A proposal to require seat belts on school buses – perennial legislation that never makes it through the Legislature – was before lawmakers again Thursday.
This year, advocates hope the seat belt requirement could have momentum behind it after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in November issued a new rule requiring lap and shoulder seat belts for each passenger and driver seat on new motor coaches and other large buses.
The motor coach rule is aimed at significantly reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries during a crash, according to an NHTSA press release announcing the rule. On average, 21 motor coach and large bus occupants are killed and 7,934 are injured annually in motor vehicle crashes, according to NHTSA data.
Six states have school bus seat belt laws: New York, New Jersey, California, Texas, Florida and Louisiana.