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Legal Resources | Vehicle Code |    34501  

Schoolbuses; Safety Regulations   

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(a) (1) The department shall adopt reasonable rules and regulations that, in the judgment of the department, are designed to promote the safe operation of vehicles described in Section 34500, regarding, but not limited to, controlled substances and alcohol testing of drivers by motor carriers, hours of service of drivers, equipment, fuel containers, fueling operations, inspection, maintenance, recordkeeping, accident reports, and drawbridges. The rules and regulations shall not, however, be applicable to schoolbuses, which shall be subject to rules and regulations adopted pursuant to Section 34501.5.

The rules and regulations shall exempt local law enforcement agencies, within a single county, engaged in the transportation of inmates or prisoners when those agencies maintain other motor vehicle operations records which furnish hours of service information on drivers which are in substantial compliance with the rules and regulations. This exemption does not apply to any local law enforcement agency engaged in the transportation of inmates or prisoners outside the county in which the agency is located, if that agency would otherwise be required, by existing law, to maintain driving logs.

(2) The department may adopt rules and regulations relating to commercial vehicle safety inspection and out-of-service criteria. In adopting the rules and regulations, the commissioner may consider the commercial vehicle safety inspection and out-of-service criteria adopted by organizations such as the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance , other intergovernmental safety group, or the United States Department of Transportation. The commissioner may provide departmental representatives to that alliance or other organization for the purpose of promoting the continued improvement and refinement of compatible nationwide commercial vehicle safety inspection and out-of-service criteria.

(3) The commissioner shall appoint a committee of 15 members, consisting of representatives of industry subject to the regulations to be adopted pursuant to this section, to act in an advisory capacity to the department, and the department shall cooperate and confer with the advisory committee so appointed. The commissioner shall appoint a separate committee to advise the department on rules and regulations concerning wheelchair lifts for installation and use on buses, consisting of persons who use the wheelchair lifts, representatives of transit districts, representatives of designers or manufacturers of wheelchairs and wheelchair lifts, and representatives of the Department of Transportation.

(4) The department may inspect any vehicles in maintenance facilities or terminals, as well as any records relating to the dispatch of vehicles or drivers, and the pay of drivers, to assure compliance with this code and regulations adopted pursuant to this section.

(b) The department, using the definitions adopted pursuant to Section 2402.7, shall adopt regulations for the transportation of hazardous materials in this state, except the transportation of materials which are subject to other provisions of this code, that the department determines are reasonably necessary to ensure the safety of persons and property using the highways. The regulations may include provisions governing the filling, marking, packing, labeling, and assembly of, and containers that may be used for, hazardous materials shipments, and the manner by which the shipper attests that the shipments are correctly identified and in proper condition for transport.

(c) At least once every 13 months, the department shall inspect every maintenance facility or terminal of any person who at any time operates any bus. If the bus operation includes more than 100 buses, the inspection shall be without prior notice.

(d) The commissioner shall adopt and enforce regulations which will make the public or private users of any bus aware of the operator's last safety rating.

(e) It is unlawful and constitutes a misdemeanor for any person to operate any bus without the inspection specified in subdivision (c) having been conducted.

(f) The department may adopt regulations restricting or prohibiting the movement of any vehicle from a maintenance facility or terminal if the vehicle is found in violation of this code or regulations adopted pursuant to this section.

(Amended by Stats. 1999, Ch. 1008, Sec. 13.)