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AB-25 Tour buses: modified tour buses.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 05/27/2017 04:00 AM
AB25:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 26, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 02, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 21, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 25


Introduced by Assembly Member Nazarian

December 05, 2016


An act to amend Sections 612, 12521, and 34505.1 Section 612 of, and to add Sections 2807.4, 21118, and 27318 Section 21118 to, the Vehicle Code, relating to tour buses.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 25, as amended, Nazarian. Tour buses: modified tour buses.
Existing law defines “tour bus” for purposes of regulation under the Vehicle Code. Existing law requires an operator of a tour bus to use a safety belt and to report any accidents involving the tour bus to the Department of the California Highway Patrol.
This bill would provide that the definition includes a tour bus that has had its roof substantially structurally modified or removed. The bill would require the Department of the California Highway Patrol to develop an inspection and certification program for these modified tour buses and would require any modified tour bus to be inspected and certified. The bill would authorize the removal of a modified tour bus being operated without certification and would require the department to request the suspension, cancellation, or revocation of the registration of a modified tour bus deemed to be unsafe. The bill would authorize the department to charge a fee to cover the reasonable cost of the inspection and certification.
This bill would also require the operator of a modified tour bus as described above to additionally provide a specified warning about the safety of the modified bus. The bill would authorize local authorities to adopt rules and regulations to restrict the routes or streets upon which a modified tour bus may be operated, as specified. The bill would authorize local authorities to adopt rules and regulations to prohibit the use of loudspeakers or public address systems by a modified tour bus and instead require the use of headphones or similar devices by passengers for any information or presentation provided for the passengers. The bill would require a modified tour bus to be equipped with passenger seatbelts and that the passengers wear seatbelts at all times while the bus is in operation. The bill would prohibit removal or modification of seatbelts or other safety equipment, as specified.

Because a violation of certain of the bill’s requirements and prohibitions would be a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

Existing law requires that the Department of the California Highway Patrol, upon determining that a tour bus operator has failed, as provided, to comply with certain Vehicle Code provisions or related regulations, recommend to the Public Utilities Commission and other authorities that certain actions be taken against the carrier.

This bill would authorize the Attorney General, a district attorney, or city attorney, as specified, to make those determinations and recommendations in the case of a modified tour bus as described above.

The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.

This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YESNO   Local Program: YESNO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 612 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

612.
 (a) “Tour bus” means a bus, which is operated by or for a charter-party carrier of passengers, as defined in Section 5360 of the Public Utilities Code, or a passenger stage corporation, as defined in Section 226 of the Public Utilities Code.
(b) “Tour bus” includes a bus described in subdivision (a) that has had its roof substantially structurally modified or removed.

SEC. 2.Section 2807.4 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
2807.4.

(a)No later than July 1, 2018, the Department of the California Highway Patrol shall develop and implement an inspection and certification program for tour buses described in subdivision (b) of Section 612. The department may contract with a third party with the proper engineering background to develop this program. The purpose of the inspection is to examine the structural modifications made to the vehicle to determine whether the vehicle is safe to operate.

(b)A tour bus described in subdivision (b) of Section 612 shall not be operated after July 1, 2018, without having been inspected and certified as safe pursuant to this section. Any such vehicle being operated without inspection and certification after July 1, 2018, is deemed unsafe and shall be removed from the highway and placed in a storage facility at the owner’s expense.

(c)The Department of the California Highway Patrol shall request the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend, cancel, or revoke the registration of any tour bus described in subdivision (b) of Section 612 that is unable to be certified as safe to operate pursuant to this section.

(d)The Department of the California Highway Patrol may charge a fee for the reasonable costs of the inspection and certification described in subdivision (a), including the development and implementation of the program.

(e)The Department of the California Highway Patrol shall develop protocols to remove unsafe tour buses from California roads.

SEC. 3.Section 12521 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:
12521.

(a)An operator of a tour bus shall, at all times when operating the tour bus, do all the following:

(1)Use a safety belt.

(2)Report any accidents involving the tour bus to the Department of the California Highway Patrol.

