SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) – Operators of so-called “party buses” would bear legal responsibility for drinking by underage passengers under a bill that responds to several recent tragedies.

AB45 would hold party bus operators to the same standards as limousine drivers. It requires them to have a chaperone to make sure underage passengers don’t drink and makes them liable if passengers break the law.

Violations would be misdemeanors and could merit civil penalties by the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates limousines, shuttles and buses.

The bill passed 30-0 Wednesday and returns to the Assembly.

It is named after 19-year-old Brett Studebaker of San Mateo, who died in 2010 after drinking on a party bus. He crashed while driving home an hour later.

Authorities say his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

Last Month, 25-year-old Natasha Noland, was killed after she and another woman were ejected from a party bus near Los Gatos as they returned to Santa Cruz from a concert in Mountain view.


(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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