BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     SB 812


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          SENATE THIRD READING


          SB  
          812 (Hill)


          As Amended  August 15, 2015


          Majority vote


          SENATE VOTE:  39-0


           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 
          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |----------------+-----+----------------------+--------------------|
          |Transportation  |15-0 |Frazier, Linder,      |                    |
          |                |     |Baker, Bloom, Brown,  |                    |
          |                |     |Chu, Daly, Dodd,      |                    |
          |                |     |Eduardo Garcia,       |                    |
          |                |     |Gomez, Kim, Mathis,   |                    |
          |                |     |Melendez, Nazarian,   |                    |
          |                |     |O'Donnell             |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |----------------+-----+----------------------+--------------------|
          |Appropriations  |14-0 |Gonzalez, Bloom,      |                    |
          |                |     |Bonilla, Bonta,       |                    |
          |                |     |Calderon, Daly,       |                    |
          |                |     |Eggman, Eduardo       |                    |
          |                |     |Garcia, Holden,       |                    |
          |                |     |Quirk, Santiago,      |                    |
          |                |     |Weber, Wood, McCarty  |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |








                                                                     SB 812


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          SUMMARY:  Imposes additional requirements on the inspection of  
          tour buses.  Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Requires the Department of the California Highway Patrol  
            (CHP), to the extent possible, to conduct inspections of tour  
            bus operations without prior notice, including tour bus  
            operations that have a history of non-compliance with safety  
            laws or regulations, that have received unsatisfactory  
            inspection ratings, or that have had buses ordered out of  
            service for safety violations.


          2)Requires CHP to immediately order out of service any tour bus  
            that is determined to have multiple safety violations during a  
            terminal inspection or at any other time, and prohibits the  
            tour bus from being operated with passengers until all safety  
            violations have been corrected and the tour bus is  
            re-inspected by CHP.


          EXISTING LAW:


          1)Defines a "bus" as a vehicle designed, used, or maintained for  
            carrying more than 10 persons, including the driver, which is  
            used to transport persons for compensation or profit, or is  
            used by any non-profit organization or group.


          2)Defines a "tour bus" as a bus operated by or for a  
            charter-party carrier of passengers (CPC) or a passenger stage  
            corporation (PSC).










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          3)Requires CHP to regulate the equipment, maintenance, and safe  
            operation of tour buses.


          4)Requires CHP to inspect every maintenance facility or terminal  
            of any person who operates any bus, including any vehicle in  
            that terminal, at least once every 13 months, with inspections  
            of terminals housing more than 100 buses occurring without  
            prior notice, and prohibits a person from operating a bus  
            without this inspection having been conducted.


          5)Additionally requires all tour buses to be inspected every 45  
            days by the tour bus operator, or more often if necessary to  
            ensure safe operation. 


          6)Requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC),  
            upon the recommendation of CHP and pending an administrative  
            hearing, to suspend the permit or certificate of a PSC or CPC  
            for failure to maintain any vehicle used in transportation for  
            compensation in a safe operating condition if that failure is  
            either a consistent failure or presents an imminent danger to  
            public safety.


          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, any costs to CHP should be minor and absorbable.


          COMMENTS:  Existing law generally vests CPUC with the  
          responsibility to regulate CPCs and PSCs.  Tour buses operated  
          by CPCs and PSCs are required to be inspected every 13 months by  
          CHP and additionally every 45 days by the tour bus operator.   
          The findings of the inspections carried out by CHP are reported  
          to CPUC, and tour buses may not legally operate unless the bus  
          operator's terminal and maintenance facilities have been  
          inspected.  Terminal inspections typically include inspections  
          of a vehicle's registration, the driver's licensure, and the  








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          condition of the vehicle itself.  As not every vehicle is  
          inspected in a terminal inspection, and an inspection can still  
          result in a satisfactory rating even if some vehicles present  
          exhibit minor safety violations, recent events suggest the  
          current inspection program may not subject certain carriers to  
          sufficient scrutiny.


          The author cites a tour bus crash in downtown San Francisco in  
          November 2015, as the impetus for this bill.  While the crash  
          was found to be the result of driver error, according to the  
          author, the vehicle had never been inspected by CHP and was not  
          properly registered with CPUC.  A subsequent surprise inspection  
          of the carrier's fleet resulted in the discovery of numerous  
          safety violations that had not been discovered in previous,  
          scheduled inspections.


          This bill would require additional inspections of tour bus  
          operations to occur without prior notice, and would require CHP  
          to immediately order out of service any non-compliant tour bus,  
          until the bus's safety violations are corrected and verified in  
          a subsequent CHP inspection.


          The author believes that restructuring CHP's terminal inspection  
          program will improve the safety and oversight of tour buses  
          operating in California.


          Please see the policy committee analysis for full discussion of  
          this bill.




          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Justin Behrens / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093  FN:  
          0004056








                                                                     SB 812


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