A06829 Summary:

BILL NOA06829
 
SAME ASNo Same As
 
SPONSORCrespo
 
COSPNSR
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Amd S2, add S160, Transp L; amd SS501 & 502, V & T L; amd S260.20, Pen L
 
Provides for the regulation of party buses with passengers under the age of 21.
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A06829 Actions:

BILL NOA06829
 
04/06/2015referred to transportation
01/06/2016referred to transportation
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A06829 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A6829
 
SPONSOR: Crespo
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the transportation law, in relation to regulation of party buses; to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to establishing a party bus endorsement for drivers licenses; and to amend the penal law, in relation to unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree   PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to more comprehensively regulate the operation of and safety guidelines used by charter bus companies that operate "party busses" that are utilized by groups of individuals under the age of 21.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1: Amends Transportation Law section 2 to add a definition for the term "Party Bus". A party bus is a contract carrier of passengers by motor vehicle that charters its services to a sponsoring organization that is responsible for an organized trip for individuals under the age of 21. A Party Bus is not a regular charter bus with fixed seats, but a large, and often oversized, bus whose interior has been reconfigured to allow its passengers to freely stand and circulate around the bus while it is in motion. Further, food, beverages and entertainment are often provided or sold to passengers on such vehicle. In addition, some party buses have dance floors and electronic media or music sources that can be commonly be shared by its passengers via televisions, flat screens, or monitors. Section 2: Adds a new Transportation Law section 160 to establish new safety standards for the operation of and occupancy of a party bus. Among the new safety standards includes: -A Party Bus operator or driver must hold a party bus driver's endorse- ment so that such driver is adequately trained and made aware of the potential risks and dangers that are inherent in the operation of such bus and is able to protect the safety of its passengers. -Every Party Bus shall have a warning system to alert the bus driver and other passengers that a door, window or other portal to enter or exit the bus has been opened in an unauthorized manner, particularly if the bus is moving. The bill amendment to the "B" print merely clarified that it applies to all portals. Such warning system shall consist of a red light and sound alarm that will alert the bus driver and those adjacent to an exit that an exit has been opened in an unauthorized manner. -Requires the sponsoring organization of the party bus trip or the bus operator to provide adult chaperones to monitor the conduct of those passengers under the age of 21. There shall be at least one chaperone per 20 individuals under the age of 21, and at least one chaperone on each deck of a double dickered bus. The bus driver shall not be deemed to be a chaperone. -Upon violation of any safety standard provided for under this act, the bus operator is authorized to terminate the trip and return back to its place of origin. -The sponsoring organization, charter bus company, and bus driver shall sign the contract that includes the terms of the safety requirements that are contained in this act. Further, those persons under the age of 21 are not permitted to possess or consume alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, or marihuana while on the bus. -Prior to the departure of the bus trip, the contract carrier shall read a statement to all passengers as to the requirements and safety measures provided for under this act and the safety features contained on the bus. This is similar to the safety announcements that are given before air travel commences. -If the charter bus company, upon three occasions, violates the safety provisions or protocols of this act, such carrier's permit shall be suspended by the Commissioner for a period of not less than six months. -Party bus operators must conspicuously post their U.S. Department of Transportation and NYS DOT registration number on all: a) printed or electronic advertisements that advertise party busses, b) internet websites related to party busses, and 3) on the party bus itself. Sections 3, 4, and 5: Amends the Vehicle and Traffic Law sections 501 and 502 to require that licensed bus drivers that operate a party bus, must obtain a party bus safety operation endorsement to operate such vehicles. The safety considerations and issues raised by operating a Party Bus are different than those when operating a regular charter bus. This provision ensures that such bus drivers have the information needed to properly operate such a bus. Section 6: Amends Penal Law section 260.20 relating to the class A misdemeanor of unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree to apply when a driver of a party bus or a chaperone supervising the conduct of minors on a party bus knowingly permits a person under the age of 21 to possess or consume any alcoholic beverage, controlled substance, or marihuana. Sections 6 and 6-a also make technical changes to Penal Law section 260.20 relating to affirmative defenses to unlawfully dealing with a minor which are necessary to bring current law into conformity with changes to the alcoholic beverage control law made by chapter 118 of the laws of 2012.   JUSTIFICATION: On September 30th, 2012, Daniel Fernandez, a sixteen year-old high school student from Woodside, Queens, was killed on board a double-decker "party bus" operated by a Long Island based bus and limousine company. Mr. Fernandez was part of a large group of teens from a Queens high School that rented the bus for a trip and an event in New Jersey. Mr. Fernandez stuck his head out of the safety hatch on top of the bus as the bus neared an overpass in New Jersey and died instantly. Mr. Fernandez party was made up of sixty-five students on a bus with two decks. There were only two adults to supervise this large group: the driver of the bus and an additional staff person from the bus company. This tragic death in New Jersey is just one of several that have recent- ly occurred to passengers on party buses. Just last year, an eleven year old girl was killed in Oregon and, in two separate incidents, a twenty- five year old woman and twenty-four year old man were killed in Califor- nia when they fell out of badly secured exits on party buses. Similarly, a twenty-six year old new mother was killed in Kansas last year when she fell out of an unsecured emergency exit into oncoming traffic. Several of these buses were operating illegally, and all of the deaths were preventable. These incidents show that existing rules and regulations on chartered buses are not adequate to deal with this new kind of passenger bus service. Existing regulations assume that charter buses will be used as a means of transporting a group of individuals from one point to another for a special event, with the passengers secure in their seats. Party buses are meant to function as moving venues and the interior of the buses are designed to make this possible. Movement within the bus is expected and the interior is arranged to make moving around easier. Some of the larger party buses offered for rental boast of dance floors or stripper poles. Many of these buses also include areas in which food and drinks can be served. These functional modifications increase the dangers to passengers - individuals will be moving around close to the exit points, both emergency and regular exits - and often attract teenagers and young adults under the age of twenty one. Because the buses are in motion, prematurely exiting the bus or having any part of the body hanging out of the bus can be fatal. The dangers of having people moving regularly and vigorously within a moving bus are increased even further by the large size of the groups that many of these buses are designed to fit. These crowded conditions make it impossible for a driver to supervise passengers, particularly if the bus is so large, as in the case that led to Mr. Fernandez death, that it has two decks. As mentioned before, these buses have been modi- fied to serve as party venues, with many featuring bars. As in any case in which large numbers of people gather to have a party, the possibility that alcohol will be consumed is high, including large parties of teens or young adults under 21. Lax supervision of such groups in a venue designed for festivities increases the possibility that underage drink- ing will occur. Indeed, there have been multiple incidents where not only has underage drinking on party buses been established, but that drinking has led to accidents, injuries, or even death. Furthermore, in numerous cases, accidents or injuries have occurred on vehicles that do not meet existing standards. Many party bus companies throughout New York operate without the requisite state and federal licenses and registrations, putting their patrons at risk. Under exist- ing law, it is very difficult to determine if a carrier has registered, and what its safety history might be. This is detrimental to both enforcement efforts and consumer protection, with the result being that many bad actors are not identified until after they have been involved in an incident. This legislation attempts to combat the new risks present in these party bus settings. The legislation makes it clear that there must be suffi- cient supervision of large groups of teens and young adults to ensure safety and to limit the possibilities of underage drinking. The bill allows the groups chartering a party bus and the bus company to come to an agreement on who will provide the necessary supervision and mandates that there be at least one adult present per deck if a bus has two decks and one supervising adult for every 20 passengers under the age of 21. It also gives the bus company the ability to terminate service if under- age drinking if going on or if actions that undermine the safety of the passengers occur. The legislation also calls for the installation of warning systems designed to inform a driver and those close to exits that exits to the bus have been compromised while the bus is in motion. Finally, it will require party bus operators to post their registration on their websites, buses, and advertisements, allowing both consumers and enforcement agencies to better identify bad actors. These new rules and precautions will make trips in these modified buses safer and help keep illegal operators off the road, giving the public confidence that their sons and daughters will be safe riding in these kinds of vehicles.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill. A9378B of 2013 died in Assembly trans- portation, Passed Senate   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.   EFFECTIVE DATE: January first next succeeding the date upon which this act shall have become law; provided, however, that section six-a of this act shall take effect upon the expiration of section 17 of the alcoholic beverage control law; provided further, that, effective immediately, any rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be completed on or before such date.
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A06829 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          6829
 
