BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






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                                   THIRD READING 


          Bill No:  SB 1072
          Author:   Mendoza (D), et al.
          Amended:  4/7/16  
          Vote:     21 

           SENATE TRANS. & HOUSING COMMITTEE:  10-0, 4/5/16
           AYES:  Beall, Cannella, Allen, Bates, Galgiani, Leyva, McGuire,  
            Mendoza, Roth, Wieckowski
           NO VOTE RECORDED:  Gaines

           SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE:  9-0, 4/13/16
           AYES:  Liu, Block, Hancock, Huff, Leyva, Mendoza, Monning, Pan,  
            Vidak

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE:  7-0, 5/2/16
           AYES:  Lara, Bates, Beall, Hill, McGuire, Mendoza, Nielsen

           SUBJECT:   Schoolbus safety:  child safety alarm system


          SOURCE:    State Council on Developmental Disabilities


          DIGEST:  This bill deals with pupils left unattended in school  
          buses by (1) requiring the installation of a child safety alarm  
          system which forces the bus driver to walk to the rear of the  
          bus before exiting, (2) requiring the establishment of  
          procedures to ensure that pupils aren't left unattended, and (3)  
          establishing a process for reporting incidents of unattended  
          pupils and authorizing the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to  
          revoke or suspend the school bus driving authority of the  
          driver.









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          ANALYSIS:  

          Existing law:

          1)Requires school officials to develop transportation safety  
            plans.

          2)Requires enhanced certification to become a school bus driver.

          3)Authorizes the DMV to refuse to issue or renew such  
            certification if certain specified crimes or misconduct has  
            occurred.

          4)Requires specialized equipment in school buses such as seat  
            belts and external lighting systems.

          This bill:

          1)Requires public and private school officials, as defined, to  
            establish procedures to ensure that pupils are not left  
            unattended on school buses.

          2)Requires public and private school officials, as defined, to  
            notify the DMV if a school bus driver leaves a pupil  
            unattended on a school bus.

          3)Requires that school bus drivers be instructed on how to  
            ensure that pupils are not left unattended.

          4)Authorizes the DMV to refuse to issue or renew the school bus  
            driver certificate if the driver has left a pupil unattended  
            on a school bus.

          5)Requires school buses to be equipped, by the 2018-19 school  
            year, with child safety alarm systems which force drivers to  
            manually disarm an alarm at the rear of the bus before exiting  
            the bus.

          6)Requires, by January 1, 2018, the California Highway Patrol  
            (CHP) to adopt regulations for child safety alarm systems.

          Comments








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          1)Purpose.  The author notes that in California there have been  
            several cases where children were left on school buses  
            unattended and found hours later.  In a particularly tragic  
            case last year, a special-needs student in Los Angeles died  
            after being left alone on a bus for many hours.  This bill  
            seeks to prevent children being left unattended on buses by  
            requiring drivers walk the length of the bus to deactivate an  
            alarm system before leaving.  It also strengthens driver  
            protocols and training and provides the DMV the authority to  
            suspend the bus driver's certificate to drive the bus.

          2)The problem.  While it may be hard to imagine how a child  
            could be left alone on a school bus, the author has identified  
            eight instances since 2012.  Those students ranged in age from  
            2 to 19 years old; all were either special needs or autistic.   
            Neither the CHP nor the DMV keep records of these types of  
            accidents, so it is difficult to judge the pervasiveness of  
            the problem.

          3)Alarm system.  The author believes that making the bus driver  
            walk through the bus will address the problem.  The alarm  
            system required by this bill has a switch located at the rear  
            of the bus.  At the end of the trip, the driver has to walk  
            through the bus to physically flip the switch before exiting  
            the bus to prevent an alarm from sounding.  These devices are  
            made by several manufacturers and have been deployed by the  
            Los Angeles Unified School District.  According to the author,  
            the District spent $194,000 to equip all 1,300 of their buses.  
             
          
          4)School bus driver certificates.  In addition to a driver's  
            license, school bus drivers must also obtain a certificate to  
            operate the bus.  This requires the driver to, among other  
            things, pass a medical exam, submit fingerprints, pass a  
            first-aid exam, meet with the CHP bus coordinator, and take an  
            on-road driving exam.  The certificate is revocable if the bus  
            driver misbehaves.  The DMV must revoke the certificate if the  
            driver has been convicted of a sex offense, as specified, or a  
            violent felony.  In addition, the DMV may revoke the  
            certificate if the driver has been convicted of other less  
            serious crimes.  This bill authorizes the DMV to revoke the  
            certificate if the driver has left a student unattended on a  
            school bus.








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          5)Other buses.  In addition to school buses, this bill also  
            deals with School Pupil Activity Buses (SPABs).  These are  
            typically chartered buses which take students to and from  
            school activities, such as sporting events.  SPABs are  
            required to have parents or parent representatives (e.g.,  
            school officials) present at the beginning and end of the  
            trip.  SPABs tend to have on-board chaperones.  The California  
            Bus Association believes that this provides assurance that  
            students are not left on the buses, and that therefore the  
            requirement for an alarm system is unnecessary for SPABs.  


          FISCAL EFFECT:   Appropriation:    No          Fiscal  
          Com.:YesLocal:   Yes


          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee:


           Unknown, likely significant local costs to implement the  
            requirements of this bill.  These costs are not state  
            reimbursable.  

           Minor costs to the California Department of Education to  
            modify bus driver training programs to include instruction on  
            inspection procedures that ensure a student is not left  
            unattended. (General Fund)

           Minor and absorbable costs for the CHP to adopt regulations  
            regarding child safety alarm systems, and to incorporate  
            requirements into school bus inspections.  (Motor Vehicle  
            Account)

           Minor and absorbable costs for the DMV to account for an  
            additional circumstance that would result in the refusal to  
            issue or renew a bus driver certificate, or the revocation or  
            suspension of that certificate.  (Motor Vehicle Account)


          SUPPORT:   (Verified5/2/16)


          State Council on Developmental Disabilities (source)
          American Academy of Pediatrics







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          Autism Speaks
          California School Nurses Organization
          Center for Autism and Related Disorders
          Los Angeles Unified School District
          The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration
          20 individuals


          OPPOSITION:   (Verified5/2/16)


          California Association of School Business Officials
          California Bus Association


          Prepared by:Randy Chinn / T. & H. / (916) 651-4121
          5/4/16 15:04:16


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