Over the last several years in areas around San Clemente, tour bus accidents have resulted in serious and fatal injuries. In most—if not all—of these bus crashes, investigators have suggested that the accidents could have been prevented. What are cities in Orange County and San Diego County doing to prevent similar crashes in the future? According to a recent article in The Mercury News, there is a new law in California allowing cities and counties to request tour bus inspections from the California Highway Patrol, yet most cities and counties in the state simply are not using the rule to help avoid tour bus collisions.
Using Assembly Bill 1677 to Prevent Tour Bus Crashes in California
As of January 2017, Assembly Bill 1677 has been in effect. What does this law do? The text of the bill explains that it requires the Department of the California Highway Patrol (CHP), “upon request of, and in consultation with, representatives of a local government in a jurisdiction where tour buses operate, [to] develop protocols for entering into memoranda of understanding with local governments to allow the department to increase the number of the locally operating tour buses that are being inspected by the department.”
The author of the law, Assemblyman Phil Ting, introduced the bill just over a year ago “after a sightseeing bus went out of control near Union Square and injured 20 people,” according to the article. When Ting introduced the legislation, he emphasized how “dangerous buses fall through the cracks of today’s tour bus safety inspections,” and that communities throughout the state of California need “new tools to take charge and keep local streets safe.” However, spokespersons for the CHP have remarked that, since the law took effect about three months ago, “not one municipality or agency in the state” has used the law to request an inspection.
What is going on?
Are Costs Associated with Assembly Bill 1677 Outweighing County Safety Interests?
The CHP and others believe that one of the reasons no one has requested an inspection concerns cost. In addition to stating the reasons for the new law, the text of Assembly Bill 1677 also clarifies that it includes “a provision that the local government will reimburse the department for all actual costs associated with conducting additional inspections.” That latter part of the law is likely where the problem comes in for cities and counties in the state.
According to the article, cities and counties may not be requesting inspections because they are concerned about the costs associated with an inspection, which they must cover. Rosemary Shahan, the president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, believes the California legislature would have done better to “allocate money to the CHP to pay for additional inspections.”
Yet according to some, the problem is that many agencies in the state simply do not know about the law, and publicizing it could result in requests for inspections. Regardless of the reason, however, it is important to remember that “more than 20 people have died in tour bus crashes in Southern California in the past four years.” As such, something needs to change when it comes to tour buses and safety measures.
Contact a San Clemente Bus Accident Lawyer
If you have questions about filing a personal injury lawsuit, an experienced bus accident lawyer in San Clemente can assist you. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can help with your claim.
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(image courtesy of Stephane Milot)