                               2015-2016 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                      April 6, 2015
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced by M. of A. CRESPO -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on Transportation
 
        AN  ACT  to  amend  the transportation law, in relation to regulation of
          party buses; to amend the vehicle and  traffic  law,  in  relation  to
          establishing  a  party  bus  endorsement  for drivers licenses; and to
          amend the penal law, in relation to unlawfully dealing with a child in
          the first degree
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1. Section 2 of the transportation law is amended by adding a
     2  new subdivision 20-a to read as follows:
     3    20-a. "Party bus" means any motor vehicle having a capacity of  twenty
     4  or  more  passengers,  operated  by  a contract carrier of passengers by
     5  motor vehicle, within which passengers  are  capable  and  permitted  to
     6  regularly stand and circulate throughout the vehicle, and in which food,
     7  beverages and entertainment may be provided or sold to such passengers.
     8    §  2. The transportation law is amended by adding a new section 160 to
     9  read as follows:
    10    § 160. Regulation of party buses. 1. The provisions  of  this  section
    11  shall  apply  to the operation of any party bus in which all the passen-
    12  gers, excluding the driver and any chaperones,  are  under  the  age  of
    13  twenty-one years.
    14    2.  No  contract  carrier of passengers by motor vehicle shall allow a
    15  party bus, specified in subdivision one of this section, to be  operated
    16  by a driver who does not hold a party bus endorsement issued pursuant to
    17  subparagraph  (xi)  of  paragraph (b) of subdivision two of section five
    18  hundred one of the vehicle and traffic law.
    19    3. Every party bus, specified in  subdivision  one  of  this  section,
    20  shall  be  equipped  with  a warning system which provides notice to the
    21  driver of such bus and those adjacent  to  any  door,  window  or  other
    22  access  portal  to  the  exterior  of such bus that such door, window or
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD05858-01-5

