Are child car seats required on school buses?

The short answer is “no”.  Child safety car seats are not required in taxis, buses, or on 2 wheel motorcycles in California at this time.

Child safety car seats is always a hot topic.  The reason for these questions typically revolves around field trips for the younger students, especially now that California has raised the age from 6 to 8.  Many people think that just because car seats are required in motor vehicles, that they are also required in buses, taxis and the like.

To answer this question, you really need to follow the California Vehicle Code through the definitions to the car seat reference in the code in this order:

27360, then go to 27315

27360.  (a) Except as provided in Section 27363 a parent, legal
guardian, or driver shall not transport on a highway in a motor vehicle, as defined in paragraph (1) of subdivision (3) of Section 27315, a child or ward who is under eight years of age, without
properly securing that child in a rear seat in an appropriate child
passenger restraint system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle
safety standards.
   (b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to a driver if the parent or
legal guardian of the child is also present in the motor vehicle and
is not the driver.

27315, then go to 465

27315.  (a) The Legislature finds that a mandatory seatbelt law will
contribute to reducing highway deaths and injuries by encouraging
greater usage of existing manual seatbelts, that automatic crash
protection systems that require no action by vehicle occupants offer
the best hope of reducing deaths and injuries, and that encouraging
the use of manual safety belts is only a partial remedy for
addressing this major cause of death and injury. The Legislature
declares that the enactment of this section is intended to be
compatible with support for federal motor vehicle safety standards
requiring automatic crash protection systems and should not be used
in any manner to rescind federal requirements for installation of
automatic restraints in new cars.
   (b) This section shall be known and may be cited as the Motor
Vehicle Safety Act.
   (c) (1) As used in this section, "motor vehicle" means a passenger
vehicle, a motortruck, or a truck tractor, but does not include a
   (2) For purposes of this section, a "motor vehicle" also means a
farm labor vehicle, regardless of the date of certification under
Section 31401.


465.  A "passenger vehicle" is any motor vehicle, other than a motortruck, truck tractor, or a bus, as defined in Section 233, and
used or maintained for the transportation of persons. The term
"passenger vehicle" shall include a housecar.
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