The California Office of Administrative Law requested that public comment on proposed language to update the state’s prohibition on smoking on school buses be reopened because of a lack of responses.
May 18 was the original deadline for comments, but no submissions were received amid the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.
Currently, California Codes of Regulation Section 1222 only bans smoking on school buses when students are on board. Earlier this year, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) proposed to the School Pupil Transportation Advisory Committee should clarify that smoking is never allowed on any school bus or activity bus.
“The phrase ‘when a pupil is aboard’ could be misconstrued to mean that smoking is permitted on these vehicles (possibly by a driver, mechanic, or bus attendant) when a pupil is not on board,” reads the proposal, which was published in April. “Although most schools have [a] policy in place that prohibits employees from smoking in front of students and in district vehicles at any time, the regulation does not clearly convey that smoking is prohibited in these vehicles at any time. Further, the definition of smoking has changed to include other methods of smoking and should be cited in this rulemaking action.”
The proposal points out that the California Department of Health estimates that nearly 40,000 Californians die each year from diseases caused by smoking and secondhand smoke exposure.
The Office of Administrative Law said on Tuesday that it extended the deadline to submit public comments via email is Oct. 15. Questions may also be addressed to Melanie Boyack at the CHP School Bus Program by calling (916) 843-3340.