Hearings for Persons Who Persistently Evade the Payment of Tolls

NY-ADR

11/18/15 N.Y. St. Reg. MTV-46-15-00003-P
NEW YORK STATE REGISTER
VOLUME XXXVII, ISSUE 46
November 18, 2015
RULE MAKING ACTIVITIES
DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES
PROPOSED RULE MAKING
NO HEARING(S) SCHEDULED
 
I.D No. MTV-46-15-00003-P
Hearings for Persons Who Persistently Evade the Payment of Tolls
PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE State Administrative Procedure Act, NOTICE is hereby given of the following proposed rule:
Proposed Action:
Amendment of Part 127 of Title 15 NYCRR.
Statutory authority:
Vehicle and Traffic Law, sections 215 and 510(3)(d)
Subject:
Hearings for persons who persistently evade the payment of tolls.
Purpose:
To hold hearings for persons subject to a registration suspension due to persistently evading the payment of tolls.
Text of proposed rule:
A new section 127.14 is added to read as follows:
127.14 Non-payment of tolls
(a) This section applies to hearings related to the failure to pay tolls, fees, or other charges or the failure to have such tolls, fees or other charges dismissed or transferred in response to five (5) or more notices of violation or other process issued within an eighteen (18) month period charging the registrant of a motor vehicle with a violation of toll collection regulations.
(b) Upon receipt from a tolling authority, in such form and manner as the Commissioner shall prescribe, that the registrant of a motor vehicle has failed to pay tolls, fees, or other charges or failed to have such tolls, fees or other charges dismissed or transferred in response to five (5) or more notices of violation or other process issued within an eighteen (18) month period, arising out of violations resulting from toll transactions not occurring on the same day, the Commissioner shall issue a proposed suspension of such person’s registration. Such person shall be advised of the right to request a hearing before an administrative law judge, prior to such proposed suspension taking effect.
(c) If such person makes a timely request for a hearing, such suspension shall be held in abeyance pending such hearing. Failure to provide a timely response to such notice shall be deemed a waiver of such hearing, and the proposed suspension shall take effect at the time set forth in such notice. Such notice shall advise the registrant of the penalties enforceable under the law for driving without a valid registration.
(d) Any suspension issued pursuant to this section shall remain in effect until the tolling authority advises, in such form and manner that the Commissioner shall prescribe, that such person has responded to such notices of violation and has paid any unpaid tolls, fees, or other charges to the tolling authority.
(e) For the purposes of this section, “tolling authority” shall mean every public authority which operates a toll highway, bridge and/or tunnel facility as well as the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a bi-state agency as created by compact set forth Chapter 154 of the Laws of 1921.
Text of proposed rule and any required statements and analyses may be obtained from:
Heidi Bazicki, Department of Motor Vehicles, 6 Empire State Plaza, Rm. 522A, Albany, NY 12228, (518) 474-0871, email: heidi.bazicki@dmv.ny.gov
Data, views or arguments may be submitted to:
Ida L. Traschen, Department of Motor Vehicles, 6 Empire State Plaza, Rm. 522A, Albany, NY 12228, (518) 474-0871, email: ida.traschen@dmv.ny.gov
Public comment will be received until:
45 days after publication of this notice.
Regulatory Impact Statement
1. Statutory authority: Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) section 215(a) provides that the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles may enact rules and regulations that regulate and control the exercise of the powers of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). VTL section 510(3)(d) authorizes the Commissioner to permissively suspend the registration of a person for habitual or persistent violations of the VTL, or of any lawful ordinance, rule or regulation made by local authorities in relation to traffic.
2. Legislative objectives: The Legislature enacted VTL section 510(3)(d) to authorize the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to suspend or revoke the license or registration of persons who commit persistent violations of the VTL, or of any lawful ordinance, rule or regulation made by local authorities in relation to traffic. “Local authorities,” as defined in VTL section 122, includes the New York State Thruway Authority and every bridge authority and bridge and tunnel authority as well as every “similar body or person having authority to enact laws or regulations relating to traffic under the constitution and laws of this state.” Under this authority, the Commissioner is authorized to take action against persons who consistently flaunt the regulations of public authorities related to the payment of tolls. The proposed rule accords with this legislative objective by authorizing the Commissioner to suspend a person’s registration, after an opportunity to be heard, if such person persistently fails to pay tolls, fees or other charges assessed by a public authority.
