Several states around the country enacted new laws that took effect at the start of 2017, with a few focusing on the school bus, including California’s SB 1072 that requires school buses to be equipped with child-reminder alarm technology.
Signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last year, SB 1072 was enacted in response to the 2015 death of 19-year-old Hun Joon “Paul” Lee, a student with severe autism who died after being locked inside a parked school bus during a heat wave. Drafted by state Sen. Tony Mendoza, SB 1072 stipulates all school buses, youth buses and care motor vehicles need to be outfitted with alert systems that force drivers to manually disarm an alarm at the rear of the bus before exiting. This way, the driver goes by each seat and can make sure no one is left on the bus.
The law also requires school districts to improve bus driver training to avoid similar situations that put students at risk. The alarm system will need to be installed in the California school buses by the 2018-2019 school year.