New York - Transportation Safety—safety equipment: Program Requirement

Area: 
Program Requirement
Policy Type: 
statute; regulation
Summary: 

State law addresses bus safety equipment by authorizing the use of either stop-arm cameras or the installation of school bus seat belts.

New York Consolidated Laws 383. Safety belts and anchorage assemblies.

5.(a) Passenger seat safety belts for school buses. Every school bus, as defined in section one hundred forty-two of this chapter, manufactured for use in this state on and after July first, nineteen hundred eighty-seven, shall be designed so that all passenger seats on such vehicle are equipped with seat safety belts and increased seat back padding on passenger seats of a type and specification as approved by the commissioner of transportation through the adoption of rules and regulations. Such rules and regulations shall provide that when any contactable surface of the school bus, as specified in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, 49 CFR Section 571.222, is impacted from any direction at twenty-two feet per second by the head form, the axial acceleration at the center of gravity of the head form shall be such that the head form impact requirement shall not exceed eight hundred.

(b) Passenger seat safety belts for existing school buses. Any school bus as defined in section one hundred forty-two of this chapter, which is scheduled for retrofitting pursuant to action by a board of education or board of trustees under section thirty-six hundred thirty-five-a of the education law shall retrofitted so that all passenger seats on such vehicles are equipped with seat safety belts and additional padding of a type and specification as approved by the commissioner of transportation through the adoption of rules and regulations. Such rules and regulations shall provide that when any contactable surface of the school bus as specified in the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, 49CFR Section 571.222 is impacted from any direction at twenty-two feet per second by the head form, the axial acceleration at the center of gravity of the head form shall be such that the head form impact requirement shall not exceed eight hundred. Furthermore, the commissioner shall have the power through rules and regulations to exempt certain design school buses from retrofitting. In granting such exemptions, the commissioner shall consider safety factors, structural integrity of the school buses and any other items deemed necessary to preserve the safety and welfare of the school bus passengers. Provided further however that the commissioner of transportation shall not authorize retrofitting of any school bus manufactured prior to April first, nineteen hundred seventy-seven.


New York Consolidated Laws 3635-a. Safety belt usage.

1.A board of education or board of trustees may, in its discretion, following a public hearing for the purpose of determining whether a resolution shall be adopted, provide for the use of seat safety belts on such school buses, in accordance with regulations and standards established by the commissioner under subdivision one of section thirty-six hundred thirty-eight of this chapter.

  1. Such public hearing, conducted upon reasonable notice, shall be held to consider: (a) whether the district shall install seat safety belts on buses purchased and/or contracted for prior to the effective date of this section and require their use; (b) when such installation shall be provided, and (c) whether use of seat safety belts shall be required on all school buses within the district so equipped after a date to be determined by the board of education or board of trustees.

  2. Such hearings shall consider the effect of seat safety belts installation on the total number of students that can be transported on such buses.

  3. Within twenty days after the public hearing, the board of education or board of trustees shall, by resolution, determine whether to require installation and use of seat safety belts on some or all school buses.

  4. This section shall apply only to vehicles owned or leased by school districts and nonpublic schools, and to vehicles used to perform contracts with such school districts and nonpublic schools for the purpose of transporting school children for hire.

  5. Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose a duty upon boards of education or boards of trustees to provide seat safety belts on school buses purchased or contracted for prior to the effective date of this section, nor shall any board of education or board of trustees be held liable for failure to provide seat safety belts pursuant to this section. A school board member or trustee shall have immunity from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of the provisions of this section provided that such person shall have acted in good faith. For the purpose of any proceeding, civil or criminal, the good faith of any such person shall be presumed.

  6. The provisions of this section shall not apply to school districts which are using safety belts on school buses or have installed or have contracted for the installation of seat safety belts prior to the effective date of this section.


New York Codes, Rules and Regulations 49.6 School buses.

(a) Every motor vehicle used for the transportation of children to and from public or private schools shall be equipped with seat safety belts approved by the commissioner for each occupant if (1) it has a seating capacity of 12 school children or less, or (2) it has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less and was first placed in service on or after September 1, 1977. In addition, after September 1, 1990, every motor vehicle used for the transportation of children to and from public or private schools shall be equipped with seat safety belts approved by the commissioner for each occupant if it has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less, regardless of date of first use. (Gross vehicle weight rating means the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a vehicle.)

(b) Every motor vehicle used for the purpose of transporting children to and from public or private schools shall be equipped with a seat safety belt approved by the commissioner for the driver of such vehicle.

(c) Any seat safety belt installed pursuant to the provisions of subdivision (b) of this section shall be attached to the floor of such vehicle in a location which will withstand the required stress, except that if the vehicle is equipped with a seat pedestal which has been engineered and installed to withstand such stress, the seat safety belt may be attached to such pedestal. Such belt must be installed in a manner which will prevent the ends of the belt from falling into the passenger compartment.

(d) The provisions of this section shall apply only to vehicles owned or leased by such school districts and nonpublic schools, and to vehicles used to perform contracts with such school districts and nonpublic schools for the purpose of transporting school children for hire.
Source: New York Department of State

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