Suffolk County, NY
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 6-17-2014 by L.L. No. 17-2014.[1] Amendments noted where applicable. Uncodified sections of local laws affecting these provisions are included as an attachment to this chapter.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Consumer protection — See Ch. 387.
Moving companies — See Ch. 607.
Off-street parking — See Ch. 639.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 818.
571a Uncod LL Pro
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also repealed former Ch. 571, Livery Businesses, adopted 12-20-2005 by L.L. No. 10-2006 (Ch. 346A of the 1985 Code), as amended.

§ 571-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AFFILIATED
Directly or indirectly controls or is controlled by, or under common control with, an owner.
AMBULANCE
Every motor vehicle designed, appropriately equipped and used for the purpose of carrying sick or injured persons by a person or entity registered or certified as an ambulance service by the New York State Department of Health.
APPLICANT
Person applying for a for-hire vehicle driver's license, for-hire vehicle registration, and/or prearranged for-hire vehicle permit.
BUS
Every motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 15 or more passengers in addition to the driver and used for the transportation of persons. For the purposes of this chapter, "bus" shall include Suffolk County Accessible Transportation vehicles and Suffolk County Paratransit vehicles.
COMMISSION
The Suffolk County Taxi and Limousine Commission.
COMMISSIONER
The Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
CONVICTION
A finding of guilty after a trial or a plea of guilty to an offense.
COUNTY
The County of Suffolk.
DEPARTMENT
The Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
FOR-HIRE VEHICLE
A motor vehicle carrying passengers on a prearranged for-hire basis, including, but not limited to, a taxicab, limousine, commuter van or private livery vehicle, but shall not include a bus operating along a fixed route, an ambulance, medical provider van, funeral car or any vehicle over which the County does not have jurisdiction pursuant to state or federal law.
FOR-HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER'S LICENSE
A license issued by the Department to persons who meet the qualifications for for-hire vehicle driver's license as set forth in this chapter.
FOR-HIRE VEHICLE REGISTRATION
A registration issued by the Department to persons who meet the qualifications for a registration as set forth in this chapter.
FUNERAL CAR
A motor vehicle operated solely for the purpose of carrying passengers from a specific location to a funeral parlor or cemetery and the return of such passengers to a specific location.
HEARING OFFICER
A County officer or employee designated by the Commissioner to conduct a hearing on violations of this chapter and/or any regulations enacted pursuant to the authority granted to the Commissioner by this chapter. A hearing officer shall have the power to render determinations and impose penalties as set forth in this chapter.
INTERJURISDICTIONAL
The operation of a for-hire vehicle between the County of Suffolk and a licensing jurisdiction.
LICENSING JURISDICTION
A city with a population of 1,000,000 or more, or a County within New York State contiguous to such city or the County of Rockland, that requires the issuance, in conformance with the terms of § 498 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, of a license, permit, registration, certification or other approval in order for a vehicle to perform the prearranged pick up or drop off of one or more passengers for compensation.
MEDICAL PROVIDER VAN
A van that is not wheelchair accessible and is capable of carrying eight to 14 passengers for the sole purposes of transporting passengers to and from medical appointments. Payment for such transportation is made solely through contracts with various health or social service organizations, including, but not limited to, Medicaid, New York State Department of Social Services, or Suffolk County Department of Social Services.
MOTOR VEHICLE
Every vehicle operated or driven upon a public highway which is propelled by any power other than muscular power, except:
A. 
Electrically driven mobility assistance devices operated or driven by a person with a disability;
B. 
Electric personal assistive mobility devices operated outside a city with a population of 1,000,000 or more;
C. 
Vehicles which run only upon rails or tracks;
D. 
Snowmobiles as defined in Article 47 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law; and
E. 
All-terrain vehicles as defined in Article 48-B of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law.
OPERATE
To pick up and drop off passengers.
OWNER
A person, other than a lien holder, having the property in or title to a motor vehicle. The term includes a person entitled to the use and possession of such motor vehicle subject to a security interest in another person and also includes any lessee or bailee of a motor vehicle or vessel having the exclusive use thereof, under a lease or otherwise, for a period greater than 30 days.
PERSON
An individual, a partnership, an unincorporated association, a corporation, limited-liability company or any other legal entity.
PREARRANGED FOR-HIRE VEHICLE PERMIT
A permit for a vehicle to operate on an interjurisdictional basis between the County of Suffolk and a licensing jurisdiction.
PRIMARY OWNER
The owner of a for-hire vehicle with the predominant financial interest in a motor vehicle.
RESPONDENT
Person against whom a charge of a violation of this chapter is pending.
SERIOUS CRIMINAL OFFENSE
A conviction of:
A. 
A felony involving the use of a motor vehicle except a felony as described Subsection B of this definition;
B. 
A felony involving manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a drug as defined in § 114-a of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law or possession of any such drug with intent to manufacture, distribute or dispense such drug in which a motor vehicle was used;
C. 
A violation of Subdivision 1 or 2 of § 600 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law;
D. 
Operating a prearranged for-hire vehicle when, as a result of prior violations committed while operating a prearranged for-hire vehicle, the driver's New York State Department of Motor Vehicles issued license or a license of a similar regulatory agency from another state is revoked, suspended, or canceled;
E. 
Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a prearranged for-hire vehicle, including but not limited to the crimes of vehicular manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide;
F. 
Homicide; and
G. 
A felony for assault, sexual offenses, kidnapping, or burglary.
TAXICAB
Every motor vehicle, other than a bus or limousine, used in the business of transporting passengers for compensation. However, it shall not include vehicles which are rented or leased without a driver.
WEAPON
Any firearm, gun, explosive device or substance, lethal or debilitating chemical or gas or any dangerous or deadly weapon or instrument of any description, including but not limited to a handgun, pistol, target pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, dangerous knife, dagger, dirk, razor, stiletto or imitation pistol.

