Bill Text: CA AB697 | 2017-2018 | Regular Session | Amended


Bill Title: Tolls: exemption for privately owned emergency ambulances.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2017-07-11 - Read second time. Ordered to third reading. [AB697 Detail]

Download: California-2017-AB697-Amended.html

Amended  IN  Senate  June 12, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  May 30, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 697


Introduced by Assembly Member Fong

February 15, 2017


An act to amend Section 23301.5 of the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 697, as amended, Fong. Tolls: exemption for privately owned emergency ambulances.
Existing law provides for the exemption of authorized emergency vehicles, as defined, from the payment of a toll or charge on a vehicular crossing, toll highway, or high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane and any related fines, when the authorized emergency vehicle is being driven under specified conditions, including, among others, the vehicle is displaying public agency identification and driven while responding to or returning from an urgent or emergency call. Existing law provides procedures for an operator of a toll facility and a public agency to resolve certain disputes relating to the nonpayment of tolls. Existing law allows for agreements between the owner or operator of a toll facility and a local emergency service provider that establish terms for the use of the toll facility by the emergency service provider. Existing law prohibits a person from operating a privately owned emergency ambulance unless licensed by the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
This bill would generally modify the exemption to be for apply to the use of a toll facility, as defined, and would expand the exemption and exemption, dispute resolution procedures procedures, and agreement provisions to include a privately owned emergency ambulance licensed by the Department of the California Highway Patrol. The bill would also make technical changes to these provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 23301.5 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

23301.5.
 (a) An authorized emergency vehicle or a private ambulance is exempt from any requirement to pay a toll or other charge for the use of a toll facility, including, but not limited to, a vehicular crossing, toll bridge or highway, or high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane, as defined in subdivision (f), and the requirements of Section 23301, if all of the following conditions are satisfied, as applicable to an authorized emergency vehicle or a private ambulance:
(1) (A) The authorized emergency vehicle is properly displaying an exempt California license plate, and is properly identified or marked as an authorized emergency vehicle, including, but not limited to, displaying an external surface-mounted red warning light, blue warning light, or both, and displaying public agency identification, including, but not limited to, “Fire Department,” “Sheriff,” or “Police.”
(B) The private ambulance is properly displaying a valid California license plate and identification as the operator of a private ambulance.
(2) (A) The authorized emergency vehicle or private ambulance is being driven while responding to or returning from an urgent or emergency call, engaged in an urgent or emergency response, or engaging in a fire station coverage assignment directly related to an emergency response.
(B) For purposes of this paragraph, an “urgent” response or call means an incident or circumstance that requires an immediate response to a public safety-related incident, but does not warrant the use of emergency warning lights. “Urgent” shall does not include any personal use, commuting, training, or administrative uses.
(C) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), an authorized emergency vehicle or private ambulance, when returning from an urgent or emergency call, or from being engaged in an urgent or emergency response, or from engaging in a fire station coverage assignment directly related to an emergency response, shall not be is not exempt from any requirement to pay a toll or other charge imposed while traveling on a high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane.
(3) The driver of the authorized emergency vehicle or private ambulance determines that the use of the toll facility shall likely improve the availability or response and arrival time of the authorized emergency vehicle or private ambulance and its delivery of essential public safety services.
(b) If the operator of a toll facility elects to send a bill, notice, or invoice to the public agency for the use of the toll facility by an authorized emergency vehicle or to the operator of a private ambulance private ambulance operator for the use of the toll facility by a private ambulance exempt pursuant to subdivision (a), the fire chief, police chief, county sheriff, head of the public agency, the designee of the foregoing, or the operator of the private ambulance operator is authorized to certify in writing that the authorized emergency vehicle or private ambulance was responding to or returning from an emergency call or response and is exempt from the payment of the toll or other charge in accordance with this section. The letter shall be accepted by the toll operator in lieu of payment and shall be a public document.
(c) An authorized emergency vehicle or a private ambulance that does not comply with this section is not exempt from the requirement to pay a toll or other charge for use of a toll facility, including, but not limited to, a toll bridge or highway, vehicular crossing, or high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane. facility. Upon information and belief of the toll operator that an authorized emergency vehicle or private ambulance is not in compliance with this section, the fire chief, police chief, county sheriff, head of the public agency, the designee of the foregoing, or the operator of a private ambulance, private ambulance operator, upon the written request of the owner or operator of the toll facility, shall provide or otherwise make accessible to the toll operator the dispatch records or log books relevant to the time period when the authorized emergency vehicle or private ambulance was in use at the toll facility, including, but not limited to, a toll bridge or highway, vehicular crossing, or high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane. facility.
(d) This section shall not prohibit or amend an agreement entered into between the owner or operator of a toll facility and a local emergency service provider or private ambulance operator that establishes mutually agreed upon terms for the use of the toll facility by the emergency service provider. provider or private ambulance operator. This section shall not prohibit the owner or operator of a toll facility from having a policy that meets or exceeds this section. If at any time an emergency service provider or private ambulance operator, or the owner or operator of a toll facility opts to terminate an agreement regarding the payment and processing of tolls or other charges, this section shall apply to the emergency service provider or private ambulance operator and the toll facility. An agreement between an emergency service provider or private ambulance operator and the owner or operator of a toll facility does not exempt other emergency service providers or private ambulance operators not named in the original agreement and the toll facility from the requirements of this section when those other emergency service providers or private ambulance operators use a toll facility in the jurisdiction of the owner or operator of the toll facility.
(e) Sections 23302 and 23302.5 shall not apply to authorized emergency vehicles exempt pursuant to this section.
(f) As used in this section, “toll facility” includes a toll road, high-occupancy toll (HOT) lane, toll bridge, toll highway, a vehicular crossing for which payment of a toll or charge is required, or any other toll facility.
(g) For purposes of this section, “private ambulance” ambulance operator shall mean a privately owned emergency ambulance operator licensed pursuant to Section 2510. 2501.

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