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AB-692 Schoolbuses: passenger restraint systems.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 06/29/2017 09:00 PM
AB692:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  June 29, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 17, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 23, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 692


Introduced by Assembly Member Chu

February 15, 2017


An act to add Section 27316.3 to the Vehicle Code, relating to schoolbuses.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 692, as amended, Chu. Schoolbuses: passenger restraint systems.
Existing law requires that schoolbuses manufactured on or after July 1, 2004, or July 1, 2005, depending on vehicle capacity and weight, and purchased or leased for use in California be equipped with a passenger restraint system, as specified, at all designated seating positions, unless specifically prohibited by the National Highway Transportation Traffic Safety Administration. A violation of these provisions is a crime.
This bill would require, on or before January 1, 2020, the State Department of Education, the Department of the California Highway Patrol, and any other appropriate or necessary entities to form a stakeholder workgroup to formulate and report to the Legislature a plan for school districts to have their entire schoolbus fleets equipped with passenger restraint systems on or before January 1, 2023. The bill would encourage a school district to comply with the January 1, 2023, passenger safety restraint plan either through retrofitting existing schoolbuses or purchasing new schoolbuses. The bill would require, on or before January 1, 2019, the governing board of a school district to complete an inventory of the school district’s schoolbuses that includes specified information and to report this information to the State Department of Education. Because a violation of the bill’s requirements would be a crime and by imposing additional duties on school districts, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
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, with regard to certain mandates, no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
With regard to any other mandates, this bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs so mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) According to the Department of the California Highway Patrol, in 2016, only 54 percent, or 10,710 out of 19,690, of certified schoolbuses in California were equipped with seatbelts.
(2) According to the National Highway Transportation Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 15,000 lives are saved each year in the United States because drivers and their passengers were wearing seatbelts when they were in accidents.
(3) According to a NHTSA study, between 2003 and 2012, inclusive, 174 schoolage children died in school transportation-related crashes. During that same time period, 89 school transportation-related crashes occurred in which at least one passenger of the school transportation vehicles involved died.
(4) A study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) at Columbus Children’s Hospital found that there are an estimated three times as many schoolbus accident-related injuries than previously thought. CIRP found that emergency departments treat approximately 17,000 schoolbus-related injuries annually.
(b) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to encourage all schoolbuses to be equipped with seatbelts on or before January 1, 2023, in accordance with existing federal regulations, either through retrofitting existing schoolbuses or purchasing new schoolbuses, in order to ensure, within a feasible timeframe, the safety of all students who use schoolbuses.

SEC. 2.

 Section 27316.3 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

27316.3.
 (a) On or before January 1, 2019, the governing board of a school district shall complete an inventory of the school district’s schoolbuses, including the year, model, and make of the schoolbuses and whether the schoolbuses are equipped at all seating positions with passenger restraint systems. On or before January 1, 2019, the governing board of a school district shall report this information to the State Department of Education.
(b) On or before January 1, 2020, the State Department of Education, the Department of the California Highway Patrol, and any other appropriate or necessary entities shall form a stakeholder workgroup to formulate and report to the Legislature, in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code, a plan for school districts to have their entire schoolbus fleets, unless specifically prohibited by the National Highway Transportation Traffic Safety Administration, equipped with passenger restraint systems on or before January 1, 2023.
(c) For purposes of this section, a “passenger restraint system” means either of the following:
(1) A restraint system that is in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 209, for a type 2 seatbelt assembly, and with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 210, as those standards were in effect on the date the schoolbus was manufactured.
(2) A restraint system certified by the schoolbus manufacturer that is in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 222 and incorporates a type 2 lap/shoulder restraint system.
(d) A school district is encouraged to comply with the January 1, 2023, passenger safety restraint plan formulated pursuant to subdivision (b) by doing either of the following:
(1) Retrofitting schoolbuses already in its fleet with passenger restraint systems at all designated seating positions.
(2) Purchasing new schoolbuses that are equipped with passenger restraint systems at all designated seating positions.
(e) The governing board of a school district and any other appropriate entities may utilize existing programs for which they are eligible to incentivize and ensure their compliance with the January 1, 2023, passenger safety restraint plan formulated pursuant to subdivision (b), including, but not limited to, both of the following:
(1) The State Air Resources Board’s Lower-Emission School Bus Program.
(2) The Department of the California Highway Patrol’s School Bus Program.
(f) A person, school district, or organization, with respect to a schoolbus equipped with passenger restraint systems in accordance with this section, shall not be charged for a violation of this code or a regulation adopted thereunder requiring a passenger to use a passenger restraint system, if a passenger on the schoolbus fails to use or improperly uses the passenger restraint system.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution for certain costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district because, in that regard, 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.
However, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains other costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.