Monday, February 1, 2016

State senator calling for mandatory seat belts on school buses

A push to require seat belts on school buses is gaining momentum nationally and in the Maryland legislature — but the pushback from school systems likely will be over how to fund such a mandate.
State Sen. Jim Brochin said he plans to introduce a bill to make seat belts mandatory on school buses statewide to safeguard children, because, "Without seat belts, these kids become projectiles — literally crash test dummies."

Brochin is advocating such a law at a time when the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is recommending that all school buses are equipped with three-point seat belts.
"The position of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is that seat belts save lives," NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said last month, according to published reports.
According to the NHTSA, 327 school-age children died in school transportation-related accidents between 2004 and 2013, the most recent year for which data is available. Fifty four of those were passengers on school transportation vehicles.

 Six states — California, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Texas — now require seat belts on school buses. In Maryland, only buses that weigh less than 10,000 pounds have mandatory seat belts, because that is required but federal law, said Leon Langley, director of pupil transportation for the Maryland Department of Education. But buses under 10,000 pounds are few and far between in the state, Langley said. Some buses for special education students also have seat belts, but that is up to individual school districts, Langley said...

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