State Assembly advances school bus seat belt bill

Posted: Updated:
TRENTON -

The New Jersey State Assembly has advanced a bill that would require all school buses to have three-point lap and shoulder seat belts.

Under the bill, the three-point seat belts would be mandated on new school buses manufactured after the law goes into effect.

New Jersey law already requires lap seat belts on school buses.

Woodbridge School Superintendent Robert Zega says that he thinks that this is the right move.

RELATED: Paramus school district to improve bus safety after deadly crash

“I think it’s a great idea to have additional safety harnesses on the buses. We have our lap belts now that are required, but anything else that will help out, absolutely,” he says.

The bill comes after a student and teacher were killed in a school bus crash on Interstate-80 last month. Over 40 others were injured. The buses were from East Brook Middle School in Paramus. Students were on their way to a field trip.

Paramus officials already passed their own ordinance requiring three-point seat belts on Paramus school buses.

A spokeswoman for Durham, one of New Jersey’s largest bus companies, says that the plan will cost an additional $9,000, on top of the cost for a new, 72-seat school bus. She says that it will also cost $12,000 to retrofit an existing school bus with the belts.

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