§ 571-2 Establishment.

There is hereby created the Suffolk County Taxi and Limousine Commission.

§ 571-3 Membership.

A. 
The Suffolk County Taxi and Limousine Commission shall consist of eight members appointed as follows:
(1) 
The Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs or his/her designee. The Commissioner shall serve for the duration of his or her tenure as Commissioner. If the Commissioner appoints a designee to represent the Commissioner on the Suffolk County Taxi and Limousine Commission, then such designee shall serve at the pleasure of the Commissioner;
(2) 
One member appointed by the Suffolk County Supervisors' Association. Such member shall receive an initial two-year appointment;
(3) 
One at-large member appointed by the County Executive, which member shall have a background in the taxicab industry. Such member shall receive an initial four-year appointment;
(4) 
One at-large member appointed by the County Executive, which member shall have a background in the limousine industry. Such member shall receive an initial four-year appointment;
(5) 
One at-large member appointed by the County Executive, which member shall have consumer advocacy experience. Such member shall receive an initial four-year appointment;
(6) 
One at-large member appointed by the Suffolk County Legislature's Presiding Officer, which member shall have a background in urban transportation matters, such as representatives of trade or professional associations or community commuter associations. Such member shall receive an initial two-year appointment;
(7) 
One at-large member appointed by the Suffolk County Legislature's Majority Leader, which member shall have a background in urban transportation matters, such as representatives of trade or professional associations or community commuter associations. Such member shall receive an initial two-year appointment; and
(8) 
One at-large member appointed by the Suffolk County Legislature's Minority Leader, which member shall have a background in urban transportation matters, such as representatives of trade or professional associations or community commuter associations. Such member shall receive an initial two-year appointment.
B. 
Except for initial terms as set forth in this section, all members, other than the Commissioner or his/her designee, shall serve for a four-year term.
C. 
Vacancies shall be filled for the expiration of the term, by the authority appointing such member.
D. 
The County Executive shall designate one member of the Suffolk County Taxi and Limousine Commission to act as the Chair.
E. 
Members of the Suffolk County Taxi and Limousine Commission shall not be entitled to compensation for their service on the Commission, but shall be entitled to reimbursement for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as members.
F. 
A majority of the whole number of members of the Suffolk County Taxi and Limousine Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business. Unless otherwise provided by law, the Commission shall have power to act by a majority of its members.

§ 571-4 Purpose and powers.

A. 
The purpose of the Suffolk County Taxi and Limousine Commission is to make recommendations to the County Executive, the Suffolk County Legislature, and the Commissioner of the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs regarding the regulation and supervision of the business and industry of transportation of persons by for-hire vehicles.
B. 
The Commission shall have the power to make recommendations regarding, among other things:
(1) 
Regulations and policies for the issuance of for-hire vehicle registrations and for-hire vehicle driver's licenses;
(2) 
Standards of for-hire vehicle driver conduct;
(3) 
Safety and design, comfort, convenience, noise and air pollution control and efficiency in the operation of vehicles and auxiliary equipment;
(4) 
Maintenance of financial responsibility, insurance and minimum coverage for-hire vehicles; and
(5) 
Passenger rights.

§ 571-5 Powers of Commissioner.

A. 
In addition to the powers and duties elsewhere prescribed in this chapter, the Commissioner shall have the power to:
(1) 
Keep records of all registrations and licenses issued, suspended or revoked and all fines adjudged pursuant to this chapter.
(2) 
Whenever in this chapter the Commissioner is empowered to or charged with the responsibility to do or perform any act, he or she may deputize, in writing, any officer or employee of the Department to do or perform the act in his or her place and stead.
B. 
The Commissioner shall have the power to promulgate, amend and/or repeal rules and regulations not inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter as may be necessary with respect to the form and content of applications for registrations and licenses, for the reception thereof, for the investigation of applicants and their qualifications, for the conduct, including advertising, of occupations regulated by this chapter and for other matters incidental or appropriate to his powers and duties as prescribed by this chapter and for the proper administration and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. No rule or regulation may be promulgated, amended or repealed pursuant to this subsection unless a public hearing is held by the Commissioner. At least seven business days' prior notice of such public hearing shall be published in the official newspapers of the County. A copy of all rules and regulations promulgated and any amendments thereto shall be filed in the office of the Clerk of the County Legislature.

§ 571-6 For-hire vehicle registration required.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate or permit to be operated a for-hire vehicle in the County of Suffolk without a for-hire vehicle registration for such vehicle issued by the Department.
B. 
Exceptions.
(1) 
This section shall not apply to a for-hire vehicle that is operated solely within the geographical boundaries of the County of Suffolk and has obtained a valid taxicab vehicle registration, license or permit issued by the Suffolk County town(s) or village(s) in which such for-hire vehicle is operated.
(2) 
This section shall not apply to a for-hire vehicle that has obtained a for-hire vehicle registration, license or permit from a licensing jurisdiction that has submitted evidence to the Department that it issues such for-hire registrations, licenses, or permits in accordance with the standards set forth in § 498 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law and where such vehicle is operated on an interjurisdictional basis.
(3) 
This section shall not apply to a bus operating along a fixed route, an ambulance, medical provider van, funeral car or any vehicle over which the County does not have jurisdiction pursuant to state or federal law.
C. 
A registration issued pursuant to this chapter shall not be construed to authorize the registrant to engage in any business which is reserved to qualified registrants or licensees under separate provisions of state law.

