New Jersey's 12th Legislative District

Senator Samuel Thompson

Senator Sam Thompson

Now Law: Thompson Bill to Require Lap & Shoulder Belts on School Buses

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Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation long-sponsored by Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) that will require New Jersey school buses to have lap and shoulder seat belts.

Governor Murphy has signed legislation long-sponsored by Senator Sam Thompson that will require New Jersey school buses to have three-point seat belts. (SenateNJ.com)

“Far too many students’ lives are endangered when a school bus does not have lap and shoulder belts,” Thompson added. “The facts are there: three-point seat belts provide the best protection for students when they are riding the bus to school or a field trip. This law complies with national standards and most importantly, provides our schoolchildren with the equipment to keep them safe.”

Senator Thompson originally introduced this legislation in 2013, following a pair of school bus accidents in Chesterfield.

This past spring, a fatal school bus accident involving students from Paramus prompted legislators to finally consider Senator Thompson’s legislation to improve school buses safety. During the accident, a 10-year-old student and a teacher from Paramus were killed.

Sen. Thompson’s legislation, A-4110/ S-233, requires all newly-manufactured New Jersey school buses to be equipped with three-point lap and shoulder seat belts. The law takes effect immediately and will be applicable to buses manufactured on or after the 180th day following its enactment.

In May the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that all states amend their statutes to require school buses to be equipped with lap and shoulder seat belts.

More than 2,450 lives are saved by safety belts each year, according the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“The best way to protect our students is to have them buckle up, and use the same seat belts we all have in our cars nowadays. We know that a lap belt is simply not enough to keep kids safe in a school bus crash,” Thompson said. “Over the past five years I have worked hard to make sure New Jersey’s school buses are equipped with three-point seat belts. I am glad to see that Governor Murphy has signed this measure into law.”

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