California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed legislation aimed to improve
bus safety. The law imposes several new requirements on charter bus operators.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were
over 11,000 fatal crashes involving charter buses between 1975 and 2013.
Most recently, 13 people died and 31 more were injured in a tragic California
bus crash involving a tractor-trailer. The crash is still under investigation.
Sen. Ricardo Lara introduced the bill in response to a 2014 charter bus
crash that occurred when a tractor-trailer crossed the center line. Five
high school students on a school trip to visit a California college were
killed, along with three chaperones and the drivers of the two vehicles.
“By making common-sense updates to bus safety practices and laws, we will
save lives," Sen. Lara said Tuesday in a statement. “We cannot
stop accidents from happening, but we can help reduce tragedy and with
the governor's signature, that's what we'll do.”
Senate Bill No. 247, the driver of a charter bus that is designed to carry 39 or more passengers
must provide oral and written or video instructions to all passengers
on the safety equipment and emergency exits on the vehicle prior to the
beginning of any trip. In addition, vehicles manufactured after July 1,
2020, must be equipped with emergency lighting fixtures that will turn
on in the event of an impact or collision. The law requires the Department
of the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to adopt standards and criteria
for the implementation of these equipment and safety requirements no later
than July 1, 2018.
To further improve bus safety, Gov. Brown also signed a law that directs
the CHP to develop protocols for working with local governments to increase
the frequency of tour bus inspections within their jurisdictions. The
law was prompted by a San Francisco sightseeing bus crash that injured
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a California bus
or motor vehicle accident, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego personal injury attorney
at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.