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