Bill Text: NJ A2150 | 2012-2013 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Establishes pilot program for municipalities and school districts to contract for video monitoring systems to assist in enforcing law against unlawfully passing a school bus.*

Status: (Introduced - Dead) 2013-06-10 - Reported from Assembly Comm. as a Substitute, 2nd Reading [A2150 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2012-A2150-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 2150

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 30, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  GREGORY P. MCGUCKIN

District 10 (Ocean)

Assemblyman  DAVID W. WOLFE

District 10 (Ocean)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Permits municipalities and school districts to contract for video monitoring systems to assist in enforcing law against unlawfully passing a school bus.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning school bus passenger safety, supplementing Title 39 of the Revised Statutes, and amending P.L.1942, c.192.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    (New section) The Legislature finds:

     a.     Motorists who illegally pass a school bus that is stopped to pick up or discharge children dramatically increase the likelihood of accidents that endanger the safety and well-being of bus riding children.  The installation and use of a school bus monitoring system, which complements the efforts of local law enforcement, could serve as an effective public safety tool.

     b.    The Legislature, therefore, declares:

     It is altogether fitting and proper, and within the public interest, to permit municipalities and school districts which operate or provide Type I or Type II school buses to transport students to contract with a private vendor to provide for the installation, operation, and maintenance of school bus monitoring systems on school buses to assist in the enforcement of section 1 of P.L. 1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1).

 

     2.    (New section) As used in this act:

     "Recorded image" means a digital image recorded by a school bus monitoring system.

     "School bus monitoring system" means a system with one or more cameras and computers that produces live digital and recorded video images of motor vehicles being operated in violation of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1) and capable of producing:

     a.     High resolution color digital recorded images that show:

     (1)   the school bus displaying a flashing red light as required under section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1);

     (2)   a motor vehicle unlawfully passing the school bus while it is exhibiting a flashing red light in violation of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1);

     (3)   a portion of the rear of the motor vehicle unlawfully passing the school bus in violation of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1) sufficient to clearly reveal the vehicle's license plate and the make and model of the vehicle; and

     (4)   the date, time and location of the violation.

     b.    A video recording of the violation that shows the violation occurring.

     A digital analog or camera system may be used as part of a school bus monitoring system provided the violation images are captured by such camera system, or a multiple camera system, producing a recorded color image of the following:

     (1)   the school bus exhibiting a flashing red light or an electronic indicator that the red lights have been activated, noted along the bottom edge of the image;

     (2)   the violating motor vehicle;

     (3)   the vehicle's license plate, make, and model;

     (4)   the day, month, and year of the violation; and

     (5)   the time of the violation in hours and minutes.

     "Summons" means a citation alleging a violation of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1).

 

     3.    (New section) Any municipality or school district which owns and operates, or otherwise provides, Type I or Type II school buses to transport students may contract with a private vendor to provide for the installation, operation, and maintenance of school bus monitoring systems on those school buses to assist in the enforcement of section 1 of P.L. 1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1).

 

     4.    (New section) a.  Alleged violations of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1) captured by a school bus monitoring system, and displaying all the elements required under the provisions of section 2 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), shall be compiled into an evidence file and forwarded to the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which the alleged violation occurred.

     The chief law enforcement officer shall assign a law enforcement official of the municipality to review the recorded images produced by the school bus monitoring system.  In conducting the review, the law enforcement official shall determine whether there is sufficient evidence to conclude that a violation of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1) occurred and shall issue, within 90 days from the date on which the violation occurred, a summons where it is deemed appropriate.  A summons issued pursuant to this section shall be served by a law enforcement official in accordance with the Rules of Court. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the recorded images produced by the school bus monitoring system shall be available for the exclusive use of any law enforcement official for the purposes of discharging the official's enforcement duties under section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4:128.1).  Any recorded image or information produced in connection with a school bus monitoring system shall not be deemed a public record under P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) or the common law concerning access to public records.  The recorded images shall not be discoverable as a public record by any person, entity, or governmental agency, except upon a subpoena issued by a grand jury or a court order in a criminal matter, nor shall they be offered in evidence in any civil or administrative proceeding not directly related to a violation of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1).

     Any recorded image or information produced in connection with a school bus monitoring system pertaining to a specific violation shall be purged and not retained later than 60 days after the collection of any fine or penalty.  If a law enforcement official does not issue a summons based on the recorded images provided by a school bus monitoring system within 90 days, all recorded images and information collected pertaining to that alleged violation shall be purged within three days.

     b.    Except as provided in subsection c. of this section, the owner and operator of the motor vehicle shall be jointly liable for a summons issued for a violation of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1) pursuant to a school bus monitoring system installed and used in accordance with this act, unless the owner can show that the vehicle was used without his consent, express or implied.  An owner who pays any fine, penalty, civil judgment, costs, or administrative fees in connection with a violation issued pursuant to a school bus monitoring system shall have the right to recover that sum from the operator in a court of competent jurisdiction.

     c.     The owner of a motor vehicle who is a lessor shall not be liable for a summons issued pursuant to this act when the motor vehicle is under the control or in the possession of the lessee, if upon notice of a violation of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1), the owner of the motor vehicle which was leased at the time of the offense notifies the clerk of the court where the case is pending by an affidavit.  The affidavit shall set forth the name and address of the lessee and shall be in a form prescribed by the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts.

     After providing the name and address of the lessee, the owner shall not be required to attend any hearing for the offense, unless otherwise notified by the court.

 

     5.    (New section) The Commissioner of Education, the Superintendent of State Police, and the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission shall promulgate, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L. 1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this act, including, but not limited to, specifications and certification procedures for the school bus monitoring systems and devices that may be installed under the provisions of this act.  The Supreme Court of New Jersey may adopt Rules of Court appropriate or necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

 

     6.    Section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    a.  On highways having roadways not divided by safety islands or physical traffic separation installations, the driver of a vehicle approaching or overtaking a bus, which is being used solely for the transportation of children to or from school or a summer day camp or any school connected activity and which has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any child, shall stop such vehicle not less than 25 feet from such school bus and keep such vehicle stationary until such child has entered said bus or has alighted and reached the side of such highway and until a flashing red light is no longer exhibited by the bus; provided, such bus is designated as a school bus by one sign on the front and one sign on the rear, with each letter on such signs at least four inches in height.

     On highways having dual or multiple roadways separated by safety islands or physical traffic separation installations, the driver of a vehicle overtaking a school bus, which has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any child, shall stop such vehicle not less than 25 feet from such school bus and keep such vehicle stationary until such child has entered said bus or has alighted and reached the side of the highway and until a flashing red light is no longer exhibited by the bus.

     On highways having dual or multiple roadways separated by safety islands or physical traffic separation installations, the driver of a vehicle on another roadway approaching a school bus, which has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any child, shall reduce the speed of his vehicle to not more than 10 miles per hour and shall not resume normal speed until the vehicle has passed the bus and has passed any child who may have alighted therefrom or be about to enter said bus.

     For purposes of this section, "highway" means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way whether publicly or privately maintained when any part thereof is open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel.

     Whenever a school bus is parked at the curb for the purpose of receiving children directly from a school or a summer day camp or any school connected activity or discharging children to enter a school, or a summer day camp or any school connected activity, which is located on the same side of the street as that on which the bus is parked, drivers of vehicles shall be permitted to pass said bus without stopping, but at a speed not in excess of 10 miles per hour.

     The driver of a bus which is being used solely for the transportation of children to or from school or a summer day camp or any school connected activity shall continue to exhibit a flashing red light and shall not start his bus until every child who may have alighted therefrom shall have reached a place of safety.

     Any person who shall violate any provision of this act shall be subject to [(1)] a fine of not less than [$100.00, (2) imprisonment for not more than 15 days or community service for 15 days in such form and on such terms as the court shall deem appropriate, (3) or both for the first offense, and a fine not less than $250.00, imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both for each subsequent offense] $300 or more than $500 and be assessed, pursuant to the provisions of P.L.1982, c.43 (C.39:5-30.5) five penalty points.  The penalties shall be enforced and recovered pursuant to the provisions of chapter 5 of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the registered owner of the vehicle which was involved in the violation of this section was the person who committed the act. Any person who suppresses, by way of concealment or destruction, any evidence of a violation of this section or who suppresses the identity of the violator shall be subject to a fine of $100.

     Notwithstanding any provisions of R.S.39:5-41 to the contrary, in any municipality where the municipality or school district has contracted with a private vendor for the installation, operation, and maintenance of a school bus monitoring system pursuant to P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) to assist in the enforcement of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1), all fines, penalties, and forfeitures imposed and collected for a violation of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1) that are based upon the recorded images provided by that school bus monitoring system shall be forwarded by the person to whom they have been paid to the financial officer of that municipality and used for general municipal and school district purposes, including efforts to improve the monitoring and enforcement of violations of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1) through the utilization of school bus monitoring systems and the provision of associated public education safety programs.

     The [Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles] Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission may also revoke the license to drive a motor vehicle of any person who shall have been guilty of such willful violation of any of the provisions of this act as shall, in the discretion of the director, justify such revocation, but the director shall, at all times, have power to validate such a license which has been revoked, or to grant a new license to any person whose license to drive a motor vehicle shall have been revoked pursuant to this act.

     b.    Whenever the municipal prosecutor makes or agrees to a negotiated plea for a violation of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1), based upon the recorded images provided by a school bus monitoring system pursuant to the provisions of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), the court, in addition to any fine, fee or other charge imposed pursuant to law, shall assess a surcharge of $300, which shall be collected by the court and paid to the financial officer of the municipality wherein the violation occurred and used for general municipal and school district purposes, including efforts to improve the monitoring and enforcement of violations of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1) through the utilization of school bus monitoring systems and
the provision of associated public education safety programs.

(cf: P.L.2000, c.85, s.2)

 

     7.    Sections 1 through 5 of this act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month following enactment; section 6 shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill permits municipalities and school districts that own, operate or otherwise provide Type I or Type II school buses to transport students to contract with private vendors to install, operate and maintain school bus monitoring systems on their school buses to assist in the enforcement of section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1), the law which prohibits motor vehicles from passing a school bus while it is stopped to pick up or discharge students.

     Alleged school bus passing violations captured by a monitoring system are to be complied into an evidence file and forwarded to the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality.  If law enforcement determines that a violation has occurred, a summons is to be issued.

     Except in cases where the owner of the motor vehicle which unlawfully passed a school bus is a lessor, the owner and operator of the vehicle jointly liable for the summons, unless the owner can establish that another person was the operator at the time of the violation.

     The bill also amends section 1 of P.L.1942, c.192 (C.39:4-128.1) to upgrade the penalties for the unlawful passing of a school bus.  As amended, violators would be subject to a fine of not less than $300 or more than $500, and be assessed five penalty points.  Currently, a first time offender is subject to a fine of $100, and up to 15 days of imprisonment or community service.  For a second, or subsequent, violation, a violator is subject to a fine of not less than $250, and imprisonment for a term of not more than 15 days.

     All fine moneys and penalties that are imposed based on recorded images provided by a monitoring system are to be collected by the court and paid to the financial officer of the municipality wherein the violation occurred and are to be used by the municipality for its general municipal and school district purposes, including efforts to improve the monitoring and enforcement of the unlawful passing of a school bus through the utilization of school bus monitoring systems and the provision of associated public education safety programs.

     Finally, the bill provides that whenever a municipal prosecutor makes or agrees to a negotiated plea with an individual who is alleged to have committed a school bus passing violation based upon the recorded images provide by a school bus monitoring system, the court is to assess, in addition to any other fine, fee or other charge imposed by law, a surcharge of $300.  This surcharge is to be collected by the court and paid to the financial officer of the municipality wherein the alleged violation is to have occurred and used by the municipality for general municipal purposes.

     It is the sponsor's understanding that the enactment of this bill will have no fiscal impact on the State, any county, or any participating municipality or school district.

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