Governor Cuomo signed into law on August 6, 2019 legislation that amends the school board powers and duties sections of the education law, effective September 5, 2019, to authorize a school district board of education in its discretion to pass a resolution authorizing the entering of an agreement with a county, city, village or town within the school district – that has established a demonstration program imposing monetary liability on the owner of a vehicle for failure of the operator to stop when a school bus has its stop-arm extended – for the installation and use of a school bus photo violation monitoring system pursuant to the Vehicle and Traffic Law.

Such monitoring systems may be stationary or mobile and may be installed on buses owned and operated by the school district or owned and operated by a private company pursuant to a contract with the school district.

No Use of Images or Data by School Districts

Any school bus photo violation monitoring device mounted on a school bus must be directed outwardly from the school bus to capture images of vehicles operated in violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.  Images produced by such device must not be used for any other purpose and are inadmissible in any disciplinary proceeding brought by a school district or contractor, or by the state related to school bus operator licensure.

School districts are prohibited from accessing images and data from school bus photo violation monitoring systems but must establish with the municipality protocols for the proper handling, custody and forwarding of such images and data to the municipality for the purpose of determining whether or not a motor vehicle was operated in violation of the Vehicle and Traffic Law and imposing monetary liability.

Images and data produced by a school bus photo violation monitoring system must be destroyed either ninety days after the date of the alleged imposition of liability by the municipality or upon final disposition of a notice of liability issued by the municipality pursuant to the Vehicle and Traffic Law.

Costs Associated with Monitoring System

The amendments to the education law state that the purchase, lease, installation, operation, and maintenance, or any other costs associated with such cameras shall not be considered an aidable expense.  Rather, the Vehicle and Traffic Law was also amended to provide that the total cost to the district of the installation, maintenance and use of the school bus photo violation monitoring system shall be borne entirely by the municipality within the school district which is a party to an agreement with the school district for the installation, maintenance and use of school bus photo violation monitoring systems on school buses.

The Vehicle and Traffic Law will require that school districts determine and certify to the municipality with which it has entered such agreement the total cost to the school district for the school year of installing, maintaining, and using the monitoring system within the municipality, for the proper handling of photograph, microphotographs, videotapes, other recorded images and data produced by such systems, and for the forwarding of such data and information to the municipality.  The municipality must then pay to the school district the certified cost.  These actions must take place on or before specific deadlines set forth in the law.

The act providing for these amendments is deemed repealed December 1, 2024 in the absence of future legislation continuing such provisions.

For more information, please contact Sara E. Visingard at 585-419-8748 or svisingard@harrisbeach.com or the Harris Beach attorney with whom you usually consult.

This alert does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on specific matters.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York State, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Melville, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse, Uniondale and White Plains, as well as New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.