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Governor Brown Signs Party Bus Bill Into Law Following Bus Accident
Following a Santa Cruz party bus fatality in 2010, Governor Jerry Brown has just signed California's "Party bus bill"(formerly AB45) into law seeking to restrict underage drinking. The party bus law will require busses that transport underage passengers and allow alcohol to have chaperones and ID checks. The new law, authored by state Senator Jerry Hill, D-San-Mateo - will take effect in January. The new law will bring drinking rules on party busses in line with the rules in effect for limousines.
For questions about the party bus law or if you or a loved one has suffered a serious personal injury while on board a party bus, it is important to speak to a skilled Sacramento personal injury lawyer right away.
The party bus bill is in response to a tragic accident that occurred in July 2010, when Natasha Noland, a 25-year-old riding a "party bus" on the way home from a Brad Paisley concert, fell out of a door on the bus and was killed. Investigators of the drunk driving accident state that everyone except the bus driver had been drinking. In support of his bill, Senator Hill stated "In recent years, the party bus industry has expanded and not kept up with the times ... "These buses are essentially 'booze cruises' -- parties on wheels with dance floors, neon lighting, sound systems, lounging areas and dancing poles."
The California Highway Patrol performed an investigation into the accident but did not release the details. The investigation will provide crucial evidence concerning who may have acted negligently, whether any one's careless or reckless actions led to the accident and the harm, and what other factors may have contributed to the fatal incident. These are important issues in terms of liability and may affect the family's ability to recover compensation following Noland's wrongful death.
The new law sets forth the following requirements:
- The party bus company must ask customers at booking if there will be passengers under age 21;
- The party bus company must ask if alcohol will be served on the bus;
- If alcohol will be served on the bus, then a chaperone older than 25 must ride on the bus and check IDs;
- The chaperone must notify passengers that if alcohol is found, the trip will end and the bus company will keep the money;
- If the bus trip is already underway and catches underage passengers drinking alcohol, the chaperone must tell the bus driver. If any one younger than 21 is caught drinking, the bus must return;
- The chaperone is in charge of making sure anyone suspected of drinking - even those of legal age - makes it home safely.
- Chaperones who don't follow the rules may face misdemeanor penalties.
In addition to rules concerning the conduct of passengers, bus drivers also face additional regulations.
These include requiring bus drivers to check for alcohol where underage passengers are riding and alcohol is prohibited. If alcohol is found, it must stop the trip unless the alcohol is removed and locked under the bus.
Drivers who break the rules face misdemeanor charges and the party bus company faces potential fines and suspensions.
For more information about this law, or any other personal injury questions, contact the top Sacramento personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of Frederick J. Sette for an immediate consultation.