Senator Sam Thompson (R-12) said that the New Jersey Senate is sending conflicting messages regarding its concern for the safety of children riding on Garden State roads and highways.
Sen. Sam Thompson has expressed concern that the New Jersey Senate has failed to hear legislation to implement recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics that all new school buses be equipped with lap/shoulder seat belts. (Caitlin Regan/Flickr)
The Senator commended the Law & Public Safety Committee’s passage of legislation (S-2026) sponsored by Senator James Beach (D-6) that updates state laws regarding the use of child safety seats in passenger vehicles to match current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), but questioned the Senate Education Committee’s refusal to hear similar legislation (S-632) that addresses the AAP’s recommendations regarding the need for seat belts in school buses.
“Our kids deserve to be safely secured in age- and size-appropriate seats and restraints regardless of the type of vehicle they are riding in,” said Thompson. “Injuries caused by school bus accidents are not uncommon, but they are preventable. It is mind boggling that the Senate has not taken action yet.”
Thompson had requested a hearing for S-632 by the Senate Education Committee, the committee to which his legislation had been referred, to no effect.
In a press release announcing the advancement of S-2026, Senator Beach highlighted that his legislation enacted recommendations put forward by the AAP to better protect children riding in passenger vehicles.
Thompson noted that his legislation would similarly enact the AAP’s recommendations for children riding in school buses, specifically the organization’s suggestion that “every new bus be equipped with lap/shoulder seat belt restraints that also can accommodate car seats, booster seats, and harness systems.”
“The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued recommendations regarding the use of seat belts and other types of safety restraints in both cars and school buses, yet the New Jersey Senate seems to be listening out of only one ear,” added Thompson. “I don’t know if it’s simply a matter of partisan politics overcoming common sense, but it’s time for the Senate Education Committee to act to keep our kids safe on school buses.”