On Friday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed into law legislation passed by Congress that requires all Texas school buses purchased on or after September 1, 2010 to be equipped with three-point lap and shoulder seat belts for passengers.
Additionally, all charter (motorcoach) buses used by Texas schools to transport school children on or after September 1, 2014 must also be equipped with three-point lap and shoulder belts for passengers.
The new law is a result of the tragic school bus accident that occurred on March 29, 2006, near Devers, Texas, and took the life of two West Brook High School students and critically injured several others.
The law will be contingent on lawmakers finding the money to cover the school districts’ expenses for the seat belts. Sen. Eddie Lucio, a sponsor of the bill that Gov. Perry signed into law, does not believe finding the money will be an issue considering the vast resources in Texas.
Some school districts, including Beaumont and Galveston, have already begun installing three-point lap and shoulder belts on new school buses. Other school districts in Texas are also considering taking action before 2010.
New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, California and Florida have also all passed legislation requiring seat belts on school buses.
The passing of this law means our school children will be safer when traveling to/from school and school related events. Too many of our children have been virtually unprotected when involved in an accident where the school bus tipped or rolled over. In order to adequately protect bus occupants from sustaining serious injury or death in tip over and rollover crashes, you must keep them restrained to their seats. This law will implement a common sense approach motor vehicle safety that has been available in passenger cars for decades.