Report Title:

Seat Belts; School Bus

Description:

Requires minors to wear seat belts on school buses.

THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

429

TWENTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2003

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

relating to traffic safety.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. Chapter 103D, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"103D-   Procurement of school bus vehicles; seat belts. All school buses purchased by the State after December 31, 2003, shall be fitted with seat belt assemblies as defined in section 291-11.6(a)."

SECTION 2. Chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part II, subpart C, to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"302A-   Seat belts required on school buses; civil penalty. (a) The term "seat belt assembly" has the same meaning as provided in section 291-11.6(a).

(b) After December 31, 2003, every school bus used to carry public or private school students upon any public highway shall be equipped with seat belt assemblies for all passenger seats. Each public or private school student on any school bus shall wear a properly adjusted and fastened seat belt assembly while the school bus is in motion. The operator of any school bus shall require each school bus passenger to comply with this section.

(c) Any person who is found responsible for a civil violation under this section shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $          for each violation.

(d) A police officer shall not stop or issue a citation to a person operating a school bus on a public highway for a violation of this section unless the officer has reasonable cause to believe that there is another alleged violation of a motor vehicle law of this State.

(e) If the driver of any school bus is found responsible for a civil violation under this section, no state or county department or agency may consider the violation for the purpose of determining whether the person's driver's license should be suspended or revoked.

(f) No insurer shall consider a civil violation under this section as a traffic violation against the person for the purposes of establishing rates for motor vehicle liability insurance or determining the insurability of the person. No insurer shall cancel or refuse to renew any policy of insurance for such a violation.

(g) This section shall not apply to a child who possesses a written statement from a physician licensed to practice in this State that the child is unable for medical or psychological reasons to wear a seat belt."

SECTION 3. Section 291-11.6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsections (a) and (b) to read as follows:

"(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, no person:

(1) Shall operate a motor vehicle upon any public highway unless the person is restrained by a seat belt assembly and any passengers in the front or back seat of the motor vehicle are restrained by a seat belt assembly if between the ages of four and fourteen, or are restrained pursuant to section 291-11.5 if under the age of four;

(2) If fifteen years of age or more shall be a passenger in the front seat of a motor vehicle being operated upon any public highway unless such person is restrained by a seat belt assembly; [and]

(3) If between the ages of fifteen and seventeen, shall be a passenger in the back seat of a motor vehicle being operated upon any public highway unless such person is restrained by a seat belt assembly[.]; and

(4) Shall operate a school bus carrying public or private school students after December 31, 2003, upon any public highway unless the students are restrained by a seat belt assembly.

As used in this section, "seat belt assembly" means the seat belt assembly required to be in the motor vehicle under any federal motor vehicle safety standard issued pursuant to Public Law 89-563, the [federal] National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, as amended, unless original replacement seat belt assemblies are not readily available. If replacement assemblies are not readily available, seat belts of federally-approved materials with similar protective characteristics may be used. [Such] Any replacement seat belt assemblies shall be permanently marked by the belt manufacturer indicating compliance with all applicable federal standards.

(b) The passengers of the following motor vehicles shall be exempt from the requirements of this section: emergency and mass transit vehicles. Further exemptions from this section may be established by rules adopted by the department of transportation pursuant to chapter 91.

As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

"Emergency vehicle" means an ambulance, a firefighting or rescue vehicle, or a police vehicle while on duty.

"Mass transit vehicle" means a bus, [including a school bus] (but excluding a charter [or], sightseeing service, or school bus) with a gross vehicle weight rating that is over 10,000 pounds, whether publicly or privately owned, which provides service to the general public or provides special service on a regular or continuing basis."

SECTION 4. Section 302A-406, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(a) The department may provide suitable transportation to and from school and for educational field trips for all children in grades kindergarten to twelve and in special education classes[.]; provided that no school bus may carry public or private school students upon any public highway unless those students are restrained by a seat belt assembly pursuant to section 302A-  . The department shall adopt such policy, procedure, and program as it deems necessary to provide suitable transportation. In formulating the policy, procedure, and program, the department shall consider [the]:

(1) The school district; [the]

(2) The school attendance area in which a school child normally resides; [the]

(3) The distance the school child lives from the school; [the]

(4) The availability of public carriers or other means of transportation; [the]

(5) The frequency, regularity, and availability of public transportation; and [the]

(6) The grade level, physical [handicap,] disability, or special learning disability of a school child[, and it].

The department may also consider such conditions and circumstances unique or peculiar to a county or area."

SECTION 5. Section 302A-407, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended as follows:

1. By amending subsection (a) to read:

"(a) Any other law to the contrary notwithstanding, except as provided in subsection (e), school bus contracts between the State and a private contractor may be extended for two years by mutual agreement; provided that the parties may agree to extend the contract for an additional two years thereafter. The compensation due to the contractor by the State for each extended year may be increased by an amount not to exceed five per cent of the previous year's compensation. In addition, the compensation due to the contractor by the State for any original or extended contract year may be increased by a reasonable amount for unanticipated inflationary increases in the cost of fuel. If the original contract between the State and a private contractor already includes an option to extend the contract period, this subsection shall apply after the contract option is exercised."

2. By amending subsection (e) to read:

"(e) The contract between the State and the contractor shall include a provision requiring the contractor to equip the contractor's vehicles with the signs and visual signals described in section 291C-95(d) and (g). Any contract between the State and the contractor negotiated or extended after December 31, 2003, shall also include a provision requiring the contractor to equip the contractor's vehicles with a seat belt assembly for each seat in the vehicle. The term "seat belt assembly" has the same meaning as provided in section 291-11.6(a). The contract shall also include other provisions as may be deemed necessary by the State for the safety of school bus passengers and shall include provisions requiring periodic refurbishment of school buses over ten years old."

SECTION 6. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $         , or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2003-2004, for the purposes of this Act. The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of transportation for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 7. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 8. This Act shall take effect upon its approval; provided that section 6 shall take effect on July 1, 2003.

INTRODUCED BY:

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