The Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law

What you need to know to ensure compliance

What does the Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law require?

The California Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law—also known as the Paul Lee Law or child check bill—requires that all school buses be equipped with a child safety alert system, which is a device located inside, at the rear of the bus. Before exiting, the bus driver must manually contact the device to verify that all seats have been visually checked for children still on the bus. Each driver must do these checks at the end of every shift.

The bill Paul Lee Law also requires bus drivers to complete inspection training each year before receiving their school bus driver safety certificate. Read the legislative information.

To whom does the Paul Lee Law apply?

The Paul Lee Law applies to county superintendents of schools, superintendents of a school district, and owners and operators of any private school that provides transportation to students in California. This includes transportation to and from school as well as transportation for school activities, including school buses, activity buses and youth buses.

When is the deadline to comply with the Paul Lee Law?

On February 16, 2018, California introduced Senate Bill 1269, which would extend the deadline to the start of the 2019-2020 school year. The current bill requires vehicles that transport special needs students to have the proper systems by the start of the 2018-2019 school year, which means those vehicles should already be equipped with the proper technology.

The rest of the vehicles in your fleet have six additional months to install the proper technology and put appropriate procedures in place to meet the standards for compliance.

There is no guarantee of another extension to the Paul Lee Law deadline.

What are the consequences of non-compliance?

If a student is left unattended on a school bus, school officials must notify the California Department of Motor Vehicles (CA DMV). Doing so authorizes the CA DMV to refuse to issue or renew, and to revoke or suspend, a bus driver certificate on these grounds.

The Paul Lee Law also imposes penalties for bus drivers, school districts and contractors who knowingly transport students in a bus without an operable child safety alert system.

Is funding available to meet the Paul Lee Law’s requirements?

No. State funding or reimbursement are not available.

What should school transportation officials outside of California know?

The Paul Lee Law was enacted in reaction to the need for greater student safety. This child check bill is a good impetus to review current safety procedures and access exposure, and to plan ahead for future safety and security enhancements.

Zonar can help.

California's Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law requires all buses to be equipped with a child safety alert system by the start of the 2019-2020 school year. Zonar is the leader in school bus safety technology. We’ve partnered with Child Check-Mate System® to offer a comprehensive solution that meets compliance requirements*—and that’s easy for drivers to use.

*When properly installed and configured, meets current CA requirements per Section 1294, Division 2, Chapter 6.5, Article 6 of Title 13, California Code of Regulations Child Safety Alert Systems (CHP-R-2017-05).

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