BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     SB 812


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          SENATE THIRD READING


          SB  
          812 (Hill)


          As Amended  August 18, 2016


          Majority vote


          SENATE VOTE:  39-0


           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 
          |Committee       |Votes|Ayes                  |Noes                |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |----------------+-----+----------------------+--------------------|
          |Transportation  |15-0 |Frazier, Linder,      |                    |
          |                |     |Baker, Bloom, Brown,  |                    |
          |                |     |Chu, Daly, Dodd,      |                    |
          |                |     |Gomez, Kim, Mathis,   |                    |
          |                |     |Medina, Melendez,     |                    |
          |                |     |Nazarian, O'Donnell   |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
          |                |     |                      |                    |
           ------------------------------------------------------------------ 


          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  








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            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.


          3)Extends the deadline by which every modified limousine that  
            has been modified prior to July 1, 2015, must comply with the  
            requirement to be equipped with two rear push-out windows from  
            January 1, 2017, to January 1, 2018.


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


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


          3)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  








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            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.


          4)Requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC),  
            upon the recommendation of CHP, 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.


          5)Defines "modified limousine," as specified, and requires every  
            modified limousine that has been modified prior to July 1,  
            2015, to be equipped with two rear push out windows, as  
            specified, by January 1, 2017.


          6)Requires CHP to establish, by regulation, standards to ensure  
            that window exits are operable and sufficient in emergency  
            situations for limousine passengers, as specified.


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


          COMMENTS:  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 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 exhibit minor violations, recent  








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          events suggest current inspections may not subject carriers to  
          sufficient scrutiny.


          The author cites a 2015 tour bus crash in San Francisco 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.


          Additionally, this bill extends the deadline by which modified  
          limousines must comply with the requirement to be equipped with  
          two rear push-out windows until January 1, 2018, as the  
          standards pertaining to those windows have not yet been  
          established by CHP regulation.


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




          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Justin Behrens / TRANS. / (916) 319-2093  FN:   
          0004954









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