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Public Transit Riders Required To Wear Seat Belts When Available

Public Transit Riders Required to Wear Seat Belts When Available


On October 8, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law “SB20 (Hill): Vehicles: buses: seatbelts.” Senator Hill created the legislation to bridge the gap between the regulations of the Federal Transportation Administration and the State of California regarding the use of seat belts on public transit buses. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2018.


The new law provides monetary penalties for riders of public transit vehicles that are equipped with seat belts. Law enforcement agencies can issue citations to passengers who are not wearing their seat belts when seat belts are available. The cost of the first offense is $20 and $50 for subsequent offenses. The law applies to:

  • Passengers over the age of 16 who fail to wear a seat belt in those vehicles required to have seat belts
  • Passengers responsible for children under the age 16 for failing to secure the children in buses equipped with seat belts


Requirements of the new law include:

  1. No violation point counts will be given for failure to wear the seat belt.
  2. A passenger who is 16 years of age or older in a bus shall be properly restrained by a safety belt (lap belt crosses the hips or upper thighs of the occupant and the shoulder belt, if present, crosses the chest in front of the occupant.)
  3. A child, ward, or passenger who is eight years of age or older, but under 16 years of age shall not be transported on a bus, unless he or she is properly restrained by a safety belt.
  4. A child, ward, or passenger who is under eight years of age and under 4 feet 9 inches in height shall not be transported on a bus, unless he or she is properly restrained in a child restraint seat as per California State guidelines.  A child under the age of two may be held.
  5. Bus drivers must not move the bus until they have fastened their seat belt.


We, as a public transportation agency, must:

  1. Maintain the seat belts on buses in good operating condition.
  2. On buses that are equipped with seat belts, either announce or post signs or placards that inform passengers of the requirement to wear a seatbelt under California law and that not wearing a seatbelt is punishable by a fine. You will see those signs in various locations on our transit buses that are equipped with seat belts at each seat.

Under the new law, “bus” means a bus that is equipped with safety belts, including a bus that is required to be equipped with a seatbelt assembly pursuant to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208 (49 CFR 571.208). 49 C.F.R. 571.208 specifies the seat belt requirements for buses manufactured after November 28, 2016.


If you have any questions regarding this change in California Regulations and/or our operations, please contact El Dorado Transit at (530)642-5383.