Enacts "Steven's Law"; requires passengers of motor vehicles involved in personal injury accidents to report such accident when the operator of such motor vehicle does not stop or provide information to the injured party.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to enacting "Steven's Law" to require the reporting of personal injury motor vehicle accidents by passengers
PURPOSE: To require a passenger of a motor vehicle involved in a personal injury accident to report the accident when he or she knows the operator of the motor vehicle did not stop and provide information to either the injured party and/or to a police officer.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends section 600 of the vehicle and traffic law to add a new subdivision 3 that provides that a passenger, knowing or having cause to know that personal injury has been caused to another person due to an incident involving the motor vehicle which they are a passenger and where the operator of said vehicle has not stopped and provided information to the injured party and/or a police officer, the passenger shall report the incident as soon as physically able to the nearest police station or judicial officer.
Failure to do so shall constitute a class B misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of not less than $250 or more then $500 in addition to any other penalties provided by law.
Section 2 provides that this act shall take effect on the first of November after the date on which it shall have become law.
JUSTIFICATION: On March 22, 2007, 17-year old Steven Bacon was the victim of a hit-and-run accident in the town of Ashland. His body wasn't discovered until the next day. The driver of the vehicle turned himself into the police the next day but only after the driver of another vehicle, a friend of the driver who witnessed the incident, insisted that he turn himself in. Also in the vehicle that killed Steven Bacon was a passenger who was also a witness to the incident.
Although no one can know for certain whether Steven Bacon would've survived his injuries had his body been discovered sooner, there is no doubt that there were people with knowledge that something horrible had happened that night whose failure to come forward resulted in Steven Bacon's body laying in the culvert on the shoulder of the road for well over 12 hours.
The driver was charged, in addition to manslaughter in the second degree, with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident in violation of vehicle and traffic law section 600(2). However, his passenger was under no legal obligation to report the accident even though he was fully aware that a body flew over the car in which he was riding, and also aware that the driver neither stopped nor reported the incident. This legislation creates that legal obligation
for a passenger of a vehicle to report the incident if the driver does not.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009 - A.2180
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: The first of November after the date on which it shall have become law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4613 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 13, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. O'MARA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to enacting "Steven's Law" to require the reporting of personal injury motor vehi- cle accidents by passengers THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as "Steven's Law". S 2. Section 600 of the vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new subdivision 3 to read as follows: 3. REPORT BY PASSENGER. ANY PASSENGER OF A MOTOR VEHICLE, KNOWING OR HAVING CAUSE TO KNOW THAT PERSONAL INJURY HAS BEEN CAUSED TO ANOTHER PERSON DUE TO AN INCIDENT INVOLVING THE MOTOR VEHICLE OF WHICH THEY ARE A PASSENGER, AND WHERE THE OPERATOR OF SUCH VEHICLE HAS NOT STOPPED AND PROVIDED INFORMATION TO THE INJURED PARTY AND/OR TO A POLICE OFFICER, SHALL REPORT SUCH INCIDENT AS SOON AS PHYSICALLY ABLE TO THE NEAREST POLICE STATION OR JUDICIAL OFFICER. A VIOLATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL CONSTITUTE A CLASS B MISDEMEANOR PUNISHABLE BY A FINE OF NOT LESS THAN TWO HUNDRED FIFTY NOR MORE THAN FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER PENALTIES PROVIDED BY 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.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD09720-01-1