SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law on Tuesday that will require all school buses in the state to be equipped with child-check reminder alarm systems and for bus drivers to be trained on those systems.
SB 1072, also known as the “Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law,” was named after a special-needs student from Whittier who died in September 2015 after being left unattended on a school bus for several hours. Sen. Tony Mendoza authored the bill.
“I thank Governor Brown for signing SB 1072. The Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law will protect every child who rides a school bus to and from school every day,” Mendoza said.
In addition to requiring all California school buses to be equipped with the systems, the law will require bus drivers, upon a renewal of their annual school bus driver safety certificate, to receive training in child safety check procedures.
The law will also:
• Require all school buses to be equipped with an operational child-check reminder alarm system that prompts the driver to inspect all seats before leaving the bus. The system must be approved by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and hard-wired into the vehicle’s electrical system and activated when the ignition is turned on.
• Require reporting to ensure that the Department of Motor Vehicles is notified of cases when a child is left on a bus unattended.
• Direct the CHP to promulgate rules to implement the new requirements and provide a list of child safety alarms that are approved for use in school buses and a qualified technician or mechanic who can install the system.
• Grant school districts and school bus contractors a grace period of eight months after the date that the CHP issues the rules to install a child safety alarm system.