New Bill Incorporates Crist Proposal Mandating Safety Belts

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Washington, September 12, 2018 | comments
U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) released the following statement applauding legislation introduced by Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) to strengthen safety requirements on school buses, including provisions from the Best to Use Safety (BUS) Belts Act introduced last year by Rep. Crist requiring all new buses be equipped with three-point belts and providing grants to upgrade existing buses with safety belts.

Improving school bus safety has been a priority of Crist's since his time in the Florida Senate when he successfully pushed for a seat belt mandate for all of Florida's school buses. There is currently no federal seat belt requirement for passenger seats on large school buses. Recently released recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the federal agency responsible for issuing safety guidance to prevent future accidents, call for lap and shoulder belts on all new large school buses following its investigation into deadly school bus crashes in Baltimore, Maryland and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

"The recent tragedies in Chattanooga, Baltimore, and New Jersey make clear the need to extend student safety beyond the classroom. I thank Sen. Duckworth and Rep. Cohen for their leadership on this issue, taking action in the fight to improve school bus safety," said Rep. Crist. "While the State of Florida has taken the lead, with this new bicameral bill, bolstered by the findings of the NTSB, we have the opportunity to strengthen protections for students across the country."

"No parent should have to worry about the safety of their children when they get on a school bus each day, but school buses often lack seat belts and basic safety equipment," Sen. Duckworth said. "I am introducing this legislation to prevent accidents, reduce the severity of accidents when they occur and implement other commonsense safety recommendations because nothing is more important than protecting our children."

"Nothing is more important than the safety of our school children. It’s common sense to have seat belts for children on school buses. We’ve seen enough deaths in school bus accidents in Tennessee and elsewhere and it’s past time we act to save young lives," said Rep. Cohen.
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