WASHINGTON, D.C. — Representatives of the six states that have passed school bus seat belt legislation convened here recently to share their experiences with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind sent letters to the governors of those six states in December, asking each to nominate one representative from their state government and one representative from a local school district to take part in the meeting, which was held on March 24.
The participants provided details on the legislation that their states passed, and they discussed such issues as implementation and costs of seat belts on school buses, training, and emergency evacuation concerns. Also, Rosekind said that further meetings will be held to address other school bus safety issues, such as the danger zone around the bus.
California is currently the only state with an effective requirement for three-point belts on school buses. Three other states require lap belts on school buses: Florida, New Jersey and New York. Texas and Louisiana have passed school bus seat belt bills, but both were contingent on funding being allocated to pay for the restraints. Since those two states’ mandates remain unfunded, they have not been enforced.
Also at the meeting were representatives from the National School Transportation Association and the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services, who attended as observers.
Look for more coverage on this topic in SBF in the coming weeks.