New Texas Law Requires School Bus Seat Belts-Should WA?
Texas has begun to put in motion a new law that requires school buses to be fitted with shoulder-lap belts for school buses. This move came after a fatal crash that killed a student in 2006, another in 2007 and two in 2015.
According to the Texas Tribune, the new law overrides a previous mandate that offered financial aid to districts who opted to outfit their buses with belts. Now, buses that are added to any fleet in 2018 or later must be fitted with the belts. It does not, however, require older buses to be retro-fitted. Districts that can show proof they cannot afford to outfit buses can opt out of the law, if they hold a public vote and a majority of parents agree.
Critics argue the cost is prohibitive, in Texas it's estimated to cost anywhere from $5 to $10,000 per bus. Outfitting 4-5 a year is about the same cost as getting a brand new bus. Others say what if the student is injured and was not wearing their belt? How would you enforce it, and keep students buckled?
Supporters say the students who died in the crashes would have lived if they had been restrained. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in 2016 buses are among the safest modes of transportation, but still recommended whenever possible, to outfit school buses with the shoulder lap belts.
Should this be looked at in Washington state?