Amended in Senate February 12, 2016

Senate BillNo. 812


Introduced by Senator Hill

(Principal coauthors: Assembly Members Chiu and Ting)

January 4, 2016


An act to amend Section 5373.1begin delete ofend deletebegin insert of, and to add Sections 1033.6 and 5374.4 to,end insert the Public Utilities Code, and to amend Sections 612, 34505, 34505.1, and 34513 of, and to add Section 34505.2 to, the Vehicle Code, relating tobegin delete tour buses.end deletebegin insert vehicles.end insert

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 812, as amended, Hill. begin deleteTour bus inspection fees: charter-party carriers of passengers and passenger stage corporations. end deletebegin insertCharter-party carriers of passengers and passenger stage corporations.end insert

(1) Existing law defines a tour bus to include any bus operated by or for a charter-party carrier of passengers or a passenger stage corporation, with a bus in this respect defined to mean any vehicle designed, used, or maintained for carrying more than 10 persons, including the driver. Existing law provides for the Department of the California Highway Patrol to regulate the safe operation of various classes of vehicles, including tour buses. Existing law requires charter-party carriers of passengers, upon initial application and annually thereafter, to pay tour bus terminal inspection fees of $15 per tour bus, up to a maximum of $6,500, to offset the costs of inspections of the Department of the California Highway Patrol, and requires the Public Utilities Commission to collect these fees and to deposit fee revenues in the Motor Vehicle Account. Existing law does not impose similar fees on passenger stage corporations. A violation of various statutes and regulations governing tour buses and operators of tour buses is a crime.

This bill would require the Department of the California Highway Patrol, by regulation, to develop and adopt bus terminal inspection fees applicable to charter-party carriers of passengers and passenger stage corporations that operate one or more tour buses, to replace existing fees, in an amount sufficient to offset the costs to administer the inspection program for these companies, as specified. The bill would require the fees to be collected by the Public Utilities Commission in the case of charter-party carriers of passengers or as otherwise required by the regulations. The bill would make other conforming changes.

This bill would require the Department of the California Highway Patrol, by regulation, to modify its existing tour bus terminal inspection program to ensure that the program is performance-based, with parameters to evaluate and target on-site inspectionsbegin insert ofend insert tourbegin delete ofend delete buses operated by or for charter-party carriers of passengers and passenger stage corporations. The bill would require the tour bus terminal inspection program to prioritize newly acquired tour buses operated by charter-party carriers of passengers and passenger stage corporations, as well as affected companies that are noncompliant or have a history of noncompliance with safety laws or regulations. The bill would also require no fewer than 25% of the total number of tour bus carrier inspections conducted by the department to be unannounced surprise inspections.

This bill would require a charter-party carrier of passengers or a passenger stage corporation, prior to operating a newly acquired tour bus, to first schedule an inspection of the tour bus with, and obtain a satisfactory rating for the tour bus from, the department. The bill would also require the Department of the California Highway Patrol, upon determining 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, to immediately order the tour bus out of service, and would prohibit operation of the tour bus until all of the safety violations have been corrected and the department has verified the correction of the safety violations upon a subsequent inspection of the tour bus. By changing the definition of existing crimes and creating new crimes, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

This bill would also require the Department of the California Highway Patrol to conduct a comprehensive review of the statutes and regulations governing tour buses, as well as buses generally, with the objective of identifying opportunities for simplification, consolidation, avoidance of duplication, and consistent use of terminology, as specified. The bill would require a report containing the department’s recommendations for proposed statutory changes to be submitted to the policy committees of both houses of the Legislature with responsibility for transportation matters by January 1, 2018.

begin insert

(2) Existing law provides for the regulation of passenger stage corporations and charter-party carriers of passengers by the Public Utilities Commission.

end insert
begin insert

This bill would require the commission to monitor the recall notifications of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) relative to buses and limousines operated by passenger stage corporations and charter-party carriers of passengers. The bill would require the commission, upon determining that a limousine or bus is the subject of a safety recall, to notify the carrier and order affected vehicles out of service. The bill would prohibit a carrier from operating a limousine or bus that is the subject of a safety recall after being notified by the commission or otherwise becoming aware of the recall. The bill would require carriers to fix the safety defects of an affected vehicle before returning it to service and to submit written documentation to the commission in that regard. The bill would require the commission, upon determining that the safety defects have been fixed, to rescind its out-of-service order and notify the carrier that the vehicle may again be operated. Because a violation of provisions governing passenger stage corporations and charter-party carriers of passengers is a crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program by creating new crimes.

end insert
begin delete

(2)

end delete

begin insert(3)end insertbegin insertend insertThe 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: yes. State-mandated local program: yes.

