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This entry was published on 2019-09-13
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SECTION 1174-A
Owner liability for failure of operator to stop for a school bus displaying a red visual signal and stop-arm
Vehicle & Traffic (VAT) CHAPTER 71, TITLE 7, ARTICLE 29
* § 1174-a. Owner liability for failure of operator to stop for a
school bus displaying a red visual signal and stop-arm. (a) 1.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a county, city, town or
village located within a school district ("district") is hereby
authorized and empowered to adopt and amend a local law or ordinance
establishing a demonstration program imposing monetary liability on the
owner of a vehicle for failure of an operator thereof to comply with
section eleven hundred seventy-four of this chapter when meeting a
school bus marked and equipped as provided in subdivisions twenty and
twenty-one-c of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter and
operated in such county, city, town or village, in accordance with the
provisions of this section. Such demonstration program shall empower
such county, city, town or village to install and operate school bus
photo violation monitoring systems which may be stationary or mobile,
and which may be installed, pursuant to an agreement with a school
district within such county, city, town or village, on school buses
owned and operated by such school district or privately owned and
operated for compensation under contract with such district. Provided,
however, that (a) no stationary school bus photo violation monitoring
system shall be installed or operated by a county, city, town or village
except on roadways under the jurisdiction of such county, city, town or
village, and (b) no mobile school bus photo violation monitoring system
shall be installed or operated on any such school buses unless such
county, city, town or village and such district enter into an agreement
for such installation and operation.

1-a. Any county, city, town or village, located within a school
district, that has adopted a local law or ordinance pursuant to this
section establishing a demonstration program imposing liability on the
owner of a vehicle for failure of an operator thereof to comply with
section eleven hundred seventy-four of this chapter when meeting a
school bus marked and equipped as provided in subdivisions twenty and
twenty-one-c of section three hundred seventy-five of this chapter and
operated in such county, city, town or village may enter into an
agreement with the applicable school district for the installation,
maintenance and use of school bus photo violation monitoring systems on
school buses pursuant to this section and section twenty-two of the
chapter of the laws of two thousand nineteen which added this section,
for the proper handling and custody of photographs, microphotographs,
videotapes, other recorded images and data produced by such systems, and
for the forwarding of such photographs, microphotographs, videotapes,
other recorded images and data to the applicable county, city, town or
village. Any agreement entered into hereunder shall be approved by each
participating county, city, town or village by a majority vote of the
voting strength of its governing body and by resolution of the district
pursuant to section sixteen hundred four, section seventeen hundred
nine, section twenty-five hundred three, section twenty-five hundred
fifty-four or section twenty-five hundred ninety-h of the education law,
as applicable. Provided, however, that where a district has entered an
agreement as provided hereunder with a county, no cities, towns or
villages within the same county may enter into, or be a party to, any
agreement with such district pursuant to this section. Provided further,
however, that no county shall enter an agreement with any city school
district wholly contained within a city. Nothing in this section shall
be construed to prevent a county, city, town, village or district at any
time to withdraw from or terminate an agreement entered pursuant to this
section and section twenty-two of the chapter of the laws of 2019 which
added this section.

1-b. The total cost to the district of the installation, maintenance
and use of school bus photo violation monitoring systems pursuant to
this section shall be borne entirely by the county, city, town or
village within the district which is a party to such agreement. On or
before September first of each year, the district shall determine and
certify to each county, city, town or village with which it has entered
into an agreement pursuant to this section the total cost to the
district for the school year ending the preceding June thirtieth of
installing, maintaining and using such systems within each such county,
city, town or village, respectively, for the proper handling and custody
of photographs, microphotographs, videotapes, other recorded images and
data produced by such systems, and for the forwarding of such
photographs, microphotographs, videotapes, other recorded images and
data to the applicable county, city, town or village. On or before the
following December first of each year, each such county, city, town or
village shall pay to the district such cost so certified to it on or
before the preceding September first. Not later than twenty days after
each such payment is submitted or is due, whichever occurs first, the
district shall submit to the director of the budget and the chairpersons
of the fiscal committees of the legislature a report for each such
county, city, town and village showing the amount of costs so certified
and the amount of payments so received or due. If a county, city, town
or village fails to make the payment required to the district by the
twentieth day after the date such payment was due, (i) the district
shall notify the director of the budget and the chairpersons of the
fiscal committees of the legislature of such occurrence within
twenty-four hours of such day; and (ii) the demonstration program shall
be suspended within such county, city, town, or village until such time
as such county, city, town, or village makes the payment required to the
district. The district shall notify the director of the budget and the
chairpersons of the fiscal committees of the legislature of such payment
within seven business days of its receipt. Provided, however, that any
notice of liability issued prior to such date shall not be voided.

