Regulations

Rogue Bus Bill Still Not Law

LCT Staff
Posted on October 5, 2009

SACRAMENTO, CA -- It was a nightmare ride that ended the lives of 11 people on board. But after the dust settled from the October 5, 2008 bus crash on a narrow road in Colusa County, new information emerged that has since prompted California law makers to vote in favor of cracking down on "rogue bus" operations.

Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, says the bus operator was not licensed at the time of the crash. The driver, 53-year-old Quintin Watts, may have fallen asleep behind the wheel. Following the crash, he served time for parole violation, and still faces charges of vehicular manslaughter and traffic violations.

Jones says these cases of "rogue bus" operations are not uncommon in California.

"We discovered after the crash one year ago that there are rogue charter bus companies that don't follow basic safety requirements," said Jones. "They get in trouble in one part of the state, then move to another part of the state."

Jones says that revelation prompted him to author Assembly Bill 636, which would outlaw unchartered operations. Anyone caught operating a bus without a license would be banned from ever operating again in California.

The bill has already passed the assembly and senate, but Jones is worried Gov. Schwarzenegger might hold it and other bills up unless comprehensive water legislation is passed first.

"We're hearing the governor is threatening to veto all the bills," said Jones.

In response, the Governor's Office said, "The governor will consider every bill on its merits, but is focused on pushing the legislature to close on a comprehensive water solution."

As for bus driver, Watts has pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular manslaughter and traffic violations. Jury selection in the case against him is scheduled to begin this week.

Several people who survived last year's crash are expected to attend a rally at the State Capitol on Monday, urging the Governor to sign AB 636.

Written for the web by Will Frampton, [email protected]

News10/KXTV

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