Bill Text: NY S02433 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Provides that all passengers of school buses must wear seat belts; exempts school bus attendants and others acting in a supervisory capacity from such requirement; requires that drivers announce "Everybody fasten your seat belts" before a school bus is placed in motion; empowers the commissioner of education to enforce such provisions; assigns a school bus attendant to each special needs student unable to comply with the seat belt requirement.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-01-24 - REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION [S02433 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S02433-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          2433
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                    January 24, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced  by  Sen. SERRANO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation
        AN ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law and the  education  law,  in
          relation to requiring the usage of seat safety belts on school buses
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 4 of  section  1229-c  of  the
     2  vehicle  and traffic law, as amended by chapter 448 of the laws of 2015,
     3  is amended to read as follows:
     4    (a) "motor  vehicle"  shall  include  all  motor  vehicles  which  are
     5  required  by section three hundred eighty-three of this chapter or regu-
     6  lation or would be required if such motor vehicle were registered in New
     7  York state to be equipped [by a safety belt but shall not include]  with
     8  seat  belts, including those vehicles which are used as school buses, as
     9  such term is defined in section one hundred forty-two  of  this  chapter
    10  [and];  provided,  however,  that  the  term  "motor  vehicle" shall not
    11  include those vehicles which are authorized emergency vehicles, as  such
    12  term  is  defined  in section one hundred one of this chapter, provided,
    13  however, that for purposes of this section, "motor vehicle"  shall  also
    14  include fire vehicles owned and/or operated by a fire company as defined
    15  by  subdivision  two of section one hundred of the general municipal law
    16  and ambulances owned and/or operated by a voluntary ambulance service as
    17  defined by subdivision three of  section  one  hundred  of  the  general
    18  municipal law;
    19    §  2. Subdivision 11 of section 1229-c of the vehicle and traffic law,
    20  as added by chapter 653 of the laws of 1989 and as renumbered by chapter
    21  104 of the laws of 1991, is amended and a new subdivision 11-a is  added
    22  to read as follows:
    23    11.  [Notwithstanding  the  provisions  of  subdivision  four  of this
    24  section, no] No person shall operate a school bus unless such person  is
    25  reasonably sure that all passengers under the age of four are restrained
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD04009-01-9

        S. 2433                             2
     1  in  a  specially  designed  detachable  or removable seat as required by
     2  subdivision one of this section, or another restraining device  approved
     3  by the commissioner.
     4    11-a.  No  person shall operate a school bus equipped with seat safety
     5  belts pursuant to subdivision five of section three hundred eighty-three
     6  of this chapter or pursuant to section thirty-six hundred  thirty-five-a
     7  of  the  education  law  unless  such person is reasonably sure that all
     8  passengers are restrained by a seat safety belt.  For  the  purposes  of
     9  this  subdivision,  the  term  "passenger"  shall not include school bus
    10  attendants, as that term is defined in section  twelve  hundred  twenty-
    11  nine-d  of  this  article,  or  any other person acting in a supervisory
    12  capacity. Furthermore, in any action for personal injuries by a  passen-
    13  ger on a school bus, the provisions of subdivision four of section thir-
    14  ty-eight hundred thirteen of the education law shall apply.
    15    § 3. Subdivision 1 of section 3623 of the education law, as amended by
    16  chapter 474 of the laws of 1996, is amended to read as follows:
    17    1.  a.  No person shall operate a school bus equipped with seat safety
    18  belts pursuant to subdivision five of section three hundred eighty-three
    19  of the vehicle and traffic law or pursuant to section thirty-six hundred
    20  thirty-five-a of this article unless such person is reasonably sure that
    21  all passengers are restrained by a seat safety belt. For the purposes of
    22  this subdivision, the term "passenger"  shall  not  include  school  bus
    23  attendants,  as  that  term is defined in section twelve hundred twenty-
    24  nine-d of the vehicle and traffic law, or any other person acting  in  a
    25  supervisory  capacity.  Furthermore, in any action for personal injuries
    26  by a passenger on a school bus, the provisions of  subdivision  four  of
    27  section thirty-eight hundred thirteen of this chapter shall apply.
