School Bus Seat Belt Legislation Withdrawn

Tennessee Star

A bill that would require seat belts on Tennessee school buses has been pulled from this year’s legislative calendar.

The measure was seen as an effort to do something in the wake of a school bus crash in Chattanooga in November in which six children were killed and dozens injured. The proposed legislation was sponsored by two Chattanooga legislators, JoAnne Favors, a Democrat in the House, and Todd Gardenhire, a Republican in the Senate.

Proponents of the bill said it might prevent injuries and deaths in the future, but others said the bill was an emotional and flawed response. Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) voiced concerns about young children panicking and not being able to work themselves out of their restraints. Others said the Chattanooga crash pointed more to a need to better screen bus drivers. Costs were another concern.

In the Chattanooga crash, bus driver Johnthony Walker was charged with vehicular homicide. Police say Walker was speeding when the bus crashed into a tree and flipped over.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are the safest vehicles on the road, with only four to six children dying each year on school transportation vehicles, making up less than one percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide.

Several states have moved toward requiring seat belts and other state legislatures are considering them.


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One Thought to “School Bus Seat Belt Legislation Withdrawn”

  1. Ruth Wilson

    Requiring Seat belts in School Buses is clearly a “Commerce Racket.” Seat belts are designed to keep a person in a vehicle and most folks who have had “experience” like first responders ie the Old Volunteer Fire Depts will tell you, the word is “extricated from the vehicle.” Safety is NOT in the seat belt.
    Thanks be unto God we, the people, will not be “on the hook” for providing Mandatory seat belts in School Buses for it will be the LOCAL, we, the people, who will pay for this “Commerce Racket.”

    For God & Country