CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A bill introduced in the state Legislature last week would require all school buses purchased on or after July 1 to be equipped with seat belts.
Under the legislation, school bus passengers would be required to wear a properly fastened and adjusted seat belt when the vehicle is in motion.
However, the bill specifies that a passenger's failure to wear a seat belt or the failure of a school bus operator to require a passenger to wear a belt will not be admissible in any civil action.
The Wyoming Department of Education (DOE) will be charged with modifying school bus equipment standards and notifying school districts of the new requirements.
In a fiscal note prepared by the DOE, the additional cost to the state due to the seat belt requirement was figured to be $1.2 million annually.
The DOE reimburses school districts 100 percent of the expenditures for school buses in Wyoming, with the most common being a 66-passenger Type C bus. With three-point lap-shoulder belt seats costing $550 more than the school bus seats currently used, the result would be an additional cost of $12,000 per newly purchased bus, according to the note.
The bill will be considered during the state's 2009 General Session, which convenes Jan. 13.