More school buses to have 3-point seat belts as new school year begins

Posted: Updated:

More of New Jersey’s school districts will be using school buses with three-point seat belts as the new school year begins.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law requiring the new seat belts for all school buses manufactured 180 days after he signed the law and going forward.

But many school districts say that they were already planning on making their school buses safer, even before the law was put into place.

“It was on our radar in terms of looking at security procedures and looking at transportation. This was our next stop,” says Randolph School Superintendent Jennifer Fano.

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Fano says that the district ordered five new school buses with the seat belts, which will be on the road by October. She says that the district may speed up the process of replacing school buses so that all of the fleet will have the new seat belts.

The push for safer school buses came after a deadly school bus accident on Interstate-80 several months ago. A student and teacher from Paramus were killed and dozens more injured when the school bus overturned.

Mike Kelly of Hoover Truck and Bus Centers, one of the largest sellers of school buses, says that requests for the three-point belts were already up before Murphy signed the law.

“A lot of schools were thinking of it. And with the few accidents that have happened…not just the Paramus accident, people were more likely to do it,” he says.

The school buses will cost more. Adding three-point belts adds about $9,000 to the price of a new bus, based on a 54-person capacity.

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