    28    b.  The  driver  of  a school bus shall be required to announce to the
    29  passengers of such bus: "Everybody fasten your seat belt",  before  such
    30  bus is placed in motion.
    31    c.  No person shall operate a school bus while any passenger is stand-
    32  ing, either in the aisle or at their seat.
    33    d. The commissioner of transportation in consultation with the commis-
    34  sioner shall adopt, promulgate and enforce rules, standards and specifi-
    35  cations regulating and  controlling  the  efficiency  and  equipment  of
    36  school  buses  used  to  transport pupils, with particular regard to the
    37  safety and convenience of such pupils and the suitability and adaptabil-
    38  ity of such school buses to the requirements of the school district.  No
    39  school bus shall be purchased by a  school  district  or  used  for  the
    40  transportation  of  pupils  unless and until it has been approved by the
    41  commissioner of transportation as complying with  the  rules,  standards
    42  and specifications relating thereto.
    43    [b.]  e.  No  bus  manufactured  after January first, nineteen hundred
    44  seventy-four shall be used to transport pupils under any contract with a
    45  school district or board of cooperative educational services  unless  it
    46  has  been  similarly  approved  by  the  commissioner of transportation,
    47  except that no such approval shall be required for buses used to  trans-
    48  port  pupils  and  also used to serve the general public under a certif-
    49  icate of public convenience for the operation of  a  bus  line,  granted
    50  pursuant  to  the  transportation  law  or  for  buses used to transport
    51  pupils, teachers and other persons acting in a supervisory  capacity  to
    52  and  from  school activities and which bus does not receive or discharge
    53  passengers on or along the public highways on regularly scheduled routes
    54  and is operating under a permit as  a  contract  carrier  of  passengers
    55  granted pursuant to the transportation law or by the interstate commerce
    56  commission.    School  buses  manufactured  or  assembled prior to April

        S. 2433                             3
     1  first, nineteen hundred seventy-seven  may  not  be  used  to  transport
     2  pupils,  teachers  and other persons acting in a supervisory capacity to
     3  and from school activities.
     4    [c.]  f.  The  commissioner shall provide for the enforcement of para-
     5  graph a of this subdivision and shall  establish  and  provide  for  the
     6  enforcement of rules and regulations requiring instruction on the use of
     7  seat  safety  belts  [as  specified in subdivision five of section three
     8  hundred eighty-three of the vehicle and traffic law and section  thirty-
     9  six  hundred  thirty-five-a of this chapter], instruction on the dangers
    10  of standing while the bus is in motion,  drills  in  safe  boarding  and
    11  exiting  procedures  and  emergency drills to be conducted on all school
    12  buses and shall  emphasize  specific  hazards  encountered  by  children
    13  during  snow,  ice,  rain  and  other inclement weather. All such drills
    14  shall include instruction in the importance of orderly  conduct  by  all
    15  school  bus passengers.   A minimum of [three] four such drills shall be
    16  had on each school bus during the school year, the first to be conducted
    17  during the first seven days of session of the fall term.
    18    § 4. Section 3635-a of the education law, as added by chapter  747  of
    19  the laws of 1986, subdivision 1 as amended by chapter 474 of the laws of
    20  1996, is amended to read as follows:
    21    § 3635-a. Safety  belt  usage.    1.  A board of education or board of
    22  trustees may, in its discretion, following  a  public  hearing  for  the
    23  purpose  of  determining  whether a resolution shall be adopted, provide
    24  for the [use] installation of seat safety belts on such school buses, in
    25  accordance with regulations and standards established by the commission-
    26  er under subdivision one of section  thirty-six  hundred  [thirty-eight]
    27  twenty-three of this [chapter] article.
    28    2.  Such  public  hearing,  conducted upon reasonable notice, shall be
    29  held to consider: (a) whether the district  shall  install  seat  safety
    30  belts  on  buses  purchased and/or contracted for prior to the effective
    31  date of this section [and require their use]; and (b) when such  instal-
    32  lation  shall  be  provided[,  and  (c) whether use of seat safety belts
    33  shall be required on all school buses within the  district  so  equipped
    34  after  a  date  to  be  determined by the board of education or board of
    35  trustees].
