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June 04, 2014  |   Comments (6)   |   Post a comment

Bill would require lap-shoulder belts on school buses

Photo by Flickr user uncleboatshoes.

Photo by Flickr user uncleboatshoes.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio state Reps. Tom Letson (D-Warren) and Roland Winburn (D-Dayton) introduced last week legislation to require all new and refurbished school buses to be fitted with lap-shoulder seat belts.  

“[Last week’s] school bus accident in Germantown underscores the need for improved safety measures for school transportation,” Winburn said. “Ensuring every student’s safety when on a bus is paramount, and we should work to pass legislation to prevent such events from happening again in the future.”

The lawmakers introduced H.B. No. 578 — modeled from legislation that was introduced and passed committee in the 128th General Assembly — following news that seven students were injured in a school bus crash last week in Montgomery County. Valley View Elementary School students were on their way to school when a car turned in front of their bus.

“School buses are a safe form of transportation for our students, but if we have the opportunity to make them even safer and prevent even one injury or death, we should,” Letson said.

In addition to requiring all school buses built or refurbished after Jan. 1, 2016, to be fitted with seat belts, the bill requires school districts to adopt a policy that addresses the failure of a student to wear one. School districts are encouraged to install seat belts in all school buses, though it is not a requirement of the bill.

The bill states that school districts are not subject to criminal prosecution or liable for damages if they do not enforce a disciplinary policy to ensure that school bus passengers wear the seat belts.

Other recent news related to lap-shoulder belts:

•    New NASDPTS paper details support for lap-shoulder belts

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Read more about: Ohio, seat belts

As a long time bus driver, I think this is a terrible idea. No doubt it comes from a person with virtually no experience in a school bus. As Andre already stated, there is no comparison between a school bus and a small car. A bus load of frightened, dazed students with perhaps no conscious adult to aid in evacuation from an accident scene or perhaps an emergency evacuation for other reasons, there could be only seconds between getting all students off the bus or one or more perishing all because the perhaps conscious driver had to take time to unlock the seat belts. A terrible dangerous idea that I hope never comes to Alberta.

AL    |    Jun 06, 2014 08:23 PM

I also noticed that the legislation doesn't say "new" school bus. So ANY bus sold/rented/leased after the law's enaction would be required to be fitted with lap/shoulder belts? And no one typically thinks of the day when "Little Johnny" pokes a hole in that seat cover. These are not your typical seat covers. Get your wallets out taxpayers!

Jay    |    Jun 05, 2014 12:53 PM

I think that having seat belts on a bus will cause some students to take a different form of transportation to school. Even if it is just one student that stops riding the bus, that is too many. Riding in any other mode of transportation is the last thing any school district should want.

Jay    |    Jun 05, 2014 12:48 PM

This is a very bad idea as Andre stated in his comment! Students who need to evacuate a bus will be impeded by a seatbelt in an emergency! This could cause more injuries than prevent them! School buses are still the safest mode of transporting students!

Jeanie    |    Jun 05, 2014 12:43 PM

Note story associated with this, Minor injuries....

Andre    |    Jun 05, 2014 12:27 PM

I hope those in favor for seatbelts, really look at this closely. What injuries occur that they would prevent? Imagine a full bus of students. Major accident, one adult, possibly injured. Now you have up to 80 children in various injury and panic states. What if the bus catches on fire? 80 Children in a panic state. Remember all seat belted into a seat. One adult that may be injured. All students in some altered state of injury, confusion or panic, all seat belted in place. Currently those physically able could exit the bus, leaving access to injured, and etc. I really don't see any benefit, passengers are very safe in bus designs of today. This situation is much differant then passenger vehicles.

Andre    |    Jun 05, 2014 12:20 PM

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