New Jersey's 12th Legislative District

Senator Samuel Thompson

Senator Sam Thompson

Thompson Says Action Likely on School Bus Seat Belt Legislation

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New NTSB Report Recommends New Jersey to Require Lap & Shoulder Belts on School Buses

Senator Sam Thompson said action may finally be taken on legislation he sponsors to require all new school buses to be equipped with three-point lap and shoulder seat belts.

Sen. Sam Thompson said action may finally be taken on his legislation requiring all new school buses to be equipped with three-point lap and shoulder seat belts. (SenateNJ.com)

I’ve been trying for four years to pass common-sense legislation to protect students on school buses with three-point seat belts,” said Thompson (R-12). “It appears likely that upcoming legislative hearings on school bus safety will consider my proposal to give kids the same protections on a school bus that they have in their parent’s car. That’s the indication I’ve received from Senate leadership. It’s a welcome development.”

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released findings yesterday from a special investigation into school bus safety following a pair of deadly accidents in other states.

Among the NTSB’s findings was the recommendation that New Jersey amend its statutes to require school busses to be equipped with lap and shoulder seat belts. Current state law only requires lap belts in school buses.

Thompson noted that his legislation, S-233, complies with the NTSB’s recommendations by requiring new school buses to be equipped with three-point lap and shoulder seat belts.

“The NTSB’s recommendations confirm that the legislation I’ve proposed is the right approach to improve school bus safety for our children and other passengers,” said Thompson. “It’s hard to believe there would be any remaining doubt that this legislation should move forward.”

The NTSB’s findings were released just days after a 10-year-old student and a teacher from Paramus were killed when the school bus they were riding was involved in a serious highway accident. Virtually every passenger on the bus sustained some level of injury.

“We’ve known for decades that lap belts offer insufficient protection in certain kinds of crashes, and we’ve seen the tragic results time and again,” Thompson added. “We saw it in Chesterfield a few years ago, and again with the horrible accident last week. The solution is easy to implement and it will save lives and prevent injuries, so let’s do it.”

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