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SB-111 Schoolbuses: stop requirements. (2021-2022)

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Date Published: 01/07/2021 09:00 PM
SB111:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 111


Introduced by Senator Newman
(Coauthor: Senator Caballero)

January 07, 2021


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


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 111, as introduced, Newman. 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 video traffic enforcement system, as defined, for the purpose of enforcing the prohibition described above. The bill would allow school districts to contract with private vendors for the equipment, operation, and maintenance of an automated video traffic enforcement system, under certain circumstances, and create working agreements with local jurisdictions and local law enforcement. 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 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 allow the State Board of Education to adopt standards, rules, and regulations to address privacy concerns arising from the use of an automated video traffic enforcement system. The bill would require a school district that operates an automated video traffic enforcement system to provide notice to people in the district and to send warning letters in lieu of citations for violations captured by the system during the first 90 days. The bill would allow for some reduced penalties when a violation was captured by an automated video traffic enforcement system.
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 a vehicle, upon meeting or overtaking, from either direction, any a 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 a 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 a 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 a law enforcement agency that requests a copy of the form letter to recover the costs of preparing and providing that copy.

(d)This section also applies to a roadway upon private property.

(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 video traffic enforcement system on the outside of a schoolbus for the purpose of enforcing violations of subdivision (a).
(2) An “automated video traffic 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.
(3) Any revenue generated by an automated video traffic enforcement system shall only be used to improve traffic and public safety and offset the costs associated with the automated video traffic enforcement system.
(e) A school district that adopts an automated video traffic enforcement system pursuant to this section may do all of the following:
(1) Contract with private vendors for the operation and maintenance of the system. This section does not authorize a private vendor to determine whether captured images are sufficient to issue a citation for a violation of subdivision (a).
(A) A school district contracting with a vendor to operate or maintain an automated video traffic enforcement system shall prohibit the vendor from storing, utilizing, or sharing any information, image, or other data captured or generated by the system with another entity, except the school district it contracts with and law enforcement serving the school district’s jurisdiction.
(B) A contract between a school district and a manufacturer or supplier of automated video traffic enforcement equipment shall include only provisions necessary to compensate for the reasonable costs as a result of the use of the equipment authorized under this section, and shall not consider the number of citations generated.
(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, 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.
(f) (1) An automated video traffic enforcement system shall capture all of the following:
(A) Vehicle manufacturer, model name, color, and license plate displayed.
(B) A clear view of a vehicle passing the schoolbus on either side.
(C) The date and time the recording was made.
(D) An electronic symbol showing the activation of the amber lights, flashing red lights, stop signal arm deployment, and brake activation.
(2) An automated video traffic enforcement system shall not capture video or images of a person inside a vehicle violating subdivision (a) or of another vehicle or person in the vicinity of the violation.
(3) An automated video traffic 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 video traffic 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.
(5) A schoolbus equipped with an automated video traffic 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”
(g) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, any information, image, or other data captured or generated by the automated video traffic 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 (h), 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 video traffic 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 use an automated video traffic enforcement system or any information, image, or other data captured or generated by that system for the purposes authorized by this section only.
(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 video traffic enforcement system.
(h) The vehicle owner and vehicle driver have a right to a copy of the automatically captured video image when a violation of subdivision (a) 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 involved in a violation of subdivision (a).
(i) (1) A school district that adopts an automated video traffic enforcement system shall create a 90-day public communication plan to inform persons in the school district that the system is operative.
(2) No citation shall be issued during the first 90 days a school district operates an automated video traffic enforcement system. During this period, a registered owner of a vehicle captured by an automated video traffic enforcement system violating subdivision (a) shall be issued an education or warning letter.
(3) A citation shall issue for a violation of subdivision (a) captured by the automated traffic enforcement system, after the school district has operated the system for 90 days.
(4) If a second violation of subdivision (a) occurs within 10 days of mailing the citation for the first violation of subdivision (a), no citation shall issue for the second violation. This shall not apply to a subsequent citation.
(j) (1) Installation or operation of an automated traffic enforcement system on a schoolbus does not preclude a schoolbus driver from reporting a violation of subdivision (a) pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (c). Actions by a driver to furnish information to law enforcement or not, pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (c), shall not be used in personnel or discipline actions by a school district.
(2) A school district shall incorporate a regular review and attestation of the proper functioning of an automated video traffic enforcement system into its routine procedures for ensuring a schoolbus’ safe worthiness.
(3) Upon request by a law enforcement agency investigating a violation of subdivision (a) for video evidence collected by an automated traffic enforcement system, the district shall provide the relevant video evidence to law enforcement. The district shall not access any image or information when providing it to the law enforcement agency.
(k) A citation issued pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (i) 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, absent evidence to rebut statements in the affidavit.
(l) The printed representation of computer-generated information, video, or photographic images stored by an automated traffic enforcement system does not constitute an out-of-court hearsay statement by a declarant under Division 10 (commencing with Section 1200) of the Evidence Code.
(m) A driver of a schoolbus equipped with an automated video traffic enforcement system shall not incur any increased liability or be liable for the operation of that system.
(n) Video or images captured by an automated video traffic enforcement system shall not be used for the purpose of employee surveillance or discipline.
(o) 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 video traffic enforcement system and was issued a citation pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (i) of that section shall be punished as follows:
(1) A first or second conviction 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 conviction 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 A schoolbus, when operated for the transportation of schoolchildren, shall be equipped with a flashing red light signal system.
(b) (1) Every A schoolbus manufactured on or after September 1, 1992, shall also be equipped with a stop signal arm. Any A schoolbus manufactured before September 1, 1992, may be equipped with a stop signal arm.
(2) Any 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 A schoolbus manufactured before July 1, 1993, may be equipped with an amber warning light system.
(3) On or before September 1, 1992, the The department shall adopt regulations governing the specifications, installation, and use of stop signal arms, to comply with federal standards.
(4) 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, issued on April 25, 1991. 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.