        A. 6829                             2
 
     1  other access portal has been opened  in  an  unauthorized  manner.  Such
     2  warning  system shall cause an audible alarm to sound and a red light to
     3  illuminate on the driving dashboard of the bus when activated and can be
     4  seen and heard by those near such door, window or portal.
     5    4.  Every  party  bus,  specified  in subdivision one of this section,
     6  shall prior to departing its point of origin and during the entirety  of
     7  the  provision  of  the transportation and services by the party bus, be
     8  staffed with not less than one chaperone, over  the  age  of  twenty-one
     9  years  of age, for each twenty passengers under age of twenty-one years;
    10  provided, however, that if such party bus has more  than  one  level  or
    11  floor,  each  level or floor shall be staffed by at least one chaperone.
    12  Chaperones shall be provided by the contract carrier  and/or  the  party
    13  contracting  for  the party bus. Under no circumstances shall the driver
    14  of a party bus be designated as a chaperone.
    15    5. Upon violation of any provision of this section or any  other  law,
    16  rule or regulation by the passengers of a party bus, specified in subdi-
    17  vision  one of this section, the driver thereof shall immediately return
    18  to the point of  origin  of  the  transportation.  Compliance  with  the
    19  provisions  of this subdivision shall grant the party bus driver and the
    20  contract carrier of passengers by motor  vehicle  with  both  civil  and
    21  criminal immunity for any such violations and breach of contract.
    22    6.  The contract for the provision of transportation and services by a
    23  party bus, as specified  in  subdivision  one  of  this  section,  shall
    24  include  therein  the  provisions  of this section, all safety rules for
    25  such buses, and that the passengers under the age of twenty-one years of
    26  age shall be prohibited from consuming or possessing alcoholic  beverag-
    27  es,  controlled  substances or marihuana. Such contract shall include an
    28  attestation that any party allowing any violation thereof  may  be  held
    29  both  civilly and criminally liable. Every such contract shall be signed
    30  by the contracting party, the contract carrier of  passengers  by  motor
    31  vehicle and the driver of the party bus.
    32    7.  Prior  to  the  departure from the point of origin of a party bus,
    33  specified in subdivision one of this section, the  contract  carrier  of
    34  passengers  by  motor  vehicle  shall read a statement to all passengers
    35  relating to requirements of this section and all other  safety  features
    36  and requirements of such party bus.
    37    8.   Every contract carrier of passengers by motor vehicle which oper-
    38  ates one or more  party  buses  shall  conspicuously  post  its  federal
    39  Department  of  Transportation registration number and its permit number
    40  issued by the department pursuant to this article upon each of its:
    41    (a) printed and electronic advertisements which advertise a party  bus
    42  or party buses;
    43    (b)  internet  websites  which  offer  a  party bus or party buses for
    44  lease, rental or charter; and
    45    (c) party buses.
    46    9. Upon the occasion of three or more violations of the provisions  of
    47  this  section  or  any rules and regulation adopted pursuant thereto, or
    48  any other provision of law relating to party buses by  contract  carrier
    49  of  passengers  by  motor  vehicle or any of its drivers, such carrier's
    50  permit shall be suspended by the commissioner for a period of  not  less
    51  than six months.
    52    §  3. Paragraph (b) of subdivision 2 of section 501 of the vehicle and
    53  traffic law is amended by adding a new  subparagraph  (xi)  to  read  as
    54  follows:
    55    (xi)  Party  bus endorsement. Shall be required to operate a party bus
    56  pursuant to section one hundred sixty of the transportation law.

