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S00518 Summary:

BILL NOS00518A
 
SAME ASSAME AS A00321-A
 
SPONSORYOUNG
 
COSPNSRADDABBO, AKSHAR, AVELLA, BONACIC, BOYLE, FUNKE, HELMING, MARCHIONE, MURPHY, O'MARA, PERALTA, RITCHIE, SAVINO, TEDISCO, 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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S00518 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                         518--A
 
                               2017-2018 Regular Sessions
 
                    IN SENATE
 
                                       (Prefiled)
 
                                     January 4, 2017
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  Sens.  YOUNG,  ADDABBO,  AKSHAR, AVELLA, BONACIC, BOYLE,
          FUNKE, MARCHIONE, MURPHY, O'MARA, PERALTA, RITCHIE,  SAVINO,  TEDISCO,
          VALESKY  --  read  twice  and  ordered printed, and when printed to be
          committed to the Committee on Transportation  --  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.
    12    § 3. Section 375 of the vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a
    13  new subdivision 21-j to read as follows:
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD00638-02-8

        S. 518--A                           2
 
     1    21-j.  School buses owned or contracted for by a school district which
     2  has adopted a resolution providing for the installation  of  school  bus
     3  safety  cameras,  as defined in section eleven hundred seventy-four-a of
     4  this chapter, may be equipped with and operate  such  cameras.    School
     5  districts  that,  at  the  time  of  adoption of such a resolution, have
     6  entered into a contract for transportation services, may,  notwithstand-
     7  ing  any  other  provision of state law, rule or regulation, renegotiate
     8  the terms of their current transportation contract for the  purposes  of
     9  allowing  the  installation  of  school  bus  safety  cameras.    School
    10  districts shall not be required to take school buses out of  service  if
    11  such  buses are not equipped with automated school bus safety cameras or
    12  functional automated safety cameras.
    13    School districts and school bus transportation  contractors  shall  be
    14  held  harmless  from  and not liable for any criminal or civil liability
    15  arising from the operation of school bus safety cameras.    The  commis-
    16  sioner  shall  promulgate  rules and regulations for the installation of
    17  school bus safety cameras.   A designated vendor  or  employee  of  such
    18  vendor,  police officer, or designated governing body employee shall not
    19  be liable for any loss that occurs while  acting  within  the  scope  of
    20  their  employment  or  contractual  engagement to implement or enforce a
    21  violation of section eleven hundred seventy-four-a of this chapter.
    22    § 4. The vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding  a  new  section
    23  1174-a to read as follows:
    24    § 1174-a. Owner liability for operator illegally overtaking or passing
    25  a school bus. (a) For the purposes of this section:
    26    1.  "School  bus  safety  camera"  means an automated photo monitoring
    27  device affixed to the outside of a school bus and designed to detect and
    28  store videotape and one or more images of motor vehicles which  overtake
    29  or  pass  school buses in violation of subdivision (a) of section eleven
    30  hundred seventy-four of this article.
    31    2. "Owner" shall have the same meaning provided in  article  two-B  of
    32  this chapter.
    33    (b) 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the board of educa-
    34  tion  or  of  trustees  of  a  school  district is hereby authorized and
    35  empowered to adopt a resolution providing for the installation and oper-
    36  ation of school bus safety cameras upon  school  buses  operated  by  or
    37  contracted  with  such  district.  School districts shall not access the
    38  images from such cameras but shall provide,  pursuant  to  an  agreement
    39  with  the  appropriate law enforcement agency or agencies for the proper
    40  handling and custody of such images, for the forwarding of  images  from
    41  such cameras to a law enforcement agency having jurisdiction in the area
    42  in  which  the  violation occurred, for the purpose of imposing monetary
    43  liability on the owner of a motor vehicle for  illegally  overtaking  or
    44  passing  a  school bus in violation of subdivision (a) of section eleven
    45  hundred seventy-four of this article.
    46    2. In such school districts that have adopted a resolution authorizing
    47  the installation of such school bus safety cameras, the board of  educa-
    48  tion  or  of trustees of the school district or a school bus transporta-
    49  tion contractor may, furthermore, enter into an agreement with a private
    50  vendor for the installation, operation, notice processing  and  adminis-
    51  tration,  and  maintenance  of school bus safety cameras on buses within
    52  such  district's  fleet.  School  bus  transportation  contractors   are
    53  empowered  to  purchase  or  lease, through a private vendor, school bus
    54  safety cameras; provided, that any agreement between a school bus trans-
    55  portation contractor and a private camera vendor shall stipulate that  a
    56  school  bus  transportation  contractor  shall only be allowed to recoup