§ 571-7 For-hire vehicle registration.

A. 
An application for a for-hire vehicle registration shall be completed by the primary owner of such for-hire vehicle on forms provided by the Department and shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee in the amount set forth in this chapter and any additional fees as may be indicated in this chapter. The application shall be completed and certified by the primary owner of the for-hire vehicle to be registered.
(1) 
In the event that the applicant is requesting a for-hire vehicle registration permit for more than one for-hire vehicle, an application shall be submitted for each for-hire vehicle to be registered.
(2) 
In the event that the applicant is a corporation, partnership, limited-liability company or other entity, the application shall be completed and certified by an officer, managing member or principal of such corporation, partnership, limited-liability company or other entity or a stockholder owning at least 10% or more of such corporation, partnership, limited-liability company or other entity.
B. 
Such application must indicate whether the for-hire vehicle shall be operated on an interjurisdictional basis. Upon approval of an application which contains an indication that the for-hire vehicle shall be operated on an interjurisdictional basis, the Department, in addition to issuing a for-hire vehicle registration, shall also issue a prearranged for-hire vehicle permit, which shall be affixed to the for-hire vehicle windshield in such form and manner as specified by the regulations promulgated by the Commissioner pursuant to this chapter. Each prearranged for-hire permit shall be valid for period of one year from the date of issuance thereof and shall expire on the last day of the 12th month of such issuance.
C. 
The Commissioner shall adopt criteria pursuant to which each application for a new or renewal of for-hire vehicle registration shall be approved or denied. Such criteria shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, information required to be submitted by the applicant in accordance with this chapter and the applicant's compliance with the requirements of this chapter. The Department shall, pursuant to the criteria developed by the Commissioner, deny an application or a renewal of an application for a for-hire vehicle driver's license and shall take steps to revoke or suspend any current for-hire vehicle driver's license upon conviction of the for-hire vehicle driver of a serious criminal offense, subject to applicable laws, including, but not limited to, Article 23-A of the New York Correction Law.
D. 
Each for-hire vehicle registration shall be valid for period of one year from the date of issuance thereof and shall expire on the last day of the 12th month of such issuance.
E. 
First-time applications and renewals for a for-hire vehicle registration must include the following:
(1) 
Applicant fingerprints.
(a) 
Applicant shall have fingerprints taken in the form and manner as described by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) and shall pay any applicable fingerprinting fees as may be required. For the purposes of this section, the applicant shall be deemed to be each and every owner of the for-hire vehicle to be registered.
(b) 
In the event that the applicant is a corporation, partnership, limited-liability company or other entity, fingerprints shall be required from each officer, partner, member or principal of such corporation, partnership, limited-liability company or other entity or a stockholder owning at least 10% or more of such corporation, partnership, limited-liability company or other entity.
(c) 
The Department shall cause the applicant's fingerprints to be forwarded to DCJS in the form and manner as prescribed by DCJS for a complete criminal background and investigation upon DCJS's receipt of the appropriate fee. The fee shall be payable by the applicant.
(d) 
The Commissioner or his designee shall review all information provided by DCJS in connection with the applicant's criminal background and investigation.
(e) 
If the applicant has been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony which is determined to render the applicant unfit to carry out the duties applicable to for-hire vehicles, proper consideration will be given to New York State Correction Law §§ 701 through 703-b (New York Correction Law Article 23) and §§ 751 through 753 (New York Correction Law Article 23-A) in making any such determination.
(2) 
All license applications or renewals shall include a Federal Tax Identification Number or New York State Sales Tax Identification Number, as applicable. If such information is not provided, a license will not be issued.
(3) 
All applications shall include the business address of each owner of the vehicle. The owner(s) of a for-hire-vehicle shall notify the Department in person or by first class mail, within seven days, exclusive of weekends and holidays, of any change in mailing address.
(4) 
The Commissioner may require the names and residence addresses of any employees or officers of the applicant, in addition to any other information which he may deem advisable and proper.
(5) 
A representation by the applicant that the applicant is in compliance with § 1324a of Title 8 of the United States Code, with respect to the hiring of employees. If such representation is not made, a for-hire vehicle registration shall not be issued. An applicant shall be obligated to continue to comply with the requirements of § 1324a of Title 8 of the United States Code during the term of the for-hire vehicle registration. The applicant's failure to so comply, as determined by the Department after an investigation by the Department or based upon a finding of a federal court, agency or administrative law judge under the procedures set forth in § 1324a of Title 8 of the United States Code, shall constitute grounds for the imposition of a fine or the suspension or revocation of a registration or the denial of an application for the renewal of a registration, in accordance with the applicable provisions of this chapter.
