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S03509 Summary:

BILL NOS03509C
 
SAME ASSAME AS A01520-C
 
SPONSORYOUNG
 
COSPNSRADDABBO, AKSHAR, AVELLA, BONACIC, FUNKE, LATIMER, MARCHIONE, MURPHY, O'MARA, PERALTA, RITCHIE, SAVINO, VALESKY
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Amd 375 & 227, add 1174-a, V & T L; amd 3621 & 3623-a, Ed L; amd 87, Pub Off L
 
Enacts the "school bus camera safety act" to authorize the installation and use of photo monitoring devices on school buses to detect and record vehicles illegally passing or overtaking a school bus; provides for owner liability of a motor vehicle detected by a camera to have illegally passed or overtaken a school bus; provides that liability shall be a civil fine equal to the traffic infraction fine imposed therefor; authorizes school districts to receive state aid for the purchase of such cameras.
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S03509 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                         3509--C
 
                               2015-2016 Regular Sessions
 
                    IN SENATE
 
                                    February 11, 2015
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by Sens. YOUNG, AVELLA, FUNKE, MARCHIONE, O'MARA, RITCHIE --
          read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to
          the  Committee  on  Transportation  --  reported  favorably  from said
          committee, ordered to first and second  report,  ordered  to  a  third
          reading,  amended  and  ordered  reprinted, retaining its place in the
          order of third reading -- again amended and ordered reprinted, retain-
          ing its place in the order of third  reading  --  recommitted  to  the
          Committee  on  Transportation in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8
          -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered  reprinted  as  amended
          and recommitted to said committee
 
        AN  ACT  to  amend the vehicle and traffic law and the education law, in
          relation to authorizing the installation and use of safety cameras  on
          school  buses for the purpose of monitoring overtaking  and passing of
          school bus violations; to amend the vehicle and traffic  law  and  the
          public  officers  law,  in relation to owner liability for an operator
          illegally overtaking or passing a school bus; and  providing  for  the
          repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may  be  cited  as
     2  the "school bus camera safety act".
     3    §  2.  Legislative intent. In the state of New York, 2.5 million chil-
     4  dren ride school buses and public transportation to and from school each
     5  day. The legislature recognizes that the safe transportation of children
     6  to and from school is a shared responsibility of  each  school  district
     7  and  the driving public. It is the intent of this legislature to author-
     8  ize school districts to utilize school  bus  safety  camera  technology,
     9  which  will  identify  drivers  who violate the law by passing a stopped
    10  school bus with its red flashing signal lamps illuminated and  stop  arm
    11  engaged.

