New legislation would improve school bus safety

WASHINGTON D.C. (WREX) — A U.S. Senator from Illinois is reintroducing a bill to help make school buses safer.

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Representative Steve Cohen (TN-09) re-introduced the School Bus Safety Act last week. The legislation is to help keep students safe as they travel to and from school while also helping prevent accidents involving school buses.

The legislation would implement safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board to make school buses safer by ensuring there are seat belts at every seat and buses are equipped with safety measures like stability control and automatic braking systems.

The bill would also create a grant program to help school districts modify school buses to meet these important safety modifications.

Here’s a full list of requirements that every school bus would need:

  • A 3-point safety belt, which includes a seat belt across a lap as well as a shoulder harness to help protect passengers by restraining them in case of a collision.
  • An Automatic Emergency Braking System, which helps prevent accidents and crashes by detecting objects or vehicles ahead of the bus and braking automatically.
  • An Event Data Recorder (EDR) that can record pre- and post-crash data, driver inputs, and restraint usage and when a collision does occur.
  • An Electronic Stability Control (ESC) System that will use automatic computer-controlled braking of individual wheels to assist the driver remain in control of the vehicle.
  • A Fire Suppression System, which addresses engine fires.
  • A Firewall that prohibits hazardous quantities of gas or flame to pass through the firewall from the engine compartment to the passenger compartment.

“No parent should have to worry about the safety of their children when they get on a school bus, but school buses often lack seat belts and other basic safety equipment that every parent demands,” said Duckworth in a press release. “Nothing is more important than protecting our children, which is why I’m proud to be re introducing the School Bus Safety Act with Rep. Cohen to help prevent accidents, make accidents less severe and implement other commonsense safety recommendations that will save lives.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 1,241 people have died in school transportation-related crashes between 2008 and 2017, which is an average of 124 people each year.

Andrew Carrigan

Andrew Carrigan

Assignment Editor

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