        S. 518--A                           3
 
     1  expenses incurred through the installation and operation of a school bus
     2  arm camera and shall not allow the school bus transportation  contractor
     3  to  charge  the  camera  vendor a fee for the installation, operation or
     4  maintenance  of  such cameras, nor receive any portion of the fine for a
     5  violation of section eleven hundred  seventy-four  of  this  article.  A
     6  private  camera  vendor  shall  have  the right to retain any school bus
     7  safety cameras installed on a school bus after  the  expiration  of  the
     8  agreement  with  the  school  bus  transportation contractor, unless the
     9  equipment was purchased from the vendor.  Provided,  further,  that  any
    10  agreement  between  a school bus transportation contractor and a private
    11  camera vendor shall stipulate the number  of  cameras  to  be  installed
    12  shall not exceed the total amount requested by the school district.
    13    3.  Such  school  bus  safety  cameras shall only take photographs and
    14  videotape of motor vehicles and their license plates thereon, while such
    15  vehicle is operated in violation of subdivision (a)  of  section  eleven
    16  hundred  seventy-four of this article. No such photograph or video shall
    17  reveal any occupant of a motor vehicle.    Provided,  however,  that  no
    18  simplified  traffic information issued pursuant to this section shall be
    19  dismissed solely because a photograph or photographs allow for the iden-
    20  tification of the occupants and/or contents of a motor vehicle.
    21    4. Upon adoption of a resolution by a school district as  required  in
    22  subdivision  twenty-one-j  of section three hundred seventy-five of this
    23  chapter, such school district may enter into a memorandum of understand-
    24  ing with a local governing authority to enable the implementation of the
    25  provisions of this section.   Such traffic violations  bureau  or  court
    26  shall  make  available  to  such  school  district the adjudication data
    27  required by paragraph seven of subdivision (l) of  this  section  as  to
    28  allow  such  school district to complete the report required by subdivi-
    29  sion (l) of this section  in  a  timely  manner.  Any  intergovernmental
    30  agreement   pursuant   to  this  paragraph  shall  inform  such  traffic
    31  violations bureau or court of the requirements of this  subdivision  and
    32  shall  make provisions regarding the transmittal of such required infor-
    33  mation.  School districts that elect to purchase such cameras  shall  be
    34  reimbursed  for  the cost of such cameras out of the net proceeds, after
    35  the expenses of administration.  Reimbursement  for  the  cost  of  such
    36  cameras shall not be considered generating income.
    37    (c)  In  any  school  district  in which school bus safety cameras are
    38  installed and operated pursuant to subdivision (b) of this section,  the
    39  owner of a motor vehicle, upon issuance of a simplified traffic informa-
    40  tion  by  a  police  officer, shall be liable for a civil penalty of two
    41  hundred fifty dollars if such vehicle was  used  or  operated  with  the
    42  permission of the owner, express or implied, in violation of subdivision
    43  (a)  of  section  eleven  hundred seventy-four of this article, and such
    44  violation is evidenced by information obtained from a school bus  safety
    45  camera;  provided,  however,  that no owner of a vehicle shall be liable
    46  for a penalty imposed pursuant to this section  where  the  operator  of
    47  such  vehicle has been convicted of the underlying violation of subdivi-
    48  sion (a)  of  section  eleven  hundred  seventy-four  of  this  article.
    49  Provided,  further,  that  the  net  proceeds  of any penalty, after the
    50  expenses of administration and operating costs of the cameras, collected
    51  by a traffic violations bureau or court pursuant to this  section  shall
    52  be  expended  for  programs  related  to improving traffic safety and/or
    53  school district safety  in  the  municipality  in  which  the  violation
    54  occurred.  School districts are authorized to accept grants from munici-
    55  palities  for  the  implementation of this section. School districts may
    56  allow for a warning period of up to twenty-one days from  the  time  the

