California Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 1072, also known as the Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law, to require school buses in the state to be equipped with child check alarm technology.
“I thank Gov. 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,” said state Sen. Tony Mendoza, the bill's sponsor, on Tuesday.
Hun Jun "Paul" Lee was a 19-year-old student with autism who was left behind on a school bus during a Southern California heatwave last September. Since Brown signed the bill into law before the end of the month, child reminder systems will now need to be installed in all school buses and school activity buses by the start of the 2018-2019 school year.
Aside from requiring the alarm systems, the bill also requires that drivers receive training in child-check safety procedures upon the yearly renewal of their school bus driver safety certificate. It also imposes penalties for bus drivers, school districts or contractors who knowingly transport students in a bus without a child reminder system, or in a bus where the system is not maintained or is out of order.
The law directs the California Highway Patrol to provide rules for implementation and enforce the law. A previous stipulation that CHP keep a list of approved alarm systems and technicians qualified to install the systems did not make it into the final version.
The bill contains no additional state funding or reimbursement to school districts for the systems.
Arkansas and Wisconsin also have laws requiring school buses and childcare vehicles over a certain passenger capacity to be equipped with child check alarm systems.