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School Bus Safety Legislation Introduced by Senator Tony Mendoza

Tragic Death of Whittier Student Inspires Bill

Sacramento – Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) today introduced a measure to improve school bus safety. SB 1072 would require school buses in California to be equipped with child-safety alarm systems to ensure that children are not left on buses unattended and in potentially hazardous circumstances.

“No parent should fear that their child will not return home safely at the end of the day,” said Senator Tony Mendoza. “My hope is that SB 1072 will prevent future tragedies by requiring every school bus in the state to be equipped with a child-safety alarm system.”

A school bus child-safety alarm system generates an audible sound when the ignition of the vehicle is turned off. This alarm requires the bus driver to walk to the rear of the vehicle to silence the alarm, thereby detecting any remaining children or passengers on the school bus. Some states, including Arkansas and Wisconsin, already require school buses and childcare vehicles over a certain passenger size to be equipped with child-safety alarms.

“California should join other states that require child safety alarm systems on school buses. It is vital that we do everything we can to protect the many thousands of children transported daily to and from school,” said Senator Tony Mendoza. “It is my hope that we can find some meaning in the recent tragic loss of a Whittier student on a school bus, in the form of meaningful change that will safeguard other children. It should not take events like this one to spur us into action on these issues.”

Current law requires public and private school districts to create and follow a transportation safety plan containing procedures for school personnel to follow to ensure the safe transportation of pupils. The plans must include specific procedures on boarding and exiting a school bus at each pupil’s bus stop and at the final trip destination.

Additionally, to operate a school bus, a driver is required to obtain a California Special Driver Certificate from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which entails classroom instruction, special training, and testing. Annual renewal of the certificate is required and involves 10 hours of renewal classroom instruction, or behind-the-wheel or in-service training.

During the last several years in California, there have been several cases where children were left on school buses unattended and found hours later. An example of one such case occurred last year in Los Angeles when a special needs student died after being left alone accidentally on a bus for many hours.


Specifically, SB 1072 will:


  • Require all school buses to be equipped with an operational child-safety alarm system that prompts the driver to inspect all seats before leaving the bus. The system must be approved by the CHP and hard-wired into the vehicle’s electrical system and activated when the ignition is turned on.


  • Require drivers upon a renewal of their annual school bus driver safety certificate to receive training in child-safety check procedures.


  • Impose a penalty for a driver, school district or contractor who knowingly permits a child to be transported in a bus in which a child safety alarm has not been installed, is not properly maintained, or is not in good working order.


  • Direct the CHP to promulgate rules to implement this section and provide a list of child-safety alarms that are approved for use in school busses and a qualified technician or mechanic that can install the system.


  • Grant school districts and school bus contractors a grace period of three months after the date that the CHP issues the rules to install a child safety alarm.


  • Metro Lines says:

    City of Cerritos, which is under Tony’s jurisdiction, just needs more public transportation, such as buses which connect to key areas of importance in Los Angeles and Orange County.

    It is almost impossible to catch a bus directly to West Los Angeles or downtown Los Angeles, nor directly to any of the major universities such as Irvine, UCLA, USC. Exedra.

    Hell with the students, the adults need transportation too. We lost major bus transportation routes to various pts throughout the region, over the past few prior decades.

    Los Cerritos Mall and the Cerritos Town Center, are both prime examples of zero bus lines and zero, zero, zero bus hubs/ depots.

    Take a bus from Cerritos to our local Hospital in Long Beach Memorial, takes 3 hrs one way. 6 hrs to travel 10 mls is not effective for the residents in Tony’s community.

    Where is Linda Sanchez and Don Knabe in aiding bus transportation for all ages?

    Cerritos City Council will not allow Van Pool vehicles to be parked on Cerritos Driveways nor curbside parking, as is a city violation.

    DMV Licensing is down across USA, because public transportation is plentiful, but not in Southern California. Lets look at the small picture, regions needs small buses and not bullet train to no where, which most residents could not afford to ride-share.