    36    3. Such hearings shall  consider  the  effect  of  seat  safety  belts
    37  installation  on the total number of students that can be transported on
    38  such buses.
    39    4. Within twenty days after the public hearing, the board of education
    40  or board of trustees shall, by resolution, determine whether to  require
    41  installation [and use] of seat safety belts on some or all school buses.
    42    4-a.  If the board of education or board of trustees has determined to
    43  require  the  installation  of  seat safety belts, the use of such belts
    44  shall be mandatory pursuant to paragraph a of subdivision one of section
    45  thirty-six hundred twenty-three of this article and pursuant to subdivi-
    46  sion eleven-a of section twelve hundred twenty-nine-c of the vehicle and
    47  traffic law.
    48    5. This section shall apply only to vehicles owned or leased by school
    49  districts and  nonpublic  schools,  and  to  vehicles  used  to  perform
    50  contracts  with  such  school  districts  and  nonpublic schools for the
    51  purpose of transporting school children for hire.
    52    6. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose  a  duty  upon
    53  boards  of  education or boards of trustees to provide seat safety belts
    54  on school buses purchased or contracted for prior to the effective  date
    55  of  this  section, nor shall any board of education or board of trustees
    56  be held liable for failure to provide seat safety belts pursuant to this

        S. 2433                             4
     1  section. A school board member or trustee shall have immunity  from  any
     2  civil  or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed
     3  as a result of the provisions of this section provided that such  person
     4  shall have acted in good faith. For the purpose of any proceeding, civil
     5  or criminal, the good faith of any such person shall be presumed.
     6    7.  The provisions of this section shall not apply to school districts
     7  which are using safety belts on school buses or have installed  or  have
     8  contracted for the installation of seat safety belts prior to the effec-
     9  tive date of this section.
    10    §  5.  Subdivision 1 of section 1229-d of the vehicle and traffic law,
    11  as added by chapter 675 of the laws of  1985,  is  amended  to  read  as
    12  follows:
    13    (1) (a) "School bus attendant" shall mean a person, including a school
    14  aide or monitor, employed or authorized by a school district or employed
    15  by  a  motor  carrier  under  contract to a school district to ride on a
    16  school bus as defined in paragraph (a) of  subdivision  one  of  section
    17  five hundred nine-a of this chapter for the purpose of maintaining order
    18  or rendering assistance to pupils with special needs.
    19    (b) Any pupil with special needs who is unable to utilize a seat safe-
    20  ty  belt, as required pursuant to subdivision eleven-a of section twelve
    21  hundred twenty-nine-c of this article and  subdivision  one  of  section
    22  thirty-six  hundred twenty-three of the education law, shall be assigned
    23  a school bus attendant.
    24    § 6. Subdivision 4 of section 3813 of the education law, as  added  by
    25  chapter 747 of the laws of 1986, is amended to read as follows:
    26    4.  In any action for personal injuries by a passenger on a school bus
    27  against a school district, school bus operator  under  contract  with  a
    28  school  district,  or  any  agent  or employee of a district or operator
    29  (including, but not limited to, bus drivers, matrons,  teachers  serving
    30  as chaperones and volunteers) no such person shall be held liable solely
    31  because  the  injured  party  was not wearing a seat safety belt or held
    32  liable solely because the injured party was injured  as  the  result  of
    33  wearing  a  seat  safety belt; provided, however, that nothing contained
    34  herein shall be construed to grant immunity from liability  for  failure
    35  to:
    36    (a)  maintain  in  operating  order any equipment required by statute,
    37  rule or regulation;
    38    (b) comply with applicable statutes, rules or regulations.
    39    § 7. This act shall  take  effect  on  the  first  of  September  next
    40  succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law. Effective imme-
    41  diately  the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rule or regulation
    42  necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective  date  are
    43  authorized to be made on or before such effective date.
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