Legislation to create safety guidelines for tour bus companies, such as the roofless vans that take passengers to see the sights in Hollywood, has passed an assembly committee.
The Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee approved AB 25, the Tour Bus Safety Act, this week by a vote of 13-0. The legislation was introduced following an NBC4 I-Team investigation into Hollywood celebrity tour safety, which began in 2015.
"Chop-shop tour bus roof removal is a clear danger to tourists," said Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian. "These structurally weakened tour buses are recklessly rampaging through our hillside communities, and our excellent police and highway patrol have their hands tied."
The bill requires the following, according to a statement from Nazarian's office:
- "Tour bus" is defined as either a bus operated by a charter party carrier or a passenger stage corporation that has had its roof modified or removed, or has had other major structural modifications not performed by the manufacturer.
- The CHP will be required to develop and implement an inspection and certification program for tour buses by July 2018. Modified tour buses without inspection by the CHP and not certified as safe can be impounded.
- The bill authorizes local jurisdictions to restrict the routes or streets used by modified tour buses.
- This bill would extend to the Attorney General, district attorney, and city attorney the same ability granted to CHP to recommend to the PUC that a carrier's operating authority be suspended, denied, or revoked for consistent in compliance with vehicle codes and regulations.
Currently, charter-party carriers get a permit from the state's Public Utilities Commission. The vehicles are registered with the agency. The CHP inspects a carrier's fleet annually to check for maintenance issues.
AB 25 now heads to Appropriations Committee, where the fiscal impact of the bill will be determined. Legislation could be sent to the governor as early as mid-September.