Limits railroads' liability to intruders upon their property and rights-of-way; defines offenses of trespasses on and damage to railroad property and establishes penalties therefor; also penalizes disruption of railroads and causing death or serious injury in connection therewith; establishes the railroad crossing safety fund, to be funded by fines and forfeitures from railroad-related offenses; the fund is to be used for training and education to improve safety at railroad grade crossings and along railroad rights-of-way throughout the state.
BILL NUMBER: S4478A
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the railroad law, in relation to trespass on railroad property
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL : To provide a much-needed upgrade of the railroad trespass laws to reflect the modern security challenges facing railroads and the public.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS : Section 83 of the Railroad Law is amended to delete provisions relating to general trespass along railroad tracks and the scope of horse crossings and move those references to new §83-c. Provisions relating to civil liability of railroads remain unchanged.
Section 83-a of such law is amended to make it illegal to operate any motor vehicle or motorized recreational vehicle upon posted railroad property or along the tracks of an operating railroad (except where such vehicle may legally cross the tracks). Under current law, this provision is limited to the operation of snowmobiles. A violation of this provision shall be deemed a violation and punishable by a fine of $100-$250.
Section 83-b of the Railroad Law relating to the adoption of local laws in New York City and the counties of Nassau, Suffolk and Monroe regarding trespass along railroad property is left intact. The provision of that section providing that the trespass provisions of the Railroad Law or any local law enacted pursuant to this section will not preclude prosecution for trespass under the Penal Law is moved to new §83-c.
Adds a new §83-c to the Railroad Law to bring all the general trespass provisions together in one section.
* Subdivision (1) restates and updates the provisions moved from §83 regarding the prohibition against any person trespassing on railroad property, its tracks or right-of-way. A violation of this subdivision is designated as a violation punishable by a fine of $100-$250.
* Subdivision (2) of §83-c restates the restrictions relating to leading a horse or other animal across railroad tracks previously contained in Section 83. The penalty for any such violation is raised from the current $10 to a civil penalty not to exceed $100.
* Paragraph (a) of subdivision (3) makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly, recklessly or intentionally engage in conduct that results in damage to or defacement of railroad property. This may include such things as throwing objects, placing objects on the tracks, defacing equipment or interfering with signals. The offense is subject to a monetary penalty of $500-$1500 and such other penalties as set forth in the Penal Law. Under paragraph (b), a violation of the provisions of paragraph (a) which disrupts, delays or in any way interferes with railroad operations is designated as a felony (class 5) punishable by a fine of $1,000-$2,500 and such other penalties as proscribed in the Penal Law. Additionally, anyone convicted of this provision may be required, as a condition of sentence, to compensate an affected railroad for any disruption, delay or interference. Under paragraph (c), if the conduct set forth in paragraphs (a) or (b) results in the death of or serious injury to any other person, such conduct will be deemed to be a class D felony, punishable by a fine $2,500-$5,000 and such other penalties as set forth in the Penal Law.
* Subdivision 4 sets forth the parameters for "permission" and "notice" as they relate to entry upon railroad property.
* Subdivision 5 provides that nothing contained in the forgoing sections will preclude prosecution of any person for applicable provisions of the Penal Law, including violations of the trespass provisions pursuant to Article 140 or the assault and homicide provisions as set forth in Articles 120 and 125 respectively.
*Subdivision 6 makes it clear that the provisions of this article shall not be construed to limit the rights, remedies and damages recoverable by any plaintiff or claimant in a civil action.
JUSTIFICATION : Trespassing on railroad property has represented a danger, predominantly to the trespassers, for as long as there have been railroads. Indeed, the primary existing trespass provision of the State Railroad Law (§ 83) has not been amended since it was enacted as Chapter 481 of the Laws of 1910.
Moreover, its original derivation can be traced to Chapter 140 of the Laws of 1850. A few things have changed since then.
Railroad operations are certainly faster, more complex and more sophisticated than they were in 1850 and 1910. Moreover, the underlying safety concerns now extend well beyond the safety of the trespasser. Now, overriding concerns with security has raised the issue as to permissible access to the Nation's essential transportation infrastructure.
For more than a century, railroads have transported freight and passengers along dedicated lines, often carrying sensitive and hazardous cargo safely and efficiently through the cities, towns and villages of this nation. In order to maintain the safety and security of our transportation network, it is absolutely imperative that the antiquated railroad trespass laws be amended to reflect new public security realities. Trespassing on railroad property cannot be tolerated; and this legislation is but one essential component in maintaining the integrity of the nation's rail system. As we learned from the suicidal pick-up driver in California that caused the death of 11 rail passengers, the consequences of even one act of trespass can be catastrophic. Accordingly, the railroad trespass laws must be updated to correspond with the today's environment.