(b)An operator of a tour bus described in subdivision (b) of Section 612, prior to beginning a trip, shall provide a verbal notice to passengers stating the following:


“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has determined that the modifications made to this type of vehicle puts passengers at risk, and that removing the vehicle’s roof could affect the safety of the vehicle by reducing the level of protection provided to passengers in the event of a rollover crash.”


SEC. 4.SEC. 2.

 Section 21118 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

21118.
 (a) Local authorities may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution to restrict the routes or streets upon which a tour bus described in subdivision (b) of Section 612 may be operated, if the local authority determines that it is unsafe to operate those vehicles on those routes or streets.
(b) Local authorities may adopt rules and regulations by ordinance or resolution to prohibit the use of loudspeakers or public address systems by a tour bus described in subdivision (b) of Section 612, and instead require the use of headphones or similar devices by passengers for any information or presentation provided for the passengers.

SEC. 5.Section 27318 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
27318.

(a)A tour bus described in subdivision (b) of Section 612 shall be equipped with passenger seatbelts, and passengers shall wear seatbelts at all times while the bus is in operation.

(b)A person shall not remove or modify seatbelts, or any safety equipment installed by the manufacturer, from a tour bus described in subdivision (b) of Section 612.

SEC. 6.Section 34505.1 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:
34505.1.

(a)(1)Upon determining that a tour bus carrier or modified limousine carrier has either (A) failed to maintain any vehicle used in transportation for compensation in a safe operating condition or to comply with the Vehicle Code or with regulations contained in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations relative to motor carrier safety, and, in the department’s opinion, that failure presents an imminent danger to public safety or constitutes such a consistent failure as to justify a recommendation to the Public Utilities Commission or the United States Department of Transportation or (B) failed to enroll all drivers in the pull notice system as required by Section 1808.1, the department shall recommend to the Public Utilities Commission that the carrier’s operating authority be suspended, denied, or revoked, or to the United States Department of Transportation that appropriate administrative action be taken against the carrier’s interstate operating authority, whichever is appropriate. For purposes of this subdivision, two consecutive unsatisfactory compliance ratings for an inspected terminal assigned because the tour bus carrier or modified limousine carrier failed to comply with the periodic report requirements of Section 1808.1 or the cancellation of the carrier’s enrollment by the Department of Motor Vehicles for nonpayment of required fees may be determined by the department to be a consistent failure. However, when recommending denial of an application for new or renewal authority, the department need not conclude that the carrier’s failure presents an imminent danger to public safety or that it constitutes a consistent failure. The department need only conclude that the carrier’s compliance with the safety-related matters described in subparagraph (A) is sufficiently unsatisfactory to justify a recommendation for denial. The department shall retain a record, by carrier, of every recommendation made pursuant to this section.

(2)In the case of a tour bus described in subdivision (b) of Section 612, the determinations and recommendations described in paragraph (1) may also be made by the Attorney General, or by a district attorney or a city attorney of the proper city, county, or city and county, as applicable.

(b)Before transmitting a recommendation pursuant to subdivision (a), the department shall notify the carrier in writing of all of the following:

(1)That the department has determined that the carrier’s safety record is unsatisfactory, furnishing a copy of any documentation or summary of any other evidence supporting the determination.

(2)That the determination may result in a suspension, revocation, or denial of the carrier’s operating authority by the Public Utilities Commission or the United States Department of Transportation, as appropriate.

(3)That the carrier may request a review of the determination by the department within five days of its receipt of the notice required under this subdivision. If a review is requested by the carrier, the department shall conduct and evaluate that review prior to transmitting any notification pursuant to subdivision (a).

(c)Notwithstanding subdivision (a) or (b), upon determining during a terminal inspection or at any other time that the condition of a tour bus is such that it has multiple safety violations of a nature that operation of the tour bus could constitute an imminent danger to public safety, the department shall immediately order the tour bus out of service. The tour bus shall not be subsequently operated with passengers until all of the safety violations have been corrected and the department has verified the correction of the safety violations upon a subsequent inspection by the department of the tour bus, which shall occur within five business days of the submission of a reinspection request from the tour bus carrier to the department.

SEC. 7.

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.