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

P4    1begin insert

begin insertSECTION 1.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 1033.6 is added to the end insertbegin insertPublic Utilities
2Code
end insert
begin insert, to read:end insert

begin insert
3

begin insert1033.6.end insert  

(a) The commission shall monitor the recall
4notifications of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
5(NHTSA) relative to buses and limousines operated by passenger
6stage corporations in this state and shall subscribe to NHTSA’s
7electronic mail notification system.

8(b) Upon determining that a limousine or bus of a passenger
9stage corporation is the subject of a safety recall by NHTSA, the
10commission shall immediately notify the affected passenger stage
11corporation and shall order affected vehicles to be placed out of
12service.

13(c) A passenger stage corporation shall not operate a limousine
14or bus that is the subject of a safety recall by NHTSA after being
15notified by the commission pursuant to subdivision (b), or otherwise
16becoming aware of the recall, and shall fix the safety defects of
17an affected vehicle before returning it to service.

18(d) Upon completing necessary repairs to an affected vehicle,
19the passenger stage corporation shall submit written
20documentation to the commission. The commission, upon
21determining that the safety defects have been fixed, shall rescind
22its out of service order and notify the passenger stage corporation
23that the vehicle may again be operated.

end insert
begin delete

  

end delete
24

begin deleteSECTION 1.end delete
25begin insertSEC. 2.end insert  

Section 5373.1 of the Public Utilities Code is amended
26to read:

27

5373.1.  

(a) Each application for a charter-party carrier of
28passengers certificate or permit shall be accompanied by a filing
29fee as follows:

30(1) Class A certificates (new): one thousand five hundred dollars
31($1,500).

32(2) Class A certificates (renewal): one hundred dollars ($100).

33(3) Class B certificates (new): one thousand dollars ($1,000).

34(4) Class B certificates (renewal): one hundred dollars ($100).

35(5) Class C certificates (new): one thousand dollars ($1,000).

36(6) Class C certificates (renewal): one hundred dollars ($100).

37(7) Permits (new): one thousand dollars ($1,000).

38(8) Permits (renewal): one hundred dollars ($100).

P5    1(b) The commission shall also require each application to be
2accompanied by a fee to offset the cost of the charter-party carrier
3bus terminal inspections conducted by the Department of the
4California Highway Patrol. The fee shall be fifteen dollars ($15)
5per tour bus, as defined in Section 612 of the Vehicle Code, or a
6maximum of six thousand five hundred dollars ($6,500) for each
7operating carrier, until the effective date of the new fee structure
8established by the Department of the California Highway Patrol
9pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 34513 of the Vehicle Code.

10(c) The commission shall require each charter-party carrier that
11operates tour buses, as defined in Section 612 of the Vehicle Code,
12to undergo an annual bus terminal inspection conducted by the
13Department of the California Highway Patrol and to pay an annual
14fee of fifteen dollars ($15) per tour bus, or a maximum of six
15thousand five hundred dollars ($6,500), to offset the cost of the
16inspections, until the effective date of the new fee structure
17established by the Department of the California Highway Patrol
18pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 34513 of the Vehicle Code.

19(d) The commission shall deposit the fees collected pursuant to
20subdivisions (b) and (c) in the Motor Vehicle Account in the State
21Transportation Fund to cover the costs of the inspections conducted
22by the department as specified in subdivisions (b) and (c). The
23revenues from the fees shall not be used to supplant other sources
24of funding for, or otherwise support, any other inspection program
25conducted by the department.

26begin insert

begin insertSEC. 3.end insert  

end insert

begin insertSection 5374.4 is added to the end insertbegin insertPublic Utilities Codeend insertbegin insert,
27to read:end insert

begin insert
28

begin insert5374.4.end insert  

(a) The commission shall monitor the recall
29notifications of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
30(NHTSA) relative to buses and limousines operated by
31charter-party carriers of passengers in this state and shall
32subscribe to NHTSA’s electronic mail notification system.

33(b) Upon determining that a limousine or bus of a charter-party
34carrier of passengers is the subject of a safety recall by NHTSA,
35the commission shall immediately notify the affected charter-party
36carrier of passengers and shall order affected vehicles to be placed
37out of service.

38(c) A charter-party carrier of passengers shall not operate a
39limousine or bus that is the subject of a safety recall by NHTSA
40after being notified by the commission pursuant to subdivision (b),
P6    1or otherwise becoming aware of the recall, and shall fix the safety
2defects of an affected vehicle before returning it to service.