This legislation takes a firm and incremental approach to update these laws. The concept of basic trespass is updated, but remains a violation. Trespass that results in damage to railroad property is a misdemeanor. If such action disrupts, delays or interferes with railroad operations it shall be a felony. And, if any such action results in the death of or serious injury to another person, it shall be deemed a class D felony. These penalties reflect the incremental severity of the offense as well as the consequences of such acts.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None.
EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect on the first of November after which it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4478--A 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 23, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sens. DILAN, DIAZ, HASSELL-THOMPSON, KLEIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation -- recommitted to the Committee on Transportation in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said commit- tee AN ACT to amend the railroad law, in relation to trespass on railroad property THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Sections 83, 83-a and 83-b of the railroad law, section 83-a as added by chapter 246 of the laws of 1977 and section 83-b as amended by chapter 428 of the laws of 1998, are amended to read as follows: S 83. Riding on platform; walking along track. No railroad corporation shall be liable for any injury to any passenger while on the platform of a car, or in any baggage, wood or freight car, in violation of the printed regulations of the corporation, posted up at the time in a conspicuous place inside of the passenger cars, then in the train, if there shall be at the time sufficient room for the proper accommodation of the passenger inside such passenger cars.
[No person other than those connected with or employed upon the railroad shall walk upon or along its track or tracks, except where the same shall be laid across or along streets or highways, in which case he shall not walk upon the track unless necessary to cross the same. Any person riding, leading or driv- ing any horse or other animal upon any railroad, or within the fences and guards thereof, other than at a farm or street or forest crossing, without the consent of the corporation, shall forfeit to the people of the state the sum of ten dollars, and pay all damages sustained thereby to the party aggrieved.]EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03655-03-0 S. 4478--A 2
S 83-a. Operation of MOTOR VEHICLES, snowmobiles, AND OTHER RECRE- ATIONAL VEHICLES on railroad property. Except in the case of a railroad employee, CONTRACTOR OF THE RAILROAD CONTRACTOR OR PUBLIC OFFICIAL acting in the performance of his
[duty]OR HER DUTIES, no person shall KNOWINGLY operate a MOTOR VEHICLE, snowmobile, OR OTHER RECREATIONAL VEHICLE, INCLUDING ALL TERRAIN VEHICLES AND MOTORCYCLES, upon abandoned railroad property which is posted to prohibit the operation of [snowmo- biles]ANY SUCH VEHICLES thereupon, or upon or along the track or tracks of an operating railroad or within the fences or guards thereof, except across or along streets or highways or at farm or forest crossings where [necessary]SUCH PERSON IS LEGALLY AUTHORIZED to cross [said]SUCH tracks or property. [Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine of one hundred dollars for each separate offense.]A VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT LESS THAN ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS NOR MORE THAN TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS. CONVICTION FOR A SECOND OR SUBSEQUENT VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT LESS THAN TWO HUNDRED FIFTY NOR MORE THAN FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS OR A PERIOD OF IMPRISONMENT NOT TO EXCEED FIFTEEN DAYS, OR BY BOTH SUCH FINE AND SUCH IMPRISONMENT. S 83-b. Trespass upon railroad premises IN A CITY HAVING A POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE INHABITANTS AND IN CERTAIN COUNTIES. [1.]Any city with a population of one million or more and the counties of Monroe, Nassau, and Suffolk are authorized and empowered to adopt or amend a local law or ordinance designating any portion or portions of property consisting of a right-of-way or yard of a railroad or rapid transit railroad as a no-trespass railroad zone and providing for the conspicuous posting thereof for purposes of establishing criminal liability for trespass upon such property pursuant to subdivision (g) of section 140.10 of the penal law. [2. The provisions of sections eighty-three and eighty-three-a of this article shall not be construed to prohibit or limit the prosecution of any person for a violation of the provisions of subdivision (g) of section 140.10 of the penal law.]S 2. The railroad law is amended by adding a new section 83-c to read as follows: S 83-C. TRESPASS UPON RAILROAD PREMISES; DAMAGE TO RAILROAD PROPERTY. 