New California Law Will Improve Bus Safety

Thursday, October 26, 2017

SB 20 (Hill/E. Garcia) Bus Seatbelts

(COACHELLA, CA) – Earlier this month, Governor Brown signed a new California law to increase bus safety. SB 20 (Hill/E. Garcia), a measure coauthored by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), will require bus drivers and passengers to wear seat belts in buses that are equipped with them and mandates drivers to notify passengers of this requirement as well as the fine for not wearing a seat belt either before departure or with posted signs or placards.


“SB 20 will promote additional safety and help prevent loss of life and injuries by closing a major loophole between federal and state safety standards,” stated Assemblymember Garcia reflecting upon this week’s anniversary of the deadly I-10 bus crash that claimed the lives of 13 people.


“My colleagues in the state legislature and I are optimistic that these new mandatory seat belt laws will help spare lives in the event of crashes, much like the tragedy that occurred here last October. As lawmakers we must do everything within our power to protect our roadways and ensure the safety of all Californians as they travel to and from their destinations.” 


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one-third of passengers not wearing seatbelts in vehicles involved in a crash are ejected and over 75% of those who are ejected result in fatality. For these reasons NHTSA had issued safety recommendations that states enact legislation to enforce mandatory passenger seatbelt laws for all vehicles that have seatbelts. 


Previous federal regulations such as 49 CFR §392.16, pertaining to mandatory seat belts for bus drivers and other NHTSA recommendations regarding passengers belts were unenforceable in California because they had yet to be outlined into state law. 


Now, SB 20 will enforce additional safety precautions and help save precious lives.