3(d) Upon completing necessary repairs to an affected vehicle,
4the charter-party carrier of passengers shall submit written
5documentation to the commission. The commission, upon
6determining that the safety defects have been fixed, shall rescind
7its out-of-service order and notify the charter-party carrier of
8passengers that the vehicle may again be operated.

end insert
9

begin deleteSEC. 2.end delete
10begin insertSEC. 4.end insert  

Section 612 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

11

612.  

“Tour bus” means a vehicle designed, used, or maintained
12for carrying more than 10 persons, including the driver, which is
13operated by or for a charter-party carrier of passengers, as defined
14in Section 5360 of the Public Utilities Code, or a passenger stage
15corporation, as defined in Section 226 of the Public Utilities Code.

16

begin deleteSEC. 3.end delete
17begin insertSEC. 5.end insert  

Section 34505 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

18

34505.  

(a) Tour bus operators shall, in addition to the
19systematic inspection, maintenance, and lubrication services
20required of all motor carriers, require each tour bus to be inspected
21at least every 45 days, or more often if necessary to ensure safe
22operation. This inspection shall include, but not be limited to, all
23of the following:

24(1) Brake adjustment.

25(2) Brake system components and leaks.

26(3) Steering and suspension systems.

27(4) Tires and wheels.

28(b) A tour bus shall not be used to transport passengers until all
29defects listed during the inspection conducted pursuant to
30subdivision (a) have been corrected and attested to by the signature
31of the operator’s authorized representative.

32(c) Records of inspections conducted pursuant to subdivision
33(a) shall be kept at the operator’s maintenance facility or terminal
34where the tour bus is regularly garaged. The records shall be
35retained by the operator for one year, and shall be made available
36for inspection upon request by any authorized employee of the
37department. Each record shall include, but not be limited to, all of
38the following:

39(1) Identification of the vehicle, including make, model, license
40number, or other means of positive identification.

P7    1(2) Date and nature of each inspection and any repair performed.

2(3) Signature of operator’s authorized representative attesting
3to the inspection and to the completion of all required repairs.

4(4) Company vehicle number.

5(d) Prior to operating a newly acquired tour bus, a charter-party
6carrier of passengers or a passenger stage corporation shall first
7schedule an inspection of the tour bus with, and obtain a
8satisfactory rating for the tour bus from, the department.

9

begin deleteSEC. 4.end delete
10begin insertSEC. 6.end insert  

Section 34505.1 of the Vehicle Code is amended to
11read:

12

34505.1.  

(a) Upon determining that a tour bus carrier or
13modified limousine carrier has either (1) failed to maintain any
14vehicle used in transportation for compensation in a safe operating
15condition or to comply with the Vehicle Code or with regulations
16contained in Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations relative
17to motor carrier safety, and, in the department’s opinion, that failure
18presents an imminent danger to public safety or constitutes such
19a consistent failure as to justify a recommendation to the Public
20Utilities Commission or the United States Department of
21Transportation or (2) failed to enroll all drivers in the pull notice
22system as required by Section 1808.1, the department shall
23recommend to the Public Utilities Commission that the carrier’s
24operating authority be suspended, denied, or revoked, or to the
25United States Department of Transportation that appropriate
26administrative action be taken against the carrier’s interstate
27operating authority, whichever is appropriate. For purposes of this
28subdivision, two consecutive unsatisfactory compliance ratings
29for an inspected terminal assigned because the tour bus carrier or
30modified limousine carrier failed to comply with the periodic report
31requirements of Section 1808.1 or the cancellation of the carrier’s
32enrollment by the Department of Motor Vehicles for nonpayment
33of required fees may be determined by the department to be a
34consistent failure. However, when recommending denial of an
35application for new or renewal authority, the department need not
36conclude that the carrier’s failure presents an imminent danger to
37public safety or that it constitutes a consistent failure. The
38department need only conclude that the carrier’s compliance with
39the safety-related matters described in paragraph (1) of subdivision
40(a) is sufficiently unsatisfactory to justify a recommendation for
P8    1denial. The department shall retain a record, by carrier, of every
2recommendation made pursuant to this section.

3(b) Before transmitting a recommendation pursuant to
4subdivision (a), the department shall notify the carrier in writing
5of all of the following:

6(1) That the department has determined that the carrier’s safety
7record is unsatisfactory, furnishing a copy of any documentation
8or summary of any other evidence supporting the determination.

