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SB-371 Schoolbuses: stop requirements. (2019-2020)

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Date Published: 01/27/2020 09:00 PM
SB371:v95#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  January 27, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  January 14, 2020
Amended  IN  Senate  May 02, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  March 25, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 371


Introduced by Senator Caballero

February 20, 2019


An act to amend Sections 22454, 22454.5, and 25257 of the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 371, as amended, Caballero. Schoolbuses: stop requirements.
Existing law requires the driver of any vehicle, upon meeting or overtaking any schoolbus equipped with required signs that is stopped for the purpose of loading or unloading any schoolchildren and displaying a flashing red light signal and stop signal arm, if equipped with a stop signal arm, to bring the vehicle to a stop immediately before passing the schoolbus and to not proceed past the schoolbus until the flashing red light signal and stop signal arm cease operation. A violation of these provisions is a crime.
This bill would authorize a school district to install and operate an automated schoolbus video enforcement system, as defined, for the purpose of enforcing the prohibition described above. The bill would require additional signage on schoolbuses relative to the video enforcement system. The bill would prohibit a school district from using automated schoolbus video enforcement systems or information gathered from those systems for any purpose other than those authorized by these provisions and would specifically prohibit the use of video or images captured by a system for employee surveillance or discipline. The bill would require the video enforcement system images to capture only the vehicle make and model, color, and license plate displayed, and not any person in the vehicle or any other vehicles or persons in the vicinity of the vehicle. The bill would make any information, image, or other data captured or generated by the automated video enforcement system confidential, and unless demanded by court order, available only to the law enforcement agency or offender for limited purposes. The bill would create a procedure for the issuance of citations based upon evidence captured by an automated schoolbus video enforcement system, and would provide that a law enforcement agency is not required to, but may, participate in the enforcement of the previously described prohibition for a school district that adopts an automated schoolbus video enforcement system.
Existing law requires every schoolbus, when operated for the transportation of schoolchildren, to be equipped with a stop signal arm, among other things.
This bill would authorize a school district to equip its schoolbuses with an extended secondary stop signal arm that extends between 3 to 6 feet from the side of the schoolbus, and would provide that a schoolbus equipped with an extended secondary stop signal arm shall only be driven on 2-lane highways and highways in rural areas of the state.
Existing constitutional provisions require that a statute that limits the right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies be adopted with findings demonstrating the interest protected by the limitation and the need for protecting that interest.
This bill would make legislative findings to that effect.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 22454 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

22454.
 (a) The driver of any vehicle, upon meeting or overtaking, from either direction, any schoolbus equipped with signs as required in this code, that is stopped for the purpose of loading or unloading any schoolchildren and displays a flashing red light signal and stop signal arm, as defined in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b) of Section 25257, if equipped with a stop signal arm, visible from front or rear, shall bring the vehicle to a stop immediately before passing the schoolbus and shall not proceed past the schoolbus until the flashing red light signal and stop signal arm, if equipped with a stop signal arm, cease operation.
(b) (1) The driver of a vehicle upon a divided highway or multiple-lane highway need not stop upon meeting or passing a schoolbus that is upon the other roadway.
(2) For the purposes of this subdivision, a multiple-lane highway is any highway that has two or more lanes of travel in each direction.
(c) (1) If a vehicle was observed overtaking a schoolbus in violation of subdivision (a), and the driver of the schoolbus witnessed the violation, the driver may, within 24 hours, report the violation and furnish the vehicle license plate number and description and the time and place of the violation to the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction of the offense. That law enforcement agency shall issue a letter of warning prepared in accordance with paragraph (2) with respect to the alleged violation to the registered owner of the vehicle. The issuance of a warning letter under this paragraph shall not be entered on the driving record of the person to whom it is issued, but does not preclude the imposition of any other applicable penalty.
(2) The Attorney General shall prepare and furnish to every law enforcement agency in the state a form letter for purposes of paragraph (1), and the law enforcement agency may issue those letters in the exact form prepared by the Attorney General. The Attorney General may charge a fee to any law enforcement agency that requests a copy of the form letter to recover the costs of preparing and providing that copy.
(d) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), in addition to any other monitoring devices lawfully authorized to be installed in or on a schoolbus, a school district may install and operate an automated schoolbus video enforcement system on the outside of a school bus for the purpose of enforcing violations of subdivision (a).
(2) A school district that proposes to install or operate an automated traffic enforcement system shall not consider revenue generation, beyond recovering its actual costs of operating the system, as a factor when considering whether or not to install or operate a system within its local jurisdiction.
(3) For purposes of this section, an “automated schoolbus video enforcement system” means a camera system that monitors and records motor vehicles overtaking or passing a schoolbus when the schoolbus is stopped and displaying a flashing red signal system and a stop signal arm, if equipped with a stop signal arm.
(e) A schoolbus equipped with an automated schoolbus video enforcement system shall also be equipped with highly visible signage on the rear of the schoolbus that reads as follows:

“STOP WHEN LIGHTS ARE FLASHING - IT’S THE LAW”
“VIDEO ENFORCED STOP”

(f) If a school district adopts an automated schoolbus video enforcement system pursuant to this section, a school district may do all of the following:
(1) Contract with private vendors for the operation and maintenance of the system. This paragraph does not authorize a private vendor to determine whether captured images result in a cited violation of subdivision (a).
(A) A school district contracting with a vendor to support an automated schoolbus video enforcement system shall prohibit the vendor from storing, utilizing, or sharing any information, image, or other data captured or generated by the system with any other entity, except the school district it supports and law enforcement serving the school district’s jurisdiction.
(B) A contract between a school district and a manufacturer or supplier of automated enforcement equipment shall not include any provision for the payment or compensation to the manufacturer or supplier based upon the number of citations generated, or as a percentage of the revenue generated, as a result of the use of the equipment authorized under this section.
(2) Craft working arrangements and agreements with law enforcement and governing bodies of cities and counties in the school district’s jurisdiction regarding the responsibilities associated with the administration and cost of deploying that system, including, but not limited to, an agreement for use of the base fine paid for a violation of subdivision (a) when the violation was captured by an automated schoolbus video enforcement system and the image or video was used to convict the offender. A law enforcement agency is not required to, but may, at its option, participate in the enforcement of violations of subdivision (a) for a school district that adopts an automated schoolbus video enforcement system pursuant to this section.
(g) (1) If a school district utilizes an automated schoolbus video enforcement system, the video images shall capture only the vehicle make and model, color, and license plate displayed, and shall not contain images of any person in the vehicle or images of any other vehicles or persons in the vicinity of the vehicle.
(2) The video images captured or generated by the automated schoolbus video enforcement system shall contain all of the following:
(A) A clear view of vehicles passing the schoolbus on either side.
(B) The date and time the recording was made.
(C) An electronic symbol showing the activation of the amber lights, flashing red lights, stop signal arm deployment, and brake activation.
(3) An automated schoolbus video enforcement system shall activate only when the bus is stopped, the red lights are flashing, and the stop sign is deployed. The system shall record only when triggered by the motion of a passing vehicle.
(4) Video images captured by the automated schoolbus video enforcement system that are in the custody of a school district shall be destroyed within 30 days of recording. Video images in the custody of a law enforcement agency shall be destroyed within 30 days, or if the images result in the issuance of a citation, immediately following the final resolution of the case.
(h) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, any information, image, or other data captured or generated by the automated schoolbus video enforcement system is confidential, shall be encrypted, and shall only be accessed by the law enforcement agency responsible for issuing a citation, by a vehicle owner or driver pursuant to subdivision (i), or pursuant to a court order. Information, images, or data shall not be viewed by the school district or vendor having custody or control of the automated schoolbus video enforcement system. Information, images, or data in the custody of a law enforcement agency shall be stored in a secure database.
(2) A school district shall not use an automated schoolbus video enforcement system or any information, image, or other data captured or generated by that system for any purpose other than the purposes authorized by this section.
(3) The State Board of Education may adopt standards, rules, and regulations to address student privacy concerns that may arise from the use of an automated schoolbus video enforcement system.
(i) The vehicle owner and vehicle driver have a right to a copy of the automatic captured video image if a violation is charged. If the vehicle is a rented vehicle, the rental company has a right to view, but not own, store, or share, an image of the vehicle charged with a schoolbus stop violation.
(j) (1) A school district that adopts an automated schoolbus video enforcement system pursuant to this section shall have a public communication plan to provide information to persons in the school district’s jurisdiction that the system will be deployed, and shall provide the information at least 90 days before its deployment.
(2) During the first six months of the deployment of an automated schoolbus video enforcement system, a vehicle owner or driver in violation of subdivision (a) captured by the system shall receive a warning letter and not a citation.
(k) (1) After six months of the deployment of an automated schoolbus video enforcement system, a vehicle owner or driver in violation of subdivision (a) captured by the system that has not previously been issued a warning letter pursuant to this subdivision or subdivision (j), shall receive a warning letter and not a citation. Any vehicle owner or driver who has previously received a warning letter shall, if a sworn officer determines that there is clear and unequivocal evidence to prove that a violation of subdivision (a) has occurred, be issued a citation pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 22454.5.
(2) A citation shall not be issued for any offense that occurs in the time between any previous offense committed by the same driver and 21 days after the mailing of the warning letter or citation.

