Senator Anna M. Kaplan Helps Pass Strong Transportation Safety Laws

(Albany, NY) Senator Anna M. Kaplan and the Senate Majority passed legislation today to help prevent tragedies by making New York roads and waterways safer. The bill package includes a bill to allow the use of stop-arm cameras on school buses to capture dangerous drivers who put students and pedestrians at risk. Additional legislation passed by the Senate Majority includes bills requiring all backseat passengers to wear a seatbelt, making boating safety courses and exams a prerequisite to operate on navigable waters (Brianna’s Law), and regulations to improve school and charter bus safety.

Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “I’m all for taking any action we can to protect the safety of our children, and enforcing the law to keep drivers from passing stopped school buses is a no-brainer. By providing better driver education, and adding cameras to school bus stop-arms, we can deter drivers from taking reckless action that could result in a child being hurt or killed. I’m proud to support legislation that will finally take action to address this public safety crisis that puts too many children at risk every day.”

The transportation safety legislation advanced by the Senate Majority includes: 

  •  Stop-Arm Cameras: This bill, S.4524-B, increases pedestrian safety by allowing cameras to impose liability on owners of motor vehicles for overtaking and passing school buses.
  • Includes School Bus Safety on Drivers’ Education Curriculum: This bill, S.2960-A, sponsored by Senator Anna M. Kaplan, will ensure that drivers have greater awareness of the law prohibiting overtaking and passing a stopped school bus.
  • Bus Driver Hiring Accountability: This bill, S.3557, will increase penalties for bus companies that fail to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles when the bus company employs a driver with felony conviction related to use of a motor vehicle, an impaired driving related conviction, reckless driving, or leaving the scene of an incident.
  • Strengthening Complete Streets: This bill, S.1549-A, will incorporate “complete street” design features in resurfacing, maintenance, and pavement recycling projects and further enable safer access to public roads for all users.
  • Enacts Brianna’s Law: This bill, S.5685, requires the operators of mechanically propelled vessels to complete a boating safety course. Right now, the requirement only applies to persons born on or after May 1, 1996.
  • Display of Bus Driver Credentials: This bill, S.3450-B, will require the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue new credentials to individuals qualified to drive a bus under Article 19A of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, and require these drivers and the bus companies to display the credentials while on duty and display proof of valid inspection and operating authority to operate the vehicle.
  • Automobile Safety: This bill, S.4336, will require adult passengers in the backseat of motor vehicles to wear a seatbelt.
  • Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Education: This bill, S.5228-A, will require new drivers to learn about pedestrian and bicyclist safety as a component of the pre-licensing exam and require it to be a part of pre-licensing education.
  • Standards for Protective Coatings: This bill, S.2773, requires the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York City Transit Authority to implement internationally recognized safety standards pertaining to applying and removing coasting from bridges, trestles, and elevated subway and railway tracks and stations. 
  • Commercial GPS for Charter Buses: This bill, S.2978, will ensure that charter buses use the commercial global positioning system (GPS) navigation while operating in New York to avoid potential overhead strikes on parkways and other low-hanging overpasses.