9(2) That the determination may result in a suspension,
10revocation, or denial of the carrier’s operating authority by the
11Public Utilities Commission or the United States Department of
12Transportation, as appropriate.

13(3) That the carrier may request a review of the determination
14by the department within five days of its receipt of the notice
15required under this subdivision. If a review is requested by the
16carrier, the department shall conduct and evaluate that review prior
17to transmitting any notification pursuant to subdivision (a).

18(c) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in subdivision (a)
19or (b), upon determining during a terminal inspection or at any
20other time that the condition of a tour bus is such that it has
21multiple safety violations of a nature that operation of the tour bus
22could constitute an imminent danger to public safety, the
23department shall immediately order the tour bus out of service.
24The tour bus shall not be subsequently operated with passengers
25until all of the safety violations have been corrected and the
26department has verified the correction of the safety violations upon
27a subsequent inspection by the department of the tour bus, which
28shall occur within five business days of the submission of a
29 reinspection request from the tour bus carrier to the department.

30

begin deleteSEC. 5.end delete
31begin insertSEC. 7.end insert  

Section 34505.2 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

32

34505.2.  

The department shall conduct unannounced surprise
33inspections of charter-party carriers of passengers and passenger
34stage corporations operating one or more tour buses in addition to
35regular scheduled inspections. In each fiscal year, no fewer than
3625 percent of the total number of tour bus carrier inspections
37conducted by the department shall be unannounced surprise
38inspections.

39

begin deleteSEC. 6.end delete
40begin insertSEC. 8.end insert  

Section 34513 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

P9    1

34513.  

(a) The department shall adopt rules and regulations
2relating to the equipment, maintenance, and operation of tour buses.

3(b) The department shall, by regulation, develop and adopt a
4fee structure for bus terminal inspections of charter-party carriers
5of passengers and passenger stagebegin delete corporation,end deletebegin insert corporations,end insert to
6be paid by charter-party carriers of passengers and passenger stage
7corporations that operate one or more tour buses. The fees shall
8be based upon the number of buses operated by or for a company
9and shall be collected upon initial application and annually
10thereafter by the Public Utilities Commission pursuant to Section
115373.1 for carriers subject to that section, or as otherwise provided
12in regulations. The fees shall be in an amount sufficient to offset
13the costs to administer the inspection program as it pertains to
14charter-party carriers of passengers and passenger stage
15corporations, and revenues from the fees shall be deposited in the
16Motor Vehicle Account in the State Transportation Fund. The
17revenues from the fees shall not be used to supplant other sources
18of funding for, or otherwise support, any other inspection program
19conducted by the department. When developing the regulations,
20the department shall consider measures that increase efficiencies
21to limit the financial impact to charter-party carriers of passengers
22and passenger stage corporations subject to the fees. The
23department shall adopt the regulations in consultation with
24appropriate interested parties.

25(c) The department shall, by regulation, modify its existing tour
26bus terminal inspection program to ensure that the program is
27performance-based, with parameters to evaluate and target on-site
28inspections of buses operated by or for charter-party carriers of
29passengers and passenger stage corporations. The bus terminal
30inspection program shall prioritize newly acquired tour buses
31operated by charter-party carriers of passengers and passenger
32stage corporations, as well as affected companies that are
33noncompliant or have a history of noncompliance with safety laws
34or regulations. It is the intent of the Legislature that, to the greatest
35extent possible, the bus inspection program shall strive to inspect
36as many tour buses operated by or for charter-party carriers of
37passengers and passenger stage corporations as possible.

38

begin deleteSEC. 7.end delete
39begin insertSEC. 9.end insert  

The Department of the California Highway Patrol shall
40conduct a comprehensive review of the statutes and regulations
P10   1governing tour buses, as well as buses generally, with the objective
2of identifying opportunities for simplification, consolidation,
3avoidance of duplication, and consistent use of terminology. The
4review shall be conducted in consultation with the Public Utilities
5Commission, the Office of Legislative Counsel, and interested
6parties. On or before January 1, 2018, the department shall submit
7a report containing its recommendations for proposed statutory
8changes to the policy committees of both houses of the Legislature
9with responsibility for transportation matters, for potential
10inclusion, if appropriate in whole or in part, in a future omnibus
11transportation bill. The report shall be submitted pursuant to
12Section 9795 of the Government Code.

13

begin deleteSEC. 8.end delete
14begin insertSEC. 10.end insert  

No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
15Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
16the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
17district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
18infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty
19for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of
20the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within
21the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California
22Constitution.



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