3. Needs and benefits: The proposed rule is necessary to deter the non-payment of tolls by providing a meaningful mechanism to take action against individuals that persistently evade the payment of tolls and associated fees. Under this proposal, if a motor vehicle registrant fails to pay tolls, fees, or other charges in response to five or more notices of violation or other process issued within an eighteen month period, arising out of toll transactions not occurring on the same day, such registrant’s motor vehicle registration may be suspended. Prior to the suspension taking effect, the registrant may request a hearing before a DMV administrative law judge. If the registrant requests a hearing, the suspension will be held in abeyance until the conclusion of the hearing. Failure to respond to the notice of suspension/hearing will be deemed a waiver of the hearing and the suspension will take effect as prescribed in the notice. The suspension will remain in effect until the tolling authority notifies the DMV that the registrant has paid the outstanding tolls, fees or other charges. It is important to note that before the DMV becomes involved in this process, the tolling authorities will have sent the toll violators one or two notices for each toll violation advising them of the amount owed, how to pay, and how to dispute the alleged violation. If the violator fails to pay the tolls, fees or other charges or have such tolls, fees or charges dismissed or transferred in response to the multiple notices, the tolling authority will refer him/her to the DMV.
The “tolling authorities” include the New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), the New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA) and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA), which have jurisdiction over 17 bridges, 4 tunnels and the Thruway system across the State. Over 820 million trips were taken through the authorities’ tolling sites in 2014. As a sample of a persistent challenge, in 2014 alone, NYSTA had 202,832 instances of non-payment of tolls in response to violation notices, while the PANYNJ had 638,104 such instances and TBTA had 483,016 such instances, for a total of 1,292,613. In terms of five or more unpaid toll violations within an 18 month period, NYSTA reports 22,000 cases, the PANYNJ 4,472 and TBTA 8,500, for a total of approximately 34,972 cases. The economic cost to the authorities is significant: the tolling authorities lose about 16.5 million dollars annually in revenue due to toll evasion. Since toll revenue is used to maintain and improve the infrastructure of these frequently used highways, tunnels, and bridges and, in TBTA's case, to provide support for the capital projects and operations of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's mass transit system, the toll evaders pass the burden of maintaining the infrastructure and supporting transit mass to law abiding citizens who pay the tolls.
Currently, there are no teeth to enforce against persons who persistently fail to pay tolls. Although violators are referred to a collection agency in some instances, the collection rates are negligible. This proposal establishes a meaningful process to both deter toll evasion and encourage persons to pay delinquent tolls.
4. Costs:
a. to regulated parties: This proposal does not impose new costs on registrants who fail to pay tolls. Such registrants will be required to pay the tolls and fees required by the authorities in order to prevent the suspension of their registrations or in order for their registrations to be reinstated.
b. cost to the State, the agency and local governments: This proposed rule will impose no costs on local governments.
The DMV will use existing resources to hold administrative hearings. TBTA, NYSTA and PANYNJ will incur costs associated with programming changes and additional personnel needs. Specific costs are yet to be determined.
c. source: DMV’s Safety Hearing Bureau, TBTA, NYSTA and PANYNJ.
5. Local government mandates: The proposed rule will not impact local governments.
6. Paperwork: The proposed rule will require DMV to develop a notice to advise registrants that their registrations will be suspended for failure to pay tolls unless such registrants request an administrative hearing.
7. Duplication: This proposed regulation does not duplicate or conflict with any State or Federal rule.
8. Alternatives: The tolling authorities previously submitted legislative proposals to address the issue of non-payment, but such proposals were not enacted by the Legislature. A no action alternative was not considered.
9. Federal standards: The rule does not exceed any Federal standards.
10. Compliance schedule: Implementation of this regulation is scheduled for April of 2016.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, Rural Area Flexibility Analysis and Job Impact Statement
A regulatory flexibility analysis for small business and local governments, a rural area flexibility analysis, and a job impact statement are not required for this rulemaking proposal because it will not adversely affect small businesses, local governments, rural areas, or jobs.
This proposed rulemaking would permit the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend the registrations of registrants who have failed to pay tolls, fees or other charges, after an opportunity to be heard. Due to its narrow focus, this rule will not impose an adverse economic impact or reporting, record keeping, or other compliance requirements on small businesses in rural or urban areas or on employment opportunities. No local government activities are involved.
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