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD01758-18-6

        S. 3509--C                          2
 
     1    § 3. Section 375 of the vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a
     2  new subdivision 21-j to read as follows:
     3    21-j.  School buses owned or contracted for by a school district which
     4  has adopted a resolution providing for the installation  of  school  bus
     5  safety  cameras,  as defined in section eleven hundred seventy-four-a of
     6  this chapter, may be equipped with and operate  such  cameras.    School
     7  districts  that,  at  the  time  of  adoption of such a resolution, have
     8  entered into a contract for transportation services, may,  notwithstand-
     9  ing  any  other  provision of state law, rule or regulation, renegotiate
    10  the terms of their current transportation contract for the  purposes  of
    11  allowing  the  installation  of  school  bus  safety  cameras.    School
    12  districts shall not be required to take school buses out of  service  if
    13  such  buses are not equipped with automated school bus safety cameras or
    14  functional automated safety cameras.
    15    School districts and school bus transportation  contractors  shall  be
    16  held  harmless  from  and not liable for any criminal or civil liability
    17  arising from the operation of school bus safety cameras.    The  commis-
    18  sioner  shall  promulgate  rules and regulations for the installation of
    19  school bus safety cameras.   A designated vendor  or  employee  of  such
    20  vendor,  police officer, or designated governing body employee shall not
    21  be liable for any loss that occurs while  acting  within  the  scope  of
    22  their  employment  or  contractual  engagement to implement or enforce a
    23  violation of section eleven hundred seventy-four-a of this chapter.
    24    § 4. The vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding  a  new  section
    25  1174-a to read as follows:
    26    § 1174-a. Owner liability for operator illegally overtaking or passing
    27  a school bus. (a) For the purposes of this section:
    28    1.  "School  bus  safety  camera"  means an automated photo monitoring
    29  device affixed to the outside of a school bus and designed to detect and
    30  store videotape and one or more images of motor vehicles which  overtake
    31  or  pass  school buses in violation of subdivision (a) of section eleven
    32  hundred seventy-four of this article.
    33    2. "Owner" shall have the same meaning provided in  article  two-B  of
    34  this chapter.
    35    (b) 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the board of educa-
    36  tion  or  of  trustees  of  a  school  district is hereby authorized and
    37  empowered to adopt a resolution providing for the installation and oper-
    38  ation of school bus safety cameras upon  school  buses  operated  by  or
    39  contracted  with  such  district.  School districts shall not access the
    40  images from such cameras but shall provide,  pursuant  to  an  agreement
    41  with  the  appropriate law enforcement agency or agencies for the proper
    42  handling and custody of such images, for the forwarding of  images  from
    43  such cameras to a law enforcement agency having jurisdiction in the area
    44  in  which  the  violation occurred, for the purpose of imposing monetary
    45  liability on the owner of a motor vehicle for  illegally  overtaking  or
    46  passing  a  school bus in violation of subdivision (a) of section eleven
    47  hundred seventy-four of this article.
    48    2. In such school districts that have adopted a resolution authorizing
    49  the installation of such school bus safety cameras, the board of  educa-
    50  tion  or  of trustees of the school district or a school bus transporta-
    51  tion contractor may, furthermore, enter into an agreement with a private
    52  vendor for the installation, operation, notice processing  and  adminis-
    53  tration,  and  maintenance  of school bus safety cameras on buses within
    54  such  district's  fleet.  School  bus  transportation  contractors   are
    55  empowered  to  purchase  or  lease, through a private vendor, school bus
    56  safety cameras; provided, that any agreement between a school bus trans-

