STN recently conducted a question-and-answer session with the California Highway Patrol, which is in charge of the development of regulations on the child-check technology that must be added to all California school buses by 2018, per the Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law.
STN: The child-check standards being written by CHP in accordance with SB 1072 are due by the end of the year. Can you confirm that the standards will be ready by then?
CHP: The California Highway Patrol anticipates adoption of the required regulations on or before January 1, 2018.
STN: CHP is also supposed to develop a list of approved child safety alarm systems. Are you limiting your research to existing alarm systems?
CHP: The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is not aware of any requirement to develop a list of approved child safety alert systems as the result of Senate Bill 1072. The CHP is not charged with authority to authorize or approve vehicle equipment and systems. The CHP has conducted research of existing child safety alert systems, and statutes and regulations already in place across the nation related to child safety alert systems.
STN: If not, what, if anything, is CHP looking for in the specifications for the child-check systems that is not currently available?
CHP: The regulations under development by the Department will clarify or make specific requirements contained in Senate Bill 1072. Due to the variety of systems currently available in the aftermarket or installation by original equipment manufacturers, it is not possible to provide a list of specifications contained in the regulations under development that may differ from any one or more currently available child safety alert system.
STN: SB 1072 says that all buses must be equipped with a child-check system. Does this mean no current systems will be grandfathered?
CHP: Senate Bill 1072 does not provide for exceptions from statutory or adopted regulatory requirements. Consequently, all child safety alert systems installed on school buses, school pupil activity buses (unless excepted), youth buses, and child care motor vehicles will be required to meet the requirements implemented by Senate Bill 1072 and regulatory requirements developed and adopted as a result of Senate Bill 1072.
STN: If no current child-check systems will be grandfathered, we’re talking the potential retrofitting of existing buses, which can be costly. What are the large urban bus fleets to do to pay for this in just the eight-month grace period, or is CHP considering tying some grant monies to the installations?
CHP: Senate Bill 1072 does not provide for grant funding or other types of funding for the purchase and installation of required child safety alert systems. Compliance with child safety alert system installation and operation is required on or before the beginning of the 2018/2019 school year. As such, regulations under development by the CHP will permit incremental installation of the systems in vehicles based on the beginning of the school year as designated by the county superintendent of schools, the superintendent of any school district, or the owner or operator of any private school.
STN: How does Title 13 factor into the development of these child-check standards?
CHP: The CHP is charged with regulatory oversight for operation of vehicles identified in Section 34500 of the California Vehicle Code, including school buses, school pupil activity buses, and youth buses. Regulations adopted under that regulatory authority are contained in Title 13, California Code of Regulations, Division 2. Regulations adopted as a result of Senate Bill 1072 related to installation and use of child safety alert systems will be contained within Title 13, California Code of Regulations, Division 2.
STN: Thank you.