Take note, Californians: several new traffic-safety related laws are set to be implemented in the state this Sunday, although they primarily impact drivers for hire, buses and private carriers.
The first is a new law requiring bus passengers to wear seat belts in buses that have those safety restraints.
Under Senate Bill 20, children between the ages of 8 and 15 who are riding a bus must be in an appropriate restraint — such as a seat belt — that complies with federal safety standards.
“This law contributes to reducing highway deaths and injuries as a result of large bus crashes by requiring the use of seatbelts on motor coaches and large buses, and requiring bus operators to inform passengers of the seatbelt requirement,” the Department of Motor Vehicles said in a news release.
Anyone found to violate the law faces a possible fine.
Another new law, Assembly Bill 2687, changes the DUI threshold of drivers who transport passengers for hire, such as those who use ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft.
The legislation essentially prohibits any driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 to transport a paying passenger, lowering the legal BAC level down from 0.08.
“The DMV wants to ensure the public understands drivers of passengers for hire will be held to a higher standard of safety while transporting people,” the release said.
Under the law, a person’s driver license could be suspended by the DMV if a conviction is added to the hit or her record.
And finally, Senate Bill 19 affects private carriers, which are defined as not-for-hire transportation services such as a church vans or employee shuttles, according to the release.
Under the new law, regulatory authority from the California Carriers of Passengers Program will be transferred over to the DMV from the state’s Public Utilities Commission.
The program will also now be jointly administered by the DMV and California Highway Patrol; the DMV will issue certificates for intrastate authority and verify proof of liability insurance, while CHP will regulate compliance and ensure the safe operation of the affected vehicles.
The goal is to make sure that private carriers are operating in a safe manner while also maintaining adequate insurance coverage, the release stated.