Ohio Students Help Pass City Law for Lap-Shoulder Belts in School Buses

Sadiah Thompson
Posted on January 8, 2019

Third grade students from Hilltop Elementary School in Beachwood, Ohio, led the pledge of allegiance at a Beachwood City Council meeting on Dec. 17, before council members approved legislation to install seat belts on new school buses.
Third grade students from Hilltop Elementary School in Beachwood, Ohio, led the pledge of allegiance at a Beachwood City Council meeting on Dec. 17, before council members approved legislation to install seat belts on new school buses.
BEACHWOOD, Ohio — City lawmakers recently passed legislation that will require seat belts on all new school buses here, providing up to $250,000 in funding to pay for the equipment.

Beachwood City Council, in cooperation with the Beachwood Board of Education and Mayor Martin S. Horwitz's office, approved Ordinance No. 2018-195 at a city council meeting on Dec. 17.

Rudy Breglia, a citizen advocate with the School Bus Safety Alliance, attended the meeting and told School Bus Fleet that the ordinance, which requires lap-shoulder belts to be installed on all new Beachwood City Schools buses, marks the city as the first in the state to implement such legislation.

Vicki Challenger, a third grade teacher for Hilltop Elementary School, said that the ordinance was initially prompted by classroom discussions among city council members and third grade students during a civics lesson.

“In each of my six classes, the idea to implement [seat belts] came up numerous times,” Challenger, who teaches about 90 third grade students a day, said. “Some of the students kept saying, ‘If we have to wear seat belts in a car, why not wear them on a bus?’”

The idea particularly struck a chord with Beachwood City Council vice president James Pasch, who broke his neck and back in a school bus rollover accident while in high school, according to a news release from the council.

Pasch, along with other city council members, were impressed with the students’ recommendation, and had invited them to attend their city council meeting in December, Challenger said.

Approximately 50 people, including students and their families, attended the meeting as well as the ice cream social held after the event to celebrate the passage of the legislation, Challenger noted.

“It was huge turning point for safety, given the tragedies that have happened in the past year,” Challenger added. “I’m just so proud because this is not an experience I could have taught to the students — to actually see how local law works.”

Breglia added that the legislation is a significant step toward improving school bus safety in Ohio.

“Having seat belts installed in school buses is a big step, and student safety should really be a priority for us,” Breglia said. “In Ohio, only school bus drivers have been required to wear seat belts since 1986.”

Breglia also noted the state's current pending school bus safety initiatives, which include a final vote by the Avon Lake Board of Education to conduct a seat belt installation trial for one to three new buses purchased with lap-shoulder belts. The buses, which the board of education plans to order in spring 2019, would be used as “highway travel buses” for field trips and sporting events, Breglia added.

In May, Ohio state representative John Barnes introduced a bill that would require lap-shoulder belts on all school buses that are either purchased, owned, leased, or rented as well as new replacement and existing school buses. If HB680 becomes law, Ohio would be joining other states, including California, New Jersey, and Nevada that require lap-shoulder belts.

Related Topics: Ohio, seat belts

Sadiah Thompson Assistant Editor
Comments ( 3 )
  • Wilma

     | about 11 months ago

    I am a current bus driver in NC and I agree this is a very bad idea. People who want this have no idea what kind of danger this puts everyone on board in.

  • See all comments
More Stories
The NCST’s Steering Committee and writing committees are preparing for the 2020 Congress. Murrell Martin (shown left) and Bill Loshbough are shown here leading a discussion at NCST 2015.

NCST Gears Up for 2020

The National Congress on School Transportation Steering Committee firms up plans and writing committees are researching requests for procedures manual changes. The Congress will meet in Des Moines, Iowa, in May.

NAPT President Barry Sudduth presented Peter Mannella (right), longtime NAPT member and former executive director of the New York Association for Pupil Transportation, with the association's Distinguished Service Award. 

NAPT Awards Highlight Top-Notch Service, Achievement

Student transportation professionals are recognized for their remarkable dedication and service to the school bus industry. Awards are also presented to Zonar’s 2019 Don Carnahan Memorial grant recipients.

As this configuration shows, 36 employees or customers can be transported in comfort aboard the GM36. Among the standard passenger-centric features are a DVD player, premium rear audio, roof-mounted HVAC, Altro wood-look flooring, LED interior/exterior lighting, and passenger retractable seat belts.

Photo Gallery: Spotlight on Grech’s Luxury Bus Offerings for Fleets

Grech’s luxury buses give fleets of a variety of models to choose from. While these vehicles differ in size, make, and model, they all share one common attribute—they provide employees, executives, and customers an unparalleled transportation experience that will improve their internal or external brands.

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!