(6) 
A representation by the applicant that the applicant is making all required payroll tax payments for the applicant's employees, including Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, and state and federal unemployment taxes. If such representation is not made, a registration will not be issued. The applicant's failure to make required payroll tax payments during the term of his or her license, as determined by the Department after an investigation by the Department or based upon a finding of a federal or state court, administrative law judge, hearing officer, or agency of competent jurisdiction, shall constitute grounds for the imposition of a fine or the suspension or revocation of a registration or the denial of an application for the renewal of a registration, in accordance with the applicable provisions of this chapter.
(7) 
Vehicle information. In addition to any information as may be required by the Commissioner pursuant to his authority under this chapter, the following must be submitted with the application for a for-hire vehicle registration:
(a) 
The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the for-hire vehicle to be registered.
(b) 
Satisfactory proof that the applicant is the registered owner of the for-hire vehicle to be registered.
(c) 
Documentation that the each for-hire vehicle to be registered has, for the purpose of insurance or other financial security, coverage in a specified amount per person, payable for the expenses specified in Paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) of Subsection (a) of § 5102 of the New York State Insurance Law, and coverage in specified amounts of minimum and maximum liability for bodily injury and death, as said terms are defined in Subdivision 1 of § 370 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law.
(d) 
Photocopy of a current New York State motor vehicle registration certificate issued by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles or a registration issued by a similar regulatory agency from another state indicating that the for-hire vehicle to be registered bears the legally required for-hire vehicle license plates.
(e) 
Proof, in such form as shall be directed by the Commissioner, that within the last 12 months the for-hire vehicle to be registered in accordance with this chapter has passed a New York State safety and emissions inspection conducted by an official inspection station licensed pursuant to § 303 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law. If the for-hire vehicle is licensed in another state, proof shall be required, in such form as shall be directed by the Commissioner, that the for-hire vehicle to be registered has passed the safety and emissions inspection required by such state's laws. If no inspection is required in such state, then the for-hire vehicle to be registered must be inspected in New York by official inspection station licensed pursuant to § 303 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law and the applicant must submit proof of such inspection in such form as shall be directed by the Commissioner before the Department may grant any for-hire vehicle registration for such vehicle.
(f) 
List of all base stations with which the for-hire vehicle to be registered is affiliated, accompanied by a letter affixed with corporate seal or notarized from the owner of each base station setting forth the vehicle's VIN number and licensing number and stating that such vehicle is affiliated with such base station.
(g) 
A sworn affidavit certifying that such applicant has documented that each for-hire driver employed by the applicant has obtained a for-hire driver's license from the Department where required by this chapter or, where not required from the Department, from the town, village or city in which such for-hire driver will be operating the for-hire vehicle to be registered. Subsequent to the issuance of a for-hire vehicle registration, the applicant shall file with the Department additional sworn affidavits certifying the aforementioned information within 10 days after each new for-hire driver is employed by such applicant.
F. 
Except as otherwise provided in this article, an individual applicant must be at least 18 years of age, of good character and financially responsible. Registrant must maintain good character standing and maintain financial responsibility, as determined by the Commissioner, during the term of the for-hire vehicle registration.
G. 
No applicant for a for-hire vehicle registration shall have any outstanding judgment for child support against him or her, or be in arrears in child-support payments as determined by official court records or official government records, at the time an application is filed for such registration renewal. If an applicant has such a judgment against him or her, or is in such arrears, but is current in payments on a judicially approved, or Child Support Enforcement Bureau sanctioned, payment schedule to pay off or reduce such judgment or arrears, then such individual shall not be deemed ineligible for a for-hire vehicle registration or renewal on the grounds of such judgment or arrears. At least 30 days prior to the expiration of a license, the Department shall send a written notice to a registrant of his or her obligation to comply with the provisions of this section pertaining to compliance with child-support obligations. In addition, the County Department of Social Services, through its Child Support Enforcement Bureau, shall notify all current noncustodial parents of the obligations contained herein.
H. 
Require reasonable information of an applicant or licensee, including the production of books, papers, records and other documents.
I. 
The Commissioner shall provide by regulation for continuing review by the Department to ensure that every prearranged for-hire vehicle registered by the Department is operating on a lawful basis.
J. 
Applicants shall meet such further qualifications as may be prescribed by this article and any other appropriate article of this chapter.

