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Poll: Should Party Bus Drivers Be Responsible for Drunk Passengers?

After a young woman died from falling from a party bus, lawmakers contemplate a bill that would hold bus drivers and owners responsible.

Last weekend, a 25-year-old woman fatally fell from a party bus returning from a concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.

Natasha Noland and another young woman, both highly inebriated, allegedly began physically fighting and Noland fell from the bus and died after the bus ran over her. All the passengers--some underage-- on the bus driving on Highway 17 in Los Gatos were too drunk to recall exact details, but the bus driver was sober, .

Under California law, party bus owners and drivers do not assume responsibility for their passengers, in contrast to limousine companies that do.

Assemblyman Jerry Hill introduced his bill, AB 45, a year and a half ago to hold bus drivers and owners (in addition to limousine companies) accountable for under-age drinking.

The measure has passed in the Assembly and is working its way through the Senate.

Should bus drivers be held accountable for their passengers' behavior? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section.

Courtney Carreras August 05, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I'm very sorry for the girl's death - that is tragic. I don't know if these buses just drive people home from events? If so, there is no way the driver or owner can be responsible for how drunk the person is getting on the bus. I assume that is why people hire a bus to take them home - so they don't have to drive. Its also hard for a person who is driving to keep an eye on what riders are doing while on the bus. If there is going to be drinking on the bus, card the people getting on so at least that gets rid of the underage drinking.
Enquiring Mind August 05, 2012 at 06:04 PM
I think owners of bus companies have an obligation to maintain their equipment, ensuring their buses have no mechanical problems and that their drivers are properly licensed. Courtney has the right idea - card the passengers to solve the underage issue. It's unfortunate that everyone was too drunk to interve in the fight before the young lady fell from the bus.
sister madly August 05, 2012 at 07:05 PM
she was 25...she was an adult not a "girl".
sister madly August 05, 2012 at 07:10 PM
this article is a little misleading...it is only when you get to the end that you find hill's bill is aimed at holding these companies accountable for UNDER-AGE drinking. under-age drinking is really not relevant to the case of the 25 year old who died. (that there were under age passengers is not the reason the woman got in a fight and fell from the bus). what responsibility does a driver have if an under-age passenger uses a fake id??
George Muteff August 05, 2012 at 07:42 PM
I don't know, maybe this comment is just being silly, but what ever happened to being responsible for yourself and accountable for your own actions? Is this a sad story? Yes, it is. Was it avoidable? Yes, it was; but it happened none the less. At 25 t/o, she placed herself in a very bad position, things got out of control, and she became a victim of her own negligence. Further, she was no minor. Why is it that everyone else should be responsible for the actions of someone's own negligence? sister madly is right; this piece is misleading. There should not be underage people on a bus that allows drinking, but that was not the tragedy of this matter (although it could have been). The driver's job is to drive. If things get out of control and I were the driver, I'd pull the bus over, try to reduce the conflict and call 911. That should be the extent of the driver's obligation and frankly, that puts the driver in a bad spot pushing the driver to unreasonable expectations. This particular incident was avoidable. People need to take responsibility for their own actions. This appears to be a case where some are looking to avoid that point.
Troy August 05, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I think "party buses" are a bad idea altogether. This not the first death...
Phyllis McArthur August 05, 2012 at 09:09 PM
agree, call me a prude but I think these buses should shuttle the passengers to their prospective concerts/events and prohibit consuming alcohol completely
Chris Kiely August 05, 2012 at 09:20 PM
How did she "fall from the bus"? Seems to me that points to some mechanical/maintenance issue, entirely apart from any drinking issue. Also, driver has a duty to control his business premises(the bus) just like a bar. Finally, why not have a special licensing requirement, where it is a violation to allow underage drinking? Problem is greatly reduced if company gets its ticket punched for allowing underage drinking.
Jennifer van der Kleut (Editor) August 05, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Chris - from a number of stories I read on the accident, I believe the victim and another girl on the bus got in a fight, and either they fell against the door and it opened and she fell out, or one of them opened the door and she fell out. I haven't heard about any mechanical problems with the bus or equipment.
Courtney Carreras August 06, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Sister madly - she is still a "girl" - 25 or not. Talk about nit-picking!
Casey Reppas August 06, 2012 at 03:03 AM
As a party bus driver for a Limo Co. we assume no responsibility for the actions of our passengers. If they get out of control we call 911,the office, and kick all interested parties off the bus. Ww do take our jobs seriously, safety is first and foremost,and our CDL is our job security.. No we are not nor should we be held accountable for the amt of alchol consumed at their location. But my company does not allow us to transport drunk minors. We are to call their parents to come get them and if they dont we drop them off at local Police Station. Its what Ive done for last 12 yrs.and I dont have a problem letting parent b responsible.but adults are responsible for themselves.We arent babysitters.We are professional Chauffeurs who drive Liimo Buses.And are proud of that.
Valda Mort August 06, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Sorry person above, but 25 yrs old is a WOMAN not a girl, not matter what you say, legally she was an adult. And adults have to be responsible for their actions. I do feel sorry for her and her family. But don't blame the driver of the bus. If I was on a bus, I'd rather have the bus drive paying attention to the road than breaking up a fight.
Valda Mort August 06, 2012 at 04:05 PM
25 is an adult. Your "girl" comment is offensive.
Marcus n August 06, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Jerry Hill wants to go after the weakest link. The Driver. The driver should keep his attention on the road. The party organizers should be responsibe for all else. Period.
Andrew Boone August 06, 2012 at 07:44 PM
There are party buses in this area? From and To where do they go? How do I get on one?
Vanessa Castañeda (Editor) August 06, 2012 at 07:58 PM
@Andrew Oh, yes. They shuttle you to events such as music festivals and corporate Christmas parties. Usually party organizers invite people to ride them via listservs and Facebook, after you buy a ticket or join the FB event.
Tess August 07, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Having been on party buses a number of times - they are a GREAT way to enjoy yourself without worrying about knowing where to go or who you are with. Of course the party buses I've been on have always had a "party guide" who pours on the bus, makes sure you get in and out of the clubs safely and gets you a cab if he doesn't think you should be driving. A driver alone could not take care of all of this - and should not be made to be responsible for your adult actions! If you are old enough to drink and party, you should be responsible enough to take care of yourself and for your actions. btw stop calling a 25 year old woman a girl - that is just insulting!.
Andrew Boone August 07, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Sounds like fun. Weird I never heard of this before. I guess I'm in a totally different party scene - Bike Party, which by definition, doesn't use buses.
Andrew Boone August 07, 2012 at 03:56 AM
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "girl" has many definitions, including "A woman of any age" and "A female child", among many others. So a 25-yr old female can correctly be called a girl according to at least one definition of the word. Not sure how this has any relevance whatsoever to the topic under discussion though.
Tina Palmer August 07, 2012 at 07:19 AM
I agree completely. When I got picked up for a DUI many years ago, I was responsible for my actions. Not the cops, not the judge, not society, ME. Lets say you are driving your drunk friends home and they get into a fight in the back seat and fall out of the car, (yes they should be wearing a seat belt) MY responsibility is to be the sober driver and drive, not be a babysitter.
Tina Palmer August 07, 2012 at 07:25 AM
I once saw in a movie they refereed to the elderly woman as their "office girl". Now THAT is insulting. ;)

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