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SB-735 Vehicles: speed safety cameras.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 03/10/2021 09:00 PM
SB735:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  March 10, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 735


Introduced by Senator Rubio
(Coauthor: Senator Newman)

February 19, 2021


An act relating to vehicles. An act to amend Section 6276.44 of the Government Code, and to amend Sections 21455.6 and 40520 of, and to add Sections 212, 213, 22368, 40518.1, 40518.5, and 40518.6 to, the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 735, as amended, Rubio. Vehicles: speed safety cameras.
Existing law establishes a basic speed law that prohibits a person from driving a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent given the weather, visibility, traffic, highway conditions, and in no event at a speed that endangers the safety of persons or property. Existing law Existing law authorizes the use of automated traffic enforcement systems to monitor stops at specified locations, such as limit lines and intersections, but does not expressly authorize the use of automated speed enforcement in this state. Existing law establishes a pilot program for the adjudication of traffic infractions that does not require a personal appearance. The pilot program includes the creation of an online adjudicatory tool to determine a person’s ability to pay the amount due.

This bill would state the Legislature’s intent to enact legislation that would authorize local jurisdictions to utilize speed safety cameras for the purpose of enforcing speed limits. The bill would make additional legislative findings in this regard.

The bill would authorize a local authority to use a traffic speed safety system, as defined, to enforce speed limits in a school zone. The bill would prescribe requirements for the operation of a traffic speed safety system, including, among other things, notice to the public, issuance of citations, and confidentiality of data. The bill would create an administrative proceeding for persons to pay or contest a citation captured by a traffic speed safety system and a procedure to appeal an adverse decision. The bill would impose a civil penalty for a violation. The bill would require the use of the online adjudicatory tool to determine a person’s ability to pay that penalty and require that fees be collected pursuant to the process created in the pilot program described above.
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: NOYES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Speeding is a prevalent problem in the state of California that leads to death and injury.
(b) In 2018, 893 pedestrians were killed on California roadways and more than 14,000 pedestrians were injured.
(c) Speeding in California has dramatically increased recently. The Department of the California Highway Patrol issued 2,493 citations for driving more than 100 miles per hour in the first month of the shelter-in-place orders due to the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus 2019, from March 19, 2020, to April 19, 2020,inclusive, inclusive, compared with 1,335 citations for the same offense in the same period the previous year.
(d) Speed safety cameras are a tool available to local governments around the country, including in Illinois, New York, Washington, and Arizona. This tool has proven to reduce speed related crashes, fatalities, and injuries.
(e) Speed safety cameras have proven to reduce in-person enforcement in jurisdictions where they have been utilized while also maintaining safety.
(f) Speed safety cameras are an effective tool that protects drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians by reducing speeding in areas where they are located.
(g) Speed safety cameras are especially important in protecting school children, traveling to and from school.
(h) Current state statute does not expressly authorize the use of this life-saving technology.
(i) Local jurisdictions should be granted the authority by the Legislature to use speed safety cameras to protect our most vulnerable community members, including children in school zones.
(j) Speed safety camera fines should be civil in nature so as not to unfairly burden violators with significant fines, loss of license, or loss of vehicle.
(k) The amount of a speed safety camera fine should be reasonable and justifiable.
(l) Courts adjudicating speed safety camera-enforced violations should implement use of an “ability-to-pay” calculator to ensure that speed safety cameras do not unfairly impact lower income communities.
(m) Speed safety cameras should only be used to enforce speeding violations and the data captured by speed safety cameras should not be stored longer than needed for the purpose of the violation, and then should be destroyed.
(n) Speed safety cameras should be located based on safety needs and should ensure equitable enforcement.

SEC. 2.

 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would authorize local jurisdictions to utilize speed safety cameras for the purpose of enforcing speed limits in areas where residents are most vulnerable, including school zones.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would ensure that the speed safety camera programs will be done equitably and protect the privacy rights of Californians.

SEC. 3.