        S. 3509--C                          3
 
     1  portation contractor and a private camera vendor shall stipulate that  a
     2  school  bus  transportation  contractor  shall only be allowed to recoup
     3  expenses incurred through the installation and operation of a school bus
     4  arm  camera and shall not allow the school bus transportation contractor
     5  to charge the camera vendor a fee for  the  installation,  operation  or
     6  maintenance  of  such cameras, nor receive any portion of the fine for a
     7  violation of section eleven hundred  seventy-four  of  this  article.  A
     8  private  camera  vendor  shall  have  the right to retain any school bus
     9  safety cameras installed on a school bus after  the  expiration  of  the
    10  agreement  with  the  school  bus  transportation contractor, unless the
    11  equipment was purchased from the vendor.  Provided,  further,  that  any
    12  agreement  between  a school bus transportation contractor and a private
    13  camera vendor shall stipulate the number  of  cameras  to  be  installed
    14  shall not exceed the total amount requested by the school district.
    15    3.  Such  school  bus  safety  cameras shall only take photographs and
    16  videotape of motor vehicles and their license plates thereon, while such
    17  vehicle is operated in violation of subdivision (a)  of  section  eleven
    18  hundred  seventy-four of this article. No such photograph or video shall
    19  reveal any occupant of a motor vehicle.    Provided,  however,  that  no
    20  simplified  traffic information issued pursuant to this section shall be
    21  dismissed solely because a photograph or photographs allow for the iden-
    22  tification of the occupants and/or contents of a motor vehicle.
    23    4. Upon adoption of a resolution by a school district as  required  in
    24  subdivision  twenty-one-j  of section three hundred seventy-five of this
    25  chapter, such school district may enter into a memorandum of understand-
    26  ing with a local governing authority to enable the implementation of the
    27  provisions of this section.   Such traffic violations  bureau  or  court
    28  shall  make  available  to  such  school  district the adjudication data
    29  required by paragraph seven of subdivision (l) of  this  section  as  to
    30  allow  such  school district to complete the report required by subdivi-
    31  sion (l) of this section  in  a  timely  manner.  Any  intergovernmental
    32  agreement   pursuant   to  this  paragraph  shall  inform  such  traffic
    33  violations bureau or court of the requirements of this  subdivision  and
    34  shall  make provisions regarding the transmittal of such required infor-
    35  mation.  School districts that elect to purchase such cameras  shall  be
    36  reimbursed  for  the cost of such cameras out of the net proceeds, after
    37  the expenses of administration.  Reimbursement  for  the  cost  of  such
    38  cameras shall not be considered generating income.
    39    (c)  In  any  school  district  in which school bus safety cameras are
    40  installed and operated pursuant to subdivision (b) of this section,  the
    41  owner of a motor vehicle, upon issuance of a simplified traffic informa-
    42  tion  by  a  police  officer, shall be liable for a civil penalty of two
    43  hundred fifty dollars if such vehicle was  used  or  operated  with  the
    44  permission of the owner, express or implied, in violation of subdivision
    45  (a)  of  such  section,  and  such violation is evidenced by information
    46  obtained from a school bus safety camera;  provided,  however,  that  no
    47  owner  of  a  vehicle  shall be liable for a penalty imposed pursuant to
    48  this section where the operator of such vehicle has  been  convicted  of
    49  the  underlying  violation  of subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred
    50  seventy-four of this article. Provided, further, that the  net  proceeds
    51  of any penalty, after the expenses of administration and operating costs
    52  of the cameras, collected by a traffic violations bureau or court pursu-
    53  ant  to this section shall be expended for programs related to improving
    54  traffic safety and/or school district  safety  in  the  municipality  in
    55  which the violation occurred.  School districts are authorized to accept
    56  grants  from  municipalities  for  the  implementation  of this section.

        S. 3509--C                          4
 
     1  School districts may allow for a warning period of up to twenty-one days
     2  from the time the first school bus safety cameras are installed  in  the
     3  district  before  monetary penalties are imposed on violations occurring
     4  from such cameras.
     5    (d)  A  school  district  or school bus camera vendor shall forward or
     6  cause to be forwarded, the images and  videotape  from  its  school  bus
     7  safety  cameras  to  a law enforcement agency having jurisdiction in the
     8  area where the violation occurred. A school bus contractor may not proc-
     9  ess a violation of section eleven hundred seventy-four of this  article.
    10  After  receipt of such images, a police officer shall inspect such vide-
    11  otape and images to determine whether a violation of subdivision (a)  of
    12  section  eleven  hundred  seventy-four  of  this  article was committed,
    13  provided that such videotape and one or more images must display  a  red
    14  visual  signal  as  specified  in  subdivision  twenty  of section three
    15  hundred seventy-five of this chapter. If such police officer finds  that
    16  such  a  violation  occurred, he or she shall issue a simplified traffic
    17  information alleging the violation, and such information with a copy  of
    18  the  photographic image of the violation shall be mailed to the owner of
    19  the motor vehicle by first class mail within thirty days of the  alleged
    20  violation.  The  videotape  and  images  produced by a school bus safety
    21  camera shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein. All
    22  photographic images of motor vehicles which do not depict or  result  in
    23  liability  for  violation  of  subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred
    24  seventy-four of this article  shall  be  destroyed  by  the  appropriate
    25  school district and law enforcement agency within two days.
    26    (e)  An  imposition of liability pursuant to this section shall not be
    27  deemed a conviction as an operator and shall not be  made  part  of  the
    28  operating  record  of the person upon whom such liability is imposed nor
    29  shall it be used for insurance purposes in the provision of motor  vehi-
    30  cle insurance coverage.
    31    (f)  1. A simplified traffic information and the photographic image of
    32  the alleged violation shall be sent by first class mail to  each  person
    33  alleged  to  be liable as an owner for a violation of subdivision (a) of
    34  section eleven hundred seventy-four of this  article  pursuant  to  this
    35  section within thirty days if such owner is a resident of this state and
    36  within  forty-five  business  days  if  such  owner  is  a non-resident,
    37  provided that a warning notice and not a simplified traffic  information
    38  shall  be  sent  if  such violation is evidenced by information obtained
    39  from a school bus safety camera that has been operational  but  inactive
    40  for  a  period  determined by the school district.  Personal delivery on
    41  the owner shall not be required. A manual or automatic record of mailing
    42  prepared in the  ordinary  course  of  business  shall  be  prima  facie
    43  evidence of the facts contained therein.
    44    2. A simplified traffic information shall contain the name and address
    45  of the person alleged to be liable as an owner for a violation of subdi-
    46  vision (a) of section eleven hundred seventy-four of this article pursu-
    47  ant  to this section, the registration number of the vehicle involved in
    48  such violation, the location where such violation took  place  including
    49  global  positioning  system  coordinates,  the  date  and  time  of such
    50  violation and the identification number of the school bus safety  camera
    51  which recorded the violation or other document locator number.
    52    3. The simplified traffic information shall contain information advis-
    53  ing  the person charged of the manner, the time, the place and the court
    54  or administrative body in which he or  she  may  contest  the  liability
    55  alleged  in the simplified traffic information.  Such simplified traffic
    56  information shall also contain a warning to advise the  persons  charged

