STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
January 14, 2021
Introduced by M. of A. ABINANTI -- read once and referred to the Commit-
tee on Transportation
AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to imposing
strict liability on manufacturers, owners, and operators of unmanned
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new
2 section 389 to read as follows:
3 § 389. Strict liability for manufacturers, owners, and operators of
4 unmanned motor vehicles. 1. Every manufacturer, owner, and operator of
5 unmanned motor vehicles used or operated in this state shall be held
6 strictly liable and responsible for death or injuries to person or prop-
7 erty resulting from the use or operation of such vehicle in this state,
8 in the business of such owner or otherwise, by any person using or oper-
9 ating the same with the permission, express or implied, of such owner.
10 Whenever any unmanned motor vehicles shall be used in combination with
11 one another, by attachment or tow, the person using or operating any one
12 vehicle shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to be using
13 or operating each vehicle in the combination, and the owners thereof
14 shall be jointly and severally liable hereunder.
15 2. As used in this section, "unmanned motor vehicle" means a "motor
16 vehicle", as defined in section one hundred twenty-five of this chapter,
17 except fire and police vehicles, "semitrailer" and "trailer" as defined
18 in article one of this chapter, and all flying vehicles, whether or not
19 such vehicles are used or operated upon a public highway, that does not
20 carry a human operator.
21 3. As used in this section, "owner" shall be as defined in section one
22 hundred twenty-eight of this chapter and their liability under this
23 section shall be joint and several. If a vehicle is sold under a
24 contract of sale which reserves a security interest in the vehicle in
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 2046 2
1 favor of the vendor, such vendor or his assignee shall not, after deliv-
2 ery of such vehicle, be deemed an owner within the provisions of this
3 section, but the vendee, or his assignee, receiving possession thereof,
4 shall be deemed such owner notwithstanding the terms of such contract,
5 until the vendor or his assignee shall retake possession of such vehi-
6 cle. A secured party in whose favor there is a security interest in any
7 vehicle out of his possession, shall not be deemed an owner within the
8 provisions of this section.
9 4. As used in this section, "manufacturer" shall be defined as any
10 person or business entity engaged in manufacturing or producing unmanned
11 motor vehicles.
12 5. As used in this section, "operator" shall be defined as any person
13 who has control over the unmanned motor vehicle.
14 § 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
15 it shall have become a law.