§ 571-8 Standards of Operation for-hire vehicles.

A. 
No owner shall permit a for-hire vehicle to be operated in violation of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, Suffolk County local law, and any other applicable ordinances, rules or regulations.
B. 
Each for-hire vehicle registered pursuant to this chapter shall display evidence of a current, valid for-hire vehicle registration affixed to the windshield in such form and manner as specified by the regulations promulgated by the Commissioner pursuant to this chapter.
C. 
If the for-hire vehicle shall be operated on an interjurisdictional basis, the for-hire vehicle shall display evidence of a current, valid prearranged for-hire vehicle permit, which shall be affixed to the windshield in such form and manner as specified by the regulations promulgated by the Commissioner pursuant to this chapter. Such vehicle shall only be permitted to operate on an interjurisdictional basis, except that where prearranged transportation is provided by a for-hire vehicle registered, licensed or permitted by a licensing jurisdiction in accordance with the standards set forth in § 498 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law and such transportation includes the pick-up or the drop off of a passenger outside of such licensing jurisdiction, such prearranged for-hire vehicle shall be authorized to temporarily discharge and subsequently pick-up such passenger outside the licensing jurisdiction during the course of transportation, provided that no intrajurisdictional transportation is provided at that time to any other person who is not covered by the prearranged transportation agreement.
D. 
The owner of a for-hire vehicle shall ensure that the vehicle is operated by a driver who holds, is carrying, and provides on request to a police officer or other authorized employee or agent of the Department a valid for-hire vehicle driver's license.
E. 
The owner of a for-hire vehicle registered by the Department shall maintain documentation that each for-hire vehicle to be registered has, for the purpose of insurance or other financial security, coverage in a specified amount per person, payable for the expenses specified in Paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) of Subsection (a) of § 5102 of the New York State Insurance Law, and coverage in specified amounts of minimum and maximum liability for bodily injury and death, as said terms are defined in Subdivision 1 of § 370 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law.
F. 
Each prearranged for-hire vehicle shall be inspected no less frequently than every 12 months by an official inspection station licensed pursuant to § 303 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, or, in the case of a vehicle registered in another state, by the agency responsible for vehicle registration and inspection in that state, in any. If no inspection is required in the state of registration, then each for-hire vehicle shall be inspected in New York by an official inspection station licensed pursuant to § 303 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law.
G. 
Each prearranged for-hire vehicle shall display a valid inspection sticker indicating the date of the last inspection and/or the expiration date, if such stickers are issued by the state of inspection.
H. 
Each for-hire vehicle shall be driven only by the holder of a driver's license which is valid to operate such motor vehicle in New York State.
I. 
Where the for-hire vehicle operates on an interjurisdictional basis, the driver of such for-hire vehicle must also hold a for-hire vehicle driver's license as set forth in this chapter. In such case, the for-hire vehicle driver shall display his or her for-hire vehicle driver's license in such vehicle in a manner clearly visible to passengers or have such license readily available to produce upon the request of a passenger or law enforcement personnel.
J. 
Each driver of a for-hire vehicle shall keep a record of each interjurisdictional trip, including location of pick-up and location of drop off. Failure to produce such a record maintained in the manner prescribed by the Department pursuant to this chapter shall be presumptive evidence of illegal interjurisdictional operation. A driver shall:
(1) 
Enter such record prior to the commencement of such trip in a log maintained and kept readily accessible in the for-hire vehicle in a form and manner prescribed by the Department.
(2) 
Produce such record and/or log at the request of any police officer or peace officer acting pursuant to his or her special duties or other enforcement personnel authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
(3) 
Retain such record for a period of no less than one year after such trip.
K. 
In addition to the for-hire vehicle registration required by this chapter, each owner of a for-hire vehicle shall hold a valid vehicle registration from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles for which a registration fee has been paid pursuant to Schedule C of Subdivision 7 of § 401 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law or, in the case of a nonresident of New York State, a vehicle registration issued by the state of residence.
L. 
There shall be no smoking in a for-hire vehicle while such vehicle is operating, as required by § 1399-o of the New York State Public Health Law.
M. 
The owner of a for-hire vehicle shall immediately notify the Department of the theft, loss or destruction of his/her for-hire vehicle and shall furnish the Department with an affidavit or such information as may be required by the Department within five business days of such theft, loss or destruction.

§ 571-9 For-hire vehicle driver's license required.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a for-hire vehicle in the County of Suffolk unless such person first obtains a for-hire vehicle driver's license issued by the Department.
B. 
Exceptions.
(1) 
This section shall not apply to a driver and/or operator of a for-hire vehicle that operates solely within the geographical boundaries of the County of Suffolk and has obtained a valid taxicab driver's license issued by the Suffolk County town(s) or village(s) in which such for-hire vehicle is operated.
(2) 
This section shall not apply to a driver who has obtained a for-hire vehicle driver's license from a licensing jurisdiction that has submitted evidence to the Department that it issues such for-hire vehicle driver's licenses in accordance with the standards set forth in § 498 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law and where such driver operates the for-hire vehicle on an interjurisdictional basis.
C. 
A for-hire vehicle driver's license issued pursuant to this chapter shall not be construed to authorize the licensee to engage in any business which is reserved to qualified licensees under separate provisions of state law.

§ 571-10 For-hire vehicle driver's licenses.

