The Second Department, reversing the Court of Claims, determined the driver of a Department of Transportation (DOT) dump truck did not act recklessly within the meaning of Vehicle and Traffic law 1103 [b]. The driver was traveling partially in the bicycle lane looking for dead deer and didn’t see the plaintiff on a moped in the bicycle lane:
A State vehicle “actually engaged in work on a highway” is exempt from the rules of the road and may be held liable only for damages caused by an act done in “reckless disregard for the safety of others” (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1103[b] … ). “Reckless disregard . . . requires more than a momentary lapse in judgment” … . In order to meet the standard required by Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1103(b), a claimant must show that “the actor has intentionally done an act of an unreasonable character in disregard of a known or obvious risk that was so great as to make it highly probable that harm would follow and has done so with conscious indifference to the outcome”… .
… [T]he evidence was insufficient to establish that the DOT workers exhibited a “reckless disregard for the safety of others” (Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1103[b]). The claimant failed to establish that the DOT workers acted in conscious disregard of a known or obvious risk that was so great as to make it highly probably that harm would follow … . Rascelles v State of New York, 2020 NY Slip Op 05788, Second Dept 10-14-20