1. NO PERSON OTHER THAN THOSE WITH PERMISSION FROM THE RAILROAD CORPO- RATION OR EMPLOYED BY THE RAILROAD CORPORATION SHALL KNOWINGLY ENTER OR REMAIN ON RAILROAD PROPERTY OR RIGHT-OF-WAY INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WALKING UPON OR ALONG ITS TRACK OR TRACKS, EXCEPT WHERE THE SAME SHALL BE LAID ACROSS OR ALONG STREETS OR HIGHWAYS, IN WHICH CASE HE OR SHE SHALL NOT WALK UPON THE TRACK UNLESS NECESSARY TO CROSS THE SAME AT AN ESTABLISHED GRADE CROSSING. A VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT LESS THAN ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS NOR MORE THAN TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS. CONVICTION FOR A SECOND OR SUBSEQUENT VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT LESS THAN TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS NOR MORE THAN FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS, A PERIOD OF IMPRISONMENT NOT TO EXCEED FIFTEEN DAYS, OR BY BOTH SUCH FINE AND SUCH IMPRISONMENT. 2. ANY PERSON RIDING, LEADING, OR DRIVING ANY HORSE OR OTHER ANIMAL UPON ANY RAILROAD, OR WITHIN THE RIGHT-OF-WAY, FENCES, AND GUARDS THERE- OF, OTHER THAN AT A LEGALLY ESTABLISHED FARM OR STREET OR FOREST CROSS- ING, WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE CORPORATION, SHALL FORFEIT TO THE PEOPLES. 4478--A 3
OF THE STATE A SUM NOT TO EXCEED ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS AS A CIVIL PENALTY PURSUANT TO SECTION 60.30 OF THE PENAL LAW. 3. (A) NO PERSON SHALL KNOWINGLY, RECKLESSLY OR INTENTIONALLY ENGAGE IN ANY CONDUCT THAT RESULTS IN DAMAGE TO OR DEFACEMENT OF RAILROAD PROP- ERTY. SUCH CONDUCT SHALL INCLUDE, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO, THROWING OBJECTS AT RAILROAD FACILITIES, STRUCTURES OR ROLLING STOCK, PLACING OBJECTS ON TRACKS, DEFACING PROPERTY AND DISARMING, OR IN ANY WAY INTER- FERING WITH SIGNALS OR SWITCHES. A VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE A MISDEMEANOR PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT LESS THAN FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS NOR MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS, IMPRISONMENT FOR A PERIOD NOT TO EXCEED ONE YEAR, OR BOTH SUCH FINE AND SUCH IMPRISONMENT. (B) A VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION WHICH DISRUPTS, DELAYS OR IN ANY WAY INTERFERES WITH RAILROAD OPERATIONS SHALL BE A FELONY PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT LESS THAN ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS NOR MORE THAN TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS, IMPRISONMENT FOR A PERIOD AUTHORIZED BY THE PENAL LAW FOR A CLASS E FELONY, OR BOTH SUCH FINE AND SUCH IMPRISONMENT. (C) IF A VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH (A) OR (B) OF THIS SUBDIVISION RESULTS IN THE DEATH OF ANOTHER PERSON OR SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 10.00 OF THE PENAL LAW, TO ANY OTHER PERSON, SUCH CONDUCT SHALL BE A FELONY PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT LESS THAN TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS NOR MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS, IMPRISONMENT FOR A PERIOD AUTHORIZED BY THE PENAL LAW FOR A CLASS D FELONY, OR BOTH SUCH FINE AND SUCH IMPRISONMENT. 4. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, A PERSON IS DEEMED TO HAVE ACTED KNOWINGLY, AND ACTUAL NOTICE THAT A PERSON IS ILLEGALLY TRESPASSING ON RAILROAD PROPERTY IS NOT NECESSARY, IF THE SURROUNDING CIRCUMSTANCES, SUCH AS CLOSE PROXIMITY TO RAILROAD TRACKS, BUILDINGS, EQUIPMENT OR OTHER FACILITIES, WOULD ALERT REASONABLE PERSONS THAT HE OR SHE IS ON RAILROAD PROPERTY OR EQUIPMENT. PERMISSION TO ENTER ON RAILROAD PROPERTY OR EQUIPMENT NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLIC USE BY THE RAILROAD CORPORATION SHALL NOT BE IMPLIED, BUT SHALL BE IN WRITING OR BY ANOTHER ACCEPTABLE AFFIRMATIVE MANNER OF CONSENT, UNLESS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY LAW. 5. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION AND SECTIONS EIGHTY-THREE, EIGHTY-THREE-A AND EIGHTY-THREE-B OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT OR LIMIT THE PROSECUTION OF ANY PERSON FOR ANY APPLICABLE VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED FORTY OF THE PENAL LAW, NOR SHALL THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT OR LIMIT THE PROSECUTION OF ANY PERSON FOR ANY APPLICABLE PROVISION OF THE PENAL LAW INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ARTICLES ONE HUNDRED TWENTY AND ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE OF SUCH LAW IF THE ACTIONS OF A PERSON RESULT IN THE DEATH OF OR SERIOUS INJURY TO ANOTHER PERSON. 6. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION AND SECTIONS EIGHTY-THREE, EIGHTY-THREE-A AND EIGHTY-THREE-B OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED TO LIMIT THE RIGHTS, REMEDIES AND DAMAGES RECOVERABLE BY ANY PLAINTIFF OR CLAIMANT IN ANY CIVIL ACTION AS PROVIDED BY APPLICABLE LAW. S 3. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law.