NOTE: As provided in LFC policy, this report is intended for use by the standing finance committees of the legislature. The Legislative Finance Committee does not assume responsibility for the accuracy of the information in this report when used in any other situation.
|SHORT TITLE:||Safety Belts on School Buses||SB||15|
(Parenthesis ( ) Indicate Expenditure Decreases)
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
State Department of Public Education (SDE)
Department of Public Safety (DPS)
Taxation and Revenue Department (TRD)
Synopsis of Bill
Senate Bill 15 amends the Motor Vehicle Code to require all school buses to have seat belts installed on each permanent seat beginning January 1, 2000.
According to SDE, school buses manufactured prior to 1997 are not equipped with the proper reinforced seat frames that are suitable for safety belt installation.
SDE indicates there may be potential liabilities associated with retrofitting school bus equipment in order to comply with this legislation. It is possible that warranties on recently purchased buses could be voided as a result of alterations to the original design of the bus.
This bill does not contain an appropriation.
The State Department of Education estimates the cost to install reinforced seat frames and safety belts, including labor, on school buses statewide would be $18,819.7.
On page 2, line1, the statement reads "with a safety belt for each permanent seat". DPS notes that seats on school buses frequently carry more than one passenger. An amendment to reflect "each prospective passenger in a permanent seat" may be considered.
According to TRD, the term "Safety Belt" is not defined in the Motor Vehicle Code.
OTHER SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES
SDE indicates that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is in the process of an extensive 2-year research program to consider alternative methods for improving school bus passenger crash protection requirements. This study may also address recommendations for safety belts in school buses.