Should SC school buses have seatbelts?

Updated: Sep. 11, 2019 at 11:36 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Some state lawmakers are making a push to get your kids buckled up on the bus. After a bus crash in Forest Acres Tuesday afternoon sent five students to the hospital, Representative Seth Rose says it’s time South Carolina school buses get equipped with seatbelts.

“When it comes to the safety of children, no cost should be spared,” Rose said. “If experts are telling us that needs to be done, and we are having occurrences where children where children are being injured, I think we need to do that.”

The National Transportation Safety Board says school buses are the safest vehicles on the road. Even so, they’ve recommended that school buses be equipped with 3-point seat belts to offer students the best protection possible.

Rep. Gary Clary out of the Upstate has twice proposed a bill that would require South Carolina school buses to be equipped with seat belts for passengers. Each time, that bill was voted down. Clary says, he knows there are questions, but he trusts the recommendation from experts that say seatbelts are the best option.

“There are a lot of reasons why I think people are afraid. ‘Who’s responsible for getting the children out that maybe are too young to release themselves from a seatbelt,’” Clary said regarding opponents of the bill. “I believe we should take every step to keep our children safe. If we can prevent injury or the death of even one child, that’s very important.”

Representatives from the Department of Education said it would cost about $12,000 additional dollars per bus to get them equipped with seatbelts. Rose says he’s willing to work across the aisle to find out how to make that happen.

“I’m going to work with him and members of the Republican Caucus to have a bipartisan bill that’s put forward, and I hope that we can get it done, and improve the safety of school buses going forward,” Rose said.

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