        S. 3509--C                          5

     1  that  failure  to answer in the manner and time provided shall be deemed
     2  an admission of liability and that he or she shall be liable for failure
     3  to respond to a summons.
     4    (g)  Adjudication of the liability imposed upon owners by this section
     5  shall be by a traffic violations bureau established pursuant to  section
     6  three hundred seventy of the general municipal law or, if there be none,
     7  by the court having jurisdiction over traffic infractions.
     8    (h)  If an owner receives a simplified traffic information pursuant to
     9  this section for any time period during which the vehicle was stolen, it
    10  shall be a valid defense to an allegation of liability for  a  violation
    11  of  subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred seventy-four of this arti-
    12  cle pursuant to this section that the vehicle had been reported  to  the
    13  police  as  stolen  prior to the time the violation occurred and had not
    14  been recovered by such time.  For  purposes  of  asserting  the  defense
    15  provided  by  this  subdivision  it shall be sufficient that a certified
    16  copy of the police report on the stolen vehicle be sent by  first  class
    17  mail  to  the  traffic  violations  bureau, court having jurisdiction or
    18  parking violations bureau.
    19    (i) An owner who is a lessor of a vehicle to which a simplified  traf-
    20  fic  information was issued pursuant to this section shall not be liable
    21  for the violation of subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred  seventy-
    22  four  of this article, provided that he or she sends to the court having
    23  jurisdiction a copy of the rental, lease or other such contract document
    24  covering such vehicle on the date of the violation, with  the  name  and
    25  address  of  the  lessee clearly legible, within thirty-seven days after
    26  receiving notice from the court of the date and time of such  violation,
    27  together with the other information contained in the original simplified
    28  traffic information.  Failure to send such information within such thir-
    29  ty-seven  day  time period shall render the owner liable for the penalty
    30  prescribed  by  this  section.  Where  the  lessor  complies  with   the
    31  provisions  of  this subdivision, the lessee of such vehicle on the date
    32  of such violation shall be deemed to be the owner of  such  vehicle  for
    33  purposes  of  this  section,  shall  be  subject  to  liability  for the
    34  violation of subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred  seventy-four  of
    35  this  article  pursuant  to  this section and shall be sent a simplified
    36  traffic information pursuant to this section.
    37    (j) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the  liability
    38  of  an  operator  of  a  vehicle for any violation of subdivision (a) of
    39  section eleven hundred seventy-four of this article.
    40    (k) The school bus safety cameras installed and operated  pursuant  to
    41  this  section  shall  be  used  solely  for the purposes of carrying out
    42  photo-monitoring and videotaping of violations  of  subdivision  (a)  of
    43  section eleven hundred seventy-four of this article.
    44    (l)  In any such school district which adopts a resolution pursuant to
    45  subdivision (b) of this section, such  school  district  shall,  to  the
    46  extent that such information is available to it, submit an annual report
    47  on  the  results of the use of a school bus safety camera program to the
    48  governor, the temporary president of the senate and the speaker  of  the
    49  assembly  on or before September first, two thousand seventeen and on or
    50  before such date in each succeeding year in which the program is  opera-
    51  ble  through  September  two  thousand  twenty-two.  Such  report  shall
    52  include, but not be limited to:
    53    1. a description of the routes where school bus  safety  cameras  were
    54  used;
    55    2.  the  aggregate  number,  type  and severity of accidents caused by
    56  passing a school bus in violation of section eleven hundred seventy-four