2. Any image or images captured by school bus photo violation
monitoring systems shall be inadmissible in any disciplinary proceeding
convened by any school district or any school bus contractor thereof,
and any proceeding initiated by the department involving licensure
privileges of school bus operators. Any school bus photo violation
monitoring device mounted on a school bus shall be directed outwardly
from such school bus to capture images of vehicles operated in violation
of section eleven hundred seventy-four of this chapter, and images
produced by such device shall not be used for any other purpose.

3. (i) Any participating school district shall be prohibited from
accessing any photographs, microphotographs, videotapes, other recorded
images or data from school bus photo violation monitoring systems but
shall provide, pursuant to an agreement with a county, city, town or
village as provided in this section, for the proper handling and custody
of such photographs, microphotographs, videotapes, other recorded images
and data produced by such systems, and for the forwarding of such
photographs, microphotographs, videotapes, other recorded images and
data to the applicable county, city, town or village for the purpose of
determining whether a motor vehicle was operated in violation of
subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred seventy-four of this title and
imposing monetary liability on the owner of such motor vehicle therefor.

(ii) Photographs, microphotographs, videotapes, other recorded images
and data produced by school bus photo violation monitoring systems shall
be destroyed (A) ninety days after the date of the alleged imposition of
liability if a notice of liability is not issued for such alleged
imposition of liability pursuant to this section or (B) upon final
disposition of a notice of liability issued pursuant to this section.

4. A county, city, town or village establishing a demonstration
program pursuant to this section shall adopt and enforce measures to
protect the privacy of drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists
whose identity and identifying information may be captured by a school
bus photo violation monitoring device. Such measures shall include:

(i) utilization of necessary technologies to ensure, to the extent
practicable, that photographs produced by such school bus photo
violation monitoring systems shall not include images that identify the
driver, the passengers, the contents of the vehicle, pedestrians and
cyclists. Provided, however, that no notice of liability issued pursuant
to this section shall be dismissed solely because a photograph or
photographs allow for the identification of the contents of a vehicle,
provided that such county, city, town or village has made a reasonable
effort to comply with the provisions of this paragraph;

(ii) a prohibition on the use or dissemination of vehicles' license
plate information and other information and images captured by school
bus photo violation monitoring systems except: (A) as required to
establish liability under this section or collect payment of penalties;
(B) as required by court order; or (C) as otherwise required by law;

(iii) the installation of signage in conformance with standards
established in the MUTCD at each roadway entrance of the jurisdictional
boundaries of such county, city, town or village giving notice that
school bus photo violation monitoring systems are used to enforce
restrictions on vehicles violating section eleven hundred seventy-four
of this chapter. For the purposes of this paragraph, the term "roadway"
shall not include state expressway routes or state interstate routes but
shall include controlled-access highway exit ramps that enter the
jurisdictional boundaries of a county, city, town or village; and

(iv) oversight procedures to ensure compliance with the aforementioned
privacy protection measures.

(b) In any such county, city, town or village which has adopted a
local law or ordinance pursuant to subdivision (a) of this section, the
owner of a vehicle shall be liable for a penalty imposed pursuant to
this section if such vehicle was used or operated with the permission of
the owner, express or implied, in violation of subdivision (a) of
section eleven hundred seventy-four of this article, and such violation
is evidenced by information obtained from a school bus photo violation
monitoring system; provided however that no owner of a vehicle shall be
liable for a penalty imposed pursuant to this section where the operator
of such vehicle has been convicted of the underlying violation of
subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred seventy-four of this article.

(c) For purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the
following meanings: "county" shall have the meaning provided in section
three of the county law, except that such term shall not include any
county wholly contained within a city; "manual on uniform traffic
control devices" or "MUTCD" shall mean the manual and specifications for
a uniform system of traffic control devices maintained by the
commissioner of transportation pursuant to section sixteen hundred
eighty of this chapter; "owner" shall have the meaning provided in
article two-B of this chapter; and "school bus photo violation
monitoring system" shall mean a device that is capable of operating
independently of an enforcement officer which is installed to work in
conjunction with a school bus stop-arm and which automatically produces
two or more photographs, two or more microphotographs, a videotape or
other recorded images of a vehicle at the time it is used or operated in
violation of subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred seventy-four of
this article.

