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SB-406 Vehicles: high-occupancy vehicle lanes: exceptions.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 05/26/2017 10:00 AM
SB406:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  May 26, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  April 27, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  March 23, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 406


Introduced by Senator Leyva

February 15, 2017


An act to amend Section 21655.9 of, and to add Section 5205.6 to, 21655.5 of the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 406, as amended, Leyva. Vehicles: high-occupancy vehicle lanes: exceptions.
Existing law authorizes the Department of Transportation and local authorities to designate certain highway lanes for the exclusive or preferential use of high-occupancy vehicles (HOVs), requires the department or local authorities to place signage advising motorists of the rules governing the use of those lanes, and prohibits the use of those lanes by motorists other than in conformity with the posted rules. Existing law provides a limited exemption allowing motorcycles, mass transit vehicles, and paratransit vehicles to use HOV lanes.
This bill would provide an exemption to allow for blood transport vehicles, as defined, to use HOV lanes, regardless of the number of occupants.

Existing federal law authorizes a state to allow the use of lanes designated for high-occupancy vehicles (HOVs) by specified vehicles that are not HOVs. Existing state law authorizes the Department of Transportation to designate certain lanes for the exclusive use of HOVs, which lanes may also be used by certain low-emission, hybrid, or alternative fuel vehicles not carrying the requisite number of passengers otherwise required for the use of an HOV lane, if the vehicle displays a valid identifier issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A violation of provisions relating to HOV lane use by vehicles, including operating or owning a vehicle displaying a decal, label, or other identifier that was not issued to that vehicle, is a crime.

This bill would similarly authorize a blood transport vehicle, as defined, that is transporting blood between collection points and hospitals or storage centers to use HOV lanes, by requiring the department to make available for issuance a distinctive decal, label, or other identifier that clearly distinguishes a blood transport vehicle from other vehicles for purposes of use in those lanes, and would make conforming changes. The bill would require payment of fees for the initial issuance and renewal of a decal, label, or other identifier, as specified. By expanding the scope of existing crimes relating to HOV lane use, 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 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 21655.5 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

21655.5.
 (a) The Department of Transportation and local authorities, with respect to highways under their respective jurisdictions, may authorize or permit exclusive or preferential use of highway lanes for high-occupancy vehicles. Prior to establishing the lanes, competent engineering estimates shall be made of the effect of the lanes on safety, congestion, and highway capacity.
(b) The Department of Transportation and local authorities, with respect to highways under their respective jurisdictions, shall place and maintain, or cause to be placed and maintained, signs and other official traffic control devices to designate the exclusive or preferential lanes, to advise motorists of the applicable vehicle occupancy levels, and, except where ramp metering and bypass lanes are regulated with the activation of traffic signals, to advise motorists of the hours of high-occupancy vehicle usage. No A person shall not drive a vehicle upon those lanes except in conformity with the instructions imparted by the official traffic control devices. A motorcycle, a mass transit vehicle, a blood transport vehicle that is clearly and identifiably marked on all sides of the vehicle, or a paratransit vehicle that is clearly and identifiably marked on all sides of the vehicle with the name of the paratransit provider may be operated upon those exclusive or preferential use lanes unless specifically prohibited by a traffic control device.
(c) When responding to an existing emergency or breakdown in which a mass transit vehicle is blocking an exclusive or preferential use lane, a clearly marked mass transit vehicle, mass transit supervisor’s vehicle, or mass transit maintenance vehicle that is responding to the emergency or breakdown may be operated in the segment of the exclusive or preferential use lane being blocked by the mass transit vehicle, regardless of the number of persons in the vehicle responding to the emergency or breakdown, if both vehicles are owned or operated by the same agency, and that agency provides public mass transit services.

(d)For purposes of this section, a “paratransit vehicle” is defined in Section 462.

(d) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Blood transport vehicle” means a vehicle operated by the American Red Cross or a blood bank that is transporting blood between collection points and hospitals or storage centers.

(e)For purposes of this section, a “mass

(2) “Mass transit vehicle” means a transit bus regularly used to transport paying passengers in mass transit service.
(3) “Paratransit vehicle” as defined in Section 462.

(f)

(e) It is the intent of the Legislature, in amending this section, to stimulate and encourage the development of ways and means of relieving traffic congestion on California highways and, at the same time, to encourage individual citizens to pool their vehicular resources and thereby conserve fuel and lessen emission of air pollutants.

(g)

(f) The provisions of this section regarding blood transport vehicles, mass transit vehicles vehicles, and paratransit vehicles shall only apply if the Director of Transportation determines that the application will not subject the state to a reduction in the amount of federal aid for highways.