        S. 3509--C                          6
 
     1  of this article provided, however, the school  district  maintains  such
     2  information;
     3    3. the number of violations recorded for each school bus safety camera
     4  and in the aggregate on a monthly basis;
     5    4.  the  total number of notices of liability issued for violations of
     6  this section;
     7    5. the number of fines and total amount of fines paid after the  first
     8  notice of liability;
     9    6.  the  number  of violations adjudicated and results of such adjudi-
    10  cations including breakdowns of disposition made for violations recorded
    11  by such systems;
    12    7. the total amount of revenue realized from adjudications;
    13    8. expenses incurred in connection with this program  by  such  school
    14  district or private bus contractor providing transportation services for
    15  the school district;
    16    9. the quality of the adjudication process and its results; and
    17    10.  a  description  of  public education activities conducted to warn
    18  motorists of the dangers of passing a school bus.
    19    (m) No owner or operator of a motor vehicle, who has been charged with
    20  a violation of subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred seventy-four of
    21  this article in a simplified traffic information,  shall  be  deemed  to
    22  have any liability for such violation pursuant to this section.
    23    §  5.  Section  3621  of  the education law is amended by adding a new
    24  subdivision 16 to read as follows:
    25    16. "School bus safety camera" shall mean an automated photo  monitor-
    26  ing  device  authorized to be installed and operated on the outside of a
    27  school bus pursuant to section  eleven  hundred  seventy-four-a  of  the
    28  vehicle and traffic law.
    29    §  6.  Paragraph c of subdivision 2 of section 3623-a of the education
    30  law, as amended by chapter 453 of the laws of 2005, is amended  to  read
    31  as follows:
    32    c.  The purchase of equipment deemed a proper school district expense,
    33  including: (i) the purchase of two-way radios to be used on old and  new
    34  school  buses, (ii) the purchase of stop-arms, to be used on old and new
    35  school buses, (iii) the purchase and installation of seat  safety  belts
    36  on  school buses in accordance with the provisions of section thirty-six
    37  hundred thirty-five-a of this article, (iv) the purchase of  school  bus
    38  back  up  beepers,  (v)  the purchase of school bus front crossing arms,
    39  (vi) the purchase  of  school  bus  safety  sensor  devices,  (vii)  the
    40  purchase  and  installation  of  exterior  reflective  marking on school
    41  buses, (viii)  the  purchase  of  automatic  engine  fire  extinguishing
    42  systems  for school buses used to transport students who use wheelchairs
    43  or other assistive mobility devices, (ix) the  purchase  of  school  bus
    44  safety  cameras,  and  [(ix)]  (x)  the  purchase  of other equipment as
    45  prescribed in the regulations of the commissioner; and
    46    § 7. Subdivision 3 and paragraph a of subdivision 4 of section 227  of
    47  the  vehicle and traffic law, subdivision 3 as amended by chapter 337 of
    48  the laws of 1970 and renumbered by chapter 288 of the laws of  1989  and
    49  paragraph  a of subdivision 4 as amended by section 7 of part J of chap-
    50  ter 62 of the laws of 2003, are amended to read as follows:
    51    3. After due consideration of the evidence and arguments offered in  a
    52  contested  case, the hearing officer shall determine whether the charges
    53  have been established. In the case of an owner charged as such  pursuant
    54  to  article  twenty-nine of this chapter, it shall be a complete defense
    55  to such charge that a vehicle alleged to be in  violation  was  operated
    56  without  the permission of such owner or his or her agent and the estab-

