AAP Positional Letter
August 29, 2016
The Honorable Jerry Brown
Governor of California
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: SB 1072 (Mendoza) Schoolbus safety: child safety alert system
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Governor Brown:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA) representing 5,000 California pediatricians strongly supports SB 1072 (Mendoza). This bill would establish safe pupil transportation procedures to help prevent children from being left unattended on school buses by combining the use of a child alert system with mandatory safety procedures for bus drivers to follow.
In California, school districts provide transportation between home and school for about one in eight students. Loading and unloading is the most dangerous time for students and can be a matter of life or death. Children left unattended on a bus may be subject to extremely cold or hot temperatures causing injury, trauma, or death. Unfortunately, across the nation there are regular news reports describing incidents of children being stranded inside a bus for hours until someone realizes they are missing. These reports include cases involving special-needs students, who are often the most vulnerable and sometimes non-verbal. A special-needs student recently died after being left inside a bus on a hot day in Whittier, California.
SB 1072 would add bus inspection safety procedures to the Transportation Safety Plan as well as require that all school buses be equipped with an alert system designed to prevent children from being left unattended on buses by requiring the driver to walk to the back of the bus to deactivate the system and thus make certain the bus is empty.
The use of an alert system combined with mandatory safety procedures as established by this bill would enhance safety protocol to avoid leaving children unattended in school buses. Pediatricians, therefore, respectfully urge you to sign SB 1072 and thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and well-being of children, youth, and families in California.
Jacques Corriveau, M.D.
State Government Affairs Chair
American Academy of Pediatrics, California
CC: Stuart Cohen, AAP-CA Chair; Lydia Bourne, AAP-CA Legislative Advocate; AAP-CA Leadership