(l)A

(l) (1) If a schoolbus driver observes a violation of subdivision (a) that occurs while an automated schoolbus video enforcement system is active, the schoolbus driver shall note the approximate time of the violation and notify the school district on a form provided by the school district that includes an attestation that the flashing red lights and stop sign were deployed and functioning.
(2) Upon receipt of a notice described in paragraph (1), the school district shall, without accessing the images, forward video evidence of a vehicle allegedly violating subdivision (a) to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction. That evidence shall be reviewed by that agency, and if a sworn officer of that agency determines that there is clear and unequivocal evidence to prove that a violation has occurred, then the agency shall, as appropriate, enforce this section by issuing a warning letter pursuant to this section or issuing a citation pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 22454.5.
(m) Any citation issued pursuant to subdivision (l) shall include an affidavit of nonliability that may be signed by the registered owner of the vehicle to attest that they were not driving the vehicle at the date and time of the citation. If the driver signs the affidavit of nonliability under penalty of perjury, the citation shall be dismissed.
(n) A driver of a schoolbus equipped with an automated schoolbus video enforcement system shall not incur any increased liability or be liable for the operation of that system.
(o) Video or images captured by an automated schoolbus video enforcement system shall not be used for the purpose of employee surveillance or discipline.
(p) This section also applies to a roadway upon private property.

SEC. 2.

 Section 22454.5 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

22454.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding Section 42001, and except as otherwise provided in subdivision (b), a person convicted of a first violation of Section 22454 shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred fifty dollars ($150) or more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250). A person convicted of a second separate violation of Section 22454 shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) or more than one thousand dollars ($1,000). If a person is convicted of a third or subsequent violation of Section 22454 and the offense occurred within three years of two or more separate violations of Section 22454, the Department of Motor Vehicles shall suspend the person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for one year.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a person convicted of a violation of subdivision (a) of Section 22454 that was captured by an automated schoolbus video enforcement system and was issued a citation pursuant to subdivision (l) of that section shall be punished as follows:
(1) A first or second violation for which a citation is issued and the defendant is convicted shall be punished by a fine of two hundred fifty dollars ($250). No additional assessments, surcharges, or penalties, including those imposed pursuant to Title 8 (commencing with Section 68070) of the Government Code, shall be added to the fine amount if the defendant does not contest the citation. No violation point shall be given.
(2) A third or subsequent violation for which a citation is issued and the defendant is convicted shall be punished as a third or subsequent violation pursuant to subdivision (a), and shall include any additional assessments, surcharges, or penalties, including those imposed pursuant to Title 8 (commencing with Section 68070) of the Government Code.

SEC. 3.

 Section 25257 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

25257.
 (a) Every schoolbus, when operated for the transportation of schoolchildren, shall be equipped with a flashing red light signal system.
(b) (1) Every schoolbus manufactured on or after September 1, 1992, shall also be equipped with a stop signal arm. Any schoolbus manufactured before September 1, 1992, may be equipped with a stop signal arm.
(2) A schoolbus manufactured on or after July 1, 1993, shall also be equipped with an amber warning light system, in addition to the flashing red light signal system. Any schoolbus manufactured before July 1, 1993, may be equipped with an amber warning light system.
(3) A school district may equip its schoolbuses with an extended secondary stop signal arm that extends between three to six feet from the side of the school bus. A schoolbus equipped with an extended secondary stop signal arm pursuant to this paragraph shall only be driven on two-lane highways and highways in rural areas of the state.
(4) The department shall adopt regulations governing the specifications, installation, and use of stop signal arms, to comply with federal standards.
(5) A “stop signal arm” is a device that can be extended outward from the side of a schoolbus to provide a signal to other motorists not to pass the bus because it has stopped to load or unload passengers, that is manufactured pursuant to the specifications of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 131, as provided in Section 571.131 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

SEC. 4.

 The Legislature finds and declares that Section 1 of this act, which amends Section 22454 of the Vehicle Code, imposes a limitation on the public’s right of access to the meetings of public bodies or the writings of public officials and agencies within the meaning of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution. Pursuant to that constitutional provision, the Legislature makes the following findings to demonstrate the interest protected by this limitation and the need for protecting that interest:
Protecting the privacy of a person whose image is captured by a schoolbus video enforcement system enhances public safety and the protection of individual rights, thereby furthering the purposes of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution.