Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Substitute Bill No. 6449

    January Session, 2011

 

*_____HB06449JUD___040711____*

AN ACT CONCERNING THE SAFETY OF PERSONS ENTERING OR EXITING A SCHOOL BUS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 14-279 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2011):

(a) The operator of any vehicle, motor vehicle, or authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in section 14-1, shall immediately bring such vehicle to a stop not less than ten feet from the front when approaching and not less than ten feet from the rear when overtaking or following any registered school bus on any highway or private road or in any parking area or on any school property when such bus is displaying flashing red signal lights, except at the specific direction of a traffic officer. Vehicles so stopped for a school bus shall not proceed until such bus no longer displays flashing red signal lights. At the intersection of two or more highways vehicular turns toward a school bus receiving or discharging passengers are prohibited. The operator of a vehicle upon a highway with separate roadways need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus which is on a different roadway.

(b) Any person who violates any provision of subsection (a) of this section shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars for the first offense and for each subsequent offense, not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days or both.

(c) Upon receipt of a written report from any school bus operator or an evidence file from a live digital video school bus violation detection monitoring system, as defined in section 2 of this act, specifying the license plate number, color and type of any vehicle observed by such operator or recorded by a camera affixed to such school bus violating any provision of subsection (a) of this section and the date, approximate time and location of such violation, a police officer shall issue a written warning or a summons to the owner of any such vehicle. A photographic or digital still or video image that clearly shows the license plate number of a vehicle violating any provision of subsection (a) of this section shall be sufficient proof of the identity of such vehicle for purposes of subsection (b) of section 14-107.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2011) (a) As used in subsection (c) of section 14-279 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, this section and sections 3 and 5 of this act, "live digital video school bus violation detection monitoring system" or "monitoring system" means a system with one or more camera sensors and computers that produce live digital and recorded video images of motor vehicles being operated in violation of section 14-279 of the general statutes, as amended by this act. Such monitoring system shall produce a live visual image that is viewable remotely and a recorded image of the license plate number of a motor vehicle violating said section 14-279. Such recorded image shall indicate the date, time and location of the violation.

(b) A municipality or local or regional board of education may install, operate and maintain live digital video school bus violation detection monitoring systems, or may enter into an agreement with a private vendor for the installation, operation and maintenance of such monitoring systems. Such agreement shall provide for the compensation to the vendor for the expense of the monitoring services and cost of equipment provided by the vendor and for the reimbursement of the vendor for the expenses of installing, operating and maintaining the monitoring system. Such agreement shall provide that the vendor shall, on an annual basis, submit a report to such municipality or local or regional board of education that includes, but is not limited to: (1) The total number of citations issued as a result of a violation detected and recorded by the monitoring system, and (2) the total amount of funds collected. The municipality or local or regional board of education shall, within thirty days, submit such report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to transportation.

(c) A warning sign shall be posted on all school buses in which a monitoring system is installed and operational indicating the use of such system.

(d) A monitoring system shall be installed so as to record images of the license plate number of a motor vehicle only, and shall not record images of the occupants of such motor vehicle or of any other persons or vehicles in the vicinity at the time the images are recorded.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2011) (a) There is established a school bus camera account which shall be a separate, nonlapsing account within the General Fund. The account shall contain any moneys required by law to be deposited in the account. The funds in the account shall be used by the Office of Policy and Management for grants to reimburse municipalities and local and regional boards of education for (1) the cost of equipping school buses with a live digital video school bus violation detection monitoring system, and (2) the cost of operating and maintaining such system.

(b) Any municipality or local or regional board of education that has entered into a contract with a vendor for the installation, operation and maintenance of a live digital video school bus violation detection monitoring system, for not more than ten per cent of the school bus fleet of such municipality or local or regional board of education, and for a period of not more than five years, shall be eligible to receive funds from the school bus camera account for the costs to install, operate and maintain such system.

(c) Municipalities and local and regional boards of education shall apply for such funds to the Office of Policy and Management not later than fifteen days after the end of each month. The amount of the reimbursement shall be based on the total cost to such municipality or local or regional board of education for the installation, operation and maintenance of such system. Such cost reimbursement shall include monthly payments for fixed costs associated with the number of buses on which such monitoring system is installed and the corresponding variable administrative fee per month to operate, administer and maintain such program by such municipality or local or regional board of education. Funds shall be paid to municipalities and local and regional boards of education by the thirtieth day of each month, for the preceding month, and shall be based on the cost incurred during such month to install, operate and maintain the program. Funds expended in any one month shall not exceed eighty-five per cent of all amounts paid into the school bus camera account during such month.

(d) The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, to carry out the provisions of this section.

(e) The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management may receive private donations to said account and any such donations shall be deposited in said account.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2011) On and after July 1, 2011, eighty-five per cent of all amounts received for any violation of section 14-279 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, shall be credited to the school bus camera account established under section 3 of this act.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2011) (a) Whenever a violation of section 14-279 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, is detected and recorded by a live digital video school bus violation detection monitoring system, a state or municipal police officer shall review the evidence file which shall include two or more digital photographs, recorded video or other recorded images and a signed affidavit of a person who witnessed such violation live. If, after such review, such officer determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of said section 14-279 has occurred, such officer shall authorize the issuance of a summons for such alleged violation. If such officer authorizes the issuance of a summons for such alleged violation, the law enforcement agency shall, not later than ten days after the alleged violation, mail a summons to the registered owner of the motor vehicle together with a copy of two or more digital photographs, recorded video or other recorded images and a signed affidavit of a person who witnessed such violation live.

(b) As provided in subsection (b) of section 14-107 of the general statutes, proof of the registration number of the motor vehicle therein concerned shall be prima facie evidence that the owner was the operator thereof, except that, in the case of a leased or rented motor vehicle, such proof shall be prima facie evidence that the lessee was the operator thereof.

(c) Any person who is alleged to have committed a violation of section 14-279 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, and receives a summons pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall follow the procedures set forth in section 51-164n of the general statutes.

(d) A recorded image produced by a monitoring system shall be sufficient evidence of a violation of section 14-279 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, and shall be admitted without further authentication.

(e) All defenses shall be available to any person who is alleged to have committed a violation of section 14-279 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, that is detected and recorded by a monitoring system, including, but not limited to, that (1) the violation was necessary to allow the passage of an emergency vehicle, (2) the violation was necessary to avoid injuring the person or property of another, (3) the violation was incurred while participating in a funeral procession, (4) the violation was incurred during a period of time in which the motor vehicle had been reported as being stolen to an organized local police department or the state police and had not been recovered prior to the time of the violation, (5) the operator was convicted of a violation of section 14-279 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, for the same incident based upon a separate and distinct summons issued by a sworn police officer, or (6) the violation was necessary in order for the operator to comply with any other general statute or regulation concerning the operation of a motor vehicle.

(f) No recorded image produced by a monitoring system pursuant to this section may be introduced as evidence in any other civil or criminal proceedings.

(g) A recorded image produced by a monitoring system shall be destroyed (1) ninety days after the date of the alleged violation if a summons is not issued for such alleged violation pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, or (2) upon final disposition of the case to which it pertains if a summons is issued for such alleged violation pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

July 1, 2011

14-279

Sec. 2

July 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 3

July 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 4

July 1, 2011

New section

Sec. 5

July 1, 2011

New section

Statement of Legislative Commissioners:

In section 5(a), "in his or her discretion" was deleted for accuracy since the officer is required to issue a summons if reasonable grounds are found that a violation occurred.

TRA

Joint Favorable C/R

JUD

JUD

Joint Favorable Subst.