|SAME AS||No Same As|
|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.|
|04/06/2015||referred to transportation|
|01/06/2016||referred to transportation|
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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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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. LBD05858-01-5A. 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 of40 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 such48 defendant, subsequent to the commencement of the present prosecution,49 has completed an alcohol training awareness program established pursuant50 to subdivision twelve of section seventeen of the alcoholic beverage51 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.