Wisconsin senator pushes for school bus seat belts

Thomas McMahon
Posted on September 12, 2013

MADISON, Wis. — When Tim Cullen was a board member for Janesville (Wis.) School District, he ushered in a policy to require lap-shoulder belts on new large school buses used to transport the district's students.

Now, as a state senator, Cullen is pushing for a statewide mandate. He has been circulating legislation to make seat belts mandatory on all newly purchased buses that will be used to transport schoolchildren in Wisconsin.

“The fact that we are required to wear seat belts in cars, yet allow our children to roll down the road at 55 miles per hour without them, is completely outrageous to me,” Cullen said. “Schoolchildren are injured every year in school bus crashes. It only makes sense to me that we can prevent more injuries by requiring seat belts, especially three-point lap-and-shoulder safety belts that are required in cars.”

Cullen’s proposed bill would require newly manufactured school buses to be equipped with belts, and it would require that passengers wear them. School buses already operating would not have to be retrofitted with belts.

The bill would also create a grant program to help school districts defray the cost of equipping new school buses with seat belts.

Channel 3000 reports that the Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) has a policy that opposes mandating seat belts for school buses. A current board member for Janesville School District has proposed a board resolution to ask WASB to change its policy to support belts on buses.

Meanwhile, Allen Fugate, operations manager for Van Galder Bus, which provides transportation service for the Janesville district, told the Janesville Gazette that many students don’t buckle up in the buses equipped with seat belts.

“The high school students absolutely refuse to wear them,” Fugate told the newspaper.

Related Topics: seat belts, Wisconsin

Thomas McMahon Executive Editor
Comments ( 15 )
  • Brian Alexander

     | about 3 years ago

    I wonder whether Sen. Cullen is getting lobbyist money from IMMI and/or HSM, or if he owns stock in them. I see this mandated seat belt push as a solution without a problem, created by the companies that sell bus seats.

  • See all comments
More Stories

Mother Gets Probation for Assaulting School Bus Driver

Kiesha Shannon of Ohio pleads guilty to attacking her daughter’s bus driver and is sentenced to three years of probation. The judge says he had limited sentencing options, which is why he didn’t give her jail time.


Portable Child Restraint

HSM Transportation Solutions’ C.E. White Portable Child Restraint for school buses, a five-point restraint system, is designed to accommodate children weighing 20 to 90 pounds and up to 57 inches in height.


2-Camera System

The DS2 is a two-camera vehicle event recording system that combines high-definition video recording, fleet telematics, and vehicle operating data on one screen for better incident review and driver coaching.

As Maryland’s new state director of pupil transportation, Gabriel Rose (seen here) replaces Leon Langley, who stepped down from the position in July.

New State Director Named in Maryland

Gabriel Rose, who previously served as a security specialist for Talbot County (Md.) Public Schools, replaces Leon Langley as state director.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from SBF delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the school bus industry and don't miss a thing!