(d) A certificate, sworn to or affirmed by a technician employed by
the county, city, town or village in which the charged violation
occurred, or a facsimile thereof, based upon inspection of photographs,
microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images produced by a
school bus photo violation monitoring system, shall be prima facie
evidence of the facts contained therein. Any photographs,
microphotographs, videotape or other recorded images evidencing such a
violation shall be available for inspection in any proceeding to
adjudicate the liability for such violation pursuant to a local law or
ordinance adopted pursuant to this section.

(e) An owner liable for a violation of subdivision (a) of section
eleven hundred seventy-four of this article pursuant to a local law or
ordinance adopted pursuant to this section shall be liable for monetary
penalties in accordance with a schedule of fines and penalties to be set
forth in such local law or ordinance, except that if a city by local law
has authorized the adjudication of such owner liability by a parking
violations bureau, such schedule shall be promulgated by such bureau.
The liability of the owner pursuant to this section shall be two hundred
fifty dollars for a first violation, two hundred seventy-five dollars
for a second violation both of which were committed within a period of
eighteen months, and three hundred dollars for a third or subsequent
violation all of which were committed within a period of eighteen
months; provided, however, that such local law or ordinance may provide
for an additional penalty not in excess of twenty-five dollars for each
violation for the failure to respond to a notice of liability within the
prescribed time period.

(f) An imposition of liability under a local law or ordinance adopted
pursuant to this section shall not be deemed a conviction as an operator
and shall not be made part of the operating record of the person upon
whom such liability is imposed nor shall it be used for insurance
purposes in the provision of motor vehicle insurance coverage.

(g) 1. A notice of liability shall be sent by first class mail to each
person alleged to be liable as an owner for a violation of subdivision
(a) of section eleven hundred seventy-four of this article pursuant to
this section. Personal delivery on the owner shall not be required. A
manual or automatic record of mailing prepared in the ordinary course of
business shall be prima facie evidence of the facts contained therein.

2. A notice of liability shall contain the name and address of the
person alleged to be liable as an owner for a violation of subdivision
(a) of section eleven hundred seventy-four of this article pursuant to
this section, the registration number of the vehicle involved in such
violation, the location where such violation took place, the date and
time of such violation and the identification number of the camera which
recorded the violation or other document locator number.

3. The notice of liability shall contain information advising the
person charged of the manner and the time in which he or she may contest
the liability alleged in the notice. Such notice of liability shall also
contain a warning to advise the persons charged that failure to contest
in the manner and time provided shall be deemed an admission of
liability and that a default judgment may be entered thereon.

4. The notice of liability shall be prepared and mailed by the county,
city, town or village in which the violation occurred, or by any other
entity authorized by such county, city, town or village to prepare and
mail such notification of violation.

(h) Adjudication of the liability imposed upon owners by this section
shall be by a traffic violations bureau established pursuant to section
three hundred seventy of the general municipal law where the violation
occurred or, if there be none, by the court having jurisdiction over
traffic infractions where the violation occurred, except that if a city
has established an administrative tribunal to hear and determine
complaints of traffic infractions constituting parking, standing or
stopping violations such city may, by local law, authorize such
adjudication by such tribunal.

(i) If an owner receives a notice of liability pursuant to this
section for any time period during which the vehicle was reported to the
police as having been stolen, it shall be a valid defense to an
allegation of liability for a violation of subdivision (a) of section
eleven hundred seventy-four of this article pursuant to this section
that the vehicle had been reported to the police as stolen prior to the
time the violation occurred and had not been recovered by such time. For
purposes of asserting the defense provided by this subdivision it shall
be sufficient that a certified copy of the police report on the stolen
vehicle be sent by first class mail to the traffic violations bureau,
court having jurisdiction or parking violations bureau.

(j) 1. In such county, city, town or village where the adjudication of
liability imposed upon owners pursuant to this section is by a traffic
violations bureau or a court having jurisdiction, an owner who is a
lessor of a vehicle to which a notice of liability was issued pursuant
to subdivision (g) of this section shall not be liable for the violation
of subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred seventy-four of this
article, provided that he or she sends to the traffic violations bureau
or court having jurisdiction a copy of the rental, lease or other such
contract document covering such vehicle on the date of the violation,
with the name and address of the lessee clearly legible, within
thirty-seven days after receiving notice from the bureau or court of the
date and time of such violation, together with the other information
contained in the original notice of liability. Failure to send such
information within such thirty-seven day time period shall render the
owner liable for the penalty prescribed by this section. Where the
lessor complies with the provisions of this paragraph, the lessee of
such vehicle on the date of such violation shall be deemed to be the
owner of such vehicle for purposes of this section, shall be subject to
liability for the violation of subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred
seventy-four of this article pursuant to this section and shall be sent
a notice of liability pursuant to subdivision (g) of this section.

