Seat belt in a school bus

Peter Haskell/WCBS 880

Lawmaker Demands Better School Bus Seat Belt Laws In New York

June 01, 2018 - 5:10 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The debate over seat belts in school buses has been revived in the wake of two recent incidents in New Jersey and Long Island.

According to New York State law, lap seat belts are mandatory on school buses but kids don't have to wear them. 

State Sen. David Carlucci of Rockland County says that makes no sense at all.

"If the kids aren't wearing them, they're worthless," Carlucci said. "Why even invest in a seatbelt if the kids are not going to wear them?"

The argument against making kids wear seat belts is that it might prevent them from getting out of a bus after a crash. 

"If your kids aren't wearing a seat belt in the first place they're much more likely to be injured or unconscious making it almost impossible to vacate the bus," Carlucci said.

In addition to making seat belt use mandatory, Carlucci is proposing updating all school buses with over-the-shoulder three-point belts. 

"We know that this will save lives and prevent injuries," Carlucci said. "When we know that your children could be put in a much safer situation that's where I want to be."

The National Transportation Safety Board estimates it could cost upwards of $10,000 for each large school bus.