The Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law

What you need to know to ensure compliance

What does the bill require?

The California child check bill—known as the “Paul Lee School Bus Safety Law”—requires all buses to be equipped with a “child safety alert system,” which is a device located at the interior rear of the bus. The driver must manually contact the device before exiting to ensure all seats were checked for children at the end of every shift. The bill also requires drivers to complete inspection training each year before receiving their school bus driver safety certificate. View the Notice of Proposed Regulatory Action.

To whom is it applicable?

The bill is applicable to county superintendents of schools, superintendents of a school district or owner/operators of a private school that provides transportation to students in the State of California. This includes transportation to and from school and for school activities—school buses, activity buses or youth buses.

When does the bill go into effect?

An approved child safety alert system and inspection procedures must be in place on or before the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

What are the consequences of non-compliance?

If a student is left unattended onboard a bus, school officials must notify the CA Department of Motor Vehicles. This authorizes the department to refuse to issue or renew, and to revoke or suspend, a bus driver certificate on these grounds. The bill also imposes penalties for bus drivers, school districts or contractors who knowingly transport students in a bus without an operable child safety alert system.

Is funding available to meet requirements of the bill?

No. State funding or reimbursement is not available.

What should school transportation officials outside of California know?

The enactment of new legislation in reaction to the need for increased student safety is a good impetus to review current safety procedures, access exposure, and plan for future enhancements as needed.

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