2. (i) In a city which, by local law, has authorized the adjudication
of liability imposed upon owners by this section by a parking violations
bureau, an owner who is a lessor of a vehicle to which a notice of
liability was issued pursuant to subdivision (g) of this section shall
not be liable for the violation of subdivision (a) of section eleven
hundred seventy-four of this article, provided that:

(A) prior to the violation, the lessor has filed with the bureau in
accordance with the provisions of section two hundred thirty-nine of
this chapter; and

(B) within thirty-seven days after receiving notice from the bureau of
the date and time of a liability, together with the other information
contained in the original notice of liability, the lessor submits to the
bureau the correct name and address of the lessee of the vehicle
identified in the notice of liability at the time of such violation,
together with such other additional information contained in the rental,
lease or other contract document, as may be reasonably required by the
bureau pursuant to regulations that may be promulgated for such purpose.

(ii) Failure to comply with clause (B) of subparagraph (i) of this
paragraph shall render the owner liable for the penalty prescribed in
this section.

(iii) Where the lessor complies with the provisions of this paragraph,
the lessee of such vehicle on the date of such violation shall be deemed
to be the owner of such vehicle for purposes of this section, shall be
subject to liability for such violation pursuant to this section and
shall be sent a notice of liability pursuant to subdivision (g) of this
section.

(k) 1. If the owner liable for a violation of subdivision (a) of
section eleven hundred seventy-four of this article pursuant to this
section was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the
violation, the owner may maintain an action for indemnification against
the operator.

2. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, no owner of a
vehicle shall be subject to a monetary fine imposed pursuant to this
section if the operator of such vehicle was operating such vehicle
without the consent of the owner at the time such operator failed to
comply with section eleven hundred seventy-four of this chapter. For
purposes of this subdivision there shall be a presumption that the
operator of such vehicle was operating such vehicle with the consent of
the owner at the time such operator failed to comply with section eleven
hundred seventy-four of this chapter.

(l) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the liability
of an operator of a vehicle for any violation of subdivision (a) of
section eleven hundred seventy-four of this article.

(m) In any such county, city, town or village which adopts a
demonstration program pursuant to subdivision (a) of this section, such
county, city, town or village shall submit an annual report on the
results of the use of a school bus photo violation monitoring system to
the governor, the temporary president of the senate and the speaker of
the assembly on or before June first, two thousand nineteen and on the
same date in each succeeding year in which the demonstration program is
operable. Such report shall include, but not be limited to:

1. the number of buses and a description of the routes where
stationary and mobile school bus photo violation monitoring systems were
used;

2. the aggregate number, type and severity of accidents reported at
locations where a school bus photo violation monitoring system is used
for the year preceding the installation of such system, to the extent
the information is maintained by the department of motor vehicles of
this state;

3. the aggregate number, type and severity of accidents reported at
locations where a school bus photo violation monitoring system is used,
to the extent the information is maintained by the department of motor
vehicles of this state;

4. the number of violations recorded at each location where a school
bus photo violation monitoring system is used and in the aggregate on a
daily, weekly and monthly basis;

4-a. the number of convictions for violations of subdivision (a) of
section eleven hundred seventy-four of this article recorded at each
location where a school bus photo violation monitoring system is used on
an annual basis, to the extent the information is maintained by the
department of motor vehicles of this state;

5. the total number of notices of liability issued for violations
recorded by such systems;

6. the number of fines and total amount of fines paid after the first
notice of liability issued for violations recorded by such systems;

7. the number of violations adjudicated and results of such
adjudications including breakdowns of dispositions made for violations
recorded by such systems which shall be provided at least annually to
such county, city, town or village by the respective courts, bureaus and
agencies conducting such adjudications;

8. the total amount of revenue realized by such city, town or village
from such adjudications;

9. the expenses incurred by such city, town or village in connection
with the program;

10. the quality of the adjudication process and its results including
the total number of hearings scheduled, re-scheduled, and held; the
total number of persons scheduled for such hearings; the total number of
cases where fines were paid on or before the hearing date; and the total
number of default judgments entered. Such information shall be provided
at least annually to such county, city, town or village by the
respective courts, bureaus and agencies conducting such adjudications;
and

11. a description of public education activities conducted to warn
motorists of the dangers of overtaking and passing stopped school buses.

(n) It shall be a defense to any prosecution for a violation of
subdivision (a) of section eleven hundred seventy-four of this article
pursuant to a local law or ordinance adopted pursuant to this section
that such school bus stop-arms were malfunctioning at the time of the
alleged violation.

* NB Repealed December 1, 2024