number of violations adjudicated and results of such adjudications including breakdowns of dispositions made;

6. the total amount of revenue realized by such city and any participating mass transit agency;

7. the quality of the adjudication process and its results;

8. the total number of cameras by type of camera;

9. the total cost to the city and the total cost to any participating mass transit agency;  and

10. a detailed report on the bus speeds, reliability, and ridership before and after implementation of the bus rapid transit demonstration program for each bus route, including current statistics.

(m) Any revenue from fines and penalties collected pursuant to this section from any mobile bus lane photo devices that were authorized to be installed pursuant to a chapter of the laws of two thousand eighteen that added this subdivision shall be remitted by the city of New York to the applicable mass transit agency on a quarterly basis to be deposited in the general transportation account of the New York city transportation assistance fund established pursuant to section twelve hundred seventy-i of the public authorities law .


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