 Section 6276.44 of the Government Code is amended to read:

6276.44.
 Taxpayer information, confidentiality, local taxes, subdivision (i), Section 6254.
Tax preparer, disclosure of information obtained in business of preparing tax returns, Section 17530.5, Business and Professions Code.
Teacher, credential holder or applicant, information provided to Commission on Teacher Credentialing, confidentiality of, Section 44341, Education Code.
Teacher, certified school personnel examination results, confidentiality of, Section 44289, Education Code.
Telephone answering service customer list, trade secret, Section 16606, Business and Professions Code.
Timber yield tax, disclosure to county assessor, Section 38706, Revenue and Taxation Code.
Timber yield tax, disclosure of information, Section 38705, Revenue and Taxation Code.
Title insurers, confidentiality of notice of noncompliance, Section 12414.14, Insurance Code.
Tobacco products, exemption from disclosure for distribution information provided to the State Department of Public Health, Section 22954, Business and Professions Code.
Tow truck driver, information in records of California Highway Patrol, Department of Motor Vehicles, or other agencies, confidentiality of, Sections 2431 and 2432.3, Vehicle Code.
Toxic substances, Department of, inspection of records of, Section 25152.5, Health and Safety Code.
Trade secrets, Section 1060, Evidence Code.
Trade secrets, confidentiality of, occupational safety and health inspections, Section 6322, Labor Code.
Trade secrets, disclosure of public records, Section 3426.7, Civil Code.
Trade secrets, food, drugs, cosmetics, nondisclosure, Sections 110165 and 110370, Health and Safety Code.
Trade secrets, protection by Director of the Department of Pesticide Regulation, Section 6254.2.
Trade secrets and proprietary information relating to pesticides, confidentiality of, Sections 14022 and 14023, Food and Agricultural Code.
Trade secrets, protection by Director of Industrial Relations, Section 6396, Labor Code.
Trade secrets relating to hazardous substances, disclosure of, Sections 25358.2 and 25358.7, Health and Safety Code.
Traffic speed safety system, confidentiality of photographic records made by the system, Section 22368, Vehicle Code.
Traffic violator school licensee records, confidentiality of, Section 11212, Vehicle Code.
Traffic offense, dismissed for participation in driving school or program, record of, confidentiality of, Section 1808.7, Vehicle Code.
Transit districts, questionnaire and financial statement information in bids, Section 99154, Public Utilities Code.
Tribal-state gaming contracts, exemption from disclosure for records of an Indian tribe relating to securitization of annual payments, Section 63048.63.
Trust companies, disclosure of private trust confidential information, Section 1582, Financial Code.

SEC. 4.

 Section 212 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

212.
 A “notice of violation” means the mailed notice of a violation of Section 22348 or 22358.4 recorded by a traffic speed safety system authorized pursuant to Section 22368, and subject to citation as a civil violation under Section 40518.1.

SEC. 5.

 Section 213 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

213.
 A “traffic speed safety system” is a device that meets all of the following requirements:
(a) Is capable of producing a photographically recorded still or video image, or combination thereof, of a motor vehicle, or a motor vehicle being towed by another motor vehicle, including an image of the vehicle’s license plate.
(b) Is capable of monitoring vehicle speed.
(c) Indicates on one or more images produced the date, time, and location of the motor vehicle traveling at speeds above the posted speed limit within 2,500 feet of the perimeter of a school.

SEC. 6.

 Section 21455.6 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

21455.6.
 (a) A city council or county board of supervisors shall conduct a public hearing on the proposed use of an automated enforcement system authorized under Section 21455.5 prior to authorizing the city or county to enter into a contract for the use of the system.
(b) (1) The activities listed in subdivision (c) of Section 21455.5 that relate to the operation of an automated enforcement system may be contracted out by the city or county, except that the activities listed in paragraph (1) of, and subparagraphs (A), (D), (E), or (F) of paragraph (2) of, subdivision (c) of Section 21455.5 may not be contracted out to the manufacturer or supplier of the automated enforcement system.
(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply to a contract that was entered into by a city or county and a manufacturer or supplier of automated enforcement equipment before January 1, 2004, unless that contract is renewed, extended, or amended on or after January 1, 2004.

(c)The authorization in Section 21455.5 to use automated enforcement systems does not authorize the use of photo radar for speed enforcement purposes by any jurisdiction.

SEC. 7.

 Section 22368 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

22368.
 (a) For the purpose of enforcing speed limits in and around school zones, a traffic speed safety system may be placed by a local authority within 2,500 feet of the perimeter of a school, or on that part of a roadway located within 2,500 feet of the perimeter of an institution of higher education, or within 2,500 feet of the grounds of the perimeter of a building or property used by a school or institution of higher education where generally accepted traffic and engineering practices indicate that motor vehicle, pedestrian, or bicycle traffic is substantially generated or influenced by the school or institution of higher education building if the governmental agency utilizing the system identifies the system by signs posted within 500 feet along the approach of any roadway at which a traffic speed safety system is located. The advance warning signs shall notify motorists of the existence of the traffic speed safety system and shall comply with the Department of Transportation’s California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. A rebuttable presumption exists that the signage was properly installed at the time of the alleged violation.
(b) Prior to issuing a notice of violation under this section, a local authority utilizing a traffic speed safety system shall commence a program to issue only warning notices for 30 days. The local authority also shall make a public announcement of the traffic speed safety system at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the enforcement program.
(c) Only a governmental agency may operate a traffic speed safety system. A governmental agency that operates a traffic speed safety system shall do all of the following:
(1) Develop uniform guidelines for screening and issuing violations and for the processing and storage of confidential information, and establish procedures to ensure compliance with those guidelines.
(2) Perform administrative functions and day-to-day functions, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(A) Establishing guidelines for the selection of a location.
(B) Ensuring that the equipment is regularly inspected.
(C) Certifying that the equipment is properly installed and calibrated on an annual basis, and is operating properly.
(D) Regularly inspecting and maintaining warning signs placed in accordance with subdivision (a).
(E) Maintaining controls necessary to ensure that only those violations that have been reviewed and approved by a governmental agency are delivered to violators.
(d) The activities listed in subdivision (c) that relate to the operation of the system may be contracted out by the governmental agency, if it maintains overall control and supervision of the system. However, the activities listed in paragraph (1) and subparagraphs (A), (D), and (E) of paragraph (2), of subdivision (c) shall not be contracted out to the manufacturer or supplier of the traffic speed safety system.
(e) The printed representation of computer-generated information, video, or photographic images stored by a traffic speed safety system does not constitute an out-of-court hearsay statement by a declarant under Division 10 (commencing with Section 1200) of the Evidence Code.
(f) (1) Notwithstanding Section 6253 of the Government Code, or any other law, photographic records made by a traffic speed safety system shall be confidential, and shall be made available only to governmental agencies and only for the purposes of this article.
(2) Confidential information obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles for the administration or enforcement of this article shall be held confidential, and shall not be used for any other purpose. Reasonable security procedures and practices appropriate to the nature of the information shall be implemented to protect the data captured by traffic speed safety systems from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.
(3) Speed safety cameras shall only be used to enforce speeding violations and the data captured by speed safety cameras shall not be stored longer than necessary for the enforcement of the violation, then, unless ordered by a court to do otherwise, it must be destroyed by shredding, erasing, or otherwise modifying the data to make it unreadable or undecipherable through any means.
(g) Notwithstanding subdivision (f), the registered owner or any individual identified by the registered owner as the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation shall be permitted to review the photographic evidence of the alleged violation.
(h) Photographic evidence may not include a photo of the driver’s face. However, a violation shall not be dismissed solely because a driver’s face was captured in the recorded images.
(i) A governmental agency that proposes to install or operate a traffic speed safety 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 authority.
(j) A governmental agency shall consider the safety data and demographics of a community before installing a traffic speed safety system to ensure equitable system placement.

SEC. 8.

 Section 40518.1 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

40518.1.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a violation of Section 22348 or 22358.4 that is recorded by a traffic speed safety system authorized pursuant to Section 22368 shall be subject only to a civil penalty as provided in subdivisions (d) and (e). The notice of violation shall not be considered a moving violation, nor shall the violation result in the assessment of points against the license of the person found to be liable for the violation.
(b) A written notice of violation shall be issued by a governmental agency on a form approved by the Judicial Council for an alleged violation of Section 22348 or 22358.4, recorded by a traffic speed safety system pursuant to Section 22368 and delivered by first-class mail within 30 days after obtaining the name and address of the vehicle owner to the current address of the registered owner of the vehicle on file with the department. A rebuttable presumption exists that the notice of violation was successfully delivered. Except as provided in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 40520, and Section 40518.5, the registered owner of the vehicle shall be liable for payment of any civil penalty assessed for the violation.
(c) A notice of violation shall contain the following information:
(1) The name and address of the person alleged to be liable as the owner of the motor vehicle involved in the violation.
(2) The license plate number of the motor vehicle.
(3) The violation charged.
(4) The location, date, and time of the violation.
(5) The photographic image of the vehicle and vehicle license plate that is captured by the traffic speed safety system and information on how to view, through electronic means, the recorded image described in this section.
(6) A statement or electronically generated affirmation of a governmental agency employee who has reviewed the recorded image described in this section and determined that the motor vehicle violated the ordinance or resolution.
(7) A statement that the recorded image is prima facie evidence of a violation of Section 22348 or 22358.4.
(8) The amount of the civil penalty imposed for the violation along with the time, place, and manner for payment of the fine, including the date by which the owner is required to do all of the following:
(A) Pay the civil fine to the local governmental agency, if the owner of the vehicle chooses not to contest the violation. The date by which the civil penalty is required to be paid shall not be more than 30 days after the issuance date of the notice of violation, unless the owner contests the violation.
(B) Notify the governmental agency that the notice of violation is being contested. The date by which the request for a hearing to contest the notice of violation shall not be more than 30 days after the issuance date of the notice of violation.
(C) Notify the governmental agency that responsibility is being transferred to another individual who was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation. The date by which the civil penalty is required to be paid shall not be more than 60 days after the issuance date of the notice of violation, if a new notice is required to be sent to another person.
(9) The procedure under which the notice of violation may be contested, or the procedure and conditions under which responsibility for payment of the civil fine may be transferred to another individual who was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.
(10) A statement that failure to timely pay, contest, or transfer responsibility to another shall constitute an admission that the owner is responsible, and that failure to pay a fine for which the owner is determined to be responsible shall result in the inability to obtain or renew the registration of the vehicle involved, unless and until the civil fine is paid pursuant to Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 40280) of this division.
(d) A manufacturer or supplier of a traffic speed safety system or the governmental agency operating the system shall not alter the notice of violation or any other form approved by the Judicial Council. If a form is found to have been materially altered, the violation based on the altered form may be dismissed.
(e) The amount of the civil penalty for a violation of Section 22348 or 22358.4 that is recorded by a traffic speed safety system authorized pursuant to Section 22368 shall not exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150).
(f) A manufacturer or supplier of a traffic speed safety system may contract with the governmental agency for the maintenance, operation, and administration of a traffic speed safety system program, including the processing and mailing of the notice of violation. However only a peace officer or a qualified employee of a law enforcement agency may affirm a violation occurred.

SEC. 9.

 Section 40518.5 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

40518.5.
 (a) A person receiving a notice of violation may contest liability by requesting an administrative hearing of the violation no later than 30 days following the mailing of the notice of violation. The request may be made by telephone, in writing, or in person. The administrative hearing shall be held within 90 calendar days following the receipt of a request for an administrative hearing. The person requesting the hearing may request one continuance, not to exceed 21 calendar days.
(b) The administrative hearing process shall include all of the following:
(1) The person requesting a hearing shall have the choice of a hearing by mail or in person. An in-person hearing shall be conducted within the jurisdiction of the issuing agency.
(2) If the person requesting a hearing is a minor, that person shall be permitted to appear at a hearing or admit responsibility for the violation without the necessity of the appointment of a guardian. The processing agency may proceed against the minor in the same manner as against an adult.
(3) The administrative hearing shall be conducted in accordance with written procedures established by the issuing agency and approved by the governing body or chief executive officer of the issuing agency. The hearing shall provide an independent, objective, fair, and impartial review of contested violations.
(4) The chief executive officer or governing body shall ensure the appointment of one or more examiners, other than law enforcement officers or persons who work in the law enforcement department, to conduct the hearings authorized by the section.
(5) The issuing agency shall not be required to produce any evidence other than the notice of violation or copy thereof, including the photograph of the vehicle’s license plate, and information received from the Department of Motor Vehicles identifying the registered owner of the vehicle. The documentation in proper form shall be prima facie evidence of the violation.
(6) The examiner’s decision following the administrative hearing may be personally delivered to the person by the examiner or sent by first-class mail.
(7) Following a determination by the examiner that a person has committed the violation, the examiner may, consistent with the written guidelines established by the issuing agency, allow payment of the civil penalty in installments, or an issuing agency may allow for deferred payment or allow for payments in installments, if the person provides evidence satisfactory to the examiner or the issuing agency, as the case may be, of an inability to pay the civil penalty in full. If authorized by the governing board of the issuing agency, the examiner may permit the performance of community service in lieu of payment of the civil penalty. The examiner shall utilize an ability-to-pay calculator, as authorized under Chapter 1.5 (commencing with Section 40280) of this division.

SEC. 10.

 Section 40518.6 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

40518.6.
 (a) Within 20 days after the mailing or delivery of the final decision described in subdivision (b) of Section 40518.5, the contestant may seek review by filing an appeal to the superior court, where the case shall be heard de novo, except that the contents of the issuing agency’s file in the case on appeal shall be received in evidence. A copy of the notice of violation shall be admitted into evidence as prima facie evidence of the facts stated in the notice. A copy of the notice of appeal shall be served in person or by first-class mail upon the issuing agency by the contestant. For purposes of computing the 20-day period, Section 1013 of the Code of Civil Procedure shall be applicable. A proceeding under this subdivision is a limited civil case.
(b) The fee for filing the notice of appeal shall be pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 70613 of the Government Code. If the appellant prevails, this fee shall be promptly refunded.
(c) The conduct of the hearing on appeal under this section is a subordinate judicial duty that may be performed by a commissioner or other subordinate judicial official at the direction of the presiding judge of the court.
(d) If a notice of appeal of the issuing agency’s decision is not filed within the period set forth in subdivision (a), the decision shall be deemed final.
(e) If the decision is adverse to the contestant, the issuing agency may, promptly after the decision becomes final, proceed to collect the penalty.

SEC. 11.

 Section 40520 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

40520.
 (a) A notice to appear issued pursuant to Section 40518 or a notice of violation issued pursuant to Section 40518.1 for an alleged violation recorded by an automatic enforcement system or traffic speed safety system shall contain, or be accompanied by, an affidavit of nonliability and information as to what constitutes nonliability, information as to the effect of executing the affidavit, and instructions for returning the affidavit to the issuing agency.
(b) (1) If a notice to appear or a notice of violation is sent to a car rental or leasing company, as the registered owner of the vehicle, the company may return the notice of nonliability pursuant to paragraph (2), if the violation occurred when the vehicle was either leased or rented and operated by a person other than an employee of the rental or leasing company.
(2) If the affidavit of nonliability is returned to the issuing agency by the registered owner within 30 days of the mailing of the notice to appear or the notice of violation together with the proof of a written rental agreement or lease between a bona fide renting or leasing company and its customer and that agreement identifies the renter or lessee and provides the driver’s license number, name, and address of the renter or lessee, the agency shall cancel the notice to appear or the notice of violation for the registered owner to appear and shall, instead, issue a notice to appear or a notice of violation to the renter or lessee identified in the affidavit of nonliability.
(c) Nothing in this section precludes an issuing agency from establishing a procedure whereby registered owners, other than bona fide renting and leasing companies, may execute an affidavit of nonliability if the registered owner identifies the person who was the driver of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation and whereby the issuing agency issues a notice to appear or a notice of violation to that person.

SEC. 12.

 The Legislature finds and declares that Section 7 of this act, which adds Section 22368 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:
In order to protect the personally identifiable information of California drivers, it is necessary that this act limit the public’s right of access to that information.