STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION
Assemblyman DAVID W. WOLFE
District 10 (Monmouth and Ocean)
Assemblyman JAMES W. HOLZAPFEL
District 10 (Monmouth and Ocean)
Assemblyman PETER J. BIONDI
District 16 (Morris and Somerset)
Enhances penalty for leaving the scene of a boating accident.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel
An Act concerning accidents involving vessels operating on the waters of this State and supplementing Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes and amending P.L.1962, c.73.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. (New section) a. Whenever any vessel, as defined in section 2 of P.L.1995, c.401 (C.12:7-71), is involved in an accident upon the waters of this State, and the operator of that vessel knows he is involved in an accident and knowingly leaves the scene of that accident under circumstances that violate the provisions of section 11 of P.L.1962, c.73 (C.12:7-34.46), that operator shall be guilty of a crime of the second degree if the accident results in the death of another person, and shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree if the accident results in serious bodily injury to another person. The presumption of nonimprisonment set forth in N.J.S.2C:44-1 shall not apply to persons convicted under the provisions of this section.
b. If the evidence so warrants, nothing in this section shall be deemed to preclude an indictment and conviction for aggravated manslaughter under the provisions of N.J.S.2C:11-4 or vehicular homicide under the provisions of N.J.S.2C:11-5.
c. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provisions of law, a conviction arising under this section shall not merge with a conviction for aggravated manslaughter under the provisions of N.J.S.2C:11-4 or for vehicular homicide under the provisions of N.J.S.2C:11-5 and a separate sentence shall be imposed upon each such conviction.
d. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:44-5 or any other provisions of law, when the court imposes multiple sentences of imprisonment for more than one offense, those sentences shall run consecutively.
e. For the purposes of this section, knowledge of the death, knowledge of the serious bodily injury, or knowledge of the violation shall not be elements of the offense and it shall not be a defense that the operator of the vessel was unaware of the death or of the provisions of section11 of P.L.1962, c.73 (C.12:7-34.46).
2. Section 11 of P.L.1962, c.73 (C.12:7-34.46) is amended to read as follows:
11. (a) Whenever any vessel upon the waters of this State is involved in an accident, it shall be the duty of the operator, so far as he can do so without serious danger to his own passengers, guests, crew, himself or his vessel, to render to all other persons affected by the accident such assistance as may be necessary in order to save them from or to minimize any danger caused by the accident. He shall also give his name, address, and identifying information regarding his vessel to any person injured and to the owner of any property damaged in the accident. Any person who shall violate this subsection shall be fined not less than $200 or more than $400, or be imprisoned for a period of not more than 30 days, or both, for the first offense, and for a subsequent offense, shall be fined not less than $400 or more than $600, or be imprisoned for a period of not less than 30 days or more than 90 days, or both.
(b) Whenever an accident involves any vessel subject to this act and results in the death, disappearance, or injury of any person, or in property damage in excess of the federal standard for filing an accident report as established pursuant to 33 C.F.R. s.173.55, the operator or operators thereof shall file, with the Division of State Police, a full description of the accident, including such information as that division may, by regulation, require within the times specified in subsection (c) of this section. The Superintendent of State Police shall notify operators, in a manner deemed appropriate, of a change in the federal standard for filing an accident report.
(c) A boating accident that occurs on the waters of this State shall be reported to the Division of State Police by the quickest means of communication possible, if the accident has caused the death or the disappearance of any person; any other reportable boating accident that may result in personal injury or property damage shall be reported within 10 days to the Division of State Police.
(d) The report of a boating accident herein required to be made by the operator of the vessel involved in the boating accident shall not, during any judicial proceeding, be referred to in any way; it shall not be subject to subpoena nor admissible as evidence in any proceeding. Subject to these restrictions, information contained in a boating accident report and any statistical information based thereon will be made available upon request for official purposes to the United States Coast Guard or any federal agency successor thereto.
(cf: P.L.2005, c.292, s.3)
3. This act shall take effect immediately.
Under current law, the operator of a vessel is required to provide assistance to people affected by an accident so long as that operator is able to do so without endangering passengers. This bill makes it a second degree crime if a vessel operator knowingly leaves the scene of an accident that results in the death of another person, and a crime of the third degree if the accident results in serious bodily harm. The bill is modeled after current law, which makes it a second degree crime to leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident that results in the death of a passenger, and a third degree crime when the accident results in serious bodily injury. A second degree crime is punishable by five to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $150,000, or both. A crime of the third degree is punishable by three to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $15,000, or both. Current law defines “serious bodily injury” as bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
The bill specifies that its provisions do not preclude an indictment and conviction for aggravated manslaughter or vehicular homicide. The bill further specifies that its provisions shall not merge with a conviction for aggravated manslaughter or vehicular homicide. Convictions for multiple offenses arising under this bill are to run consecutively.
In addition, the bill states that it is not a defense that the vessel operator lacked knowledge of the death or injury, or knowledge of the violation under the bill.
Finally, the bill amends current law to enhance the penalties for failure of an operator to assist persons affected by an accident. Under the bill the penalties are a fine of not less than $200 or more than $400, imprisonment for a period of not more than 30 days, or both, for the first offense. For subsequent offense, the bill imposes a fine of not less than $400 or more than $600, imprisonment for a period of not less than 30 days or more than 90 days, or both.