        S. 518--A                           4
 
     1  first  school  bus  safety  cameras are installed in the district before
     2  monetary  penalties  are  imposed  on  violations  occurring  from  such
     3  cameras.
     4    (d)  A  school  district  or school bus camera vendor shall forward or
     5  cause to be forwarded, the images and  videotape  from  its  school  bus
     6  safety  cameras  to  a law enforcement agency having jurisdiction in the
     7  area where the violation occurred. A school bus contractor may not proc-
     8  ess a violation of section eleven hundred seventy-four of this  article.
     9  After  receipt of such images, a police officer shall inspect such vide-
    10  otape and images to determine whether a violation of subdivision (a)  of
    11  section  eleven  hundred  seventy-four  of  this  article was committed,
    12  provided that such videotape and one or more images must display  a  red
    13  visual  signal  as  specified  in  subdivision  twenty  of section three
    14  hundred seventy-five of this chapter. If such police officer finds  that
    15  such  a  violation  occurred, he or she shall issue a simplified traffic
    16  information alleging the violation, and such information with a copy  of
    17  the  photographic image of the violation shall be mailed to the owner of
    18  the motor vehicle by first class mail within thirty days of the  alleged
    19  violation.  The  videotape  and  images  produced by a school bus safety
    20  camera shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein. All
    21  photographic images of motor vehicles which do not depict or  result  in
    22  liability  for  violation  of  subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred
    23  seventy-four of this article  shall  be  destroyed  by  the  appropriate
    24  school district and law enforcement agency within two days.
    25    (e)  An  imposition of liability pursuant to this section shall not be
    26  deemed a conviction as an operator and shall not be  made  part  of  the
    27  operating  record  of the person upon whom such liability is imposed nor
    28  shall it be used for insurance purposes in the provision of motor  vehi-
    29  cle insurance coverage.
    30    (f)  1. A simplified traffic information and the photographic image of
    31  the alleged violation shall be sent by first class mail to  each  person
    32  alleged  to  be liable as an owner for a violation of subdivision (a) of
    33  section eleven hundred seventy-four of this  article  pursuant  to  this
    34  section within thirty days if such owner is a resident of this state and
    35  within  forty-five  business  days  if  such  owner  is  a non-resident,
    36  provided that a warning notice and not a simplified traffic  information
    37  shall  be  sent  if  such violation is evidenced by information obtained
    38  from a school bus safety camera that has been operational  but  inactive
    39  for  a  period  determined by the school district.  Personal delivery on
    40  the owner shall not be required. A manual or automatic record of mailing
    41  prepared in the  ordinary  course  of  business  shall  be  prima  facie
    42  evidence of the facts contained therein.
    43    2. A simplified traffic information shall contain the name and address
    44  of the person alleged to be liable as an owner for a violation of subdi-
    45  vision (a) of section eleven hundred seventy-four of this article pursu-
    46  ant  to this section, the registration number of the vehicle involved in
    47  such violation, the location where such violation took  place  including
    48  global  positioning  system  coordinates,  the  date  and  time  of such
    49  violation and the identification number of the school bus safety  camera
    50  which recorded the violation or other document locator number.
    51    3. The simplified traffic information shall contain information advis-
    52  ing  the person charged of the manner, the time, the place and the court
    53  or administrative body in which he or  she  may  contest  the  liability
    54  alleged  in the simplified traffic information.  Such simplified traffic
    55  information shall also contain a warning to advise the  persons  charged
    56  that  failure  to answer in the manner and time provided shall be deemed

        S. 518--A                           5

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

        S. 518--A                           6
 
     1    3. the number of violations recorded for each school bus safety camera
     2  and in the aggregate on a monthly basis;
     3    4.  the  total number of notices of liability issued for violations of
     4  this section;
     5    5. the number of fines and total amount of fines paid after the  first
     6  notice of liability;
     7    6.  the  number  of violations adjudicated and results of such adjudi-
     8  cations including breakdowns of disposition made for violations recorded
     9  by such systems;
    10    7. the total amount of revenue realized from adjudications;
    11    8. expenses incurred in connection with this program  by  such  school
    12  district or private bus contractor providing transportation services for
    13  the school district;
    14    9. the quality of the adjudication process and its results; and
    15    10.  a  description  of  public education activities conducted to warn
    16  motorists of the dangers of passing a school bus.
    17    (m) No owner or operator of a motor vehicle, who has been charged with
    18  a violation of subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred seventy-four of
    19  this article in a simplified traffic information,  shall  be  deemed  to
    20  have any liability for such violation pursuant to this section.
    21    §  5.  Section  3621  of  the education law is amended by adding a new
    22  subdivision 16 to read as follows:
    23    16. "School bus safety camera" shall mean an automated photo  monitor-
    24  ing  device  authorized to be installed and operated on the outside of a
    25  school bus pursuant to section  eleven  hundred  seventy-four-a  of  the
    26  vehicle and traffic law.
    27    §  6.  Paragraph c of subdivision 2 of section 3623-a of the education
    28  law, as amended by chapter 453 of the laws of 2005, is amended  to  read
    29  as follows:
    30    c.  The purchase of equipment deemed a proper school district expense,
    31  including: (i) the purchase of two-way radios to be used on old and  new
    32  school  buses, (ii) the purchase of stop-arms, to be used on old and new
    33  school buses, (iii) the purchase and installation of seat  safety  belts
    34  on  school buses in accordance with the provisions of section thirty-six
    35  hundred thirty-five-a of this article, (iv) the purchase of  school  bus
    36  back  up  beepers,  (v)  the purchase of school bus front crossing arms,
    37  (vi) the purchase  of  school  bus  safety  sensor  devices,  (vii)  the
    38  purchase  and  installation  of  exterior  reflective  marking on school
    39  buses, (viii)  the  purchase  of  automatic  engine  fire  extinguishing
    40  systems  for school buses used to transport students who use wheelchairs
    41  or other assistive mobility devices, (ix) the  purchase  of  school  bus
    42  safety  cameras,  and  [(ix)]  (x)  the  purchase  of other equipment as
    43  prescribed in the regulations of the commissioner; and
    44    § 7. Subdivision 3 and paragraph a of subdivision 4 of section 227  of
    45  the  vehicle and traffic law, subdivision 3 as amended by chapter 337 of
    46  the laws of 1970 and renumbered by chapter 288 of the laws of  1989  and
    47  paragraph  a of subdivision 4 as amended by section 7 of part J of chap-
    48  ter 62 of the laws of 2003, are amended to read as follows:
    49    3. After due consideration of the evidence and arguments offered in  a
    50  contested  case, the hearing officer shall determine whether the charges
    51  have been established. In the case of an owner charged as such  pursuant
    52  to  article  twenty-nine of this chapter, it shall be a complete defense
    53  to such charge that a vehicle alleged to be in  violation  was  operated
    54  without  the permission of such owner or his or her agent and the estab-
    55  lishment of lack of permission shall result in an order dismissing  such
    56  charge against such owner.  Where the charges have not been established,

