HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut legislator has proposed to require seat belts on school buses, and a statewide poll found that nearly three-fourths of voters support the measure.
Democratic Rep. Tony Guerrera, House chair of the Legislature's Transportation Committee, has authored legislation to require that school buses be equipped with safety belts and that passengers be required to wear them while the buses are being operated.
The legislation will be raised by the Transportation Committee after the 2010 General Assembly session convenes Feb. 3.
Rep. Guerrera said he was in part moved to draft the legislation because of the recent death of a high school student in his constituency. Vikas Parikh, a 16-year-old Rocky Hill High School student, was killed in a Jan. 9 school bus crash when the bus collided with a car on a highway and fell 20 feet down an embankment.
Hamden, Conn.-based Quinnipiac University conducted a poll of voters in the state and found that there is strong support for the proposed legislation. Overall, 73 percent of voters support the measure, including both Republicans and Democrats in all parts of the state.
The Transportation Committee most recently debated the school bus seat belt issue in March 2006, but its members have never endorsed the idea for the full General Assembly's vote, due to the cost ramifications and the conflicting testimony they heard about whether seat belts on buses could do more harm than good.