Peninsula News

Gov. Brown signs underage party bus law

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that gives a little comfort to a Burlingame family whose 19-year-old son died in a car crash, after a night of drinking on a party bus.

Linda and Doug Studebaker lost their son more than two years ago. Today is a day of mixed emotions for them. Their son's death brings a day to reflect and press forward.

In the shadow of the tree house their son Brett helped build, Doug and Linda Studebaker embrace and fight back tears.

"I feel really honored to stand here and honor Brett in this way," said Doug Studebaker.

In 2010, their 19-year-old son Brett died after celebrating a friend's 21st birthday on a party bus. At the end of the night, police say he ran into a sound wall. His blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.

Governor Jerry Brown signed the Brett Studebaker law which will close a loophole in current law that holds limo operators, but not charter buses, responsible for underage drinking.

"We hope that by standing here today and through our efforts over the past two years, we can prevent another tragedy from occurring," said Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.

Party bus customers will need to have an adult chaperone on-board. Bus companies will be subject to a $2,000 fine, license suspension, or revocation if they do not comply.

"This bill holds both party buses and limousines accountable for underage drinking," said Hill.

And in his absence, Brett's parents know their son is helping saves lives.

"That's the bittersweet part of it, I for one feel so good and we feel his presence every day, and right now and he's going to make a difference," said Linda Studebaker.

In addition to this legislation, the Studebaker's have set up a scholarship fund at Expression College in Emeryville under their son's name. The law goes into effect on January 1 of next year.

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