SECTION 1.Section 5205.6 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:
5205.6.

(a)(1)For purposes of implementing Section 21655.9, the department shall make available for issuance, for a fee determined by the department to be sufficient to reimburse the department for the actual costs incurred pursuant to this section, a distinctive decal, label, or other identifier that clearly distinguishes a blood transport vehicle from other vehicles. For purposes of this section, “blood transport vehicle” means a vehicle that is clearly and identifiably marked on all sides of the vehicle with the name of the Red Cross or blood bank, that transports blood between collection points and hospitals or storage centers.

(2)The department shall also provide for the annual renewal of a decal, label, or other identifier issued pursuant to paragraph (1), including a renewal fee that shall be paid pursuant to procedures established by the department.

(b)The department shall include a summary of the provisions of this section on each motor vehicle registration renewal notice, or on a separate insert, if space is available and the summary can be included without incurring additional printing or postage costs.

(c)For purposes of subdivision (a), the Department of the California Highway Patrol and the department, in consultation with the Department of Transportation, shall design and specify the placement of the decal, label, or other identifier on the vehicle. Each decal, label, or other identifier issued for a vehicle shall display a unique number, which shall be printed on, or affixed to, the vehicle registration.

(d)Notwithstanding Section 21655.9, a vehicle described in subdivision (a) that displays a decal, label, or identifier issued pursuant to this section shall be granted a toll-free or reduced-rate passage in high-occupancy toll lanes as described in Section 149.7 of the Streets and Highways Code unless prohibited by federal law. The toll-free or reduced-rate passage in high-occupancy toll lanes is authorized only during the transportation of blood as described in subdivision (a).

(e)If the Director of Transportation determines that federal law does not authorize the state to allow a vehicle that is identified by a distinctive decal, label, or other identifier as a blood transport vehicle as described in subdivision (a) to use highway lanes or highway access ramps for high-occupancy vehicles regardless of vehicle occupancy, the Director of Transportation shall submit a notice of that determination to the Secretary of State.

SEC. 2.Section 21655.9 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:
21655.9.

(a)(1)If the Department of Transportation or a local authority authorizes or permits exclusive or preferential use of highway lanes or highway access ramps for high-occupancy vehicles pursuant to Section 21655.5, the use of those lanes or ramps shall also be extended to vehicles that are issued distinctive decals, labels, or other identifiers pursuant to Section 5205.5 or 5205.6 regardless of vehicle occupancy or ownership.

(2)A local authority during periods of peak congestion shall suspend for a lane the access privileges extended pursuant to paragraph (1) for those vehicles issued distinctive decals, labels, or other identifiers pursuant to Section 5205.5, if a periodic review of lane performance by that local authority discloses both of the following factors regarding the lane:

(A)The lane, or a portion of the lane, exceeds a level of service C, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 65089 of the Government Code.

(B)The operation or projected operation of vehicles in the lane, or a portion of the lane, will significantly increase congestion.

(b)A person shall not drive a vehicle described in subdivision (a) of Section 5205.5 or 5205.6 with a single occupant upon a high-occupancy vehicle lane pursuant to this section unless the decal, label, or other identifier issued pursuant to Section 5205.5 or 5205.6 is properly displayed on the vehicle, and the vehicle registration described in Section 5205.5 or 5205.6 is with the vehicle.

(c)A person shall not operate or own a vehicle displaying a decal, label, or other identifier, as described in Section 5205.5 or 5205.6, if that decal, label, or identifier was not issued for that vehicle pursuant to Section 5205.5 or 5205.6. A violation of this subdivision is a misdemeanor.

(d)If the provisions in Section 5205.5 or 5205.6 authorizing the department to issue decals, labels, or other identifiers to hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles are repealed, vehicles displaying those decals, labels, or other identifiers shall not access high-occupancy vehicle lanes without meeting the occupancy requirements otherwise applicable to those lanes.

(e)(1)With respect to a vehicle described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 5205.5, this section shall become inoperative on January 1, 2019, or the date the federal authorization pursuant to Section 166 of Title 23 of the United States Code expires, or the date the Secretary of State receives the notice described in subdivision (i) of Section 5205.5, whichever occurs first.

(2)With respect to a vehicle described in paragraph (1) or paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 5205.5, this section shall become inoperative on January 1, 2019.

(f)(1)The Department of Transportation shall prepare and submit a report to the Legislature on or before December 1, 2017, on the degradation status of high-occupancy vehicle lanes on the state highway system.

(2)The requirement that a report be submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be inoperative on December 1, 2021, pursuant to Section 10231.5 of the Government Code.

(3)A report submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be submitted in compliance with Section 9795 of the Government Code.

SEC. 3.

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.