(a) Unless specifically prohibited by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, all schoolbuses purchased or leased for use in California shall be equipped at all designated seating positions with a combination pelvic and upper torso passenger restraint system, if the schoolbus is either of the following:
(1) Type 1, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 1201 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations, and is manufactured on or after July 1, 2005.
(2) Type 2, as defined in paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 1201 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations, and is manufactured on or after July 1, 2004.
(b) For purposes of this section, a "passenger restraint system" means any of the following:
(1) A restraint system that is in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 209, for a type 2 seatbelt assembly, and with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 210, as those standards were in effect on the date the schoolbus was manufactured.
(2) A restraint system certified by the schoolbus manufacturer that is in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 222 and incorporates a type 2 lap/shoulder restraint system.
(c) No person, school district, or organization, with respect to a schoolbus equipped with passenger restraint systems pursuant to this section, may be charged for a violation of this code or any regulation adopted thereunder requiring a passenger to use a passenger restraint system, if a passenger on the schoolbus fails to use or improperly uses the passenger restraint system.
(d) It is the intent of the Legislature, in implementing this section, that school pupil transportation providers work to prioritize the allocation of schoolbuses purchased, leased, or contracted for on or after July 1, 2004, for type 2 schoolbuses, or on or after July 1, 2005, for type 1 schoolbuses, to ensure that elementary level schoolbus passengers receive first priority for new schoolbuses whenever feasible.
(Amended by Stats. 2017, Ch. 397, Sec. 7.)