In Wake of Underage Drinking Incident on Long Island, Senate Co-Leader Klein Introduces Legislation Designed to Strengthen Supervision of Minors on Party Buses and Increase Safety of Passengers
Owner of impacted bus company, Assemblymen Marcos Crespo, and parents come out to support reform effort
Amid widespread reports of underage drinking on a Long Island “party bus” earlier this week, Senator Jeff Klein introduced legislation today to rein in the charter bus industry and to require adult chaperones for all large, underage parties aboard the “clubs on wheels.”
Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein said: "We cannot allow our roadways to become free-for-alls for underage drinking. We are incredibly lucky that none of the children on that bus were hurt. We cannot afford to take that chance again. The sad truth is that with prom season approaching, thousands of teens will try to jump aboard party buses and abuse alcohol, all in the name of celebration. Sadly, these underage revelers fail to understand the tragic consequences that often lay ahead. By passing this bill, we will be putting chaperones on board who can make sure that our teens are having a good, safe time and that party bus drivers can concentrate on the road."
Under the legislation, one adult chaperone—other than the bus driver—must be present for every twenty underage passengers aboard a chartered party bus. If the Klein law had been in place earlier this week, the Long Island party bus that was stopped Tuesday evening with 42 intoxicated teenagers would have had two adult chaperones on board.
The legislation would also require charter bus companies to install new safety devices on emergency exits. In recent years, numerous teenagers have been hurt and killed due to inadequate security measures aboard these buses.
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo - Member of NY Assembly Transportation Committee said: "This week's incident involving over 40 unsupervised, underage high school students, highlights the need for new laws curbing dangerous behavior aboard Party Buses. Basic regulations like mandating that underage party goers have a chaperone and installing alarms to alert drivers when emergency doors are opened will go a long way towards preventing potentially risky conduct aboard these buses. With high school proms and warm weather right around the corner, it is more critical than ever that we pass this legislation and working with Senator Klein, I look forward to doing just that."
The new legislation would amend New York State transportation law to add a new definition for the term "Party Bus." These vehicles are unique in that they permit the ability for passengers to move freely about the cabin of a bus when it is in motion. This is much different from ordinary chartered buses, such as Greyhounds, which usually include a center aisle and row seating, making it difficult for movement within the bus. Thus, party buses are particularly troublesome since they tend to attract minors who feel that their activities will be unsupervised.
State Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein explains the new legislation that he and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo are introducing. Behind Senator Klein is one of the "Party Buses" the legislation is to address.
Assemblyman Marcos Crespo explaining why he is glad to be introducing this legislation in the New York State Assembly.