We have written about California’s new party bus law in previous posts, but since we are nearing the end of 2012 and the law goes into effect on Jan. 1, now seems like a good time to remind readers about it. The new law, formally known as Assembly Bill 45, closes a loophole in an existing law regarding underage drinking on party buses. Laws prohibiting underage consumption of alcohol in limousines have been on the books for many years. However, because party buses are a newer type of luxury transportation, there were no laws expressly prohibiting minors from drinking alcohol on these luxury vehicles.
We have blogged quite a bit over the last several months about a proposed law that would toughen regulations and penalties for allowing underage drinking on party buses. The “party bus” law would close existing loopholes in California law that apply to alcohol consumption in limousines and other types of transportation and make it illegal for minors to drink alcohol while on board party buses. After debate in the State Assembly and Senate, Assembly Bill 45 passed both houses of the legislature and was recently signed into law by Governor Brown.
You may remember that the bill was introduced by Assemblyman Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) after a couple of tragic and irresponsible accidents involving excessive alcohol consumption aboard party buses. Beginning Jan.1, 2013, party buses carrying minors will be required to have a chaperone on board to ensure no underage drinking occurs. If minors do consume alcohol while riding in a party bus, chaperones could face criminal charges. Chauffeurs and party bus rental services can also get into trouble if minors drink on board party buses. Chauffeurs with three such violations could face misdemeanor charges, and party bus operators would face fines up to $2,000 for the first two offenses and have their licenses revoked for three or more violations.
The two fatal accidents prompted Assemblyman Hill to introduce this legislation.
"These incidents caused me to say, why could these things be happening?" Hill explained recently to reporters. "When these tragedies occurred a couple of years ago, what this new legislation hoped to do was to close that loophole and provide the same restrictions on buses as it does to limousines."
Many bar owners in San Francisco have banned party buses from their establishments after growing tired of party buses dropping off drunken riders at their businesses.
"Most clubs I know say ‘no’ to party buses," Steven Lee, owner of The Grand nightclub and member of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission. "People do all their drinking on the buses and it’s not a benefit to the club. We have to deal with all the security and all the hassle without any of the benefit."
As we have stated many times before, the new law won’t change our policies on underage drinking or rowdy behavior on our Bay Area limos, party buses, limo buses, luxury coaches and other types of transportation. The safety of our guests has always been and always will be our primary consideration, and we do not tolerate any illegal or reckless behavior. Our other consideration is that each of our guests has a fun, comfortable, memorable and affordable limo experience! If we sound like your idea of a professional and responsible San Francisco party bus service, call us at NLS Limo today at 800-339-8936 to reserve one for your next special occasion.
California Assemblyman Jerry Hill recently renewed his call for tough laws against party buses after a young woman fell from a party bus and was killed in a tragic accident near Santa Cruz. The 25-year-old victim was reportedly fighting with another woman on board the bus when their struggles opened a door, causing the victim to fall onto Highway 17, where she was struck and killed. Calling party buses “booze cruises,” Hill asked fellow lawmakers to pass AB 45, the bill he introduced 18 months ago. If passed, the bill would close a loophole in an existing law, which holds chauffeurs responsible for underage drinking in limousines but has no provisions for drivers of party buses.
“The problem is, and the sad part is, that there are those operators who are just in it for a quick buck,” Hill says. “And they will take anybody on a ride and charge them what they can and allow them to do what they want without the responsibility of what can occur.”
Hill claims that if legislators had passed his bill when it was introduced, the tragic death of the Santa Cruz woman could have been avoided. The bill has already been passed in the California Assembly and is under review in the Senate. If passed, the law would subject chauffeurs that allow underage drinking to be fined up to $2,000 for each infraction, with the possibility of losing their driver’s licenses.
Whether this law is passed or not, it won’t change our policy on underage drinking or our approach to guest safety. We have stated many times that a very small minority of Bay Area party bus rental companies are responsible for the vast majority of incidences of drunken and rowdy behavior outside clubs and other locations. We work with other San Francisco party bus services to promote responsible guest policies and keep our guests’ party bus experiences fun and safe. Guest safety is our first priority at all times, and we explain our rules to guests before each rental. If you want to have a memorable San Francisco party bus experience that is safe, fun and affordable, please call us today at NLS Limo at 800-339-8936 to make a reservation for your special occasion.
A party bus chauffeur in Issaquah, WA is facing charges in connection with an incident where she purchased alcohol for underage patrons riding in her bus. The 49-year-old chauffeur, who works for an area limousine service, is facing charges in Issaquah Municipal Court for reckless endangerment and purchasing alcohol for minors. Both charges are gross misdemeanors, and, if convicted, the chauffeur could spend up to a year in prison and pay a fine up to $5,000. The owner of the party bus company that employs the woman called the violation of company rules an “isolated incident” and ensured police and parents that the woman has been terminated.
School administrators suspended nine of the Issaquah High School students on the party bus for alcohol-related infractions in connection with this incident. Administrators launched their investigation after the students arrived intoxicated for an October 22 homecoming dance.
The owner of the party bus company issued a statement after the incident was published in a local newspaper. He said, “We do not provide alcohol in any way, shape or form. We can’t even take it from their house or their apartment to the bus. They bring it to the limo or whatever, we can’t touch it. Our company policy is that we cannot touch it.”
He said that it is not uncommon for underage guests to ask chauffeurs to purchase alcohol for them to enjoy while riding on the party bus, but he said his company has strict policies against it. “This is totally against all of our policies and most other party bus companies,” he said. “It’s not tolerated and it’s an isolated incident that’s going to be dealt with accordingly. Buying alcohol is absolutely no. That is for anybody.”
That statement pretty much sums up our position on buying alcohol for minors as well. We don’t do it under any circumstances. Ever. We want our underage guests to have a great time when they rent our San Francisco party buses and limos for proms, homecomings, concerts and other special events, but we will not allow them to drink alcohol or use any other illegal substances while under our care. Their safety is too important to us. It’s that simple. If you are underage and need a Bay Area limousine or party bus for an upcoming event or you’re a parent looking for an ethical limo service to transport your kids, you can rely on NLS Limo to get your loved ones to and from their destination in safety and comfort. For more information about our alcohol policy for minors and to reserve a limo or party bus for an upcoming event, please call us today at 1-800-339-8936.