        A. 6829                             3
 
     1    § 4. Section 501 of the vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a
     2  new subdivision 7 to read as follows:
     3    7.  Party bus endorsement. The commissioner of transportation shall by
     4  rule establish the requirements and course of instruction for the grant-
     5  ing of party bus endorsements.
     6    § 5. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 2 of section 502 of the vehicle  and
     7  traffic  law,  as amended by chapter 520 of the laws of 1991, is amended
     8  to read as follows:
     9    (a) An applicant for a class A license or for  a  commercial  driver's
    10  license  which  contains an H [or], an X  or a party bus endorsement, or
    11  which is valid for operation in interstate commerce shall  be  at  least
    12  twenty-one years of age.
    13    § 6. Section 260.20 of the penal law, as amended by chapter 362 of the
    14  laws  of  1992  and the third undesignated paragraph as added by chapter
    15  435 of the laws of 2010, is amended to read as follows:
    16  § 260.20 Unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree.
    17    A person is guilty of unlawfully dealing with a  child  in  the  first
    18  degree when:
    19    1. He or she knowingly permits a child less than eighteen years old to
    20  enter  or  remain  in  or  upon a place, premises or establishment where
    21  sexual activity as defined by article one hundred  thirty,  two  hundred
    22  thirty  or two hundred sixty-three of this chapter or activity involving
    23  controlled substances as defined by article two hundred twenty  of  this
    24  chapter  or  involving marihuana as defined by article two hundred twen-
    25  ty-one of this chapter is maintained or conducted, and he or  she  knows
    26  or  has  reason  to  know  that  such  activity  is  being maintained or
    27  conducted; or
    28    2. He or she gives or sells or causes to be given or sold any alcohol-
    29  ic beverage, as defined by  section  three  of  the  alcoholic  beverage
    30  control  law,  to  a  person less than twenty-one years old; except that
    31  this subdivision does not apply to the parent  or  guardian  of  such  a
    32  person or to a person who gives or causes to be given any such alcoholic
    33  beverage to a person under the age of twenty-one years, who is a student
    34  in  a  curriculum  licensed or registered by the state education depart-
    35  ment, where the tasting or imbibing of alcoholic beverages  is  required
    36  in courses that are part of the required curriculum, provided such alco-
    37  holic beverages are given only for instructional purposes during classes
    38  conducted pursuant to such curriculum.
    39    It is no defense to a prosecution pursuant to this subdivision [two of
    40  this  section]  that  the  child acted as the agent or representative of
    41  another person or that the defendant dealt with the child as such.
    42    It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution pursuant to this  subdi-
    43  vision  [two  of this section] that the defendant who sold, caused to be
    44  sold or attempted to sell such alcoholic beverage to a person less  than
    45  twenty-one  years  old,  had  not  been,  at  the  time  of such sale or
    46  attempted sale, convicted of a violation  of  this  section  or  section
    47  260.21  of  this  article  within  the  preceding  five years[, and such
    48  defendant, subsequent to the commencement of  the  present  prosecution,
    49  has completed an alcohol training awareness program established pursuant
    50  to  subdivision  twelve  of  section seventeen of the alcoholic beverage
    51  control law]. A defendant otherwise qualifying pursuant  to  this  para-
    52  graph  may request and shall be afforded a reasonable adjournment of the
    53  proceedings to enable him or  her  to  complete  such  alcohol  training
    54  awareness program[.]; or
    55    3.  He  or  she,  being  the driver of or a chaperone upon a party bus
    56  pursuant to section one hundred sixty of the transportation  law,  know-

        A. 6829                             4
 
     1  ingly permits any person less than twenty-one years of age to possess or
     2  consume any alcoholic beverage, as defined in section three of the alco-
     3  holic beverage control law, or any controlled substance or marihuana, as
     4  defined in section 220.00 of this chapter.
     5    Unlawfully  dealing  with  a  child  in  the first degree is a class A
     6  misdemeanor.
     7    § 6-a. The third undesignated paragraph of section 260.20 of the penal
     8  law, as amended by section six of  this  act,  is  amended  to  read  as
     9  follows:
    10    It  is an affirmative defense to a prosecution pursuant to this subdi-
    11  vision that the defendant who sold, caused to be sold  or  attempted  to
    12  sell such alcoholic beverage to a person less than twenty-one years old,
    13  had not been, at the time of such sale or attempted sale, convicted of a
    14  violation  of  this section or section 260.21 of this article within the
    15  preceding five years, and such defendant, subsequent to the commencement
    16  of the present prosecution, has completed an alcohol training  awareness
    17  program  established pursuant to subdivision twelve of section seventeen
    18  of the alcoholic beverage control law.  A defendant otherwise qualifying
    19  pursuant to this paragraph may request and shall be afforded  a  reason-
    20  able  adjournment  of  the  proceedings to enable him or her to complete
    21  such alcohol training awareness program; or
    22    § 7. This act shall take effect on the first of January next  succeed-
    23  ing  the  date  on  which it shall have become a law; provided, however,
    24  that section six-a of this act shall take effect upon the expiration  of
    25  section  17 of the alcoholic beverage control law as provided in section
    26  4 of chapter 118 of the laws of 2012; provided further, that,  effective
    27  immediately,  any  rules  and  regulations  necessary  to  implement the
    28  provisions of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed
    29  to be completed on or before such date.
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