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California Legislature

Commercial bus riders who choose not to buckle up could be fined under new California law

Raw video: Two people were killed and others were injured in a bus crash in San Jose in January 2016. None
Raw video: Two people were killed and others were injured in a bus crash in San Jose in January 2016.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law on Sunday to require passengers on commercial buses equipped with seat belts to use them, a decision following a recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board after a San Jose bus crash that killed two people.

The new law requires bus drivers to tell passengers before each trip that they are required to buckle up. Failure to do so will be punishable by a fine of up to $20 for the first offense, and up to $50 for the following offenses.

The federal safety board highlighted the need to ensure passengers wear seat belts in a report released after the San Jose crash in January 2016. That Greyhound bus was equipped with the devices, but the two women killed had not been wearing them and were ejected from the vehicle.

All new buses must have seat belts under a state agency rule that went into effect in November 2016. With that in mind, State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) introduced Senate Bill 20 a month later. 

“This is common-sense legislation that will save lives,” Hill said in a statement. 

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