Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece) noted today that three of the largest U.S. automakers reportedly will resume vehicle leasing in New York as a result of President George W. Bush signing into law a federal transportation bill that effectively repeals the state’s vicarious liability law.
"This is great news for New Yorkers," Reilich said. "This new law will not only allow our residents the opportunity to lease automobiles and other vehicles again, it will also allow them to receive more affordable rates than ever before. Even when New Yorkers were able to lease vehicles, our rates were much higher due to the anticipated costs associated with potential litigation."
According to the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the vicarious liability law has cost New York consumers more than $280 million in extra costs since 2003. It also severely limited the leasing options available to New Yorkers.
New York’s vicarious liability law, which took effect in 1924, held leasing companies liable for accidents and damages caused by the hired drivers and chauffeurs of the era. Over the years, most vehicle leasing and financing businesses stopped providing such services in New York to avoid the liability issue and expensive payouts to accident victims. Rhode Island and Connecticut repealed similar liability statutes two years ago, leaving New York as the only state with such a law.