        S. 518--A                           7
 
     1  an order dismissing the charges shall be entered.  Where a determination
     2  is  made  that a charge has been established, either in a contested case
     3  or in an uncontested case where there is an appearance before a  hearing
     4  officer,  or  if  an  answer  admitting  the  charge  otherwise has been
     5  received, an appropriate order shall  be  entered  in  the  department's
     6  records.
     7    a.  An order entered upon the failure to answer or appear or after the
     8  receipt of an answer admitting the charge or where  a  determination  is
     9  made  that the charge has been established shall be civil in nature, but
    10  shall be treated as a conviction for the purposes of this  chapter.  The
    11  commissioner or his or her designee may include in such order an imposi-
    12  tion  of  any  penalty authorized by any provision of this chapter for a
    13  conviction of such violation, except that no penalty [therefore]  there-
    14  for  shall  include imprisonment, nor, if monetary, exceed the amount of
    15  the fine which could have been imposed had the charge been  heard  by  a
    16  court.  The driver's license or privileges, or, if the charge involves a
    17  violation of section three hundred eighty-five or section  four  hundred
    18  one  of  this  chapter  by  a registrant who was not the operator of the
    19  vehicle, the registration of such vehicle or privilege of  operation  of
    20  any  motor vehicle owned by such registrant may be suspended pending the
    21  payment of any penalty so imposed; however, in  the  case  of  an  owner
    22  charged as such pursuant to this article, his or her driver's license or
    23  privilege  shall  not  be  affected by such order or determination other
    24  than as suspension thereof for failure to appear or pay as set forth  in
    25  this  article,  nor  shall  a conviction hereunder of such owner as such
    26  result in departmental administrative sanctions  affecting  his  or  her
    27  driver's  license  or  privilege. Any suspension issued pursuant to this
    28  paragraph shall be subject to  the  provisions  of  paragraph  (j-1)  of
    29  subdivision two of section five hundred three of this chapter.
    30    § 8. Subdivision 2 of section 87 of the public officers law is amended
    31  by adding a new paragraph (p) to read as follows:
    32    (p)  are  photographs,  microphotographs,  videotape or other recorded
    33  images prepared under the authority of section eleven  hundred  seventy-
    34  four-a  of the vehicle and traffic law.  Any school district that adopts
    35  a resolution providing for the installation and operation of school  bus
    36  safety  cameras  upon  school  buses operated by or contracted with such
    37  district pursuant to section eleven hundred seventy-four-a of the  vehi-
    38  cle  and  traffic  law shall notify its residents through adopted proce-
    39  dures about such installation and operation before any simplified  traf-
    40  fic  information  issued  based  on evidence obtained by such school bus
    41  safety cameras.
    42    § 9. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed-
    43  ing the date on which it shall have become a law; except  that  sections
    44  four  and  five of this act shall take effect on the first of April next
    45  succeeding the effective date of this act.  The provisions of  this  act
    46  shall expire and be deemed repealed September 1, 2024.
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