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A07043 Summary:

Add 1180-f, V & T L; amd 87, Pub Off L
Establishes a school speed zone camera demonstration program in the city of Albany; repeals authorization of program December 31, 2028.
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A07043 Memo:

submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law and the public officers law, in relation to establishing a school speed zone camera demonstration program in the city of Albany; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof   PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: The purpose of this bill is to allow the city of Albany to implement a pilot program for a speed violation camera monitoring system in school speed zones.   SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 amends the vehicle and traffic law by adding a new section 1180-f. This authorizes the City of Albany to establish a demonstration program - imposing monetary liability on the owners of motor vehicles found to be in violation of the maximum school speed limit in Albany through the use of a speed limit photo device which combines speed sens- ing technology which determines the speed of a vehicle and captures/records that data by photographic, micrographic, video tape, or other recording system and produces an image of a motor vehicle at the moment that it exceeds the speed limit. Albany will be authorized to operate cameras in no more than twenty school zones at any one time during the program, and, in selecting a school speed zone in which to install and operate a speed camera system, the city must consider crite- ria including, speed data, crash history, and the roadway geometry applicable to such school speed zone. If Albany adopts a demonstration program, the city is required to conduct a study and submit an annual report on the results of the use of speed camera systems to the Gover- nor, temporary President of the Senate, and Speaker of the Assembly. Section 2 amends section 237 of the vehicle and traffic law by adding a new Subdivision 17 to include the ability to adjudicate the liability of owners for violations of section 1180-f of this chapter. Section 3 amends subdivision (2) of section 87 of the public officers law by adding a paragraph (s) authorizing photographs, microphotographs, videotape, or other recorded images prepared under the authority of section 1:80-f of the vehicle and traffic law. Section 4 sets the effective date and provides for an expiration of 5 years after such effective date.   JUSTIFICATION: Speeding motorists are a pervasive problem in some areas of the City of Albany. Speed violations are often a significant factor in accidents, which may result in death or injury to motorists, bicyclists, and pedes- trians. Speeding motorists are especially an issue in school zones, where children and families are vulnerable to distracted, speeding driv- ers. The City of Albany Police Department's Capital Region Crime Analysis Center produced a report on the number of accidents and Uniform Traffic Tickets issued for speeding (i.e., speeding tickets) surrounding school zones within the city between 2018-2022. The report identified 46 schools located within the city, including, but not limited to, private schools, academies, colleges, and education centers. The area surround- ing the schools was described as a 1,320-foot radius. Between 2018-2022, there were 11,283 reported vehicular accidents in school zones in the City of Albany, with 2,109 total injuries resulting from the accidents and 11 total deaths resulting from the accidents. Of the 11 motor vehicle accidents resulting in a fatality, five involved a pedestrian and six involved a motor vehicle occupant, three of which were operating a motorcycle. Between 2018-2022, there were 1,765 reported speeding incidents in school zones in the City of Albany, with 371 of the total incidents resulting from tickets written under NYS VTL § 1180(C), defined as, in summary, speeding violations that occur in school zones, on school days, and during hours posted on speed limit signs, most commonly between 7:00am and 6:00pm. The data shows that there are alarming numbers of vehicular accidents and resulting injuries occurring in school zones in the City of Albany. Further, extensive reporting from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Governors High- way Safety Association, the National Safety Council, and the Institute for Road Safety Research (the Netherlands), among other sources, identi- fy speeding as a significant factor in accidents. Therefore, where speeding is considered one of the most predictable factors present in vehicle accidents, the high number of accidents reported in Albany's school zones (11,283 total between 2018-2022) suggests speeding motor- ists are an issue in the city's school zones. Yet, the low number of reported Uniform Traffic Tickets issued for speeding in those same school zones (1,765 total speeding tickets between 2018-2022) suggests that there are far more speeding motorists exceeding speed limits in school zones than there are law enforcement officers available to detect speeding and issue citations. Under current law, a police officer must be present at the scene of a speeding incident to observe the violation and serve the operator of the vehicle with a summons. However, like other police departments across the nation, the Albany Police Department is facing personnel shortages and therefore it is nearly impossible for a police officer to observe every speeding violation in the city, especially those in school zones. Thus, the purpose of this legislation is to develop a system which will supplement law enforcement efforts by using recent technology to record speeding violations on film or other recording devices. The program will operate in the same manner as the Red Light Camera Program, which has successfully reduced the incidences of red light violations in the City of Albany, as well as in other parts of New York, ultimately preventing accidents and saving lives. Technology presently exists which will photographically capture vehicles which exceed the maximum speed limit without the presence of a police officer. This technology combines speed sensing technology that deter- mines the speed of a vehicle and captures/records that data by photo- graphic, micrographic, video tape, or other recording system and produc- es an image of a motor vehicle at the moment that it exceeds the speed limit. This image can then be used as evidence in a proceeding to impose liability on the owner of the vehicle for the speeding violation. The enactment of this legislation will provide the City of Albany with a greater ability to enforce appropriate speeds in school zones, hopefully saving lives in the process.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill   FISCAL IMPLICATION: None to the State. Fiscal impact to the City of Albany is to be deter- mined.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire five years after such effective date when upon such date the provisions of this act shall be deemed repealed; and provided, however, that the authorization for the demonstration project shall be suspended immediately in the event that the annual report required under the bill is not submitted on or before April 1 of each year.
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