BOSTON — Several state legislators are renewing efforts to require seat belts in large school buses in Massachusetts.
Four bills are currently under consideration in the state Legislature. All of them have been referred to the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.
The text of three of the bills (H.2172, H.2154 and S.1147) is essentially the same. Two years after going into effect, the legislation would require school buses to be equipped with lap-shoulder belts, and it would require all children riding school buses to buckle up.
Those three bills include a provision to protect the school bus driver from liability: “No claim for damages shall arise from the failure of a school bus operator to ensure that a passenger of a school bus was wearing the restraint system.”
The fourth bill (H.2122) is shorter on details. It simply states that all newly manufactured school buses seating more than 16 students “shall be equipped with passenger restraint systems that meet the minimum requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 222.”
The seat belt proposals had a committee hearing on Thursday. According to the Telegram & Gazette, they got little support.