A. 
An application for a for-hire vehicle driver's license shall be completed on forms provided by the Department.
B. 
The Commissioner shall adopt criteria pursuant to which each application for a new or renewal for-hire vehicle registration shall be approved or denied. Such criteria shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, information required to be submitted by the applicant in accordance with this chapter and the applicant's compliance with the requirements of this chapter. In addition, the Department shall, pursuant to criteria developed by the Commissioner, deny an application or a renewal of an application for a for-hire vehicle driver's license and shall take steps to revoke or suspend any current for-hire vehicle driver's license upon conviction of the for-hire vehicle driver of a serious criminal offense, subject to applicable laws, including, but not limited to, Article 23-A of the New York Correction Law.
C. 
Each for-hire vehicle driver's license shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of issuance thereof and shall expire on the last day of the 12th month of such issuance.
D. 
First-time applications and renewals for for-hire vehicle driver's licenses must include the following:
(1) 
Applicant fingerprints.
(a) 
Applicant shall have fingerprints taken in the form and manner as described by DCJS and shall pay any applicable fingerprinting fees as may be required.
(b) 
The Department shall cause the applicant's fingerprints to be forwarded to DCJS in the form and manner as prescribed by DCJS for a complete criminal background and investigation upon DCJS's receipt of the appropriate fee. The fee shall be payable by the applicant.
(c) 
The Commissioner or his designee shall review all information provided by DCJS in connection with the applicant's criminal background and investigation.
(d) 
If the applicant has been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony which is determined to render the applicant unfit to operate a for-hire vehicle, proper consideration will be given to New York State Correction Law §§ 701 through 703-b (New York Correction Law Article 23) and §§ 751 through 753 (New York Correction Law Article 23-A) in making any such determination.
(2) 
Drug testing.
(a) 
Each applicant for a for-hire vehicle driver's license shall submit to drug testing as directed by the Department upon initial application and thereafter once every 12 months. Such drug test shall be administered by a person or entity holding the requisite permit from the New York State Department of Health.
(b) 
Any applicant who tests positive for drugs or intoxicating liquors shall be denied a for-hire vehicle driver's license.
(c) 
The for-hire vehicle driver's license of any licensee who tests positive for drugs or intoxicating liquors shall be revoked after notice and an opportunity to be heard.
(d) 
Individual test results and any related medical information about such applicant or for-hire vehicle licensee shall be confidential, shall not be disclosed except to the applicant or for-hire vehicle licensee or his or her representative, and shall not be entered or received as evidence at any civil, criminal or administrative trial, hearing or proceeding other than an administrative trial, hearing or proceeding for the denial or revocation of the for-hire vehicle driver's license as set forth in this chapter. No person, other than an applicant or for-hire licensee who is the subject of such records to whom such records are disclosed, may redisclose such records.
(3) 
All license applications or renewals shall include a Federal Tax Identification Number. If such information is not provided, a license will not be issued.
(4) 
Each applicant for a for-hire vehicle driver's license shall submit proof of completion of a state-approved defensive driving course no more than six months prior to the date of application. Upon renewal of such license, the applicant shall submit proof of completion of a state-approved defensive driving course no more than three years prior to the date of the renewal application.
(5) 
All applications for a for-hire vehicle driver's license shall include the home address of the applicant. The holder of a for-hire vehicle driver's license shall notify the Department in person or by first class mail, within seven days, exclusive of weekends and holidays, of any change in mailing address.
(6) 
The Department shall, pursuant to criteria developed by the Commissioner, deny an application or a renewal of an application for a for-hire vehicle driver's license and shall revoke or suspend any current for-hire vehicle driver's license upon conviction of the for-hire vehicle driver of a serious criminal offense, subject to applicable laws, including, but not limited to, Article 23-A of the Correction Law.
(7) 
Except as otherwise provided in this article, an individual applicant must be at least 18 years of age, of good character and financially responsible. A registrant must maintain good character standing and maintain financial responsibility during the term of the licensee's license(s) and/or certificate(s).
(8) 
No applicant for a for-hire vehicle driver's license shall have any outstanding judgment for child support against him or her, or be in arrears in child-support payments as determined by official court records or official government records, at the time an application is filed for such license or license renewal. If an applicant has such a judgment against him or her, or is in such arrears, but is current in payments on a judicially approved, or Child Support Enforcement Bureau sanctioned, payment schedule to pay off or reduce such judgment or arrears, then such individual shall not be deemed ineligible for a for-hire vehicle driver's license or renewal on the grounds of such judgment or arrears. At least 30 days prior to the expiration of a license, the Department shall send a written notice to a registrant of his or her obligation to comply with the provisions of this section pertaining to compliance with child-support obligations. In addition, the County Department of Social Services, through its Child Support Enforcement Bureau, shall notify all current noncustodial parents of the obligations contained herein.
E. 
The Commissioner shall provide by regulation for the continuing review of the driving record of every for-hire vehicle driver licensed by the Department, as reflected in the number and type of convictions accumulated on the driver's license issued to such driver. Such regulation shall provide for the mandatory suspension for a thirty-day period of a prearranged for-hire vehicle driver's license upon the accumulation of a specified number and type of conviction on such person's driver's license within a fifteen-month period, and the mandatory revocation of a for-hire vehicle driver's license upon the accumulation of an additional number of convictions of a specified number and type on such person's driver's license within a fifteen-month period.
F. 
Applicants shall meet such further qualifications as may be prescribed by this article and any other appropriate article of this chapter.

§ 571-11 Standards of operation for for-hire vehicle drivers.

A. 
No driver of a for-hire vehicle shall operate such vehicle in violation of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, Suffolk County local law, and any other applicable ordinances, rules or regulations.
B. 
The vehicle must be operated by a driver who holds, is carrying and provides on request to a police officer or other authorized employee or agent of the Department a valid for-hire vehicle driver's license or permit issued by a licensing jurisdiction.
C. 
Each for-hire vehicle shall be driven only by the holder of a driver's license which is valid to operate such motor vehicle in New York State and shall provide such license on request to a police officer or other authorized individual upon request.
D. 
A for-hire vehicle driver shall not operate such vehicle unless such driver holds, is carrying and provides on request to a police officer or other authorized employee or agent of the Department a valid for-hire vehicle driver's license or permit.
E. 
Each driver of a for-hire vehicle shall keep a record of each interjurisdictional trip, including location of pick-up and location of drop off. Failure to produce such record maintained in the manner prescribed by the Department pursuant to this chapter shall be presumptive evidence of illegal interjurisdictional operation. The driver shall:
(1) 
Enter such record prior to the commencement of such trip in a log maintained and kept readily accessible in the for-hire vehicle in a form and manner prescribed by the Department.
(2) 
Produce such record and/or log at the request of any police officer or peace officer acting pursuant to his or her special duties or other enforcement personnel authorized to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
(3) 
Retain such record for a period of no less than one year after such trip.
F. 
No driver of a for-hire vehicle shall, while operating such vehicle, have in his or her possession or anywhere in such vehicle a weapon as defined by this chapter.
G. 
No driver of a for-hire vehicle shall smoke or permit any passengers to smoke while operating a for-hire vehicle, as required by § 1399-o of the New York State Public Health Law.
H. 
No driver of a for-hire vehicle shall operate such vehicle if such driver knows, or has reasonable cause to know, that any equipment in or on such vehicle is not in good working order, including, but not limited to, air conditioning, heating, tires, brakes, lights, signals, windshield wipers, defrosters, and passenger seat belts and shoulder belts.
I. 
A for-hire vehicle driver shall not operate a for-hire vehicle under the influence of any drugs or alcohol or if his or her driving ability is in any way impaired.
J. 
A for-hire vehicle driver shall return any personal property left by any passenger to the police precinct of occurrence prior to the end of his or her work shift as set forth in New York State Personal Property Law Article 7-B.

