Proposed Bill Would Require Seat Belts-Shoulder Harness on WA School Buses
Experts call it the 'dryer' effect, what happens to children in the event of a school buss rover or tip over accident.
Because of this, a bill is now being considered in the Washington State House Education Committee that would require, by September 2018, that ALL Washington state school buses have not only a safety lap belt, but a shoulder strap as well.
The modification would be a little different than cars, installed with smaller children in mind, and adjustable for different sizes. But the principle is the same. State Rep. Gian McCabe (GOP-Goldendale) has introduced House Bill (HB) 1246, which would make this requirement.
Rep. Larry Haler of Richland is one of 12 other Reps who are co-sponsoring along with McCabe.
According to House GOP Communication officials, McCabe says safety experts point to roll over crash test data in larger vehicles such as buses or vans. They call it the 'dryer' effect, in that occupants who are not buckled are thrown around like clothes in a dryer in roll over crashes, or even if they vehicle only turns on it's side.
Cost and affordability is the big issue here through, as many districts, while supporting the safety idea, don't have the money to retrofit their older buses.
No word on progress of the bill in the House Education Committee, but if it clears that hurdle, it will go to floor of House to see if it passes.