Brown Introduces Legislation to Improve School Bus Safety

Congress Bloomberg Photo

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced the introduction of legislation to help keep our kids safe as they travel to and from school. Brown, along with U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), introduced the School Bus Safety Act to implement safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to make school buses safer by ensuring there are seat belts at every seat and buses are equipped with safety measures like stability control and automatic braking systems. The bill would also create a grant program to help school districts modify school buses to meet these safety modifications.

“Parents shouldn’t have to worry about their child’s safety on a school bus, whether they’re traveling to school or a field trip or an away game,” said Brown. “That means passing additional school bus safety measures into law, starting with our legislation to equip buses with seat belts and other safety measures. These are commonsense, long overdue steps to protect kids and make buses safer.”

The School Bus Safety Act would require the U.S. Department of Transportation issue rules requiring all school buses including:

  • A 3-point safety belt, which includes a seat belt across a lap as well as a shoulder harness to help protect passengers by restraining them in case of a collision.
  • An Automatic Emergency Braking System, which helps prevent accidents and crashes by detecting objects or vehicles ahead of the bus and braking automatically.
  • An Event Data Recorder (EDR) that can record pre- and post-crash data, driver inputs, and restraint usage and when a collision does occur.
  • An Electronic Stability Control (ESC) System that will use automatic computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to assist the driver remain in control of the vehicle.
  • A Fire Suppression System, which addresses engine fires.
  • A Firewall that prohibits hazardous quantities of gas or flame to pass through the firewall from the engine compartment to the passenger compartment.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 1,110 people have died in school transportation-related crashes between 2012 and 2021, which saw a total of 998 crashes.

The School Bus Safety Act is supported by the National Safety Council, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Center for Auto Safety, and National Sheriffs’ Association.

Click here to view the full release from Senator Brown’s official website.