§ 571-12 Reciprocity.

A. 
Vehicles with a valid for-hire vehicle registration and a prearranged for-hire vehicle permit issued by the Department pursuant to this chapter and § 498 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law and operating in compliance with the conditions set forth in this chapter and § 498 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law shall, pursuant to § 498 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, be authorized to pick up passengers within Suffolk County for drop off within Suffolk County, as well as to operate on an interjurisdictional basis in order to pick up passengers in another licensing jurisdiction for drop off within Suffolk County, to drop off passengers in another licensing jurisdiction who were picked up within Suffolk County, and to transit other licensing jurisdictions.
B. 
A vehicle for which a licensing jurisdiction other than the County of Suffolk has issued a registration, license, and/or permit shall be eligible for reciprocity as set forth in Subdivision 2 of § 498 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. Such vehicle shall not be required to obtain a for-hire vehicle registration or a prearranged for-hire vehicle permit from the Department, provided that such vehicle has a current, valid registration, license and/or permit from a licensing jurisdiction that has submitted evidence to the Department that it meets all of the standards and requirements set forth in Subdivisions 3, 4 and 6 of § 498 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law in issuing such registration, license, and/or permit. Nothing contained in this subsection shall be deemed to exempt an owner or driver who possesses a for-hire vehicle registration, permit or driver's license from another licensing jurisdiction from complying with any other provision of this chapter.
C. 
The Department shall provide, by means of a dedicated telephone line or read-only access to an electronic database, the following information to other licensing jurisdictions which meet the standards and requirements set forth in Subdivisions 3, 4 and 6 of § 498 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law:
(1) 
The name of the holder of a for-hire vehicle registration or license;
(2) 
The vehicle identification number of a licensed for-hire vehicle;
(3) 
The date first registered or licensed;
(4) 
The date such registration or license was most recently renewed; and
(5) 
All violations issued to each registrant and/or licensee and the disposition of each such violation.
Such information shall be used solely for the enforcement of laws and regulations as set forth in this chapter.
D. 
No owner of a vehicle registered, licensed, or permitted as a for-hire vehicle by a licensing jurisdiction pursuant to the standards and requirements of § 498 of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law for the purpose of interjurisdictional operation between licensing jurisdictions or any person engaged in the for-hire transportation of passengers by motor vehicle and who is affiliated with such owner shall do business within any jurisdiction in which it seeks to operate on an interjurisdictional basis. "Do business" shall mean having a place of business or telephone number in such jurisdiction relating to for-hire transportation of passengers by motor vehicle.

§ 571-13 Fees.

Fees and terms for registrations and licenses issued pursuant to this chapter shall be as follows:
A. 
For-hire vehicle registration.
(1) 
The initial registration fee for a for-hire vehicle registration shall be $300, to be paid to the Department prior to the issuance of a for-hire vehicle registration. There shall be an annual for-hire vehicle registration fee of $250 paid to the Department for the renewal of such registration for every year thereafter.
(2) 
Pre-arranged for-hire vehicle permit. In addition to the for-hire registration fees set forth in Subsection A(1), where an application for a for-hire vehicle registration indicates that such for-hire vehicle shall operate on an interjurisdictional basis between the County and another licensing jurisdiction, an additional fee of $50 shall accompany the initial registration fee and shall also accompany each annual for-hire vehicle registration renewal for as long as such for-hire vehicle operates on an interjurisdictional basis.
B. 
For-hire vehicle driver's license. The initial for-hire vehicle driver's license fee shall be $50, to be paid to the Department prior to the issuance of a for-hire driver's license. There shall be an annual for-hire driver's license fee of $50 paid to the Department for the renewal of such license every year thereafter.

§ 571-14 Enforcement.

The provisions of this article shall be enforced by the Department, the Suffolk County Police Department, the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office, and/or other agents as authorized by the Department.

§ 571-15 Notice of violation; hearing.

