The New York State Assembly and Senate have passed legislation that would authorize school districts to implement demonstration programs for stop-arm surveillance systems. The legislation would also prescribe prosecution for motorists who illegally pass school buses.
A04950 and S04524 address school bus safety cameras, and the liability for motorists who fail to stop for a school bus with red lights flashing and stop arm extended. S0454 was substituted for A04950 on Wednesday and sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk for final approval.
The bills were introduced by Assemblyman William Magnarelli and Sen. Tim Kennedy, chairman of the Transportation Committee, respectively. If signed into law, New York will be the 19th state that allows school districts to install video surveillance cameras on school buses.
The final bill allows school districts to enter into agreements with counties, cities, towns or villages to record images of motor vehicle violations. If signed, the agencies would then cover all associated costs of installing and managing the monitoring systems. That includes preserving the chain of custody of all images, and protecting the privacy of students, pedestrians and others who are also captured on any images.
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School districts and local government agencies will be required to submit an annual report on the results from the surveillance system demonstration projects to the governor, senate and assembly on or before June first of each year. Details would include the number of buses with the systems, description of the routes they monitor, amount of revenue from violations, the expense of installing and managing the technology, and a description of public education activities to warn motorists of the dangers of illegal passing.
A first violation carries with it a $250 fine, with each subsequent fine within 18 months increasing by $25, to a maximum of $300. The registered owner of the vehicle is liable unless he/she can prove the vehicle was stolen at the time of the recorded infraction.