Lawmakers consider adding seat belts on school buses


Legislator: Rep. Gina Mosbrucker
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A House committee is considering a bill that would require seatbelts on school buses. John Sattgast reports from Olympia.

SATTGAST: You make your kids buckle up when they get in the car. Not only will it keep them safer in an accident, but it's the law. So why shouldn't kids buckle up when they're riding in a school bus?

That's what State Representative Gina McCabe wants to know. The Goldendale Republican has introduced a bill that would require every school bus in Washington state be equipped with a shoulder-harness seat belt by September 2018.

She recently told the House Education Committee kids are at risk if they're on a bus with no seat belts.

MCCABE: “The main thing I want you to remember that is when a bus crashes or rolls over, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration equates that to clothes in a dryer. And those are our children. So I think this is something we definitely need to work on and keep our kids safe.”

SATTGAST: Critics say it may be too costly to put seat belts on school buses. But the bill also requires automated cameras be installed to detect drivers who blow through the stop arm when kids are getting on and off buses. That fine is 419-dollars, which McCabe says could be used to pay for the seatbelts.

The measure is awaiting action in the House Education Committee.

John Sattgast, Olympia.

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