A. 
A notice of violation of the provisions of this chapter may be issued by an officer of the Suffolk County Police Department, an officer of the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department or an authorized employee of the Department or other agents as authorized by the Department.
B. 
Notice shall be served upon such the alleged violator, either personally or by certified mail, and shall contain a concise statement of the facts constituting the alleged violation or violations, as well as setting forth the date, time and place the hearing will be held. Notices shall be served upon alleged violators as follows:
(1) 
Violations regarding for-hire vehicle registration: notice shall be served upon each owner of the vehicle.
(2) 
Violations regarding for-hire vehicle driver's license: notice shall be served upon the licensee, with copies to each owner of the for-hire vehicle operated by the for-hire driver at the time of the violation.
C. 
The hearing on an alleged violation shall be conducted by a hearing officer designated by the Commissioner for such purpose. The respondent has the right to be heard in his or her defense and to be represented by counsel or have counsel appear on his or her behalf, and such person or the attorney for such person shall have the right to call witnesses and produce evidence on behalf of such person.
D. 
The hearing officer shall make a written determination regarding the alleged violation or violations. If a violation is found, the determination shall impose those civil penalties set forth in this chapter. Such determination may be appealed to the Commissioner who, after due deliberation, shall issue a written order accepting, modifying or rejecting such determination. Where appropriate, the Commissioner may refer the matter to the District Attorney or other appropriate law enforcement agency.
E. 
For the purpose of this chapter, the hearing officer designated by the Commissioner may administer oaths, take testimony, subpoena witnesses and compel the production of books, papers, records and documents pertinent to the subject of the investigation.
F. 
The Department shall be authorized to take any steps necessary to recover any penalties imposed as a result of a finding of a violation of the provisions of this chapter.

§ 571-16 Penalties for offenses.

A. 
Civil penalties.
(1) 
Except as set forth in Subsection A(6)(b), no for-hire vehicle registration, prearranged for-hire vehicle permit, or for-hire vehicle driver's license shall be suspended or revoked nor a fine imposed until after a hearing has been held pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(2) 
After complying with the hearing requirements set forth in this chapter, the hearing officer designated as such by the Commissioner pursuant to § 571-15C of this chapter may impose reasonable fines not to exceed $1,500, or suspend or revoke any for-hire vehicle registration, prearranged for-hire vehicle permit, and/or for-hire vehicle driver's license, where the holder of such registration, permit, or license has failed to comply with or has willfully or knowingly violated any of the provisions of this chapter.
(3) 
Any fines and/or penalties imposed by the hearing officer assigned by the Commissioner pursuant to § 571-15C shall be calculated on a daily basis for each day a violation or condition is permitted to exist.
(4) 
An action for the recovery of a penalty under this section may be settled or compromised by the hearing officer or the Department prior to the entry of judgment therefor.
(5) 
Expenses and costs incurred by the County for the enforcement of this chapter against a respondent may be assessed against a respondent in addition to any other fines or penalties.
(6) 
The failure to comply with an order of a hearing officer for violations, or the failure to timely pay for any civil penalty imposed, shall be grounds:
(a) 
To commence legal action to enforce the order or recover the civil penalty in any court of competent jurisdiction; and/or
(b) 
To suspend the respondent's registration, license and/or permit until the civil penalty is paid and/or until respondent fully complies with such order.
(7) 
A person who willfully violates, refuses or fails to comply with any order of the hearing officer of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to penalty as prescribed by law.
B. 
Suspension of for-hire vehicle registration or driver's license.
(1) 
Where the hearing officer has reasonable grounds to believe that it is necessary, in order to ensure the public health, safety or welfare, he or she may order summary suspension of a license pending a proceeding for permanent license revocation.
(a) 
Such summary order shall be served upon the respondent by personal service or by certified mail, return receipt requested, and regular mail at the last address on file with the Commission.
(b) 
Where summary suspension is invoked, the Department shall commence proceedings before a hearing officer within 72 working hours, and such hearing officer shall promptly make a determination thereon. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, no proceeding is necessary where the summary suspension results from nonpayment of a fine or failure to comply with an order in accordance with Subsection A(6)(b).
(c) 
If the facts on which violations are based are also the subject of a pending criminal investigation or criminal proceedings, then the hearing officer may postpone the hearing until a reasonable period of time following the final disposition of the criminal investigation or criminal proceedings. The suspension of the respondent shall continue pending the hearing, if deemed appropriate by the hearing officer.
(d) 
If the criminal investigation is concluded without the filing of criminal charges or if the criminal charges are dismissed against the respondent, then the suspension shall be forthwith vacated; however, the proceedings before the hearing officer shall continue as otherwise provided in this chapter.
(2) 
Where a for-hire vehicle has obtained a for-hire vehicle registration, a prearranged for-hire vehicle permit and a for-hire vehicle driver's license authorizing such vehicle to operate on an interjurisdictional basis, the Department shall take action to suspend such for-hire vehicle registration, prearranged for-hire vehicle permit and/or for-hire vehicle driver's license of an owner or driver against whom there is an outstanding judgment or an unpaid civil penalty owed for a violation of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law relating to traffic in any other licensing jurisdiction or a violation of regulations promulgated by such other licensing jurisdiction until such judgment is satisfied or such civil penalty is paid.
(3) 
A hearing officer shall revoke or suspend any current for-hire vehicle driver's license upon conviction of the for-hire vehicle driver of a serious criminal offense, subject to applicable laws, including, but not limited to, Article 23-A of the New York Correction Law.
C. 
Criminal penalty. In addition to any civil penalties imposed by the Commissioner pursuant to this chapter or pursuant to any provisions of any County local law, County resolution, or County ordinance pertaining to the regulation of for-hire-vehicles and drivers, any person who shall pursue an activity or business licensed by this chapter without obtaining the required application or license therefor or who shall continue to engage in such activity or business after having had a valid registration of license suspended or revoked shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be subject to a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. Each such violation shall be deemed a separate offense.