Crist Reintroduces BUS Belts Act, Legislation Providing Students Safe Transportation to and from School

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Washington, DC, June 24, 2020 | comments

Washington, DC – U.S. Representatives Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) and Steve Cohen (D-TN) are renewing their call for seat belt requirements for school buses through reintroduction of the Best to Use Safety (BUS) Belts Act (H.R. 7306). The bill, which Crist first introduced in 2017, would enhance school bus safety by requiring that all new buses be equipped with safety belts and providing grants to upgrade existing buses.

Crist, who has championed the issue since his days in the Florida Senate, successfully mandated seat belts on school buses across the Sunshine State. In Congress, Crist’s bill seeks to do the same on the national level as there are no current federal seat belt requirements for school buses in school districts across the country. Following an investigation into deadly school bus crashes in Tennessee and Maryland, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a recommendation in 2018 for safety belts on all new large school buses.

“Installing seat belts on school buses nationwide is a common sense, simple fix to secure the safety of the millions of students whose families rely on the bus to get their children to and from school,” said Rep. Crist. “Districts across Florida have seen the benefits of safety belts on school buses, and now it’s time that students in communities across the country are protected. I thank the NSC for continuing to lend their support to this legislation and look forward to seeing safety belts on school buses become the law of the land.”

“I have long advocated safer school buses in the wake of some terrible crashes over the years whose impact could have been mitigated by a variety of safety upgrades, including the requirement of seatbelts,” said Rep. Cohen. “I’m proud to stand with my colleague Charlie Crist in introducing this commonsense measure that will save young lives.”

“The National Safety Council strongly supports all school buses being equipped with seat belts, and we appreciate the longtime leadership of Congressmen Crist and Cohen, and their ongoing commitment to this issue,” said Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “There is no question seat belts save lives, and students have waited far too long for this important safety protection. It’s time for our most vulnerable passengers to be protected on each and every ride.”

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