        S. 3509--C                          7
 
     1  lishment of lack of permission shall result in an order dismissing  such
     2  charge against such owner.  Where the charges have not been established,
     3  an order dismissing the charges shall be entered.  Where a determination
     4  is  made  that a charge has been established, either in a contested case
     5  or in an uncontested case where there is an appearance before a  hearing
     6  officer,  or  if  an  answer  admitting  the  charge  otherwise has been
     7  received, an appropriate order shall  be  entered  in  the  department's
     8  records.
     9    a.  An order entered upon the failure to answer or appear or after the
    10  receipt of an answer admitting the charge or where  a  determination  is
    11  made  that the charge has been established shall be civil in nature, but
    12  shall be treated as a conviction for the purposes of this  chapter.  The
    13  commissioner or his or her designee may include in such order an imposi-
    14  tion  of  any  penalty authorized by any provision of this chapter for a
    15  conviction of such violation, except that no penalty [therefore]  there-
    16  for  shall  include imprisonment, nor, if monetary, exceed the amount of
    17  the fine which could have been imposed had the charge been  heard  by  a
    18  court.  The driver's license or privileges, or, if the charge involves a
    19  violation of section three hundred eighty-five or section  four  hundred
    20  one  of  this  chapter  by  a registrant who was not the operator of the
    21  vehicle, the registration of such vehicle or privilege of  operation  of
    22  any  motor vehicle owned by such registrant may be suspended pending the
    23  payment of any penalty so imposed; however, in  the  case  of  an  owner
    24  charged as such pursuant to this article, his or her driver's license or
    25  privilege  shall  not  be  affected by such order or determination other
    26  than as suspension thereof for failure to appear or pay as set forth  in
    27  this  article,  nor  shall  a conviction hereunder of such owner as such
    28  result in departmental administrative sanctions  affecting  his  or  her
    29  driver's  license  or  privilege. Any suspension issued pursuant to this
    30  paragraph shall be subject to  the  provisions  of  paragraph  (j-1)  of
    31  subdivision two of section five hundred three of this chapter.
    32    § 8. Subdivision 2 of section 87 of the public officers law is amended
    33  by adding a new paragraph (p) to read as follows:
    34    (p)  are  photographs,  microphotographs,  videotape or other recorded
    35  images prepared under the authority of section eleven  hundred  seventy-
    36  four-a  of the vehicle and traffic law.  Any school district that adopts
    37  a resolution providing for the installation and operation of school  bus
    38  safety  cameras  upon  school  buses operated by or contracted with such
    39  district pursuant to section eleven hundred seventy-four-a of the  vehi-
    40  cle  and  traffic  law shall notify its residents through adopted proce-
    41  dures about such installation and operation before any simplified  traf-
    42  fic  information  issued  based  on evidence obtained by such school bus
    43  safety cameras.
    44    § 9. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed-
    45  ing the date on which it shall have become a law; except  that  sections
    46  four  and  five of this act shall take effect on the first of April next
    47  succeeding the effective date of this act.  The provisions of  this  act
    48  shall expire and be deemed repealed September 1, 2022.
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